CRO consultant – what to look for when hiring a CRO expert
What's the remit of an optimisation consultant and what should you look for when hiring beyond the usual criteria?
If you’re looking to improve your website’s conversion rate and generate more sales or leads from your website traffic, then you’ll want to hire a CRO consultant either from an agency or in-house so you have somebody dedicated to exploiting the opportunities on your website and acting on them.
What’s in the remit of a CRO consultant?
Not to toot our own horns, but there’s a lot of specialisms within conversion optimisation. A consultant should be skilled (or at least professionally competent) in all or most of the following:
- User research
- Analytics & reporting
- A/B testing
- Gaining stakeholder buy-in
- Wireframing / sketching
What does a CRO consultant do?
A CRO consultant worth their salt will have a process and a framework that they follow.
At Worship, our framework consists of the three elements; discover, improve, and grow
Any project will usually kick off with an onboarding and the consultant getting to know the business along with their challenges and findings to date. After this, then the qualitative and quantitative research begins, which will usually involve checking the reporting set-up, analysing visitor behaviour via analytics tools, running a heuristic evaluation. At this point the consultant will usually find some quick wins (also known as low hanging fruit) for the website’s developers to get on with. Some typical examples of these early discoveries are issues with reporting, bugs on the website, and issues with how the website displays on mobile devices.
After this, the consultant would usually start with the more in-depth user research such as user testing, interviews, surveys. They will then have a long list of insights to cross validate, categorise, prioritise, create recommendations for, and present.
Recommendations will be split by the consultant into two categories: further quick wins, and hypotheses which require validation. Further quick wins are other issues discovered during the research which can be implemented right away. The changes that require validation will either be put through a round of research via tools such as usabilityhub or user testing and after this (depending on the research outcome) either tweaked or implemented (and measured). Any changes that are more risky will be tested by the consultant via an A/B test (providing the website has enough traffic and conversions to test). Any test should have a hypothesis and an overarching strategy. Tests don’t need to be launched after a solid period of research, sometimes consultants can gather enough validation around one insight that a hypothesis can be created early and a test can be running along-side the research.
It doesn’t just end here. This whole process is iterative and continues until the website reaches local maxima (the point where the consultant’s changes won’t move the needle as much) and needs to evolve in order to keep pushing forward.
What you should look for when hiring a consultant via a CRO agency
Some things are more important than locality of the agency and a pretty website, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Experience and a track record – how long have they been practicing CRO, and can they prove their results via testimonials and reviews?
- Return on investment – Some CRO agencies advertise their ROI figures (or you can just outright ask them). You can’t tell this right away from working with an agency, so any indication is good to see. CRO agencies should be working towards a high ROI
- A solid framework and process – as mentioned in the section above, this is important to follow in order to get good results. A CRO agency should talk about their process from the get-go as they’re quite proud of their own creations
- Personable and communicative – do you get on with the agency? The ideal situation for both parties is a long-term fruitful partnership. This can’t be done if there’s a lack of communication or if there’s coldness from either party.
What you should look for when hiring an in-house CRO consultant
Among the usual culprits of experience, communication skills, problem solving, and track record, here are some of the more niche skills you should look for:
- Ability to influence – not just effectively communicating what’s happening with the website, but spearheading optimisation within the organisation, getting everybody on board, instilling optimisation culture within the business, and getting buy-in to adopt the consultant’s suggestions
- Specialism – you’ll want to hire somebody who specialises in CRO, not a jack-of-all-trades marketer as they’ll likely lack the expertise compared to a specialist
If you have any questions regarding CRO, want advice about your in-house CRO programme, or just want to hire an agency to do the work for you, then you can call Worship on 0161 236 1188 for a chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org