5 ways e-commerce managers can win senior buy-in for CRO

Laura Fox
Senior Marketing Specialist

Does it frustrate you that you can’t get more resources to work on CRO?

You want to make CRO a priority. You’re excited to get started but there’s some hurdles in your way. And one of those hurdles is looking after the budgets.

CRO still costs time and money - but it’s a tiny fraction of the revenue it can generate.

The boss:  “We just need to focus on driving sales”.

Me: *Facepalm moment*

So how can you win over C-level and convince them to invest?

Let’s look at the reasons why it can be difficult in the first place.

CRO is still a relatively new discipline.

CRO has yet to become an inalienable part of the fabric of all businesses’ digital strategy. Many businesses, even enterprise-level ones, still consider it to be an optional extra rather than business-critical. It’s still in the process of proving its worth to senior people. The same was true of SEO & web analytics back in the early 2010s. Yet now, very few Heads of Digital or Ecommerce would dare to suggest they were not essential.

There’s a lack of understanding among top execs.

See exchange of words above!

Because of its relative infancy, those in senior positions now may never have had hands-on experience with CRO.  It may not have been a thing when they were still in hands-on roles. This tends to make them a little nervous when voting with their money. And it is only human to be apprehensive about things we don’t fully understand.

And there’s a few reasons why getting senior buy-in matters so much:


CRO can affect every area of a business

From digital to marketing to finance to customer support. Making the right choices can hugely impact profitability on both sides of the equation - increased sales volumes & higher basket values, plus reduced support costs & more efficient account management. But to have those wide-ranging impacts, you need the senior clout to support what you’re doing.

A speed of change that most other disciplines are incapable of

One of CRO’s great strengths is its ability to deliver a speed of change that most organisations would struggle to meet otherwise. But to achieve this, sign-off processes need to be as streamlined as possible. Having a senior programme sponsor is only one facet of that. Having that person wade in when there are differences of opinion can unblock your programme like very little else!

Building an experimentation culture

To truly benefit most from CRO, your business needs to be the sort of place that makes decisions based on facts & data rather than the HiPPO approach. The more frequently you can prove the value of that data-led decision-making, the less possible the HiPPO approach will become. Let’s test it first - must become the common response in meetings where strong opinions are shared. But to get there, you need the latitude to run tests in as many areas of the site as is practicable.

It's critical to get buy-in for long-term success.

So how do we convince them that CRO is no longer an optional extra and why it’s a sound investment?

Here’s 5 things to do to win them over and start setting up your CRO programmes:

1) Speak their language

C-level execs will have their own targets. To keep costs below £X or to increase sales to £Y,  or even to keep CPAs to £Z but still increasing ad spend. They will need to launch initiatives to reach them.

Keeping costs down could be achieved by testing a better online help area.

Increasing sales could be achieved by testing a more conversion-focused checkout.

And keeping CPAs on a level footing whilst still increasing ad spend could be done by testing a new set of dynamic landing pages.

If you can show how your objectives are aligned to their commercial objectives and talk in terms of ROI and revenue, it’ll be much easier to get them on board.

2) Do your research first

Look at your data and gather insights. At this stage you don’t need to go overboard, you just need a starting point to help build your case further. Look at your key landing pages and their conversions. Any high traffic but low converting? What about the bounce rate? Where are you losing people? If you can affect the conversion rate by x% what will that do to revenue?

Find some problem areas and list the opportunities for CRO.

3) Run a test to prove it works

This could be the easiest way to convince them. Find a quick win, something technically simple to implement that can show an improvement in key metrics in a short timeframe. Pick something that looks to reflect existing visitor behaviour by making it faster & easier for them. Tests of this type come with limited risk & a higher success rate.

Share the results and get them excited about the impact this would have on their targets.

Focus on the learning over the win. Yes, in this instance, you want to show some immediate value. But to continue to build and run a successful CRO programme, you’re going to need to show that losing tests are valuable! A losing test can show you what not to do - and can stop you making site changes that will lose the business money - that’s the lesson you need to instil.

4) Show your competitors’ success

No C-level exec wants to get left behind. If you can tap into this fear and show others in your industry are doing CRO – and reaping the benefits -  this could be the clincher.

Search for competitor case studies online. If you can hand pick some examples that show some BIG wins even better.

There’s also tools out there that can show you what CRO tools your competitors are using on their websites. You can use both sides of the argument here – if you can’t find much then there’s an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

5) Involve product/ marketing/ customer teams

You’re not working in silo here. CRO will affect all teams involved in digital performance.

Depending on your company and team structures that could mean convincing a lot more people than just C-level.

By working together and sharing knowledge regularly you’ll create a much better process for CRO and uncover more ideas to test too.

As a collective, you’ll also bring a lot more clout!

Conclusion

With CRO still relatively new in comparison to other digital disciplines, it’s commonly misunderstood.

You’ll need to do a bit of educating to win over those who are less in the know.

Speak in their language, focus on your data and tie everything back to business benefits.

It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you can pull all the strands above together you’ll build a strong case for CRO and long-term success.

Need more help to convince them?