In 2019, the founding team at Storyblok set out to create a content marketing solution that worked for everyone—developers and marketers alike. The company has since grown to more than 200 employees and over 75,000 customers.
Storyblok’s CEO, Dominik Angerer, and VP of Operations, Lydia Kothmeier, discuss how they achieved these feats in just a few years. They credit this growth to their global team, a switch to an enterprise business model switch, and flexible work operations.
Hiring a global team to achieve the vision
What do you do when your company’s location limits your access to talent? You spread your hiring net and draw in as much talent as possible. This was Storyblok’s strategy when it started expanding its team.
Storyblok started with a leadership-first hiring plan and a recruitment strategy that involved the following:
- A test to know how candidates handle different tasks and their expertise level.
- A way of onboarding new employees and equipping them with the right tools.
Additionally, they had to figure out how they would sustain the revenue stream to retain the staff.
Moving from self-service to enterprise
As your product improves, your user demands change, requiring a revamp of the business model to satisfy high-paying customers. When StoryBlok got to this stage, they made the switch from a self-service to an enterprise model.
Their first step to achieving this was hiring a sales leader to build a sales team. They also hired a VP of Partners who knew how to scale B2B software. In due time, this paid off and unlocked new phases for the company.
Expanding their network and switching their model helped Storyblok 6X their previous ARR with a 60/40 split between enterprise and self-service models.
Their growth at this stage depended on four factors:
- Inbound: implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Outbound: including Account Based Marketing (ABM).
- Partner: investing in different partnership channels.
Next, Storyblok tested different channels that could help them advance their product.
Sustainable growth through retention
The next phase of team expansion had Storyblok introduce procedures for personnel management by using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. However, they found a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to be a better option for growth.
Storyblok then invested in an onboarding and learning platform to create a four-week onboarding program rather than the lengthy wiki pages they previously used.
To create a strong company culture in a remote work environment, Storyblok focused on its employee benefits early on.
“We listened to our employees. We are interested in where they come from, their background, and their traditions. We give them a voice so everyone is part of our story.” – Lydia Kothmeier
Scaling team and segments
It’s easy to fall into the trap of micro-managing your employees while chasing perfectionism. The way out of this is by trusting your hiring skills and employees’ expertise.
For instance, Storyblok’s first marketing hire was Thomas Peham. While Dominik had experience with technical SEO, he had no experience with other aspects of marketing, such as paid ads or outbound strategy. He needed to rely on Thomas’ expertise to create solutions and execute plans. This freedom enabled Thomas to build Storyblok’s marketing strategy by tracking the customer journey. Over time, his efforts moved Storyblok from a few hundred monthly leads to thousands.
“You need to trust and hire people who know what they are doing.” – Dominik Angerer
As of 2022, Storyblok’s growth has resulted in over 200 employees in more than 40 countries. The biggest lesson learned for Lydia is the need to redesign one’s processes, move quickly, and always remember that there’s always a solution for every problem.
Something will inevitably go wrong when trying to scale your company the Storyblok way, but these tips can help you make them right:
- Trust your instincts. If something feels right, no matter how little data is available to confirm it, work with it. With time, the bigger picture will unfold.
- Set a clear vision and transparent share goals with your team. This helps with accountability and creates healthy workplace competition.
- Prioritize customer and employee satisfaction. Your customers and employees are critical to your company’s sustainable growth.