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How to Build a High-Performing Growth Marketing Team

growth team startup talent

Building a high-performing growth team is essential for startup success. A strong growth team can help your business increase its customer base, revenue, and market share, and take your company to the next level. However, building a top-performing team is no easy task. 


What is a growth team? 

The difference between a Growth Team and a Marketing Team

The difference between growth hacking and growth marketing

Build a growth team culture from the start

Define clear roles and responsibilities

The right tools to organise an (early stage) Growth Team

Define and track important growth metrics



Let's start with a few definitions:

What is a Growth Team?

In the startup context, growth refers to the process of increasing the size and scale of a startup. This can involve expanding the customer base, increasing revenue, and growing the overall market share of the company.

A growth team is a group of individuals from various departments within a business who are united in their goal of increasing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the company. These KPIs can include metrics such as customer acquisition, customer retention, lead generation, revenue growth, and user acquisition. The growth team works together to identify the most effective strategies for increasing these KPIs through the process of rapid experimentation.

This experimentation can involve testing different marketing channels and techniques, as well as experimenting with different product development approaches. By trying out different approaches and measuring the results, the growth team will identify the most effective strategies for growing the startup.

The primary goal of growth teams is to conduct growth initiatives that will help to turn first-time visitors into potential buyers, or influence potential buyers to complete a purchase. This can involve creating landing pages that are designed to maximise conversions, developing the right content to generate inbound traffic, A/B testing different creatives and social media strategies, and exploring different distribution channels.

Growth experiments can vary in duration, from shorter tests that only last a few hours to longer experiments that may take several months to complete. The length of the experiment will depend on the specific goals of the growth team and the resources that are available to them.


The Difference between a Growth Team and a Marketing Team

A growth team is a cross-functional team that is focused on finding and implementing a growth strategy to increase the growth of a company. This can involve a wide range of activities, such as product development, customer acquisition, customer retention, and data analysis.

A marketing team, on the other hand, is focused only on promoting and selling a company's products or services to customers. This can include digital marketing efforts such as advertising, public relations, market research, content marketing, product marketing, social media, and brand awareness.

While there is some overlap in the activities of growth teams and marketing teams, the main difference is that growth teams are focused on identifying and implementing strategies to drive long-term growth, while marketing teams are primarily focused on short-term customer acquisition.


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The Difference between Growth Hacking and Growth Marketing

The terms "growth hacking" and "growth marketing" are often used interchangeably, but they do have some differences. Growth hacking (coined by Sean Ellis) involves a growth hacker coming up with innovative and novel techniques, or "hacks," to achieve rapid growth without a large budget. Growth hacking is typically focused on a single metric, such as user acquisition, and often relies on a specific channel, such as search, paid ads, or email.

On the other hand, growth marketing is a long-term approach to marketing that focuses on the entire customer journey, from awareness to nurturing. It involves building relationships with customers and taking a holistic view of marketing efforts across the entire customer journey. While growth hacking is a piece of the growth marketing puzzle, growth marketing encompasses a wider range of tactics and strategies.


Build a Growth Team culture from the Start

Before starting the process of recruiting a new growth marketing manager for your high performance marketing team, it is important to establish and define the culture of your team. This involves outlining the main principles that are most important to your team, as well as your company's general outlook on the world and how you define success for your startup. Having a clear set of principles can help you make difficult decisions when they arise, even if it is not possible to anticipate every future circumstance.

It is important to ensure that any high-performing candidates you consider hiring for your growth team share your company's values and objectives. This will help to create a cohesive and productive team that is aligned with the goals of the startup. When defining your team culture, it is also helpful to consider what qualities you value in your team members and what kind of work environment will be most conducive to success. By clearly defining your team culture, you can attract the right candidates and create a team that is well-suited to driving growth and achieving your startup goals.

Outline what your company stands for:

  • What principles that are most important to your team?
  • What is your general outlook on the world?
  • How do you define success for your organisation?

Your high-performing future hires need to mirror your company's values and objectives.


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Define clear Roles and Responsibilities

Before you embark on defining marketing team functions, you must be precise in determining what your team members will be held responsible for and the way they will all collaborate. This must include possible overlapping duties and unnecessary redundancies.

You wouldn't want to reach the end of the year and realise that your growth marketing team has been overworked or taken on too much.

Once you have a vivid understanding of what you anticipate your growth team members to do, you can commence outlining roles and constructing job descriptions.

Varying on the Product/Service and Buyer Persona you are targeting, roles and team set-ups can differ greatly.

The most general team roles in a startup are:

  • Product Manager: Responsible for the product vision, roadmap, team-leadership and metrics.
  • Product Marketing Manager: Developing and implementing product marketing strategies for a specific product.
  • Design/UX Lead: Aesthetics and user experience.
  • Sales Manager: Driving revenue through sales channels.
  • Growth Marketing Manager: Leading a team of growth marekters, prioitzing and managing growth experiments.
  • Growth Marketer: Responsible for identifying and implementing strategies to increase the growth of a business.
  • Social Media Manager:  Managing social media profiles, creating and distributing social media content, and engaging with followers.
  • Growth Hacker: Finding and testing new, innovative ways to drive the growth of a business. 
  • Digital Marketing Manager: Paid digital marketing campaigns to drive business outcomes. 
  • Content Marketing Manager: Develop and implement content marketing strategies to attract and retain a defined audience.
  • Community Manager: Building and maintaining a community around a brand, product, or service.
  • Developer: Responsible for building the product.


The Right Tools to Organise an (early stage) Growth Team

The right tools will help you to organise your growth team, keep an eye on the progress and document the learnings you make along the way. At the same time, you do not want to overwhelm your team with tools, processes and rules.

There are a variety of project management systems out there, but the most common are Trello, Notion and Asana.

Select one that has the following (simple) core features:

  • Assign tasks to team members
  • Create due dates for each task
  • Assign different priorities to tasks
  • Integrate with other software tools to make your life easier

In some cases I used google sheets, it gets the job done. Don’t waste too much time with complex tools, setup, team onboarding etc. - focus on actually getting things done.

Tool-Tipp: Managing the growth experiment process

TrueNorth is a growth marketing platform to plan and track marketing in one place, with everything and everyone focused on the goal.


Define and Track important Growth Metrics

High-performing growth teams are productive teams. To determine if you and your team are doing their job, you need to track the right metrics.

Growth metrics are the measurable factors that help a business track its progress and success. These metrics allow a company to determine whether its efforts to grow and expand are effective, and to identify any areas that may need improvement.

Common growth metrics include:

  • Generating new leads/users: This metric measures the number of new potential customers or users that a business is able to attract.
  • Cost of new leads/users (CAC): This metric tracks the amount of money that a business spends on acquiring each new lead or user.
  • Revenue increase: This metric measures the growth in a business's overall revenue over time.
  • CAC to LTV ratio: This ratio compares the cost of acquiring a new customer (CAC) to the lifetime value of that customer (LTV). It helps a business determine the return on investment of its customer acquisition efforts.
  • Customer retention rate: This metric measures the percentage of customers that continue to do business with a company over time.

The North Star Metric

A North Star is a long-term, aspirational goal that serves as a guiding light for a startup. It represents the ultimate destination that a company is working towards, and helps to focus and align the efforts of all team members towards a shared vision. A North Star goal should be measurable, achievable, and relevant to the business, and should be used to inform decision-making and prioritise tasks and projects. By having a clear North Star goal, a business can stay focused and motivated as it works towards achieving its biggest aspirations.

By tracking your most important metrics, you can easily determine whether your team is performing well, or if something needs to change. If there is an issue with the metrics, you can use the data to pinpoint where the problem is coming from and take action.



Growth teams are an excellent tool for driving your business forward, but you need to get the culture right from the start. Once you have the team culture set up and your team members in place, you can begin to outline clear team roles and responsibilities. From there, you can select the right tools for the job and track your most important metrics.


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About the Author

Hello, I am Heinz!

Startup Founder, CMO and Growth Marketing Leader with more than 15 years experience.

During the last years I have been building, leading and re-structuring growth teams up to 25 team-members and budgets from practically 0 to 10+ million USD.

Having worked in and with early stage startups as well as fast-paced scale-ups, this gave me experience across all growth stages.

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