Growth Hacks: How to get your growth team out of the ground!

Growth Hacks: How to get your growth team out of the ground!

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How to get your growth team out of the ground!

You feel that spike of energy after reading your first growth study about a company in your industry that succeeded by using the methodology.

You got that adrenaline rush after taking your first growth course, learning the framework, and coming up with a lot of testing hypotheses.

You finally drafted what could eventually become your North Star Metric, suggested a few objectives, and are ready for takeoff.

Then reality hits: you don’t get the hiring budget you thought you had for that Data Scientist, your Product Leader refuses to prioritize your requests, your Marketing Director feels threatened by you touching his owned KPIs and things simply didn’t go as in the Disney movies.

So, what should you do instead? In this post, we will break down the unspoken rules of growth implementation. After all, not even the companies with VP of Growth in their titles were born with it, they have grown into it so, what and how do they do it?

Who the heck do you think you are?

Your growth team is the only department in the organization that fluctuates across all growth levers. You are touching on marketing stuff, sales stuff, design stuff, and product stuff. At the same time, your tolerance for failure is higher than everyone else’s, and, as if all of it wasn’t enough, you also take more risks than all others — who the heck do you think you are?

Getting understanding from other departments in the company will help you gain their much-needed collaboration — without it, you won’t be able to use their resources, get their insights, or even execute some of your tests.

Once they realize the growth team is there to take the falls so they don’t have to, their perception will change, and you will go from a stone in their shoes to their trampoline — something that can make their life easier and take their career further.
– Run interactive workshops
– Ask for idea suggestions
– Send company-wide reports with your KPIs and experiments.

What the heck do you do here?

Going from a place where people are working with their heads down, afraid of speaking their minds, unencouraged to express opinions from outside their scope of action, to an open and safe place to speak, a place that makes bets, a place that everyone is incentivized to participate is a huuuge step.

If others do not know precisely what you do and how they can collaborate, you will likely never get there. Don’t expect this to happen naturally, you must nurture this behavior:

– Make it clear to them that there are no downsides to suggesting a growth idea. If it fails, the blame is on us. If it succeeds, merit is on you — so speak up, even if at first, you do this anonymously. Make it easy for people to participate.

– Find what makes directors and VP lose their sleep at night. What is that thing they would love to test but, for some reason, they have never done — maybe lack of knowledge, maybe lack of incentives, maybe lack of resources, or maybe purely the hesitation of trying something that could hurt their performance — that should be your first objective.

Where the heck is your growth team?

Yeah yeah, growth teams are the intersection of data, engineering, design, marketing, blah blah blah…
If your first pitch to your director is: I need to hire a team with those skill-sets, you will likely die before the first experiment is executed.

Ideally, you have all of that at your disposal. In reality, you will get all of that once you’ve proven your value.

Start with whatever resources you’ve at your disposal, even if that means you will get a 10% cut at your target so you can allocate that time to execute experiments.

At first, what you are trying to accomplish is not a revolution, it’s understanding and support. Aim small, focus on objectives that you are highly confident that you can solve, run tests that do not consume many resources and, all of these small wins will turn into big ones.

Why the heck do we need a growth team?

We already have processes, we already have high-skilled people, we already have a clear OKR we need to deliver so… why?

Growth teams exist to help others make better decisions: at the end of the day, you are a validator of some kind. If your marketing director was unsure about a new acquisition strategy and, through your small scale tests, you have some data that proves that this is the right direction, don’t make the decision and get the credit. Go back to your director, show the results, and let them decide what to do next — you’ve just gained an ally!

Growth teams exist to uncover opportunities that are not yet clear: a new pricing strategy, a new onboarding process, a new layout for your eCommerce. Whatever it is, these things are good for the organization’s performance but normally are not anyone’s responsibility. That’s where the growth team flourishes. Find opportunities that can help them all, but do not belong to anyone.

Growth teams exist as a safe space to make bets: no CEO wants a marketing/product/sales/finance/cs team failing in up to 70% of the things they do — the company wouldn’t last a quarter that way.
So, how can you take bets with a capped downside and unlimited upside? With a growth team. Growth teams allow an organization to take risks in a calculated and safe environment. While the rest of the operation focus on following established process and playbooks, growth teams focus on what is not on the playbook yet!

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How to get your growth team out of the ground! was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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