How to Scale #Growth, with Alexandre Prot (Qonto)
3 key mindsets
Mindset #1: Think growth from day one
At Qonto, the first growth hire was employee #3, and the first business hire. Before the product was ready and the legal approvals obtained, hiring for growth allowed the Qonto team to start figuring out customer acquisition (starting with beta testers). This helped put growth front and center in the company’s priorities. This also helped the growth team to begin exploring channels and messaging, ultimately allowing Qonto to hit the ground running once the first version of the product was ready to be placed in users’ hands.
Mindset #2: Be your first growth hire
Startups typically start out with two founders, one tech and one business. Naturally, growth falls under the later’s scope of responsibilities. Not only will they be overseeing that team down the line, their job is also to set out a growth MVP and help kickstart the company’s growth activity. Whether it’s website copywriting, early PR, partnerships — start with what you’re comfortable doing. And grow from there.
Mindset #3: Represent your users
The growth team are the bridge between users and the market on the one hand, and the team’s priorities and roadmap on the other. As such, their role is to represent the user in internal discussions. The growth team should strive to stay in touch with the evolving maturity of the market and user’s shifting priorities to help steer the product and the business at large towards growth.
5 key best practices
Best practice #1: Hire generalists, then champions
When assembling a growth team, the first hires need to be at ease with multiple tasks covering the full scope of your growth efforts. This won’t be the same from one company to the next but typically includes paid acquisition, inbound, PR, and more. The second generation of growth hires tend to be subject matter experts. As the team grows and the needs of the business increase, a finer segmentation of tasks becomes necessary to keep up. Furthermore, expert hires allow your team to level up their skills on growth’s more technical aspects.
Best practice #2: Your beta, your rules
When it comes to your beta phase, you get to set the rules. Decide early on what you expect to gain from your private beta, and shape it accordingly. If you’re looking to obtain feedback and clean bugs from your app, as was the case for Qonto, seek out users who have the need for your product and are willing to give your work-in-progress a chance. If you’re looking to obtain early visibility, consider offering a more finished version of the product to journalists, influencers, and users who will help you spread the word.
Best practice #3: Always be hustling
Start small. Asking for feedback, sharing your product with the community, going door to door: these actions may not seem scaleable (they aren’t) but they’re the necessary first step to getting your company on track to high growth. In terms of impact of early stage growth actions, nothing beats in-person interactions. They’re the best way to engage your prospects, and the surest way for your team to obtain valuable feedback. The best hack for this: “let me buy you a coffee/beer/other while you tell me about how you currently manage *enter your pain point here*.” Works every time.
Best practice #4: Growth = Engineering
Growth isn’t just about marketing. It also includes a significant portion of engineering to automate processes, optimize experiments, and run tests. Although that share of the work can initially be handled by your engineering team, it soon gets in the way of delivering on the product roadmap. Qonto hired dedicated engineers within the growth team to lighten the load on the engineering team and to allow the growth team to deliver high-frequency tests on the full scope of their actions.
Best practice #5: Structure the team
Initially, the growth team works on the full funnel. As the team grows, it becomes necessary to organize the team’s work by stage. For Qonto, the team is split in four squads: one squad focused on acquisition, one on monetization, another on communications and PR, and one on product marketing. This allows each squad to track their own metrics and run experiments on each stage of the funnel simultaneously. As growth continues, further layers of organization become necessary. For instance, Qonto plans to go international in the upcoming months. To absorb this new growth, the team will adopt a matrixed organization by funnel stage and by country to track metrics on each stage of the funnel for each territory.
About Alexandre Prot:
Alexandre is co-founder and CEO at Qonto, one of the fastest-growing companies in France. In this talk, he shares his insights on building, growing, and scaling the acquisition, revenue and marketing strategy from day 1: attracting 3K beta testers pre-launch, 5K paying business users 6 month after launch, and doubling it to 10K just 3 months later.