The Ins and Outs of a (Startup) Growth Team

Startup Growth Team

A few months ago, I was going about my workday creating campaigns, measuring brand (doing what marketers do) when our COO came along and said, “I’m starting a new team, a growth team, do you want to lead it?”. Just like that. I’d heard about the rise of growth hackers but didn’t actually know what a growth team was or whether I wanted to work in one. I accepted anyway and started building HealthEngine’s growth team. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Growth teams: what are they anyway?

Growth teams look at the full funnel of the customer including acquisition, optimisation, retention, referral and revenue. If you think about these elements and who is responsible for them in a typical business it’s often a mix of marketing, sales, support, product etc. But, the major issue is that these teams don’t always work perfectly with each other and they often have different objectives and goals. This is what a growth team solves, you have a bunch of people with different skills (cross-functional) and they all have the same objective, growth. The team is usually small, extremely focussed and constantly pushing to learn and test new growth strategies.

Tip: If you haven’t sussed your product market fit or defined your true north then you aren’t ready for a growth team. There is a bunch of reading you can do and tools you can use to help you achieve these things. I’d start with product market fit and north star metric.

Growth team roles

Growth teams are cross-functional, including a blend of marketers, engineers, designers and data analysts. The idea is to have all the skills in the team so you aren’t relying on other functional departments and teams to action work. This speeds up workflow, learning and ultimately growth for the business. Whilst these are the roles, not every ‘marketer’ for example is suitable for a growth team and understanding the traits of the different roles is paramount to enjoying being in a growth team.

Growth team DNA

There are a few absolute essentials needed to enjoy working in a growth team.

  1. Driven by Impact: In growth, you have to love the numbers. You’re not motivated by designing something beautiful or working on a big project, it’s the love of seeing what you did move the needle (or not in some cases).
  2. Urgency: You have to get things done, not perfectly but quickly. You have to think what’s the least amount of work needed to test an idea and then build on it and not get bogged down with perfection.
  3. Voracious Learners: Always reading and if you don’t know how to do something, learn. It’s a hands-on role. You need to be very versatile to work in growth, a jack of all trades and a master of something as well.
  4. Resilience: With a high volume of testing ideas there are a lot of failures. The growth team celebrates failures so long as we learn. When you have idea after idea, and they continue to fail you have to be committed to the learning and of course, continue to come up with more ideas. This isn’t always easy but certainly makes celebrating the wins so much better.

Written by Tara Heath, Growth Marketing

We’re hiring! If you think you have what it takes to work in a growth team, or with HealthEngine, hit us up.