Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s the game plan for your CRO success

The new year is a fresh start. A Clean slate and a time when everyone makes resolutions such as losing weight, giving up a vice or picking up that hobby that they’ve been meaning to for years.

For Conversion Optimizers, it might be no different.

Recurring themes from last year might be at the top of your mind if you’re involved in an experimentation program within your organisation.

Here’s the top three that I’ve heard
1. Growing a culture of experimentation
2. Scaling up my tests ie. running more tests
3. How to make a big impact with CRO.

These are great goals but they are what one would term as a BHAG (a Big Hairy Audacious Goal). It implies something that’s hard but not impossible to achieve.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bit at a time
[It’s only a saying . No elephants were harmed when making this statement]

To understand how to reach your goals, it must be broken down into chunks that are easy to achieve. This way you can measure your progress and know if you’re heading in the right direction.

It’s just like when you’re travelling in the car from A to B. You plug in the destination B into your satnav and it plots out the route for you to follow. You cross each milestone and it ticks along just fine. If you deviate, it recalculates a different route, all whilst keeping the destination the same.

The same goes for your CRO program management. If you don’t have goals, you just keep doing busy work and think you’re making progress. Without the goal, any direction may seem like the right direction and without the milestones you won’t be able to gauge if you’re making progress.

To start you need to know 3 things.

  1. Where you are right now – your current situation
  2. Where you want to be – your goal
  3. How you’re going to get thereThis is going to be your SATNAV to refer to as you grow your company’s experimentation program.

The “How you’re going to get there” is a process that involves three areas of focus to achieve the goals you set out for your experimentation program.

These are

  1. Transactional
  2. Operational
  3. Transformational

Transactional refers the actual work you need to do to get there. The nitty gritty – setting up tests, analysing, research etc. This is what every CRO should be doing. Here the skill of the CRO is important and understanding your team’s makeup in terms of skills and skills gaps is going to help you move forward.

Operational refers to the processes and structures you have to enable you to monitor and optimize

Transformational refers to how well you can embed this into all parts of the business and bring in greater buy in for your cause.

Let’s pick apart one of those goals and answer them so we can formulate a game plan.

“Scaling up my testing program”

The first question here is what does this actually mean – does it imply more tests run per month or a bigger team or a bigger team that will help run more tests. The clearer you are with the goal, the easier it is to set metrics that you can monitor for it success (or failure)

Where are you right now?

Running 4 tests per month with a team of 2

Where do you want to be in 12 months?

Running 10 tests a month and a team of 5

How do we get there?

a) Transactional – what are the current strengths and weaknesses of our current setup. Where do we have gaps in our knowledge or capabilities? How can bringing on an extra 2-3 team members help us. Will an additional QA resource reduce buggy tests

b) Operational – What are the current bottlenecks in our process. If we want to scale up from 4 to 10 tests a month. We need to push 6 additional tests through the pipeline. How long does 1 test take currently? Which parts of our pipeline is slowing us down. Knowing this will help you optimize and improve those bottlenecks thereby pushing more experiments through the pipeline

c) Transformational – To really grow, we need the support of other departments, executive sponsors, stakeholders. What activities do we need to factor in to help them understand our challenges and make them an ally.

Answer these questions  and you have your structured game plan to grow your conversion optimization program whether that relates to the culture of the organisation or scaling up.

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Manuel da Costa

A passionate evangelist of all things experimentation, Manuel da Costa founded Effective Experiments to help organizations to make experimentation a core part of every business. On the blog, he talks about teams, CRO workflow, CRO management as well as running the podcast Conversionations and the Effective Experiments Shorts video series.