How Fast-Growing SaaS Companies Can Adopt Growth Principles with @Ferdigoetzen @Recruitee

Jan 15, 2019 4:10:26 AM
Author: Kieran Flanagan

What we cover in Episode 24

How can fast-growing SaaS companies apply growth principles across their marketing team?

Ferdinand Goetzen is the chief growth officer for Recruitee based in Amsterdam who has over 40 employees and are growing fast.

We talk to Ferdinand on:

- How he is structuring his marketing team for growth
- How he is applying growth principals to all marketing goals, e.g., lead generation, branding, and not just product growth.
- How he works with his product and engineering team to drive product-led growth

It's the perfect episode if you want to start applying growth principals to your marketing teams and structure them for success.


Enjoy the episode and happy growing.

1. Growth focuses on the entire customer journey

When Ferdinand thought about how he should structure his marketing team for growth, he considered what growth even meant.

"For me, it's a team that focuses on the entire customer journey. We structured the marketing team to focus on this journey." - Ferdinand Goetzen

Recruitee segment their marketing team into three areas:

a. Lead Generation: In an early stage SaaS company leads are such an important metric to ensure the company keeps growing. Generating leads for the sales team is usually one of the highest priorities you can have.

b. Branding: To be successful in the long-term brand is a significant investment to make. You may not be able to control how platforms like Google and Facebook change their algorithms and affect your growth, but you can work to create delightful experiences, so people spread the word about your product.

The branding team at Recruitee focused on three core elements of the brand:

"We decided the most important aspects to focus on were vision, design and messaging. You have the content produced about your brand, how things look (the design element), and the vision around your company (that comes from the founding team)." - Ferdinand Goetzen

c. Product Growth: In Recruitee, product growth includes product marketing, onboarding and paid marketing. It's a function shared across marketing and product.

"Product growth should be a product discipline. We're a very product driven company, and it's a partnership in our company. We have three growth marketers, product marketing managers, product designers, and UX designers all working as a team. They work on beta tests, feature release testing, in-app onboarding and those kinds of things." - Ferdinand Goetzen

2. It's critical you find the right working model for a successful partnership between marketing and product.

We've talked about this circle before; no one team can drive real growth. Your big growth wins are usually the result of teams collaborating around a defined set of metrics.

It's important you establish how teams will work together around clear goals regardless of how big your company is. At Recruitee:

"We have a call every two weeks where we set an agenda, and plan out what we want to achieve over the next two weeks.

We plan out the agenda beforehand. For example, it's split across things like beta tests we want to run, onboarding we want to improve, a referral program we want to create.

We decide upon the goal, the metrics to track and how we can break it down into different experiments." - Ferdinand Goetzen

After you've agreed on a plan, the other important thing to decide upon is how the work gets done. For example, do you have a separate development team to work on growth driven projects or do all requests go through the same development queue?

"When it comes to development we don't differentiate between development requests from any one team, e.g., growth, or sales, or support, or QA.

It's the same process for anyone creating a ticket. You open a Jira; it gets prioritized and assigned to the most relevant developer.

We purposely did that, so no one team gets prioritized above others. We wanted to create a system where everything is funneled into the same queue and included in sprints based on priority."- Ferdinand Goetzen

Lastly, like a lot of other companies we spoke with, experiments in Recruitee are not owned by any one person. Everyone is encouraged to take ownership of their ideas.

"Every project or experiment has an owner, and that owner decides on how it gets done. They're responsible for setting up the project, planning it out, creating the feedback loops, and they're also accountable to the results.". - Ferdinand Goetzen

Autonomy is the best way to scale ideas within a company.

3. You need to know how the work gets prioritized

In a growing company, every resource is precious. That means you need a model to decide on how work gets prioritized.

There are countless models to help you prioritize growth experiments and initiatives, so what does Recruitee use?

"We created our prioritization model because we found it to be the most effective way to prioritize our work. It includes the following criteria - urgency, ease, impact, affordability, and scalability.

So when we grade the different growth initiatives, something needs to be urgent, it needs to be doable, it needs to have an impact, be affordable, scalable and we need to have the resources to do it." - Ferdinand Goetzen

Near all models cover similar concepts. In particular, accessing the potential impact of the experiment, have you ever done something similar to this before, if so, you should have some idea of the effect. You also need to grade based on the available resources required to implement it, and if it's successful, how scalable is it.

However, the urgency isn't a parameter you see in a lot of models, so how do Ferdinand and his team use this?

"Urgency speaks to the metrics and resources. It's important because we're a smaller team.

Is the metric the experiment focused on important to the company right now?

Does the experiment require resources that are available today, but won't be available next week? For example, if I want to run a test that needs developers time to implement event tracking. Maybe that developer is available for the next two days, but after that is on holiday for two weeks.

We use all that information to decide on the urgency of an experiment."- Ferdinand Goetzen

The above are some of the highlights from the interview. For a more in-depth version please do listen to the rest of the podcast.

And until next time, happy growing!

Subscribe Rate and Review

>> Apple Podcast

>> Stitcher

>> Google Play

>> Spotify

Follow us on Social Media

>> @Searchbrat

>> @SJTousley


Topics: Growth, Podcast, Leader

Join the Newsletter

Get my thoughts on repeatable playbooks for marketing, growth, hiring, and leadership.