How Growth Managers Hybridized Product and Marketing Teams

Growth managers at Automox and JumpCloud share their daily routines and the biggest challenges they’re facing to help their organizations prosper.
Written by Tyler Holmes
November 11, 2021Updated: November 16, 2021

When Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan’s characters famously swapped bodies to learn about each other’s very different lives as mother and daughter, we called it a “Freaky Friday.” But when growth managers step into the shoes of a hybridized product and marketing expert to focus on business development, it’s anything but freakish. In fact, it’s an impactful role making a big difference in a company’s product possibilities.

Straddled between multiple departments, growth managers are in a unique position when it comes to what they do. Every organization’s qualification of what growth is and what goals are needed to take them there — both short term and long term — can differ drastically. This is especially true when no two products are exactly the same. So how exactly do growth managers prioritize their focus and mission in their daily schedules?

“Start by looking for the biggest problems facing the customer when they are trying to interact with your product,” said Seth Templeton, group product manager of growth at JumpCloud. “Identifying the right problem to solve is a huge part of the battle.”

For Growth Product Manager Jasdeep Garcha, it helps to break down exactly what growth means to his teams and how that specifically impacts Automox’s market. While collaborating cross-functionally with teams across the company, Garcha said he is better able to address problems impacting each department and turn to stakeholders for insight.

Built In Colorado sat down with Garcha and Templeton to learn more about the typical day-to-day schedule of a growth manager and the biggest projects peaking their interests as of late. Body swapping not required.

 

Jasdeep Garcha
Growth Product Manager

 

Tell us a little bit about the work you do as a growth manager. What does a typical day look like for you?

The growth team at Automox is five people, representing a cross-functional team including folks skilled at software development, business operations, demand generation, organizational design and sales. We play a relatively interdisciplinary role at Automox, so our days are spent identifying the major constraints on Automox’s business growth, and collaborating with many parts of the business to address them.

 

GARCHA’S TYPICAL DAY AT AUTOMOX

  • Data analysis to dig into a hypothesis or data modeling to build or update cohort analyses we’ve built
  • Spec’ing missions or experiments we need to execute against within or around the product
  • Talking to stakeholders in sales, marketing, product and engineering to update them on growth initiatives and to get their insight on the product, customer base and business
  • Building enablement or communication materials

 

How do you determine where to focus your efforts for maximum impact?

Growth means many things to many different businesses. We’ve thought about our role in three different ways. The first is that growth serves as a shared service and discipline to help teams identify friction, and build experiments to remove those frictions. The second is that growth focuses on a specific go-to-market segment, or a specific part of the funnel. The third and final way is that growth plugs holes; as the organization grows, we build practices where they don’t exist yet in product and go-to-market (GTM).

Much of our thinking has been driven by Brian Balfour at Reforge. His view of growth teams has been built on three trends: the blurred lines between marketing and product, the increased accessibility of data and the emergence of platforms and APIs to build meaningful customer experiences. He summarizes his view on growth teams in the following manner:

“Growth teams pursue growth as a holistic system and goal. They deploy a fast, data-driven process to figure out what works and what doesn’t. They use a cross functional team with product, engineering, marketing and data skill sets to execute that process.”

 

What is a project or campaign you’re working on right now that you’re particularly excited about, and why?

We’re spending much of our time right now building out a cohort analysis based on product usage data to identify high and low value users. This will help us inform where our GTM and product teams focus their calories, and what cohorts of customers we can learn from to replicate high value activity.

This is an important foundation not only for the growth team, but for the organization. As we begin to scale, we need to focus our people on customer cohorts that are getting the most value out of our product and address the pain points of those that are not. This is the first step in that direction.

 

Seth Templeton
Group Product Manager, Growth

 

Tell us a little bit about the work you do as a growth manager. What does a typical day look like for you?

I’ve built a rhythm into my mornings that I’ll call “coffee and data.” I review any current experiments we are running, recent user interviews, or anything similar and let my imagination run. We usually have two or three tests running on production and our business intelligence (BI) team does an excellent job breaking down impacts and results. We also have a great user experience research (UXR) team who provides a bank of customer insights via research documentation.

I’ll get new ideas like a deeper analysis to run, product designs we could test, new ways to approach the customer or research we could conduct. Stand-ups with the engineering teams are an important part of the morning routine. One thing I try to do often is bring insights from my early morning routine into the team ceremonies. I gain new insights and ideas by listening to these teams. If I’m able to clearly describe an opportunity I’m thinking through, they are eager to start creating solutions with me.

Growth managers are well-served to leverage the knowledge and skills of their engineering teams for brainstorming and defining the product roadmap. The rest of the day is a mix of cross-functional connection and tactical work.

 

How do you determine where to focus your efforts for maximum impact?

Start by looking for the biggest problems facing the customer when they are trying to interact with your product. Identifying the right problem to solve is a huge part of the battle. Invite the broader cross-functional team to join in this. Diversity of thought brings the best ideas to the surface. This is where quality data, curiosity and good coffee can really help.

There are countless KPIs to measure around lead quality, free trial conversions, activations, configurations, usage, return rates and more. At JumpCloud, our team identifies opportunities through a blend of data analysis and conversations with real users. Some of the deepest insights I have gained didn’t come from reporting, but rather by calling up a customer who saw the paywall and didn’t convert. That 30-minute conversation revealed to me much more than I was getting from our existing dashboards.

There have been times when users told me they didn’t like a design concept, but when we tested the same design on production, conversion rates improved. You have to be able to blend both qualitative and quantitative to tell the full story and keep the customer on the front of your mind at all times.

Some of the deepest insights I have gained didn’t come from reporting, but rather by calling up a customer who saw the paywall and didn’t convert.”

 

What is a project or campaign you're working on right now that you're particularly excited about, and why?

Customer onboarding is a topic near and dear to me. We are focused on introducing new users to our product in the best way that makes them the most successful, and this is an area of “big-swing” experimentation for my team.

There are four different variations of onboarding you could possibly get — and a fifth variation coming in two weeks. We have a beautiful platform that can do a lot, and our users who sign up for a free trial bring with them a wide range of experience levels and familiarity with what we do. Getting them from sign-up to setup to active use as easily as possible helps everybody. We’ve been iterating on this for many months with hours of research, analysis and prospect interviewing.

Some users know exactly what they want, how to do their setup and immediately start using JumpCloud. We love those folks. Some are still evaluating the platform against their current solutions. Others are just trying to figure out who we are and what we do. Identifying up front who these users are and what attracted them to the product in the first place gives us the opportunity to customize their experience in a way that will help make them more successful.

 

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