A solid growth hacker is the soul of any modern marketing team. The role isn’t straightforward. It requires constant mapping of the customer lifecycle, experimentation, building the right team, and perfecting its structure.
Karan Gupta, Head of Customer Retention at Grover, is a man of many hats. He started his career as an entrepreneur and engineer, working in a series of innovative early-stage startups. These companies’ low budgets and freedom for innovation allowed Gupta to experiment his way into becoming the seasoned growth hacker he is today.
We spoke to him about his passion for data and what it takes to be a thriving growth hacker.
Wearing multiple hats
Working in growth seems like fate. Although I started my career as an engineer, I have always been intrigued by numbers and data, mainly using them to power marketing success.
I learned the ropes by basically just jumping into the deep end. Throughout my career, I worked with several early-stage startups where I was forced to wear multiple hats simultaneously.
As stressful as this was, it’s helped me immensely in the long run. It forced me to rapidly develop new skills and become comfortable with the concept of lifelong learning.
Plus, with early-stage startups, you’re dealing with meager budgets. You have to think outside the box and go beyond normal processes, running a constant stream of experiments and continually reevaluating preconceived ideas.
Reshaping the rental industry
Grover is a hybrid between eCommerce and SaaS. It provides a flexible way for you to rent pretty much anything you want.
Imagine you desire playing around with a drone. With Grover, you can rent it for a few days, send it back, and swap it for the latest iPhone. It’s a pretty crazy idea. Before I joined, I didn’t think this concept would work. But it does, and it’s truly revolutionary.
We operate in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and Spain. The business is structured around the concept of the ‘circular economy’, regenerative by design. It reduces waste and makes products more affordable and accessible.
We have a rich and diverse audience, from people who want to test out the latest iPhone all the way to freelancing professionals who need high-quality, affordable equipment at the drop of a hat.
I’m a self-confessed gaming addict, so I recently rented a console for a few months, finished a game, and gave it back. It’s a win-win.
5 steps to build and maintain a robust CRM growth process
Initially, our primary focus was creating and sending out newsletters. We worked on unlocking four different channels: push messaging, in-app messaging, content cards, and email. A lot of our work involves reaching out to relevant audiences, at a suitable time, and on the proper channel.
There are five general steps we followed to build and maintain our strong CRM growth process.
1. Build an infrastructure for growth
Before you do anything, start by investing in the right tools to create the proper data infrastructure. Most companies have a lot of data, but they don’t know how to use it. You need to provide actionable insights based on data rather than check them once in a blue moon.
By analyzing the data, you can establish the proper channels for your particular audience. For example, we needed the right tools to look at marketing from a lifecycle perspective (rather than using only email lists). This helped us transition from being a static service to offering something more dynamic over the entire customer journey.
2. Scale your customer engagement strategy
Ask yourself: Am I making the most out of the tools at my disposal? Am I using all available channels as effectively as possible?
The key is to be results-focused. You can have a strategy that looks amazing on paper, but if it doesn’t translate into tangible results, it’s worthless.
3. Customer lifecycle mapping
Lifecycle mapping allows you to clearly define where a customer stands in their relationship with your product or services.
Are they just learning the ropes? Are they avid users ready for new features? Have they recently waned?
Effective mapping requires total ownership. Growth marketers must be responsible for capturing users’ behavioral data, analyzing the impact that different types of messaging have on them, and communicating effectively with the product teams.
It’s essential to know where your customer is in their relationship with your product or services. This ensures you continue to provide based on their particular needs at that specific moment in time.
Helping a customer isn’t just about winning that one person’s business. If you build a reputation as being eminently helpful and add genuine value to your users’ lives, you’ll get many new clients from word-of-mouth referrals.
But effective lifecycle mapping isn’t as easy as it sounds. First, you need to capture user behavior, consider how they are being marketed to, how marketing messaging changes their perception of your brand, and consider the impact of transactional messaging.
This requires swift and natural collaboration between the product and marketing teams. You need to simplify the customer journey and control what messages are received by users at which points.
4. Consistent team structure
Many people on your team will want to talk to customers, from services and products to marketing and business intelligence (BI). Get these teams working together. Common goals are so important. If everyone’s on the same page, you’ll be a well-oiled machine.
Company culture can make or break a project. It’s not just a question of process. It’s a question of management, empowerment, and how effectively you set goals for your team to pursue.
5. Move into growth mode
Growth is all about running experiments. Experimentation is critical: there’s no way to learn without it. You need the right mindset.
You won’t succeed every time. You will be testing, failing, and learning all the time. With every campaign we run, every email, and push notification, we are constantly testing.
What is the best time to send a message? What is the best subject line? How can we get the best open and conversion rates?
You can never be complacent and think your current strategy is ticking all the boxes. There’s always something that can be further optimized to improve growth.
Owning the customer experience
Customer experience is very complex. In certain businesses, you need diverse teams overseeing different parts of the customer’s journey.
This is undoubtedly the case for lifecycle marketing. I oversee the customer journey at Grover since I oversee the customer journey from a CRM perspective.
We have different product squads responsible for different stages of the journey. But CRM operates like a horizontal and influences all customer touchpoints.
Learning through failure
I keep failing every single day. Becoming an entrepreneur was one of my biggest failures. And I love failing since you tend to learn more from such situations than through successes.
But more importantly, I understood the need to work in an environment where failure is accepted as part and parcel of constantly trying to improve. No one wants to fail, but failure is the only way to learn truly.
A robust CRM strategy should never stop evolving, whether that’s by developing a new communications journey, testing to get insight into your customer behavior, or adding in extra data points to achieve longer-term goals. Ensure you have access to crucial analytics to regularly review what is working and step outside of your comfort zone to understand the technical elements alongside the marketing – helping you learn and grow your skillset.
Jessica Froude, CRM Consultant at Massive Rocket
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