Learned how to generate traffic, yet your CR still lingers at 5–10 percent tops? A growing number of web-based businesses engage with conversion rate optimization (CRO) to fix flaws in their customer journeys, streamline the message and boost sales. Whereas insiders may have blurred vision on the current state of things, third party CRO agencies will help you as a business owner or marketer to focus on what really matters.

By leveraging verified data and testing multiple hypotheses, your CRO consultants will come up with solid recommendations and an action plan. While the pros audit your website, test user paths and funnels, and convert traffic, how much should you get involved? In this piece, let’s review some customer–consultant scenarios in the CRO field and see how to get the utmost from optimization.

At some point, CRO has to bend ‘The client is always right’ rule and introduce a new data-driven approach to end customers, business stakeholders, and sales. The technique aims to eliminate guesswork and preconceived ideas that may be harmful for traffic converting. CRO may cause friction with key decision-makers, so it takes a good deal of diplomacy to resolve all concerns and prove the efficiency of your method.

Imagine you come to a car repair shop and comment: ‘The engine won’t start so I believe you guys need to fix my headlight. That will do the trick’. What makes you think the headlight is the root cause? Before jumping to conclusions, you need to have engine diagnosis done. Likewise, you would run experiments to do CRO. If you skip this step and insist the headlight be fixed based on your gut feeling, you’ll probably get what you’re asking for but the car still won’t start.

On the other hand, if the consultant – or mechanic in our case – suggests the very same hypothesis based on your input and various parts’ interactions, make sure you avoid the spontaneous reaction ‘Are you out of your mind? How are these things related?’ After a series of tests, it may actually turn out the defective headlamp bulb triggered a short circuit. That’s how it works: Small instances – seemingly irrelevant micro-conversions standing in the way of macro-conversions – may ruin the whole thing.

What are the prerequisites of a successful CRO campaign? Here is what you have to consider as a consumer of CRO consultancy services:

Unanimous buy-in. You can’t start an optimization project in the company unless you are backed by the stakeholders. This needs to be a voluntary, open-minded decision, otherwise the consultant will face an avalanche of ‘it ain’t broke’ blockers and will scarcely deliver an impartial analysis. Both parties need to be clear on the methodology and primary conversion goals. An unsupported initiative from a CMO – or even CEO – is a losing battle.

Your status as contributor. Does the company make decisions based on your data? If yes, you may be qualified to contribute to the actual CRO program. You have to acknowledge the current status of data-driven decision-making in your company and come up with the right input.

Opinions or facts? What’s your company’s approach? If the key decision-making factor is influential opinions rather than real figures and data, your firm is in trouble and requires third-party moderation. This is where CRO agencies step in!

CRO expertise. Delegating may be challenging but you can’t keep all the expertise in-house. That’s expensive and you may end up losing the focus. Issues experienced by various web-based businesses are, by no means, unique. CRO experts with solid portfolios under the belt have a better chance unravelling the mystery of unfulfilled macro-conversions. It’s their job to sell you their expertise, get an understanding of your business and fine-tune the funnels for greater ROIs.

Business expertise. The client’s primary functions in the process are to define the goals, provide feedback and assess efficiency of the program hand-in-hand with the agency. The customer knows their business, its ups and downs, seasonal trends, competitors, and many more aspects.

Consultants implementing CRO are aware of the typical pain points, bottlenecks, and inconsistencies that may escape the client’s eye. They know how to conduct split testing and improve website metrics with clear evidence at hand. The two parties need to meet each other halfway and achieve synergy in their interactions.

As CRO expert Peep Laja put it: “Client sets the goal, consultant proposes a way to get there. If the client doesn’t trust the consultant – well, then don’t bring them on. Consultants also need to demonstrate their expertise to build trust – get the client to buy into their methodology. It all works together.”

Long story short, the essence of client–agency cooperation is complementary knowledge transfer and competency sharing. As long as one party doesn’t question the expertise of their counterpart, we’re bound to perform a streamlined CR campaign. To sell CRO, the consultant needs to ensure the customer’s buy-in from day one, build mutual rapport, develop a common understanding of the project objectives and deliverables. Otherwise, the entire concept may fall apart.

What’s your experience with CRO agencies? Let us know how it worked out for you. As always, we welcome your comments and insights.