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Growth marketing itself is not a new concept, and has been around for at least the last decade. As the name implies, it is marketing that leads to growth – broadly, business growth, but specifically, by increasing customer retention and loyalty.
When it comes to SaaS businesses, competition for customers is high and oftentimes, the bulk of the user base comprises free users. Most customers now expect free features, and to be able to test them out at least, before committing to a purchase.
In order to grow and generate more revenue, it is essential for SaaS businesses to be able to attract more customers and retain them. It is also essential to convert free users to paid ones in order to achieve that sweet, sweet growth and drive consistent subscriber revenue.
So how can SaaS businesses achieve this? The answer lies in obtaining a strong and solid growth marketing team. In this guide, we will break down the essential skills and roles needed to build an effective and successful growth marketing team.
Why Growth Marketing for SaaS Businesses?
According to Mailchimp, growth marketing is a "process and type of marketing optimization that uses data from marketing campaigns and experimentation to drive growth." HubSpot calls it an "integrated approach to growing your business and optimizing your content marketing efforts through constant testing across marketing channels."
While traditional marketing usually focuses on "top of funnel" methods to attract leads and convert them into customers, growth marketing is much more holistic, and has touchpoints throughout the entire marketing funnel to not just funnel, but retain loyal customers.
Think of it this way: traditional marketing cares about getting customers, while growth marketing cares about keeping them. Traditional marketing is all about the company, while growth marketing focuses on the customer and the utilization of data, experimentation and analytics to optimize marketing efforts throughout the marketing funnel, hence making it much more effective at securing customer loyalty.
Essential Skills for a Growth Marketing Team
So you’re convinced: A growth marketing team is essential. But how would you go about building one?
Well, a growth marketing team will comprise individuals with experience, aptitude, competence and expertise in using various data-driven digital tools, and they would have usually worked within several digital-centric verticals.
Here’s a list of essential skills needed for a growth marketing team, and why these skills are important.
Data Analytics and Insights
Skills in data analytics and insights are fundamental to any good growth marketing team. Data analytics encompasses collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to derive valuable insights that can drive business strategies and improvements. Practitioners will use tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Amplitude to extract actionable information.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a data-driven strategy that helps businesses convert visitors (or leads) into desired actions such as subscribing, filling a form, or checking out their cart. Ultimately, the goal of CRO processes is to maximize the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, which can lead to increased revenue and improved return on investment.
CRO frequently utilizes techniques like A/B testing, multivariate testing, and funnel optimization to identify and overcome barriers to conversion. It also emphasizes on creating a user-friendly and compelling user experience.
Content Strategy and Creation
Content Strategy and creation are other fundamental aspects of any growth marketing strategy. The strategic application and use of SEO knowledge and techniques combined with content ideation and proficient copywriting skills will help produce engaging and relevant content that resonates with the target market, whichever stage of the marketing funnel and buying journey they are at.
Developing a good content strategy takes time and skill, and experienced content strategists will take into account the marketing needs of the business, as well as existing campaigns elsewhere.
Performance Marketing is a results-driven approach that relies on expertise in managing paid advertising channels (e.g. Google Ads and Facebook Ads) for efficient customer acquisition. Performance team members utilize data-driven insights and strategic enhancements or adjustments to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
Some aspects of performance marketing include understanding budget management, bid optimization, and ensuring diligent tracking of Return on Investment (ROI). These measurable results can then be used to inform the effectiveness of existing campaign strategies and inform strategizing of future campaigns.
With a good performance marketing team, SaaS businesses can accurately target their audience, control ad spend, and achieve a more favorable ROI.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the bread and butter of every marketing strategy, so obviously you’d need skilled SEO specialists who are able to optimize not just your websites, but also the content you push out at every step of the customer journey.
SEO is crucial to getting your business out there, and rerouting potential customers to your site. Tech-focused SEO specialists are a key component to a growth marketing team.
Product and Industry Knowledge
It would be difficult to be successful at selling something if you don’t actually know what your product is about. Thus, any growth marketing team, especially for SaaS businesses, requires a strong grasp and understanding of the product and the specific industry it serves.
This knowledge can empower teams to work in parallel with other teams to produce the best kind of marketing strategies. Ultimately, these efforts will go towards driving better product adoption, and eventually, growth, retention and loyalty.
Growth marketing is a multi-disciplinary endeavor, and its success is greatly informed by having accurate and relevant data. Conducting market research is essential to gathering crucial data concerning your target market.
Market research also helps you consider the entire landscape of the industry you are in. By understanding your market, your business will be able to identify the specific needs of your customers, identify their pain points, and strategically work on addressing these issues.
Understanding the broader landscape and employing tools such as SWOT analysis is instrumental in crafting strategic responses to both current and prospective challenges. It allows for capitalizing on strengths and opportunities while concurrently addressing and enhancing weaknesses in customer targeting.
Key Roles in a Growth Marketing Team
Growth Marketing Manager
The Growth Marketing Manager is the pivotal person who oversees growth strategies across different aspects of the company, all while ensuring that the team coordinates seamlessly internally and with other teams. Growth Marketing Managers will also rely on data-driven insights to inform their decisions on strategizing ways to optimize team goals.
The role of data analysts is relatively clear-cut. Collaborating closely with the Growth Marketing Manager, data analysts gather, scrutinize, and interpret data to identify trends and extract insights. These insights, in turn, play a pivotal role in shaping future decision-making for marketing campaigns and initiatives.
Conversion Rate Optimization Specialist
CRO specialists focus on techniques like A/B testing and other strategies (e.g., email split tests and CTAs). Their goal is to enhance the user experience through data and experimentation, which should result in higher conversion rates. This, in turn, boosts the effectiveness of parallel marketing efforts, like content creation.
Combined with meticulous data analysis, CRO experts can significantly contribute to enhancing a SaaS company’s bottom line, ensuring that every click counts towards business growth. Additionally, a good CRO specialist may also be skilled in digital marketing and play a dual role as a marketing specialist.
A marketing specialist works closely with other teams to plan and execute branding and marketing campaigns. While marketers should be well-versed in the intricate details of the product, it is also important to be adept at effectively articulating the product’s unique value proposition(s). Case in point: being able to describe how the product addresses industry-specific challenges and meets the needs of potential customers.
Marketers conduct market research to uncover the precise needs and challenges of your customers. This insight guides future campaigns, particularly when developing content strategies that strongly resonate with target audiences’ needs and challenges, while also building credibility in the industry.
Content marketers are skilled writers and creative visual artists with the knowledge and expertise to employ SEO strategies. They use these skills to attract organic traffic to websites or platforms through various content types, including blog posts, videos, white papers, infographics, and more.
Collaborating closely with colleagues in various growth marketing roles, they leverage insights gathered from them to create top-notch content that is both captivating and relevant. This content engages your target audience effectively, regardless of where they are in the customer journey.
Paid Advertising Specialist
Paid Advertising Specialists essentially manage paid campaigns (read: Ad campaigns) on various platforms such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. They utilize optimization techniques to maximize ROI on ad spend.
Not to be confused with content marketers, a product marketer’s main job is to promote a product and its features to the target audience. Instead of focusing on crafting the exact marketing message, product marketers are more involved in strategizing, developing and working with content and other team members to implement effective marketing campaigns for products.
Team Structure and Collaboration
Growth marketing teams will collaborate and work with other teams in product, sales and customer service, ensuring that eventual objectives and strategies are aligned. For example, the growth marketing team can work with the product team to better understand the product’s features and application, and then optimize its market fit. With the sales team, it can be to generate leads, or improve the customer experience.
By harnessing the combined expertise of individuals across different teams, SaaS businesses can formulate and enjoy the advantages of comprehensive growth strategies. These strategies not only improve customer retention and the conversion of free users into paid customers but also help sustain customer loyalty.
It is imperative for growth marketing teams to embrace Agile practices, which breaks projects down into phases.
Agile marketing involves teams that organize themselves and work in frequent iterations with continuous feedback. It also requires a clear strategic vision and short, medium, and long-term marketing planning.
Building Your Growth Marketing Team
Before you can build your growth marketing team, consider the following:
Assessing Current Skill Gaps
Assess your current team by considering their strengths and weaknesses, the roles they fulfill, and the tasks they handle. Determine whether they should shift to different roles, improve their skills, or gain expertise in specific areas. Additionally, identify where additional expertise may be necessary.
Hiring and Onboarding
Assembling the team requires you to know what roles are necessary and to hire for them with accurate and detailed job descriptions as it makes expectations clear. Most of these roles require candidates to have years of experience with the various tools, techniques and processes relevant to the different aspects of growth marketing.
Testing potential candidates with a short quiz to gauge their technical soundness may be effective in helping you narrow it down. Once you’ve found the right candidates ensure you have a thorough and proper onboarding process for new team members, especially in how their roles will work together strongly with other members’ roles. Be sure to set clear, reasonable and measurable goals for staff performance, identifying the right metrics to measure and setting KPIs that are "SMART" (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).
If this seems overwhelming (as is often the case), you might want to consider outsourcing your HR instead.
Elevate Your Team’s Potential With Vero: Automation Marketing Platform
Although it may seem daunting, assembling a growth marketing team can be an exciting endeavor. Hopefully, this guide provides the clarity you need to evaluate and determine the unique needs of your SaaS business. Keep in mind that no two growth marketing teams will be identical.
As evident from the guide, the functions, roles, and skills within a growth marketing team can significantly influence the profitability of your SaaS business. All of these roles are dedicated to enhancing customer attraction, retention, and loyalty, which are crucial for generating revenue. This importance cannot be overstated.
Clearly, it is necessary for SaaS businesses to look towards building and nurturing talents with key growth marketing skills in data analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization and content marketing, in order to achieve more sustainable and consistent growth. Vero customer engagement platform can help!
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