Is CRO a Function of Product, Marketing, or UX/Design?

Have you ever spent way too much time shuffling around a dark room, trying to find the light switch? Did you feel a little silly reaching out over and over again only to keep hitting a blank wall? 

Successfully converting leads without the help of conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a lot like that. Think of CRO as the light switch that illuminates a dark room and makes getting more of your products into the hands of more new customers possible. You may have tons of traffic coming to your website, but only a small percent of them (likely 2-4%) are converting. Conversion optimization is a marketing initiative that works on getting more of the people who visit your website to convert. And even a small increase in conversion can mean a lot more marketing revenue dollars in the bank. With CRO, you should be using a tool (like Google Optimize, VWO or Optimizely) that allows you to analyze the website conversion data you need to effectively design and market your products and services to achieve the highest lead conversion rates possible for your landing pages and purchase funnel.

While CRO is a necessary tool, it can be difficult to assign this responsibility to a specific department or team member within your organization because it touches many departments in a business. For example:

  • Marketing is interested in converting more people coming through different channels they're investing in, so conversion optimization could be a Marketing role

  • Product should be invested in anything that's changing the website design or purchasing funnel, so this could be a Product role

  • Design and UX is involved with any sort of testing or optimizations on the website to improve a customer's journey or user experience, so this could be a UX role

The end goal is the same for every team — convert more customers. But if your teams aren’t on the same page in utilizing that data and the changes needed to increase conversion, the whole thing falls apart. Read on to determine where CRO fits in your organization’s structure and how to hire a team member who can boost your conversion rates.

The Purpose of CRO

The ultimate goal of CRO is to convert more customers (we call this the BIG GOAL). Or the Big Kahuna Goal. We already said this, but we wanted to reiterate that point because we know that is the number one end goal for you, our clients. Money matters.

In addition to increasing conversion, CRO can also be used to elicit desired behaviors from leads, such as filling out forms for downloadable content or signing up for free trials or consultations. No matter how you’re trying to connect with leads, CRO can help you create a platform that appeals to all segments of your demographic, regardless of when and how they navigate to your site.

In order to be successful, the conversion optimization process requires a strategic interaction of statistical methodologies (usually carried out by customizable software) and the clear goals you’ve set for your business. Effective optimization includes the following processes:

  • Data Collection - In this stage, software that we previously mentioned runs tests for different variables on your site, checking for which variables have the highest successful conversion rates. A variety of tests can be used, including A/B Testing and simple design changes. Usually these changes are shown to a percentage of your site visitors, and the version that has the highest conversion is the 'winner' and then these changes are then replicated to your website for all visitors.

  • Goal Setting - This stage is where you compare the data with your specific goals, implementing the variables with the highest success rates.

  • Real-time Implementation - Based on the goals you set and the specific results from the variables tests, the software provides the optimized versions of your site to the correct segment of your audience.

  • Statistical Tracking - In this final stage of the process, statistics are tracked to give you proof of how the different versions of your site are performing along with the ability to repeat your results.

Throughout these stages of the CRO process, team members from different departments of your organization will need to intervene to make changes to your site or adjust campaigns. 

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How Teams Engage with CRO

Applying the insights you receive from the CRO process can be tricky when multiple teams are involved. But ultimately, the entire business will win when all teams are integrated and working together toward the BIG KAHUNA GOAL. Let’s take a look at the different ways the product team, marketing team and design team will need to work together when optimizing your website for conversion:

The Product Team and Conversion Optimization

The product team is probably the first department you’d think to involve in the CRO process because they are involved in building a relevant product (website, app, etc) and the purchase funnel(s). If you're changing the website — how it looks and how it feels — then the product team cares. Additionally, you will likely need developers, (javascript, front-end, etc) to help with certain test changes in the CRO platform you're using, so they need to be invested from a resources standpoint. This team should always be involved in a feedback loop if changes are required based on feedback from customers or other teams. If your company provides product demos, the team will also need to work closely with marketing and design in order to optimize for different segments. The product team matters to conversion optimization.

Them Marketing Team and Conversion Optimization

Your marketing team is working hard to bring people into your website — whether that's through organic search engine optimization, PPC advertising, lead generation or social media. Traffic matters, but revenue matters more. Why? Because of the BIG KAHUNA GOAL. If marketing kills it to bring in tons of traffic, but those visitors aren't converting, that's a problem. It might be a "qualified traffic" problem, but it's also a conversion problem. When running certain tests, marketing will make sure all content is optimized for things like SEO, personas, customer journey/intent, brand voice, and business goals. They’ll likely provide multiple versions of content and copy to test on your site that appeals to different segments of your audience. They’ll also adjust marketing campaigns, create downloadable content, curate a variety of images and tailor a call to action that sounds genuine to different demographics. The marketing team matters to conversion optimization.

The UX/Design Team and Conversion Optimization

Without a team to think through how all of the content and code comes across via user experience in your product, then all of this will likely fail. Yes you need nice buttons, images that are personalized, copy that converts — but how does it all work together and look, and how does it all work with the rest of your site and look to the rest? Your UX/design team will take the testing data and goals you’ve established throughout the CRO process and make it functional on your site, so that a seamless customer journey is created. Because CRO is constantly evolving in the background, the design/UX team will need to stay informed on the changes that need to be made, as well as updated on what’s working. The UX/design team matters to conversion optimization.

How to Hire for a Conversion Optimization Role

If it takes three teams working together to successfully implement CRO, then how the heck do you hire a Conversion Optimization Expert? And what team is responsible for the internal processes of creating a job description, screening candidates and interviewing? When they are hired, what team should they work with most closely or "belong to"? Though the answer will ultimately depend on your unique product and demographic and might vary from business to business, it makes the most sense to us to assign the responsibility to a specialized member of the marketing team who collaborate closely with product and design.

Your marketing team is likely already made up of individuals who are accustomed to communicating information effectively while analyzing data to create deliverables for other departments. The marketing team is used to receiving information and sending it somewhere else. They should also already be collaborating with product and design when building landing pages, content, etc.

However, you don’t want to assign a CRO role to just anyone. You’ll want to hire a new team member for a CRO role who specializes in the following areas:

  • Data analysis

  • Communication

  • Critical thinking

  • Marketing

  • Content management

  • Project management

Essentially, the team member you hire will need to have a working understanding of all departments, while specializing in data analysis and product management. They’ll need to be an excellent communicator with a head for details and delegation who can unite the marketing team, design team and product team in a single effort. Consistency with CRO is key, even as the data you receive shifts your efforts into new design elements and more personalized marketing campaigns.

If you're still stuck on how to fulfill this role at your company — we can help. First Page has an excellent Conversion Optimization Expert who fulfills the CRO role for our clients and can seamlessly work with your internal teams for the BIG KAHUNA GOAL. Contact us if you're interested in learning more.

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