Growing a Growth Team
A growth team can be a vital support system for the marketing, sales and product development teams that generate revenue. The research and work of the growth team set the stage for increased production, gaining a larger market share and closing more sales.
What is a Growth Team?
Growth is something every business strives to achieve from day one. With that in mind, it becomes clear why major corporations like Uber and Airbnb put growth teams into place early on.
Now, many executives will argue that other departments are already focused on growth so the need for a specialized team isn’t warranted. What these executives don’t know is that the growth team is unique in that they bring the efforts of all these teams together. The growth team acts as an in-between that works across departments to optimize what each department is doing.
The goal for most growth teams is to increase sales, retention rate and acquisitions. They accomplish this largely by using data to identify additional marketing channels and product development opportunities. The team will look at a wide range of data, particularly growth metrics that have already been identified. The growth team will then come up with experiments and tests that can be used to gauge if the data is pointing them in the right direction.
But that isn’t the extent of what a growth team does.
Another distinction with the growth team is the results they aim to get. Their ultimate goal isn’t incremental changes. The growth team sets its sights on significant increases. Growth team experiments may produce a small improvement, but that’s usually just the start. Team members will continue experimenting and making adjustments until they see a compounding effect that leads to big results.
Growth teams are also looking for sustainable results. The idea is to make changes and improvements that provide a lasting benefit rather than a short-term bump.
Essential Members of a Growth Team
Who are the people on a growth team that are responsible for uncovering valuable insights that evade other departments? The answer is different for every company.
The growth team is a very diverse group of data-driven individuals that have come together with the express purpose of aggressively digging through data to implement any and all growth tactics that hold promise. Each person will have a variety of unique skill sets, but they all must have at least a basic understanding of data analytics.
The primary members of a growth team are:
Data analysts are the key players of a growth team. They are doing a lot of the heavy lifting to figure out where the growth opportunities lie as they dig through the data for actionable information. Once they spot a trend, pattern or anomaly, the data analyst will make suggestions for what changes should be made and how to test the results.
A project manager can help keep the growth team on track and consistently meeting goals. The project manager can also serve as a point of contact with other department heads.
Chief Growth Officers
Some organizations are creating a new executive position to lead and build growth teams. The most common title for these professionals is chief growth officer. They are the ones that set team goals, decide on strategies and assign tasks. Your chief growth officer should have management experience along with tech stack building, marketing and data analysis credentials.
Since growth team goals are so closely associated with product development it’s highly beneficial to have at least one product designer on the team. They can help look at problems from a developer’s perspective, identify opportunities and improve communication with the product design team.
Because growth teams are heavily focused on discovering new marketing channels and optimizing sales funnels, it’s highly beneficial to have a technical marketer in the group. This person will have a background in marketing that goes beyond copywriting. Technical marketers specialize in digital channels and use data as much as behavioral psychology and intuition to create marketing campaigns. They have also worked on the backend and are familiar with coding, APIs and script building.
Engineers and Developers
Engineers and developers set up the framework for gathering, translating, storing and viewing data. They lay the groundwork for running experiments and allowing data analysts to dig through information in a logical, efficient manner. The developers on your growth team need to be very strong coders with a creative mindset. At the front-end, developers must sometimes build experiments that make UX a priority so understanding user experience best practices is a huge plus.
The list of job roles above isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good start when you’re building a growth team. Exactly who you put on a growth team depends on a number of factors, starting with what kind of data analytics infrastructure is already in place. Once your team is assembled it’s time to start setting goals, mining data and making improvements.
Why Growth Teams Thrive on Agility and Iterations
Agility is one of the most desirable traits of a growth team. In order to fully capitalize on data findings, growth teams must move quickly to run iterative experimentation cycles and decipher the results. They do this with the understanding that they won’t reach a final answer right off the bat, but it will get the ball rolling.
Members of the growth team must accept that what they build won’t be perfect. Adjustments and many iterations are an expected part of the growth process. That’s why the growth team has to have an “ever-evolving” mindset. With each test that’s run the goal is to keep getting better.
As your company grows, you may find that the growth team needs to expand too. When that time comes you can create specialized teams that focus on one aspect growth in order to keep things agile. For example, you can create an SEO growth team with the sole purpose of solving search engine issues and moving up the search rankings.
Growth teams can have a profound impact on the overall health of a business and its longevity. But before you begin building a growth team, take the time to identify what problems you want the team to solve and craft a mission that gives them clear direction. From there you can decide what type of people you need on your growth team to grow bigger and better.