5 Essential Skills for Conversion Rate Optimisation (and 2 “Nice-to-Haves”)

Whether you are recruiting for a CRO expert, or looking to turn your hand to it yourself, there a 5 essential skills for conversion rate optimisation that you need to look for. And to help sort the wheat from the chaff, a couple of nice-to-haves as well.




1. Maths

CRO isn’t all about numbers but without a firm grasp on basic maths, your CRO “expert” could make some costly mistakes that could seriously undermine the confidence in your programme. Especially in the early states, whether your expert is in-house or external, solid statistical results are an essential to give everyone involved the confidence that your uplifts are genuine and therefore your CRO programme is genuinely bearing fruit.


2. Web analytics experience

Web analytics and data analysis/manipulation are absolute non-brainers for any potential CROer and in an ideal world they would have experience with multiple analytics solutions. This should ensure that they understand the “why” of web analytics and not just the “what”. And if they can’t use a Pivot table in Excel, then you might need to question whether they have enough experience in data analysis too.


3. Code knowledge

If your CROer doesn’t know their HTML from their CSS, or can’t tell you where you can check which variables are being sent to your analytics platform, this will be a major blocker to your success. To effectively plan and brief tests, they need to understand the potential technical challenges and that means understanding how your pages function at a code level.


4. User experience (UX) exposure

You may well have a specific UX expert to work alongside your CROer, but they will still need to have some wireframing/interactive mock-up experience. This should be coupled with an understanding of how visitors are likely to react to different layouts/interactions – assess this at interview by asking them to hypothesise on the impact of certain changes to a page during the interview process.


5. Digital marketing background

You aren’t looking to hire an SEO or PPC expert and you shouldn’t expect them to have been the point-man for a gazillion GDN campaigns but an understanding of digital marketing terminology and of the “quirks” of each inbound traffic source is essential. If a client or senior internal stakeholder questions them on landing page testing, for example, they should be able to put together a reasoned argument around the likely impacts by traffic source.




6. Self-service & managed service experience

With most mature CRO programmes, there is a mixture of both self-service and managed service testing. With a CROer who has experience of both, they can help you to identify which test ideas are likely to be most effective through which means of delivery; this will help you to develop a more efficient programme of testing, allowing the managed service team to take on the complex projects but keeping up your CRO momentum by identifying simpler opportunities to test through self-service.


7. Client-side & agency/vendor-side roles

Being able to recognise the pressures/ways of working on both sides of a relationship is always valuable and CRO is no different. If your CRO expert knows when to push your provider harder to deliver results, or when one of your clients is likely to have internal sign-off issues, you can achieve much greater efficiencies for both sides.


So as with any role, it’ll be a mixture of abilities and experience that determine a CROer’s success; if you’re recruiting, think about using this list to develop the right interview questions. And if you looking to expand your own career into this area, use it to think about where you need to gain knowledge and experience in order to be successful.

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