For bootstrapped and seed-stage tech and SaaS brands, building a foundation to deserve growth is all that matters.
Yet, their marketing teams are often focused on metrics and activities that don’t drive growth. But what if there was a team solely focused on growing the number of paying customers?
Enter the growth team. Their only concern is driving growth for your tech or SaaS brand, which is key if your team is small and growth is not an area of expertise.
Your team has their strengths and works hard, but getting everything done is a challenge. A growth team fills the skill and knowledge gaps on your team, and focuses exclusively on growing your company. This allows your team to specialize in everything else your startup needs.
In this post, we’ll walk through what a growth team looks like, the specific skillsets they offer, and how they make a bottom-line impact for the clients they work with.
3 Reasons Growth Teams are the Smartest “Hire” You Can Make
Growth is existential for tech and SaaS startups. Building a brand is all well and good, but a great brand alone won’t keep the doors open.
Growth teams are vital to tech and SaaS startups for a few reasons.
They are focused solely on growing your paying customer base as efficiently and effectively as possible.
They possess skills and knowledge that core members within your organization do not have.
Because of their experience working with budget, time, other limitations unique to tech and SaaS startups, growth teams know how to build a solid foundation to achieve sustainable growth.
Let’s dig deeper into each of these.
Growth Teams Have One Primary Goal
Traditional and in-house marketing teams have a lot to focus on. From building a brand and making sales presentations to managing social media, they cover many bases and track numerous metrics.
In contrast, growth teams only have one thing on their minds. While building awareness and acquiring leads plays a part in what they do, growth teams’ real work is optimizing the six levers of growth:
Awareness - increasing the frequency at which your target audience sees you.
Acquisition - increasing the number of high quality leads you receive.
Activation - enhancing your lead nurturing process to get your leads to take action.
Revenue - increasing the number of quality leads you convert to paying customers.
Retention - reducing churn through upselling, reselling, and a delightful customer experience.
Referral - using current customers to create testimonials, case studies, and word-of-mouth referrals.
Because of their focus on optimizing levers of growth across an organization, growth teams do their best work with companies who have a growth mindset. These companies are curious about what works and what doesn’t, have no prejudices to tactics and strategies, and are willing to test different approaches to find what works best for their company at their specific stage of growth.
Growth teams fill crucial skill and knowledge gaps
The best advisory board for tech and SaaS startups fills gaps in its team’s skills, knowledge, and experience. A growth team offers the same type of benefit.
Developers on growth teams bring a unique take on problem solving and critical thinking. The growth-driven design methodology — a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process — is central to experimentation and growth-driven design.
This approach minimizes risk by using audience data to drive continuous improvements to a website over time to optimize acquisition and lead conversion.
Similar to developers, designers on a growth team are steeped in growth-driven design. They focus more on ensuring a website or landing page is responsive across devices, intuitive for users, and delivers a frictionless experience.
They use their creative problem solving, knowledge of design systems, and user interface design skills to enhance the performance of marketing tactics and acquisition channels.
Growth marketers focus on building and implementing marketing strategies based on a client’s particular need. There is no singular “best” method for growth marketers. Their work is all about identifying and using the right strategy for each client depending on the current state of their marketing and what the goals are.
This requires growth marketers to be well-versed in digital marketing tactics and approaches like paid ads, social media campaigns, inbound marketing, and more. Growth marketers also write much of the content for campaigns, and need to have an analytical mind to find key insights in campaign and client data.
Someone has to keep everyone aligned. In growth teams, this falls to marketing operations. While these team members possess digital marketing knowledge, their true benefit is keeping things organized and running smoothly. They are process-focused, love operational planning, and have an eye for risk management.
Marketing ops’ goal is ensuring all team members have what they need to be successful. They shift resources and assign team members to exploit initiatives and opportunities to deliver maximum value to clients. Since marketing ops is a part of nearly everything going on, they can pull lessons and best practices together and distribute across all growth team members.
Real examples of how growth teams benefit tech and SaaS brands
Alright, enough talk about what growth teams can do. Let’s talk about real work and real results. The following are three examples of real results from our team’s work with our clients.
We’re not giving away every detail of our secret sauce, but just enough to give you a taste of why an outsourced growth team is the smartest “hire” you can make for your tech or SaaS startup.
Using Data-Driven Experiments to Increase Demo Page Conversions
Miles Ukaoma, Head of Growth-Driven Design at Lean Labs, worked with the design team on a client’s demo page. This page is vital to the client, accounting for 70% of new business opportunities.
“The very first version that we launched was really minimal,” Miles said. “We just wanted to get something up and running.”
This approach is a key part of growth-driven design and continuous improvement of a website. The team opted to work fast to launch a basic first version of the landing page. They would then use the data generated by page visits to make adjustments.
Miles and the team went through four iterations of the landing page. They used page analytics, heat mapping data, and growth-driven design fundamentals for each version to optimize the page for more form submissions.
The goal was to reach a 15% conversion rate for form submissions on the page. Here’s how each iteration fared:
Version 1: 8% form submission rate, average time on page of 91 seconds, heat mapping showed that only 30% of visitors scrolled down far enough to see the form.
Version 2: 8% form submission rate, average time on page of 4 minutes (a 163% lift).
Version 3: 13% form submission rate, average time on page remained the same.
Version 4: SUCCESS! Form submission rate jumped 22% even with time on page dropping by 86%.
“The major takeaway I had from this was try, try, try, try again,” Miles said. “By taking a data-driven approach and getting in front of client objections with examples of what was and wasn’t working, as well as clearly outlining what success looked like, we were able to get full buy-in from the client.”
Adding Context to Pop-Up Offers to Increase Marketing-Qualified Leads
Tyler Naples, a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, saw an opportunity to test a hypothesis for a customer. His test was based on using a “smart pop,” a small visual offer in the corner of a webpage.
The smart pop was previously a general message driving users to join a live demo. However, Tyler introduced more contextually relevant offers based on the topic of a webpage and visitors’ previous interactions with other website offers.
“In short, the results were pretty fantastic,” Tyler said. “Quarter over quarter, we saw an increase in submissions of .10%.”
While this is a small-scale experiment, the data revealed a successful strategy that we have since tried with other clients and have seen similar success.
Increasing Sales Qualified Leads by 355% in a Competitive Market
We were working with a client in a competitive industry. They had just started developing their online presence and needed help getting it off the ground.
However, the numerous major players in the market were a problem. They had more resources and could reach the target audience nationwide.
“So rather than trying to compete with larger companies,” said Chris DuBois, Lean Labs Head of Operations. “We focused on a few key locations and built campaigns around them, taking advantage of Google's geo-targeting function.”
The team also introduced a number of new CTAs linking to lead magnets stuffed with valuable information. This helped to generate new marketing-qualified leads, or MQLs. From there, we also helped the client build a sales-qualified lead (SQL) identification machine, a process for determining which MQLs and SQLs held the most potential for converting.
Growth is the winning metric. That means building a growth team is our priority.
If you don’t have the budget or know-how to hire a growth team, an outsourced growth partner, like Lean Labs, is your solution.
We recommend you start with our Growth Playbook. This playbook gives you a peek behind the curtain at the things we do for our clients. If you want to see how we drive 10x growth in 36 months, this is your playbook.
Matt is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.