6 Simple Steps for Making the CRO Case to the Boss

While research shows that CRO is a high priority for many, some decision makers still haven't taken the next step. We study why that is and provide some resources to help you make the case.

Are you convinced your company would benefit from increased focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO), but the person with the power to make that happen somehow can’t see what you see?

We can help.

These figures are from the 2016 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Report by Econsultancy:

  • 90 percent of those who responded say CRO is ‘crucial’ or ‘important’ to digital marketing strategy
  • 82 percent believe that concern about CRO within their company has grown in the past five years
  • 49 percent of marketing professionals believe optimizing conversion rates is one of the top three requirements for producing growth at their company
90 percent of respondents say CRO is ‘crucial’ or ‘important’ to digital marketing strategy. Click To Tweet

Here’s the problem with that data: if most marketers agree CRO is high-priority, then why do we keep getting inquiries from frustrated employees who want to know how they can convince the boss to invest more deeply in conversion rate optimization?

Where’s the disconnect?

In this article, let’s talk about what holds decision makers back from embracing aggressive CRO tactics, why that hesitance is unwarranted, and how you can help your boss realize what you already know: CRO isn’t just a good idea; in today’s hyper-competitive environment, conversion rate optimization is essential.

In this 2016 study (see above), 99 percent of marketers questioned said conversion rate optimization is important… most said it’s crucial.

Here’s why most ‘good ideas’ get shot down and never gain traction

Much to the disappointment of those who suggest them, most good ideas never get a proper hearing. Fewer still actually end up being adopted.

Why is that?

Do decision makers routinely dismiss anything new? Are they ill-tempered judges who love to slam the gavel down on innovation and keep real growth at bay?

That’s not usually the case. Something else lurks behind the irritating push-back you encounter when you try to advance the cause of something you think is the next giant step forward.

Decision makers earn and keep that coveted position by sticking to the most important fact in business: ideas must not only be mind-tingling; they must also be profitable.

“But,” you say, “I’m absolutely sure well-orchestrated investments in CRO provide a healthy return on investment.”

Our team, here at The Good, is in total agreement with that statement. In our experience, conversion rate optimization is quite often the most direct path to increased sales.

So, how can you get the lights to come on for the decision maker at your company?

We’re going to lay out steps for getting that to happen – then, we’re going to give you a cheat sheet and a tool to help make sure it happens.

Most marketers aren’t all that happy with their current conversion rate (see chart above).

How to sell the boss on the value of conversion rate optimization

To get your ideas heard and appreciated, you need to sell the boss, and it all begins with knowing exactly who ‘the boss’ is. Who has the authority to flip the right switch?

1. Who is the decision-maker?

It’s all too easy to take your ideas to the person you feel most comfortable speaking with – the one you think most likely to express agreement and support.

That can be a good way to gain support for implementing a rigorous CRO strategy, it may even be the chain-of-command path you need to take to get an audience with the boss, but your mission won’t be successful until you have buy-in from the person or persons with the ability to say “Yes.”

In some cases, the decision will need to be approved by a group of people. Most of the time, though, getting more emphasis on CRO is something one person can authorize.

2. How can you build a relationship with the decision-maker?

You’ll need to consider the situation carefully. Don’t fall into the trap of giving your presentation to someone who doesn’t have the authority to give the go-ahead, but agrees to make the case on up the ladder for you.

Your job here is to hold back on giving away the farm. Find out who has the power to decide, then determine how you can get in front of that person or group of people with your proposal. Save the brunt of your arguments for that event.

3. Identify the most pressing problems CRO will help solve

Don’t take it for granted that your prospect sees the problems as clearly as you see them. If things are running along smoothly, the tendency will be to maintain that pace, not to disrupt it.

There are two ends to the stick you’ll be holding. One end will describe the potential increase in sales revenue from a boost in conversions. The second will describe the competition’s daily effort to eat your lunch. Increased conversion rates are fuel to the engine that keeps your business running.

Most ecommerce websites, for instance, show alarming cart abandonment rates. What if CRO could get more prospects to become buyers for your B2B business? Or how is the opt-in rate to your mailing list? Would getting more and better qualified prospects be valuable to your bottom line?

What if CRO could get more prospects to become buyers for your B2B business? Click To Tweet

It’s impossible to relax and float along the stream to profits. Your company must work aggressively to stay in the race. Either that, or eat the dust of those who understand the urgency of the times.

4. Prepare the proper presentation

Lay out the problem(s) you’ve identified, then show how the conversion rate optimization strategy you’re proposing can help solve them.

What if you had a tool that would allow you to plug in three common data points, then show the revenue growth that would result as conversion rate varies? Would that be helpful?

That tool is yours to use freely. If you can’t wait to get on board, click here.

5. Be ready to answer objections

You’ll need to have done your homework thoroughly. This is where outcomes are decided. You must know which objections are most likely to come up, and you must have a plan to counter them. You don’t want to simply neutralize objections, you want to find ways to leverage them to your advantage.

We’ve listed three common objections below. You’ll need to consider your company’s situation, then learn all you can about the decision-maker’s current attitude towards CRO and marketing strategy in order to be well-prepared.

  1. Your conversion rate optimization plan will require money not currently in the budget. – This is a stand-by objection to any idea requiring capital outlay. You must know why CRO is a wise investment. The tool we’ll give you will go a long way towards helping you clearly show the potential CRO has to earn considerably more money than it costs.
  2. Your conversion rate optimization plan will require staff we don’t have. – CRO is more than a set of tactics to employ. CRO is an attitude. It is a culture of success. Your presentation must not only show potential gains to the bottom line, but it must list all extra expenses needed to realize those gains. Show how the load can be distributed and how you can step in to help spearhead the project. Once the CRO mindset catches on, the entire team will start seeing opportunities to push the conversion rate up just a little bit more.
  3. Your conversion rate optimization plan will require too much complexity. – All companies are overloaded with data. Since CRO is steeped in the collection, interpretation and utilization of data, it’s easy to equate your CRO suggestions as additions to the headache. Your job is to show the data necessary for input is already available or can easily be obtained, and that the interpretation/utilization of the data will get a huge assist from automation. All that’s really needed is a champion (you) to oversee the implementation.

6. Close the sale

Once you’ve made your presentation, answered objections, then restated the primary reasons why a new or increased focus on conversion optimization is not only a great idea, but makes absolute sense from a business perspective, your job is to ask for approval… and then wait.

Here’s an example of a closing statement: “Do you see the potential benefits to the company’s online revenues, and are you willing to give me the go-ahead to set up a test to prove the numbers?”

Don’t talk yourself out of the sale. You’ve done the work. You’ve stated your case the best you can. Now pass the baton over to the boss. And don’t say another word, even if the silence becomes unbearable. Just look and listen.

If another objection arises, handle it. Then deliver another closing statement. Then wait again and listen.

And that’s it. We’ve just outlined a way to present the case for conversion rate optimization – or any other idea you want to propose – to the correct person and in the correct manner. You can do this!

You’ll need to know the problems and how to solve them. Many companies never get past A/B testing, surveys, and changes to copy (see the chart above).

Here’s where to get access to the CRO Calculator

Now, let’s get you to the tool we promised. Here’s where you can get the cheat sheet and direct access to the tool: CRO Calculator.

There’s no cost.

Digital marketing is not only incredibly competitive, it can be explosively dynamic. You’ll want to stay on top of changes and adjust your CRO strategy accordingly.

Questions? Once you’ve tried the tool, you may have questions about how to get the most from it or how to proceed in your particular situation.

Our staff at The Good is here to help you find answers. Leave a comment below and our team and I will jump in to help you keep moving. Or if you’ve sold your boss and team on CRO and want some help from experts, contact The Good.

Winning Big in 2017 – 3 Critical Trends in Conversion Optimization
What is CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization Essentials: The Master Guide

About the Author

Jon MacDonald

Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action.