What CRO skills does a high performing CRO team need?

Sam Walker
Lead Optimisation Consultant

What CRO skills does a high performing CRO team need?

When wanting to start your own CRO programme, you must be aware of the various skills your team needs to get the most effective performance. It is vitally important that the resources you have at your disposal are dedicated. The skills required to have an effective CRO programme are incompatible with diversified roles, meaning someone who operates with multiple responsibilities under a ‘digital marketing’ title.

Your team will at the very minimum be made up of a CRO specialist, CRO developer, and QA specialist. Each requires very different skills, and while they can be separated into further specialised individuals, those three areas are the essential.

Having these skills in dedicated CRO people in your team will provide the best opportunity to succeed as they can focus on conversion rate optimisation as opposed to other stands of digital marketing. Their focus is on testing, understanding its capabilities, and maximising its potential.

Skills of a CRO Specialist

The skills your CRO specialist will need will vary from how specialised you want individuals in your team to be. Oftentimes, the CRO specialist will be the force behind testing ideas, carrying them from concept to analysis. To do this, your specialist will have skills in three specific areas, though will likely excel at one over the others. Those skills are technical, creative, and analytical.

The technical skills required help the CRO specialist conduct preliminary feasibility checks, debug issues, and understand how to form a test plan. This requires a depth of knowledge of the testing platform used, as well as the access the developers have to make changes, an understanding of what causes certain issues to appear on a website (such as certain elements showing double).

Demonstrating creativity often comes in the test ideation process, thinking of interesting solutions to problems on websites. This doesn’t always mean elaborate designs, but perhaps identifying ways a funnel can be broken down to find pages that can be removed, thereby removing barriers to potential converters.

While analytical skills can be utilised at many points in a test’s lifetime, it is most often utilised at the end during the ‘monitoring & final analysis’ stage. As the data captured will all be in the form of numbers and percentages run through statistical significance calculators, the CRO specialist will have to have the ability to interpret insights from these numbers. It becomes a matter of interpreting potential behaviours in the way a user group reacts to the variant.

Skills of a CRO Developer

It is important to note that CRO developers are process developers, not creative ones. While creativity is a useful skill, ultimately a CRO developer needs to have such a depth & breadth of knowledge and understanding so they can pull apart a website to make it do something it was never designed to do. Sometimes, when using an agency, without the full access to a client’s website.  

Having a wide understanding of development tools and languages isn’t enough though. While, of course, a developer may understand perfectly all the jargon found in a guide to Javascript or HTML, not everyone that they, or another member of the wider team, may have to communicate with will, meaning strong communicative skills are necessary. Effectively communicating potentially complex problems, solutions, or process is a key skill to ensuring the programme runs effectively.

As oftentimes developers are working in a scenario with one hand tied behind their back, needing to have back end understanding to run front end experiences without having all the access. The need to be resourceful is paramount as so much can go wrong at any given time. Ultimately building a test is wholly about timing. When does a user meet the set requirements to enter the test? When should they enter the test? When should they see the test? When should the page be revealed? While all sounding like similar questions, could all have separate answers. There are times when a test may be on a display, a pop-up test for example, or a page may need hiding as there will be flicker to eradicate. So much of the test experience is about the right things triggering at the right times or it can become a void experience.

Skills of a QA Specialist

Working with something that potentially goes out to thousands of users means you will need some kind of QA department. At a minimum it is recommended this is a dedicated department so that developers don’t have to QA each other’s work so they can get on doing what they’re actually paid to do.

As this is the final stage before a test goes live, it is imperative that the QA specialist is meticulous in their attention to detail, that goes without saying. What is arguably just as important is communication, and the strength of character to inform someone their work is wrong.

The nature of QA also means whoever is completing this stage for you has a wide technical knowledge, and the ability to understand when & where issues occur. Oftentimes an issue can be spotted but if one doesn’t know how to replicate it there can be issues regarding finding a solution.

This requires your specialist to have UX understanding and design skills to ensure the test has the best possible chance to succeed.

Your Team

Ultimately your team should consist of three departments that will require the skills mentioned above. They don’t have to be embodied by one person though. At our team our CRO specialists all hold different skills that complement each other and the same goes for the dev team, meaning if one is struggling with a solution it is likely another has the answer.

Ultimately it’s about balance, having the right people with the right skills to provide the best testing programme. It’s always good to have someone in your CRO specialist team who excels at photoshop to create designs if that’s an area another member of your team struggles with. On the other hand, having someone who has strong technical knowledge can help others understand just the kind of test that is feasible. The same goes for the dev team if one member struggles to succinctly explain complex solutions then it’s good to have someone who can on hand.

Your programme rests on the skills your team have. It is vitally important though that everyone is dedicated in CRO so then you can truly maximise their potential.

Related resources:

Blog: 11 tips for the one-person CRO team

Services: Building CRO programmes

Services: CRO training

Subscribe for CRO tips & advice

Landing in your inbox once a month