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How I Scaled a Marketing Team from 1 to a 40-Person Growth Machine

How to scale a SaaS marketing team when you're the first marketing hire — scale up from 1 to 40 marketers to achieve $100M in revenue

10 mins read time
Jeanna Barrett
Jeanna Barrett

Feb 19, 2024

As the Head of Marketing at a SaaS company, how do you scale your team of one up to 10, then 20, then 30+? What does everyone do and what are their goals? How do you structure your marketing channels to kickoff with, and then how do you layer on growth? Here’s how I solved this myself as a fractional CMO for a SaaS company that I helped scale up to $100M in revenue…

Starting Out As A SaaS Marketing Team of 1-2

First, when just starting out and possibly the first marketing hire, it’s important if you are the solo Head of Marketing to know that your role should straddle both brand and growth. You are in charge of setting the growth goals with company leadership, building a dashboard to report monthly on, and then creating goals for all other marketing channels that ladder up to the overall growth goal. It’s also your job to establish and build the brand if you’re kicking off as the first marketing hire. This starts by doing the following types of exercises:

  • Work closely with your founder to define your “Brand on Page,” which should include things like your vision, positioning statement, passion/reason for being, core brand values, target customer, 3 uniques of your brand, your proven process and your guarantee. Document this in 1-2 pages somewhere central that the entire company can access, and refer to it regularly. 
  • Create your brand guidelines. This should include logo, color palette, how the logos and colors should and should not be used, imagery, icons, branded elements, etc. 
  • Create a messaging document: What is your voice and tone? What words will you use and what will you not?  

When you’re ready to hire your first hire, the best move is to bring in ONE marketing role to support executing your annual strategy. This person will be an IC (individual contributor) and heavy in execution only, with likely little knowledge in strategy and data/analytics. The former will be taught and honed by working with you, as strategy and data is likely best owned by the marketing leader. 

You want to find someone entry or mid-level who wants to LEARN, so you need to level up as a leader who truly  knows how to lead. This can be challenging in and of itself, so block out time to teach yourself leadership skills, sign up for a course, or get some of the great leadership books…

Usually, this first marketing role is more of a generalist until you can build a specialized team. The magic first hire should have a content/writing background (the base of all great marketing), the ability to work within a CMS and marketing automation platform (they should have experience in one of the big guns, ie: HubSpot, WordPress, Marketo), and  experience with all or some of the following: creating content — including videos — managing content production (including blogs, landing pages and social media), managing resources such as designers or contractors, running conversion tests, and feeling comfortable with SEO tasks such as link building, guest outreach, content co-creation partnerships, writing on-page, and managing technical changes.

Here is a skill that I’ve found is IMPERATIVE in good marketing teams, but is rarely interviewed or hired for: humor and wit. If you have someone on your team who can write good copy that is interesting and funny and nail your brand tone, hire them.

Okay, so now your marketing team sits at two roles:

  1. Head of Marketing
  2. Marketing Specialist

Alternatively, if you feel like you can handle the strategy + work for all the channels, a great first hire would be a content creator/content manager/writer. How you handle this depends on your skills and interest as a Head of Marketing.

scale marketing to two

Scaling a SaaS Marketing Team up to 2-6

When you’re ready to grow to a team larger than two, this is who I’d hire:

  1. SEO Expert: SEO is a long game, and the sooner your brand gets started, the better. SEO needs to be folded into everything you do as a brand, including all website changes and growth (new URLs, new landing pages, anything that is front web design). Your SEO Expert needs to understand all of the core pillars of SEO: technical, on-site, content strategy, and link building. They should know enough in all of these to build a comprehensive SEO strategy using all four of these pillars.
  2. Content Expert who knows SEO: Content is the powerhouse in marketing now, and if your content person doesn’t know SEO, then they’re not truly a powerhouse because one does not exist without the other. I’ve also found that content marketers with a journalism background are some of the best because they have writing/grammar and style nailed in addition to editorial. 
  3. Paid Expert: If you hire this role later in the game, you might need agency support or a marketing generalist that can manage your paid accounts before you hire full time for this channel because you should be starting out of the gate with both a paid and SEO strategy to grow a brand. Paid marketing is one of the most effective ways to capture short-term leads and revenue while working on your SEO or brand awareness long game.
  4. Data & Analytics Expert: Marketing ain’t nothing without really comprehensive data and analytics. This person should be knowledgeable in GA4, Google Tag Manager, Business Intelligence Platforms (BI) such as Tableau, and marketing attribution.

scale a marketing team to 6

Scaling a SaaS Marketing Team up to 6-13

Once I had the budget to scale a marketing team past six people, this is what I would focus on:

  1. Demand Gen Expert: Your demand gen expert will be the best hire ever if it’s someone who previously held content roles and then moved into demand gen. Now, it’s time to move into slightly more sophisticated marketing than paid, content, and SEO and into collaborating with sales. Some of the metrics this person needs to know how to drive are: qualified pipeline (HIRO), cost per qualified opportunity, higher ACV, closed won revenue.
  2. Full Time Writer/Editor: Until now, you’ll have to get all of your content marketing done through your marketing specialist and freelance writers to support. But as soon as you’re able, it’s better to have a full-time in-house writer who can become an expert in the brand. This person should be able to write pithy landing page copy in addition to long-form content like blogs and eBooks.
  3. Conversion Expert: This person’s job is to improve website conversion and convert more of the traffic that marketing sends to the website. Sometimes, this can be combined with someone who is a UX Expert and can work on conversion too. This role could sit on the product team, or the marketing team. If it doesn’t exist at all in your company, bring it into marketing.

HALT. It’s important to note that somewhere between 6-10 marketers, this is getting to be too much for one Head of Marketing to manage appropriately. Ideally, you would only manage six leaders. Then, it’s time to split the house. This might look something like, you become VP of Marketing, and you hire the below two roles separately. Typically, once you’re big enough, it’s good to have these roles working on separate initiatives.

  1. Head of Growth: Owns all growth-focused channels such as SEO, paid, content, demand generation.
  2. Head of Brand: Owns all brand-focused channels such as PR, customer marketing, influencers, partnerships, social media.

Then I would move onto adding the following marketing roles... 

  1. Content Creator: I believe the new role of 2024 and beyond is to have a full-time creator on the team, one who is a MASTER in video. Until you can hire this person, you need your Marketing Specialist to own this and be willing to create video (TikToks), podcasts, memes, blogs, etc.
  2. HubSpot / Marketing Automation Expert: This person should step in when you're ready to get super sophisticated about your marketing automation. Until then, the Head of Marketing needs to own this with support from the entire team. Ideally, every marketing hire will have experience in a marketing automation platform until you hire someone who can ensure the data is clean, the naming conventions are clean, you’re using deep-level features, your workflows are maximized, you’re lead scoring, etc. This also needs to integrate with the sales team and sales tool, ie HubSpot Sales or Salesforce. 
  • Email Expert: Email — still a huge revenue driver for most brands. This role should continuously be building specialized, personalized campaigns, including nurture and onboarding. This role can be focused on the cusp of growth (nurtures), but is very customer-centric and brand-centric (onboarding, personalized customer campaigns).

10 person marketing team

Scaling a SaaS Marketing Team up to 14-21

Around the 14th marketer time, you should be looking at one of two things — first, do you want to scale up particular channels that might need additional specialized or mid-level team members under them? For example, do you want to hire a technical SEO expert and guest blog writer and link builders to scale up your SEO power? Do you want to hire a Head of Content, multiple writers, and an editor/content production person to scale up your content team? 

If you’re large enough to have a budget to scale up a marketing team to 15+, chances are you really need to expand on your content/SEO strategy to still make progress with Google and branded content and continue to drive exponential growth. Content and SEO are two channels (or really one) where you need to grow and expand the team, other channels can remain with an expert of one. As the Head of Marketing, you should be aware of what channels are really driving revenue and working, and those are the ones I’d double down on. If you take this approach, you might hire the following roles form 14-20:

Scale SEO:

  1. Link Building Expert
  2. Link Building Specialist (support to the above)
  3. Technical SEO Expert
  4. SEO Content Pro (special SEO projects + on-page, content optimization)

Scale Content:

  1. Blog Editorial Expert
  2. Content Production Expert
  3. Editor

If you decide to instead expand out into other marketing channels, you can swap the team of 14-21 section with the section of 21-30+. It’s up to your brand and how you want to expand your team. Add more power to channels you’re already working in that are driving growth effectively, or expand to new channels to test uncharted waters.

15 person marketing team for saas

Scaling a SaaS Marketing Team for High Growth up to 21-30+ Marketers

Phew, the big guns. This is likely around the $100M ARR mark. You can decide at this time to scale up content, SEO and demand gen production. Or you can add additional channels such as:

  1. UX Content Designer
  2. PR Expert
  3. Sales & Marketing Enablement Expert
  4. Customer Marketing Expert
  5. Direct Mail Expert: Depending on your brand, this is a channel that still works and drives ROI for some SaaS companies. (Even though it feels super outdated, I know. But I’ve seen the return numbers myself here in the last two years). You just want to make sure you get your strategy right and test the mail you’re sending
  6. Social Media Expert: I put this down here because until you scale, a Marketing Specialist or full-time Content Creator or the content team can own this. With B2B and software, this is a challenging channel to see return on. It’s a brand channel, so you need to be at a stage to invest $200K+ a month in brand to do it big and splashy and keep up with the sheer amount of content and design.
  7. Designer: Some companies have entire design teams, I put this here because you will need design resources early, if you do not. 

You’ll also need additional support roles such as:

  1. Marketing Data support role 
  2. Email Expert support role
  3. Etc etc etc.

That’s roughly how I scaled up a SaaS company’s marketing team from 1-40+ over a seven year timeframe and helped them reach $100M in revenue! It’s hard to prescribe an exact map for this since every brand will have different needs and channel ROI, but as the Head of Marketing, you should have a close pulse on when it’s the right time to move into a new channel, based on internal conversations and your pulse on the market and industry. 

Are you scaling your team now and thinking about how to flex up and get things done faster to hit your growth goals? If you’re looking to do more than hire full time roles, consider working with an agency to boost your team and move quicker. At FPS, our retainers include 4-5 growth marketers specialized in SEO, content, demand gen and paid. Reach out if interested to learn more.


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Jeanna Barrett

Jeanna is the Founder & Chief Remote Officer for First Page Strategy, an award-winning, fully distributed marketing agency. Jeanna has a combined 17 years of inbound marketing experience at venture-backed startups, digital agencies and Fortune 500 companies, with an expertise focus on business and tech. She's been named 'Top 40 Under 40' of brand marketers and 'Best in the West' for financial technology marketing. In 2016, Jeanna left the U.S. to lay roots and build her business in Belize, and in 2021 First Page was named #43 in fastest growing private companies of Inc. 5,00 Regionals: California.

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