Recently, we hosted Will Young, the former Head of Growth at Justworks for a fireside chat attended by growth leaders at Spotify, Oscar, Joor, Rocketrip and others. Starting as employee #11, Will played a role in every single area of the business including product, operations, sales, customer experience, HR, facilities, finance and marketing, before running growth operations. During his time at Justworks, the company ramped from 15 customers and hundreds of dollars in ARR to thousands of customers and $10 million+ in ARR.
Will shared three insights for anyone scaling a growth team early:
1. You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure
From the beginning, Justworks tracked churn in detail across a myriad of attributes. What they found out was that most churn was driven by business closure — something inherent in serving SMBs. These accounts each received a personal call from an account manager to pinpoint the cause. That information was then fed directly into the product roadmap and prioritized by frequency of occurrence.
2. Hire Athletes First, Then Specialists
At the outset, Justworks hired for cultural fit and critical thinking. A growth mindset was important, particularly as they were competing with a behemoth like ADP who has significant resources to devote to marketing. Over time, they hired folks with specific skillsets for each growth channel. Will did express one regret: not having the foresight to hire an expert at Facebook earlier given the importance that channel would play over time.
Justworks evolved, as most successful companies serving SMBs do, to be an inside sales machine. Once they realized inside sales was the only way to convert doctors and lawyers, they invested heavily in sales support and structure. Justworks has a rigorous training process and ramp period — new hires are given all the tools they need to be successful.
3. Scale Has Limits
Will talked about the challenges of managing CAC and marginal CAC. It can be deceiving to look at your current CAC and assume you could increase your spend 10x and get 10x the new customers. Unfortunately, you eventually reach saturation in a given channel and each additional dollar spent has diminishing returns, so there is an ever-present scramble to find new channels.
We very much appreciate Will taking the time to speak with us, and are looking forward to hosting our next chat this fall in NYC. If you’re interested in participating please email CanaanEvents@canaan.com.