How to Build and Structure a Conversion Optimization Team
By Merritt Aho
The initial phase of establishing an optimization practice at any organization is an exciting time. Big wins often accompany putting companies and careers on an upward trajectory.
But it can also be a real challenge knowing where to start and how to lay a solid foundation with the potential to transform the business. How you structure your team might be the most important part of this.
Conversion optimization teams, unlike more established marketing practices like SEO and PPC, don’t fit naturally within traditional organizations (not unlike growth teams, actually). And of course, there’s a degree of subjectivity and preference to building and structuring teams. It has a lot to do with the characteristics of your organization.
There are, however, commonalities and frameworks that tend to work better than others. This post will outline some common approaches to building conversion optimization teams and how they can be incorporated into the broader organization.
Different Conversion Optimization Team Structures
There are two general structures for the CRO function commonly found in large organizations:
This is parallel to the two common forms in which growth teams appear in organizations: functional vs. independent-led. Both types of teams can work in an organization, but as you’ll see, there’s a difference in power-structures depending on which one you choose.
1. Centralized Conversion Optimization Teams
A centralized team often operates under a service model with a certain number of shared resources on the team. Think of it as an internal digital agency working for stakeholders across the business.
This is the most common model that I’ve witnessed.
2. Decentralized Conversion Optimization Teams
A decentralized model has different business teams staffing and managing the CRO function individually. The different teams often share technology platforms which can be managed by a central team, but the usage of technology and the practice of CRO is distributed.
You often see this model at SaaS companies where teams are willing to invest more individually in CRO, want to move at their own pace, and operate outside of the marketing function.
Decentralized models can be chaotic, though, especially if different teams are empowered to execute projects on the same targets independently (collision alert!). Plus, whatever is learned from testing and analysis is not often shared with other CROs, not to mention the fact that the best CRO talent doesn’t get a chance to share and cross pollinate with the rest.
In addition, centralized teams tend to have a better documented approach for conversion optimization, which has two benefits when it comes to performance. First, it solidifies the CRO approach across the organization. Because of that, you won’t have rogue practitioners running bad tests, you’ll share results better across the organization, and you’ll be able to optimize your approach with greater ease.
Second, your organization will tend to place greater importance on the practice of conversion optimization. Because you have a team dedicated to the craft, you’ll have organizational firepower that is tougher to roundup when everything is function-led and dispersed. In this type of Go to the full article.