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About This Episode
Hypergrowth is something to be proud of, but…
It can also be really distracting with 20+ problems cropping up at once.
Hypergrowth, unfortunately, is known for having such a fast pace that you can’t possibly juggle that many balls at once.
Tarik started in accounting but was fortunate to be guided to marketing, which has given him an analytical edge when it comes to managing growth. “To me, growth means empowering both ends of the engine — the marketing and the sales engine,” he explained.
A growth manager, in other words, empowers the sales team using marketing muscle by pouring more demand into the funnel, but also increasing efficiency through the funnel to help grow.
The age old technique in the tech world has been to grow as quickly as you can and chase sustainability later. “In order for us to grow quickly, we also have to be responsible,” Tarik pointed out. What will this growth mean for us six months down the line?
A classic mistake that Tarik has seen with hypergrowth is having a weak foundation.
“Everyone is so focused on growth that they forget in order to build this tower as high as it can, the foundation has to be really solid,” Tarik said.
It’s not point A to point B, it’s all the little dots that get you between those points. Practically, this might look like trying to scale before getting product market fit or doubling down on revenue generating efforts at the wrong point in your life cycle.
A strong foundation includes the following:
- Product market fit
- Having multiple marketing channels in place
- Enough data from ads, influencers, outbound, direct mail, LinkedIn, etc.
“One of the biggest mistakes that I see is that people get a little too excited too quickly,” Tarik said.
You might have a huge direct mail campaign, but you’ve never done inbound. Or your inbound is solid, but you’ve never done outbound. Or you’ve never explored LinkedIn before.
In terms of percentage of execution on the channels that are working versus experimenting, Tarik suggests a surprisingly high amount of experimentation.
He runs biweekly meetings called Wilkes meetings (inside joke for international powerlifters) where he spends time brainstorming things that might be ridiculous, like hyper-personalized postcards. “I do that about 3 hours a week, so let’s say almost 10% of my time,” he said.
If you carve out that 10% to be creative, it can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your work. “That’s one of the ways you keep your ideas fresh,” Tarik said.
Crossing the Chasm
Tarik and I both recommend the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore. Tarik models some of his techniques at Clearbanc (and life, actually) from that book.
Hone in on where the beach head is and strategize how you’ll specifically conquer that. You might need to win a battle before you win a war, but you have to conquer part of the beach before you can win a battle.
Segment a huge problem — a chasm — into a bunch of smaller problems, then solve those one at a time.
Tarik doesn’t just break down problems into daily, weekly, monthly activities. “I break it down into hourly,” he said.
At any given time, he’s working on a max of 3 of these beachhead problems. “They’re typically the 3 that encompass the entire year. I stay hyper-focused in most of the things that I do,” Tarik said.
If you quote-unquote focus on 20 things, none of them will get done well.
Tarik’s 3 takeaways
- Don’t be afraid to experiment
- Stay focused by picking 3 things you can work on right now (and stick to those 3, knowing that extenuating circumstances are actually quite rare)
- Keep things simple
Tarik explained how to avoid overcomplicating things using the example of a goal to read a book a week.
“When you think about that, that’s 52 books in the year, which is quite a lot,” he said. “You might think there’s no way I can do one book a week. But ultimately, start with that one book or the second or the third or the fourth.
”If you procrastinate or feel overwhelmed, just refocus on your 10th book or your 26th. After all, 26 books is so many more than zero.
“Map out what your week looks like, and start from there,” Tarik said.
So, Clearbanc is an Outreach customer (so proud) — and Tarik’s ability to keep it simple helped us go from negotiating a contract at 6:00 AM, get the licenses out in less than 2 hours, and start onboarding at 8:00 AM.
“How do we turn this into something that drives everything else?” Tarik asked. “Obviously that would be really tough to do in two hours, but we kept the goals simple, rallied together, and got buy in from everyone on the sales floor. We had these things in place, and we had our battle, and we stormed the beach.”
Reach out to Tarik on LinkedIn to get in touch with him about hyperfocus and staying simple.