No one ever said that a would-be optimizer had it easy. If you read our early post, you’ll know how important it is for companies to do their homework and work on establishing a culture of optimization before they start optimizing. So let’s say you followed our advice and took a hard look at your culture and adapted it wherever necessary. If you’re ready for optimization, here are three things to keep in mind when moving forward.  

Look out for the cowboys

Fact is, there are a lot of tall-tale-tellers working in optimization right now. Plenty of people who will promise you the moon and then fail to deliver. Perhaps it is true of every industry, or at least spaces that are rather ‘new to the game’, but it is certainly true of optimization. To put it differently: not all conversion rate optimizers are created equally. When you’re in the market for CRO help, the questions you ask and the way they are answered make all the difference.  

Don’t believe in a ‘magic bullet’ (or: the anti Don Draper approach)

No one can predict the future. Let’s repeat that once again: no one can predict the future. Guessing what a customer will want is not an effective approach for optimizing. Likewise, if your potential optimizer starts the conversation by talking about testing right off the bat or pitching you ‘the best strategy’, you might have to look elsewhere. A successful optimizer will start by examining your data, understanding your customers and what they want, and most of all, asking you questions. If the person you’re interviewing isn’t doing these things, it might be a warning sign.  

Explore the process together

Before you seriously consider hiring an optimizer, ask her flat out, “What’s your process?” and watch the response. If you see uncertainty (“what do you mean, process?”), then you know you can look elsewhere. Some CRO folks do have a process, but they get caught up in the technical aspects or in a one-size-fits-all approach. Before you interview optimizers, try coming up with a few scenarios to test a potential CRO’s agility. For example, you might choose data from a website that doesn’t yet have enough traffic to optimize efficiently, for example. An effective optimizer will recognize this and say frankly, it’s too early to optimize or something similar. But someone who is inexperienced or not observant might suggest tactics already. Another test scenario could involve discussing a poorly performing landing page, together with the suspicion that the value offer is not connecting with the consumer. Iff the CRO suggests sitting in a room with a lot of marketers, brainstorm and start testing, he or she is getting the cart before the horse. What is the actual hypothesis here? But if she suggests meeting with salespeople and drilling down what customers actually want, she’s probably the right person for the job. In short: Look for someone who talks first about understanding the customer, the overall scenario and data before suggesting tactics or solutions.

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