Voiceflow makes it easier to build and launch conversational assistants. Whether it’s for a call center, customer support, toys, or even drive-throughs, Voiceflow’s platform bridges the gap between technical and non-technical teams to help design dynamic and complex conversations. The company’s empathy for the customer is its defining trait. Instead of pushing out a steady stream of campaigns to drive more leads, the team focuses instead on delivering an unparalleled customer experience. Driven to grow, the company recently raised $20 million in Series A funding, backed by investors like Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Cathy Pearl, and more. Today, more than 75,000 teams use Voiceflow to launch their own conversational AI.
We recently sat down with Head of Growth Emily Lonetto to learn how Voiceflow structures and operates its growth team.
Voiceflow is still a startup, with a more centralized structure. Right now, there are three people dedicated to growth full-time, but there’s frequent cross-functional collaboration. Growth, product, and engineering all run on sprints and tend to slip into a “pod structure”, small groups of employees with complementary skillsets, depending on the task at hand.
It’s a workflow that’s helped build technical empathy across the organization, allowing colleagues to work with departments they would otherwise be far removed from. As Emily Lonetto said, “It’s definitely about getting the right brains in the right room. And if we’re not in the same department, that shouldn’t be a limitation on collaboration.”
There is a multitude of backgrounds on Voiceflow’s growth team. So, rather than divvying up responsibilities by the more traditional “marketing” or “product” categories, people are organized between three main focus areas:
Acquisition (e.g. brand awareness, signup flows)
Activation (e.g. product education, templates)
Community and partnerships (e.g. new distribution networks, feedback loops)
Experimentation is critical to how Voiceflow grows. As a startup in an emerging industry, here’s an inside look at how Voiceflow established an experimentation process to promote growth and scalability.
1. Identify gaps
Voiceflow begins by looking at the data and talking to customers, to understand: what gaps currently exist in the user experience?
To answer that question, Voiceflow tracks signups, time to value (TTV), monthly active users (MAUs), individual conversion rates, and community engagement, (among other metrics).
2. Create a process for experimentation
Working at a startup comes with the dual responsibility of driving growth through high-impact campaigns and experiments, and putting a scalable framework in place to ensure longevity. For Emily Lonetto, this means establishing a process for experimentation and keeping a centralized record of every test for ongoing reference.
Experiments always begin with a hypothesis. But not every hypothesis is worth being tested – growth teams usually aren’t working with enough resources to launch every campaign on their wish list. It often comes down to prioritization, and practicing restraint. That’s why Voiceflow goes through the following checklist when determining what to focus on:
What problem are we solving?
What constraints are we up against?
How do we measure success?
How are we allocating our experiment time overall? (Will this take up too much bandwidth, and distract from other high-priority experiments?)
What’s the impact?
3. Ask versus infer
Personalization is table stakes for every company. And personalization hinges on customer data.
At Voiceflow, their growth team follows an “ask vs. infer” framework to quickly learn about their customers. That is, what insights can they glean from event tracking, page views, etc. and what can be gained by simply asking the customer (via signup forms, etc.)? For instance, onboarding can usually tell a company about team size, industry, technical ability, and so on. Behavioral data, on the other hand, can provide more insight into what features a person relies on in their day-to-day. For instance, does that user work on built-in car assistants or only with Alexa? Knowing this, what content can Voiceflow serve up to better engage them?
This strong understanding of different personas will directly influence your growth strategy. As Emily Lonetto noted, “Because we’re a design tool, we have everyone from non-traditional designers to developers, to full-blown teams, who all act super differently in the product and have different problems. So, it’s really about being very focused and regularly building beta lists, regularly building relationships with people who can help validate things, even on a smaller scale before we launch.”
Secrets to Success
1. Build a scalable data infrastructure from the start
You never want to be in a position where you need data and don’t have it. That’s why having a scalable data infrastructure in place should be a top priority from the start – especially in today’s customer-centric landscape. Having data that’s clean, reliable, and accessible throughout the organization (preferably in real-time) is a must-have.
2. Focus on your community
Voiceflow’s growth team was built on top of their community. Keeping a pulse on what people are saying across community forums and Facebook groups is one of the fastest and most insightful ways to understand the customer experience. (Not to mention the impact that power users can have as advocates for the brand.)
Learn from the best in the business
Our research reveals key insights about how to build and operate your team for optimal performance. From team structure to growth processes, you’ll learn from companies like Hubspot, Shopify, and Lyft on how to lead your team and company to rapid growth.