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This is a guest post from Matt Lacey, the Head of optimization at PRWD, a UK-based agency focused on conversion optimization.

Conversion optimization is one of the most impactful strategies marketers can employ to drive substantial growth of a business. Despite this, convincing senior management of a new strategic and ongoing process is often more challenging than it should be.

The battle is underway, though. optimization advocates and marketers are in the fight to make optimization a major line item in their annual budget. In this post, we provide tactical takeaways to help you sell CRO to your boss.

1. Identify who you need to convince.

While buy-in from the budget holder is crucial, it’s not just your boss you’ll need to convince if you want success. When implementing an optimization strategy, multiple departments across your business will need to be on board with the process and data driven approach.

One way we’ve helped clients achieve this is by holding workshops with people across the business from call centre staff to CMO. Start off by ensuring everyone is on the same page, understands how they will contribute, and deal with any questions right at the start. From there we present customer research and run collaborative sketching sessions. This shows the process we go through once we’ve developed a data based hypothesis and gets everyone involved in finding a solution which will go into testing.

Another tip is to add an element of competition. Offer a prize for the person who suggested an idea which had the biggest increase in conversion. A previous client had a scoreboard up in the office and it created a great sense of shared responsibility in not only the process but in the results and learnings. Try holding a full or half-day testing hackathon to create collaboration across the entire company and generate a long list of ideas.

2. Let the numbers do the talking.

What impact would a 3% increase in conversion rate have on your revenue? What’s the value of opening one new store vs a 2.5% increase in conversion through your sales funnel? What would it mean to your business to reduce returns by 4%? Use real numbers and metrics that your business is familiar with.

Another persuasive technique is to present case studies of similar businesses who have used optimization to change their business;

“Agencies will have case studies of similar companies who have had huge success through CRO,” said Niamh Taylor, Head of Group Marketing at Sliderobes, a leading Ireland-based furniture retailer. “These case studies and the supporting data-driven results are crucial to selling the concept of CRO to your organization,” 

3. Start small.

People make snap decisions about everything in life, from whether they like someone or not in the first few seconds of meeting, to impulse buying (this fact alone should strengthen your case for a data-driven approach!). The same will be true on the perceived success of an optimization programme early on. Our top tip here is to start with some quick win, iterative tests to get insights and results early on. From call to action changes to simple layout changes which you are able to make with the testing tool, start with something simple. This allows you to iron out your process and get some early wins (and support) while you build up to larger, more innovative tests.

4. Highlight the missed opportunity.

One of the best ways to gain buy-in is to highlight the lost opportunity from not doing CRO. From losing market share, falling behind competitors in terms of product or service innovations (discovered through research and testing), to losing revenue through bad decision-making. Highlighting the prospect of ‘missed opportunities’ to your management team is one way to spur action.

5. Speak with confidence.

If you present yourself assuredly that CRO is a necessity, then people will have more confidence in it. Don’t be hesitant; let management know that CRO is the biggest growth lever at their disposal and that their business needs it. Go in armed with data that shows the impact of your conversion optimization efforts.