November 15, 2023

Essential hires when scaling your startup

Rupert Mason

As you stand on the precipice of startup growth, gazing out at the vast potential market landscape, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Growth is the elusive chalice every startup founder strives for, yet its realisation brings forth a set of challenges that are as intricate as they are inevitable. One of these challenges is the necessity of scaling your team.

According to the latest data, up to 90% of startups fail, often attributed to hiring too quickly or without a clear strategy. It’s not just about increasing headcount; it’s about making calculated decisions that align with your objectives. So, how do you scale your marketing team and other departments effectively?

Brandon Nolte, an entrepreneur for years, notes that it all comes down to who you hire.

“This might be common sense to some entrepreneurs, but we all inherently have biases when we hire. Most of us like to hire people just like us, and I was guilty of this for a long time.”

Growth is exhilarating but complicated. While it gives you a validation of your business idea and model, it also prompts a set of logistical challenges that require careful planning and execution. Your small but agile team, once sufficient for a modest customer base, may suddenly seem inadequate. Of the many aspects that demand attention during scaling, your marketing efforts are of particular importance. After all, marketing is the engine that powers brand visibility and customer engagement, fuelling the very growth you’re experiencing. So, how to scale your marketing team
becomes a question of critical relevance. We have made it our mission here at Sidekick Studios to help empower startups through engaging video and digital content, but other departments also
need your attention. There are vital roles that need to be prioritised to maintain not just growth but sustainable growth.

Product Manager

It’s tempting to think that your product will sell itself, especially when it has been doing well so far. However, as you scale, the demands for product refinement and customer feedback integration increase exponentially. A product manager takes this burden off your shoulders, focusing on product-market fit and customer satisfaction metrics, all while ensuring the marketing team has a stellar product to promote.

As you scale, new features may need to be developed, and existing ones may need fine-tuning. The product manager is responsible for overseeing this process, ensuring it aligns with the company’s long-term goals and consumer needs. In collaboration with marketing, they can also help identify the unique selling propositions (USPs) that make your product stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Recently, Product Management was listed as one of the fastest-growing roles, so you should take a look as soon as you can!

Digital Marketing Specialist

Having an online presence is not just beneficial—it’s essential. A digital marketing specialist will help you build, expand, and maintain your digital footprint. From search engine optimisation (SEO) to
running paid ad campaigns and overseeing your social media platforms, this role is integral in how to scale your marketing team successfully. SEO trends are constantly changing, so you will need a digital marketing specialist to keep on top of this for you.

They are also responsible for crafting a coherent and compelling online brand image. As you scale, your digital footprint will likely expand into new platforms and mediums. A digital marketing specialist ensures that your messaging remains consistent across all these channels. They also bring an analytical approach to your marketing efforts, using metrics and data to adjust strategy as needed, making them a crucial player in your plans on how to scale your marketing team.

Data Analyst

Scaling means an influx of data—customer information, web traffic, conversion rates, and more. However, this data is beneficial only when interpreted correctly. A data analyst sifts through this
mountain of information, providing actionable insights that can directly affect your bottom line. According to targetjobs, the job description for a Data analyst is the following: “Data analysts gather
and scrutinise data using specialist tools to generate information that helps others make decisions. They will respond to questions about data and look for trends, patterns and anomalies within it.” They can identify trends and patterns that may not be immediately obvious, providing strategic recommendations that can shape future marketing campaigns. As your company grows, the ability to quickly and accurately interpret data becomes increasingly vital, making this role indispensable.

Sales Team Lead

No matter how strong your product or service is, sales expertise is vital for growth. A Sales Team Lead doesn’t just manage a team; they develop strategies for customer acquisition and retention. As your startup scales, you’ll need someone who can adapt to an ever-evolving landscape and manage a growing sales team. The Sales Team Lead will also work closely with marketing to ensure that campaigns are designed with the end sale in mind.

In addition to strategising for customer acquisition, a Sales Team Lead is crucial for mentoring junior sales staff, overseeing the implementation of CRM systems, and identifying key performance
indicators (KPIs) that align with the startup’s growth objectives. They also play an essential role in building and maintaining client relationships, often being the point person for critical accounts.

Human Resources Manager

Scaling a startup doesn’t only involve ramping up product and sales; it also means growing your team. A Human Resources Manager ensures that this growth is smooth and sustainable. They are
responsible for hiring, onboarding, and retaining talent, making sure that new team members integrate seamlessly into your culture. As your startup grows, the HR manager can also develop
training programs, benefits packages, and career progression plans, thereby helping you retain valuable staff members in the long run.

As your startup grows, the challenges associated with managing a larger workforce grow, too. A seasoned Human Resources Manager will also oversee compliance and legal issues related to employment, develop conflict resolution strategies, and perhaps most importantly, cultivate a positive work environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.

Customer Success Manager

Customer acquisition is one part of the equation; retention is the other. A Customer Success Manager focuses on post-sales support, ensuring that customers are not only satisfied but also
engaged and active users of your product or service. As your user base grows, so will your need for a streamlined customer support strategy. The Customer Success Manager will analyse customer behaviour to preemptively address issues, offer solutions, and ultimately increase lifetime value.

Beyond problem-solving and customer support, an experienced Customer Success Manager will know how to upsell or cross-sell products or features that genuinely benefit the customer, thereby
not just retaining a client but also maximising their value. They may also conduct webinars and tutorials or develop instructional content to enhance user experience and engagement.

Overcoming the Scaling Paradox

The joy of scaling your startup is often tinged with a bit of anxiety. While growth is the ultimate validation of your business idea and practices, it also brings along its set of challenges that can either make or break your venture. Issues such as operational inefficiencies, logistical bottlenecks, and complex customer service needs are no longer hypothetical scenarios but real problems that require immediate solutions.

For instance, scaling up usually means dealing with more data, more customer touchpoints, and a more complex marketing landscape. Your existing systems and processes might be inadequate to
handle this new level of complexity. Failure to anticipate these needs can lead to downtime, loss of customer trust, and, ultimately, a blunted competitive edge.

Then there’s the issue of quality control: As you grow, maintaining the level of product or service quality that wins your initial customers can become challenging. From hiring a skilled workforce to
overseeing quality assurance protocols, scaling demands a higher level of operational excellence. And let’s not forget, that scaling quickly can wear down your team, leading to burnout, high turnover rates, and a detrimental impact on productivity and morale. Hybrid working could help with this, as 40% of UK workers would decline a job if they were required to be in the office five days a week. So maybe hybrid hiring could be a solution for you?

So, before taking the plunge and embarking on a hiring spree, it’s essential to have a robust scaling strategy in place. This should be a well-rounded plan that covers everything from automation and system upgrades to contingency plans for managing increased demand.

The Importance of a Shared Vision

The romanticised view of a startup is often one of a minor, tight-knit team working late nights, sharing pizza and the dream of creating something groundbreaking. However, as your company grows, preserving that initial spirit and cohesion becomes a challenge.

Why is this important? A shared vision is more than just corporate jargon; it’s the glue that holds your company together during times of rapid growth. It shapes your organisation’s culture,
influences work ethics, and informs decision-making at all levels. A strong, shared vision helps in maintaining consistency, which is critical when you’re bringing new people on board at a fast pace.
However, with an influx of new hires, different perspectives, and perhaps even new offices in other geographical locations, there’s a risk of diluting the company’s core values and vision. This lack of cohesion can manifest in several ways: conflicting workflows, miscommunication, or even something as severe as a disconnect between the product team and the end-users’ actual needs.

The key to overcoming this challenge is to integrate the vision into the onboarding process and to continuously reinforce it through team meetings, performance reviews, and internal
communications. When every team member, regardless of their role or seniority level, is aligned with the company’s overarching goals and ethos, it makes for a more seamless scaling process.

Benefits of Hiring a Video Marketing Agency

When it comes to figuring out how to scale your marketing team, the role of a specialised video marketing agency becomes invaluable. At Sidekick Studios we understand that as your startup grows, so do your content needs, particularly for high-engagement formats like video.

Our video agency can seamlessly integrate with your existing marketing strategy, enabling you to produce high-quality video and digital campaigns without the costs and complications associated with hiring full-time staff for this specialised role. No need to worry about investing in expensive equipment, hiring and training video editors, or allocating large blocks of time for brainstorming sessions and revisions.

We provide a turnkey solution for all your video needs, offering a range of services from conceptualisation to post-production, all designed to elevate your brand’s presence in a crowded
market. In short, we plug the gap effectively when you are looking to scale your marketing team, making the process less risky and far more time-efficient than alternative approaches.

Get in contact with us today, as the first consultation is on the house! We want to get to know you as you want to get to know us!

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