Conversion expert Tim Ash says that the lack of a dedicated conversion team is one of the reasons CRO efforts don’t produce results in many organizations. “Conversion optimization has matured as a discipline within digital marketing over the past decade or so, and many companies still haven’t added full-time conversion and analytics expertise to their marketing teams.”
Even if you have a CRO plan and process in place, have you included the right people? Have you collected the right skills to make optimizations that affect your business?
Today I’m going to talk about the different types of people you need on your CRO team. I understand that in smaller companies, team members have to wear multiple hats, but as your business grows, make sure you have people who offer these skills.
Start with the project manager
From building houses to playing football, every team needs a strong leader. The same goes for conversion optimization. You need a coordinator who maintains a high-level view of the project at all times. This person is responsible for making sure the work supports the team’s goals.
In the sample (basic) CRO process below, the project manager would oversee the entire process, from the early collection of data to the final optimizations.
In many organizations, project managers are a luxury. This is especially true for smaller companies who don’t have the resources to invest in dedicated managers. But if you can afford it, I recommend hiring for this position. The project manager makes an excellent liaison between the optimization team and the marketing director or C-suite so the team can focus on work.
Typically the project manager has a conversion optimization background, or at the very least a general digital marketing background. This person should understand the benefits of making data-backed decisions and how to analyze numbers.
You must have a data analyst
A data analyst uses a variety of measurement tools to learn about the way people use your website or app. Poring through an analytics tool isn’t enough. The data analyst must know what to track and how that information relates to the overall business goals.
The analyst should oversee the testing program so ideas are considered scientifically. He should work methodically to isolate variables for tests. He’ll work closely with the designer and developer to put the pieces together.
(By the way, we made Effective Experiments with data analysts in mind. We find that analysts neglect to track as much data as they should because their process is overwhelming. Our software creates a clean working space so analysts can keep their numbers organized.)
An understanding of numbers is important, but your analyst must also be able to interpret the data to draw conclusions. He will have to turn the insights he gains from the data into proposals for change.
You need a developer/designer
Naturally, your designer and developer will implement your ideas. Sometimes these roles can be played by the same person, but as your needs grow, you’ll want specialists.
Even though there are countless tools to build and manage websites, apps and marketing platforms, each come with their own limitations. You need someone who can break out of templates and implement specific changes to your website (often at the code level).
This person should not be a specialist. He should be comfortable working with multiple technologies, art forms, and learning new techniques on-the-go. He should be open-minded and willing to try new solutions. He should be comfortable diving into someone else’s work (such as a website template or a purchased plugin) and making changes, as well as crafting custom solutions.
Have big data? You need a data scientist
There’s no doubt that data (which is just another way to say information) is power.
Your data scientist is an expert data analyst, capable of tracking and understanding huge swaths of information. They’ll look at more than just your website’s performance. They’ll consider industry and economic trends, general marketing data, and consumer demographics. They take data from other sources (like brick-and-mortar retail sales figures) and apply them to your online presence, or vice versa.
Data scientists need to be strategic thinkers. Looking at the data and telling you how things are isn’t enough. They need to tell you how things will be with educated predictions.
For example, a data scientist for an ecommerce company might notice a trend toward one style shoe over another. After confirming his suspicions by examining competitors, he would communicate his findings to the marketing decision makers. This could lead to a shift in product development, stocking or operations. In this example, emphasizing one style shoe over another would increase conversions.
In most cases, only the largest and well-funded companies can afford a dedicated data scientist. Companies that don’t have a tremendous amount of data can get by with a data analyst or spread these responsibilities throughout the group.
Someone who can ask the right questions
You need someone on your team who knows how to ask good questions. I know that sounds vague, but looking at information and asking questions that lead to actual answers is a rare skill.
Anyone can randomly test colors, layouts, funnels, images, and a hundred other variables, but testing without a plan takes too much time. You have to know what not to test as well. A talented questioner can move the process along from basic data to a goal.
A great questioner might ask questions like…
- “What do all the people who abandon at step three have in common?”
- “Why are visitors from California bouncing off our site so quickly?”
- “Why is this page converting so much lower than the other similar pages?”
- “If X strategy works on this page, why doesn’t it work on that page?”
The specific role this person plays on your team isn’t critical. Your questioner might be your data analyst, your copywriter, or your project manager. They need to be comfortable looking at cold numbers and clearly communicating their ideas to the team. They can’t be afraid of proposing controversial or nontraditional ideas and they can’t get upset when their ideas fail to produce anything meaningful.
Include a copywriter
A majority of your marketing will be transmitted through words, whether that’s email messages, website copy, paid advertising campaigns, headlines, video scripts, calls to action, SEO-optimized pages, meta descriptions, privacy policies, etc. Many CRO teams make the mistake of assuming that anyone who speaks the language can craft the copy.
Your users and customers will rely heavily on the language you use, so this role has a lot of responsibility. Your copywriter should be extremely flexible and capable of delivering subtle messaging in a variety of ways. There’s no room for egos here.
Everyone must be agile
The most important component of your conversion rate optimization team is the mindset of the team members. At their core, CRO teams create change. They disrupt, test, and improve, which makes adhering to a narrow, handed-down-from-above marketing plan impossible.
Your CRO team should abide by the Agile methodology. Agile is a system of collaboration that’s used to break down traditional company silos and give marketing teams the ability to change and adapt quickly. It makes your process transparent and holds team members accountable for their behavior.
Most importantly, Agile makes information available across the entire team. Information availability is critical to a CRO team’s performance. If one person learns something new, it must be communicated to the rest of the team so it isn’t tested again unnecessarily.
In this type of environment, team members are autonomous, but they can still work collectively toward company goals. They can take educated, informed risks.
You can support the Agile methodology by including people with T-shaped skillsets. A T-shaped professional has a strong vertical of expertise with general knowledge across other disciplines.
This image from Moz explains this concept nicely in the context of a digital marketer. In this image’s example, the SEO expert is capable of collaborating with other professionals.
In the context of your CRO team, you would want each player to be capable of speaking somewhat intelligently on the disciplines of the other team members. For instance, even though the designer is a creative artist, she should still understand how the data influences her creations.
The right tools
One of the biggest challenges that CRO teams face is the management of their projects. With multiple people collaborating, higher-ups weighing in, testing in progress, data to analyze, and assumptions to ponder, there’s a lot going on.
We created Effective Experiments to give CRO teams a comprehensive tool to manage their projects. It brings all of your CRO efforts under one house so you can save time and look better for your stakeholders. Request a demo today.