Leading a data-driven strategy

7 ways to get buy-in for your strategy

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

CRO on-site optimisation is a key part to any successful business. It’s converting that valuable traffic on your website and making each user count. One thing that is often overlooked is getting the traffic onto your site, what about optimising this part of the funnel?

Leading the way and being a champion in your area

Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

Your company needs a marketing optimisation champion (whether they know it or not). The difficulty in developing a data-driven culture can at first seem impossible, and there will be times you want to give up if you want to be that person.

The first hurdle is the resistance in moving away from that ‘gut’ feel and “well it’s worked in the past” methodology and instead towards a disciplined, well structured testing strategy. This can be quite unusual in some marketing departments and can be tricky to prove at first especially if your current culture has strong personalities or that HiPPO in the room.

If you can break past these barriers and get yourself into the position of being that champion then you’ll be in a strong position and eventually you will connivence the wider business that a data-driven approach is the right and only way to go. But how do you do it?

7 ways to get buy-in

No matter how strong your project results are, you’ll face an uphill battle without senior management support. Many of your colleagues look for cues from HiPPOs when deciding what to support, and at the end of the day the managers control the budgets. Suffice it to say, your job will be much easier with their backing.

What is success for your senior decision-makers? Start by finding out how they’re incentivised so you can show how optimisation will help them reach their goals. If you can help them look (and get paid) like rock stars, they’ll support your projects and reward you in return.

You can also appeal to the rational support they need by building a business case for testing. With directly measurable results, the case for testing is easy to make. Show the conversion-rate lift that other organisations are getting, and estimate the return on investment (ROI) for a testing strategy.

Get support for testing by creating a tangible problem that testing solves. Bring in a conversion optimisation expert to tell decision-makers how your website needs to improve. The benefit of external voices compared to internal is that they tend to carry more weight and support your voice.

You’ll need the support of others within your company to get your tests running: DevOps, Finance, Marketing, Branding, Legal and Compliance and other teams may present barriers. Save yourself surprises by involving them early, if you make them feel part of the journey then they will buy-in into CRO easier.

If you can, then record customer feedback, especially in video. Why video? Because it can be a powerful motivator seeing the frustrations, anger or confusion of the customer when they are using your product. If you can’t get video then look at feedback forms. Sharing case-study examples of companies can be a source of inspiration and motivation, too. There are plenty of others tools on the market which can record the actions people take on your website and generate heat maps, session replays and customer journey maping.

If you don’t have senior support at the beginning, you could try an under-the-radar approach. Pick a few target pages with low political visibility to gain some quick wins. Landing pages outside the main website can be good candidates for this. Then, use the winning results from those tests as ammunition in your campaign for support to move on to more important optimisation areas.

When you present results, don’t just show the improvement in conversion rate or KPIs. Tie the results to revenue to show real monetary impact. Put it this way which sounds better:

A. We ran a test and it had a 10% improvement

B. We ran a test and it brings in an extra £500,000 a year

At the end of the day, when it comes to business one thing matters, money. As soon as you start talking money then people will more than likely sign up. The other thing to bear in mind is that people are selfish (sorry!) we tend to look out for ourselves and what’s in it for me. When presenting results and talking about how great the tests were then try to make it seem like it’s in their benefit too.

Funnel’s clients have used our results-analysis presentations to create an internal event in the organisation. The champion invites members from throughout the company to see the results of tests, guess the winners, and discuss what was learned. The presentations are a lot of fun, especially for those departments that aren’t normally involved in external communications. Make sure to invite people from all functional areas.

You’ll see several benefits from these meetings. Positive results with statistical certainty are exciting for everyone and create momentum. They educate your colleagues about the process of testing and inspire the organization to support your projects. You’ll be positioned as a leader with ideas that deliver results.
When WiderFunnel runs tests, we hold a vote with everyone involved to guess which one will win. The results presentation could be a good time to award prizes and boost the fun factor.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

During your career there are those moments where you think is that the right approach? It’s working out where you want to go and how you get there.

When building your career there are fundamentally two things. The first part is you, what is your personality like, who are you connected too, are you relatable where’s the second part is the proof, the data, and what have you done.

Become a thought-leader by reading more and sharing more knowledge with your colleagues. Take opportunities to conduct group discussions, distribute summaries of your learning, have lunch with unconvinced team members, and go to conferences.

Unfortunately even with the above tips some organisations will never adopt marketing optimisation. The culture may be too rooted in it’s old ways. I cringe when I see companies start on the path of testing and then turn around and redesign their website wholesale without considering the progress and learning they’ve already made.

If you don’t see progress in your data advocacy, you should move on to a company that values it. Companies that don’t test will eventually yield to competitors that do. Life is too short to battle for years as a cultural misfit at companies with outdated thinking.

Senior Interaction Designer at Companies House, Government. Living in Cardiff, South Wales, interested in human psychology and behaviours.