The Blueprint for Creating a Dream Team for an E-commerce Brand

In one of our podcast episodes, we had as a guest Sebastian Szalinski, a serial entrepreneur who manages a portfolio of over 450 million in e-commerce revenue while spending 60 million on ads. Together with his agency IRON media GmbH, they help 7-figure brands cross the 8-figure mark by shifting acquisition & retention in-house and help recruit A Players for the Companies to drive enterprise value.

In the episode, he talks more about what he has learned from working with so many brands and what the team structure should look like. Sebastian shares that he dislikes the traditional approach to building large teams and suggests a more condensed approach.

In his opinion, the perfect e-commerce team consists of 3 main departments:

1. Acquisitions department

It is best to have 1 or 2 very skilled media buyers, who can run full-stack on multiple platforms like Facebook, Google, Pinterest and TikTok. It is good if the founder or a team member validates channels before bringing in a media buyer to ensure alignment with the brand’s goals.

2. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) department

CRM team consists of a manager, possibly an assistant, and customer support representatives. He describes the role of the CRM manager as delving into data, understanding customer behavior, analyzing product sales, and strategizing improvements. Sebastian recommends having one person assist the CRM manager, focusing on implementing strategies such as email integration, SMS, and designing emails. He mentions that customer support representatives should report to the CRM manager, creating a synergy between customer support and overall CRM strategy.

3. Creative department

The main person here is the Creative strategist, overseeing content creation, potentially managing influencers, and handling content production. Content can come from various sources, including content creators, influencers, and editors, all overseen by the creative strategist. They interpret data from media buyers and translate it into content, ensuring a cohesive strategy. Sebastian discusses the hybrid structure for the Creative team, favoring having a creative strategist in-house.


One more important department he mentions aside from the main three is the Product side. He recommends striving to create an awesome product that doesn’t require a lot of work on your side. Advocates for minimizing the headcount in this department, aiming for one or two individuals managing product-related tasks efficiently. The goal should be to develop high-quality products that require minimal ongoing work, emphasizing a one-off investment in creating products that can be sustained over time.

Our host Viktor asked Sebastian what are the unneeded positions typically, prompting him to share his experience. Our guest highlights that the bigger problem is not mishiring, but a wrong business structure to begin with – positions are filling the void of the systems not working.

He shares that he has seen the downfall of a lot of funded companies that have had the problem with the inefficiency of team structure. An example he gives us is a new brand spending 2 positions on social media presence. While this is nice to have it is not the main driver for revenue for the company – 70-80% come from paid acquisition.

Another big problem that he shares is that oftentimes it is the founder’s first company. This could lead to a lack of experience in building teams, and it could result in a lot of churn of employees. The company suffers from that as it loses on the knowledgeable people leaving but also on the time it takes for a new hire to onboard into the company. The root of the issue is the company’s rapid hire rate leading to people leaving due to differences in leadership style. As a consequence, the company loses 3-5 months per position.

In conclusion, he underscores the importance for founders to consistently emphasize capital efficiency and strategically invest where the potential for the highest return on investment exists. This principle holds true when it comes to building teams and recruiting talent for any e-commerce brand.

To discover more insighful stories and insights from industry experts, check “Two Ecomm experts” podcast on YouTube and Spotify.




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