It might come as a surprise to you, but not everyone is completely sold on conversion rate optimization.
Let’s say you want to double your CRO budget.
Shinier tools. More data. Expert analysts.
These things will improve your CRO efforts.
Aaaaaand…they cost money.
So you have to convince your boss to shell out more money on something that she doesn’t know much about.
That’s not easy.
It’s not because your boss is a bad person. She’s smart, capable, intelligent, and wise.
But you’re the one who’s on the front lines of this CRO deal. You know how much value you could derive from better data, more team members, or more expensive tools.
How do you convince your boss to double, or hey why not even triple, your CRO budget?
I’m convinced that it’s possible.
Assuming that your boss is an intelligent human being, you can make a strong case for a CRO budget increase.
And you probably won’t have to fake tears to do it.
1. Understand Where They’re Coming From
One of the most successful forms of argument is simply understanding.
You want to find out where your boss is coming from.
Why might he not want to increase your CRO budget?
Hint: It wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Understanding the why behind leadership’s opposition does two things:
- It softens them to accepting and understanding your position.
- It conveys the basis of their opposition, which allows you to respond with the right arguments.
In my experience, there are two main types of opposition to CRO.
- First, your boss may be opposed to increasing your CRO budget because of ignorance.
- Second, your boss may be opposed to increasing your CRO budget because of some ingrained subjective opposition.
I’ll deal with both of these in order.
First, your boss may be ignorant regarding conversion rate optimization.
I mean nothing unkind at all by this remark.
They aren’t necessarily opposed to conversion rate optimization, they just don’t fully understand it.
Therefore you’re going to be hard pressed to get them to double down on investments in your strategy.
If your boss remarks, “We just don’t have the budget right now,” it may convey a lack of understanding regarding how CRO works, what it does, and why it’s a logical investment.
What should you do?
I’ll give details in the points below, but basically, you want to show off the current methods used for improving conversion, how effective they are, and take the time to explain your strategy for more improvement.
What about the second type of opposition?
If you’re trying to get a budget increase and you’re facing off with subjective opposition, then you may need to settle for a stall.
Changing someone’s mind can be a difficult task, even if you have initial buy in on CRO.
The opposition could stem from a variety of things; ego, prior results (or lack thereof), and even emotion.
It’s downright impossible to turn someone’s opinion when it’s emotional – for whatever reasons – but the following arguments can help you win leadership that is resistant to a larger CRO budget.
2. Show Them What the Competition is Doing
“The growth we have is sufficient” can be a frustrating statement from leadership when you’re trying to grow your optimization efforts.
When leadership feels comfortable in the current position, they can see little reason to change.
Change, in a business context, usually requires more work, which in effect costs money.
Even promises of improved revenue might not be enough.
Why not? Because growth takes time. (And time is money.)
In the hustle of daily business, decision makers are sprinting for short-term quarterly gains.
The wispy hope of a small uptick in the next six months isn’t going to cause them to spring into action.
What will get them to jump?
Telling them what the competition is up to.
This is a good time to let them know that someone else is doing it, and doing it better.
It might be the one reason that influences leadership to make a change.
Perform a competitive analysis, using tools that can reveal the types of apps or services other companies may be investing in.
Most companies don’t have a line item for “conversion rate optimization.”
Besides, your competitor isn’t going to tell you even if they do.
The more investments the competition has across their domains, the more involved they are with optimization, and the bigger your company’s push should be to avoid being left behind.
Consider also that many organizations don’t even have a budget for CRO. Push for an increase in your budget by highlighting how much you can overtake the market with continued focus in conversion optimization.
If you don’t think they’ll be moved by competitors, then do a similar analysis of companies your leadership team closely monitors or respects. When they see a friendly organization making larger investments, it could move them to take action.
3. Explain the Importance of Improving User Experience
Customer retention is typically a focus of any organization, so turning the conversation in that direction can be a smart move.
This is especially true if leadership is opposed to a budget shift because funds are being put into customer acquisition or retention programs.
Show them how CRO is all about improving the user experience.
The whole principle of conversion optimization is to make the buy-in process easier for a prospective customer.
You’re improving design elements and adjusting steps to make for a more pleasing and straightforward experience.
When you improve the user experience to boost conversions, the company meets other customer-related goals.
Instead of focusing on a budget boost for your specific department or role, you’re showing a broader business-wide impact.
Here are some of the other benefits of CRO expenditure.
- Cost reduction – By streamlining the conversion process, there are fewer support requests. This load reduction on support staff brings down overhead costs.
- Greater exposure – When you create an enjoyable experience for the customer, they’ll share that experience with their friends and family. Basic word-of-mouth marketing improves your exposure and brand visibility.
- Improved acquisition – A greater investment in CRO means improved conversions, which translates to improved customer acquisition. You see an increase in revenue, new customers, and likely a reduced customer acquisition cost.
The impact on your user experience can be measured through reductions in customer churn as well as with a net promoter score.
Monitor those metrics before and after campaigns for an easy way to sell greater investments in your CRO budget.
4. Show Them Fresh Opportunities in Your Existing Strategy
Leadership is ultimately going to question the need for an expanded budget.
Just showing off current success may not be enough.
When they ask you “why”, be prepared to showcase the areas where conversion optimization has not been implemented.
Remember that they’ve already bought into CRO, and you can use areas where no improvements have been made to show off the contrast of your current campaign successes.
For example; if you’ve been able to boost the conversion of landing pages for specific PPC campaigns with great success, but the vast database of products has not yet been adjusted, this can be shown as a huge opportunity for improvement.
Come ready with a complete list of opportunities and draw the attention of leadership to these gaps in your growth.
By documenting the process, you can present a plan that prioritizes improvements, forecasts outcomes, and projects returns based on successes you’ve already had.
Be sure to focus on revenue gain, not just improved conversion percentages. Percentage increases look good, but when making a presentation using a graphic like the one below it’s not easy to equate a “win” with revenue figure.
5. Present Them With the Revenue Gains
In many cases, companies throw a substantial portion of their marketing budget at customer acquisition through methods like social, PPC, events, or traditional media purchases.
It’s difficult to guarantee or count on a return from those channels because you’re not in complete control of numerous factors.
With conversion optimization, however, you’re working directly on something you have complete control over.
Remind leadership that investing in CRO gives you the ability to spend more time working on tasks that improve the revenue from the current traffic already coming to your website.
You have control over your site, so it’s simply a matter of expanding your efforts to convert people who are already, to some extent at least, prepared to do business with you.
This is the time to show off how even a small change in conversion rates equates to substantial revenue gain.
Take the revenue increase from previous campaigns you’ve run, and stack them up against case studies from other organizations.
Supplement that with financial projections for the campaigns you want to run, with potential revenue lifts as a result of expanding the CRO budget.
6. Just Give Them Data
One of the best ways to get initial buy in from resistant leadership is to simply run a test and show the results.
Obviously, you want to make sure that the results are positive.
Most sane business decision makers act in response to data.
No data is more convincing than that which shows an increase in actual revenue or other critical KPIs.
So if you can run a test, and show results like this, then you’re in good standing.
Tommy Walker, former editor ConversionXL, talks about this in one of his posts as he shares input from Angie Schottmuller.
“I’ve found the best way to introduce the CRO concept, is simply to remove subjectivity by proposing, “let’s test it!”
Most individuals support that approach and are intrigued by leveraging data to drive decisions. Tests with interesting results quickly get management attention, and an addictive demand for more testing invariably follows.”
This is one of the most straightforward counterarguments that can be used for getting a boost to your CRO budget.
State it clearly: “This is what we’ve done so far. These are the results.”
No whining, wheedling, pleading, or tears required.
You should be able to provide proof that your efforts are worth the investment. And with a larger investment you can tackle more campaigns to see even better results.
When you present your arguments for increasing your budget, you won’t always get what you’re asking for. With CRO you take what you can get and work with it.
Start small with the budget you have and keeping racking up small wins.
That’s the great thing about CRO.
It’s one of the best and most straightforward ways to increase revenue without a massive outlay of funds.
In time, those wins will stack, and decision makers in your organization will be more likely to get excited at the idea of more testing and implementation to improve conversions.
About the Author: Daniel Threlfall is an Internet entrepreneur and content marketing strategist. As a writer and marketing strategist, Daniel has helped brands including Merck, Fiji Water, Little Tikes, and MGA Entertainment. Daniel is co-founding Your Success Rocket, a resource for Internet entrepreneurs. He and his wife Keren have four children, and occasionally enjoy adventures in remote corners of the globe (kids included). You can follow Daniel on Twitter or see pictures of his adventures on Instagram.