Reasons why you need a CRO department and how to get the best CRO people

Reasons why you need a CRO department and how to get the best CRO people.

Abbie Senior, Optimisation and Analytics Manager at Manchester United Football Club has over 4 years’ experience in Digital Marketing explains the value of CRO departments and how to get the best CRO staff. 

Data-driven marketing has grown from strength to strength in recent years with more businesses than ever before looking to analytics to help drive decisions. The power of analytics has grown with marketers finding new ways to measure nearly everything. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is perfectly suited and set to become a highly valuable and integral part of this digital marketing landscape with its data-driven approach to usability and website functionality.

The initial part of building an optimisation program is an intriguing and exciting time filled with some easy big wins that can push forward both careers and companies. Laying the first bricks and dipping your toe into the waters of CRO and optimisation is often a hard challenge. It is important to get a strong foundation to build upon and expand in the future.

When looking to build and utilise the skills and techniques in CRO, these are some keys skills to keep in mind.

Data analytics:

Data is an essential element to any optimisation program. Most companies have more data than they know how to utilise and therefore can’t spend the time actively analysing it all to gather insights. Research and analysis of data is a recurring task. Marketing teams are often great at analysing the data to optimise their own specific marketing specialisms but who is looking at the site and applying the learning to improve the journeys?

This is where optimisation can be utilised. Think about all the hard work acquisition channels are doing to drive traffic to the site? Optimising their strategy to find the best landing pages in order for their channels to help meet the business KPIs. Why not optimise the landing pages and makes them work even harder?

The CRO specialist is using data from Web Analytics, surveys, feedback forms and other types of qualitative and quantitative data to formulate testing hypotheses and discover winning conversion paths that customers are taking on the website. The CRO team could be a duo or a trio depending on your needs and capabilities, but what’s certain is that you need someone focused on conversions and results.

Business Goals:

No matter who you are, it’s crucial for your website to have business objectives and goals to be able to optimise for growth. Knowing how goals, objectives, and KPIs work together will help create a CRO strategy. The CRO specialist will help you acquire the target for the established KPIs, by tracking them and constantly reporting.

In order to prioritise this business growth it is important not to focus solely on the main conversion rate, but also to consider the smaller interactions a user can have on the website. Of course, your key focus should always be on your macro goal, but to really optimise your website to its fullest potential, you shouldn’t ignore the smaller things.

Google defines Macro and Micro goals as the following:

  • Micro-conversions can include signups for your email newsletter, account creations, video plays, and other activities that often precede a purchase.
  • Macro-conversions can include things like transactions over visitors and lead generation over visitors.

But the list can be much longer for micro conversions, for example, you might want to track engagement on a navigation, clicks on certain content, progress from the first page in a form to the second

Focusing on both micro and macro conversions in your CRO strategy is key if you truly want to improve your customer experience as it’s these micro conversions that lead to your macro conversions.

Measureable: A successful CRO team uses a structured framework which consists of clear procedures and processes. While this framework may start off small to begin with, it allows you to scale the operation and push optimisation out from beyond marketing to the wider business and focusing on optimising the business at all levels. CRO and optimisation should not just be reserved for the marketing team but engage all levels of the organisation and have everyone from the developers to CMO’s engaged and experimenting.

What to look for in great CRO candidates:

CRO can be a bit of a Jack-of-all-Trades position, and there are a number of skills, abilities and personality traits that make for a successful CRO candidate. Often experience can be limited or within similar fields so focusing certain characteristics when hiring for CRO positions is key.

1. Process driven

CRO is very process driven as mentioned above. A clear red flag for optimisation is to focus on applying best practices or copying case studies, each business is unique and this will not have term benefits.

Following a clear framework is required and while it can be slow to begin with you will soon be generating results that grow your business. There is no shortcut to optimisation, it takes time and effort and the process must be followed.

2. Analytical and data-driven.

Great optimisers don’t just optimise conversion rates; they focus on the micro-conversion in order to achieve an uplift in the macro. Find people who pay attention and focus on other metrics such as click-through rates and email subscriptions.

Remember that measuring success is also just one part in the process, but the real test comes with people who can really deep dive into the data and find great insights to inform hypothesis. Finding test areas and then being able to prioritise which test to run first is also key.

3. Watch out for generic optimisers.

While CRO people need to be a jack-of-all-trades - analytics, technical and creative most specialist will only be focusing on optimisation.

Digital marketing is waking up to the power of optimisation and acquisition channels can be running A/B experiments. Full stack marketers or “growth hackers” can also run experiments but it is not necessarily their primary job function, how can they really be a specialist when they take care of social media marketing, email marketing, PPC, and so on.

Favour those who specialise in one area at CRO rather than average at many things. Find the missing link in your business and fill in the skills with the candidate. Does your business already have a strong creative department or analytics teams then focus on an individual who is technical and build A/B experiments.