Why is it that every time a company needs to increase conversions, they immediately start tampering with the product, website, or marketing strategy? We see this the most with SaaS startups. Investors aren’t happy with revenue one month, so everyone stops what they’re doing so they can “optimize the customer journey for increased sales.”
This sounds like a reasonable approach to solving a conversion problem, and sometimes it is. However, it can throw off other important projects and goals, creating an overwhelming backlog and consequently, a stressed team. Sound familiar?
It can also create an imbalance among teams. While Product is making changes to increase conversions, Marketing is charging forward on a campaign for a new feature that Product is now behind on. All due to the impulsive shift in priorities.
It’s a band-aid approach. A short-term fix to something larger, more impactful happening.
A conversion problem isn’t always a product problem, sometimes it’s a management problem.
Here are changes you can make as a manager to have everyone on your team (not just product) working towards (and maybe even excited about) optimized conversion rates.
1. Prioritize people over product
You manage people who control the product, not the other way around.
Sometimes when solving a problem, we become enamored with our product and its role in the customer experience. We forget to start with the people rather than the product.
You may think you know what changes need to be made to your product, but your team likely has better ideas and deeper insights. They’re in the trenches working on it every day. For them to bring those ideas forward, your team needs to be empowered and armed with the relevant data to solve the problem.
When you’re optimizing conversions, take a big step back and look at the foundation of your business: the people. Specifically, how you manage those people—what and how you communicate with them. How you design the flow of communications within the team will have a direct impact on how motivated your team is to streamline your conversion funnel.
The more data your team has, the more creatively they’ll be able to solve problems. Throughout this post, I’ll walk you through the communication design process from defining your key metrics to communicating your data in an actionable way. First, here’s a very basic breakdown of what that might look like:
2. Create a data-driven culture
A recent survey we conducted found that only 10% of employees are aware of company progress in real-time. That means 90% of employees are flying blind to company performance. They’re given work without knowing its purpose. Their only motivation is to get paid. They’re not motivated to stick around, let alone work hard to generate value for the business or to go the extra mile to increase conversion rates.
Your team will only rally around a problem if you share with them the information and data they need to do so. The survey also revealed that more than four out of five employees want bosses to share more information about the business, and 75% of employees don’t trust bosses who fail to share company data.
Over 25% of employees believe a lack of information stems from bosses playing power games. Nine in ten employees prefer to “hear the news”—positive or negative—than be kept in the dark.
If you want to create team buy-in and build a collaborative culture around mutual goals, you have to share key business metrics. The trick is knowing which metrics to share and how to communicate them.
3. Define key metrics for your team
Some startups share all business information with their teams and even the public. Buffer is a prime example. Check out their Open Blog—they publicly share salaries, equity equation, retreat budgets, and more.
If that terrifies you, it’s ok. There’s a happy medium.
Sharing every single data point you use to track the health of your business could get messy. Instead, share the information that has the greatest impact on the business with your entire team. Let each team member know how they can move the meter so to say and contribute to better conversions and a more profitable business.
To determine what your impactful metrics are, start by defining your company’s goals and assigning KPIs to each. If your quarterly goal is to grow revenue 5% MoM, your KPIs could be user growth, decreased churn, upgrades, trial conversions, etc.
Identify how each department will help impact those with their own goals and KPIs. For example, the KPIs for your marketing team might be website visits, blog conversions, webinar signups, social growth, social ad conversions. A marketing dashboard might look something like this:
Many companies will make department-specific metrics available team-wide to add a layer of transparency and build an environment of teamwork. It’s crucial, however, to keep the overarching business metrics front and center for everyone to see.
4. Communicate your data to spark action
How you communicate key information to your team is just as important as the metrics themselves. Randomly dumping a bunch of Excel data in your team’s inboxes is not an effective way to communicate the health of your company’s performance. Even if they understand what they’re looking at, many might not know what to do with it.
Your metrics need to spark action.
Put a TV or screen on the wall with a dashboard tracking the business KPIs so they’re always visible. That way, there’s no ambiguity around goals.
When designing your dashboard or deciding what metrics to share with the team, keep your KPIs simple and consistent. Your team should be able to glance at the dashboard, understand what the numbers mean, and quickly identify what problem or opportunity needs to be acted on. Visualization goes a long way.
For example, instead of a messy spreadsheet, share a line graph visualizing weekly revenue with only two to three impactful colors. With line graphs, the team can see their results in a quick and simple way. An upward or downward trending line accurately depicts the health of the business and what needs to be done to reach the company’s goals.
When setting individual team member’s goals and results, I’m a big fan of OKRs (Objectives & Key Results). Basically, OKRs take a goal and make it actionable by adding a quantifiable metric to it, much like we did above with the marketing example but with numbers. OKRs clearly lay out what everyone is working towards. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase customer happiness, then its key result could be to increase NPS score by 7%.
Your OKRs should be obtainable, but challenging. They should be stretch goals.
Setting OKRs should be a collaborative process. Have department leaders conduct meetings with each team member to define OKRs together based on past performance and company goals. You’re much more likely to achieve team buy-in and motivation this way.
A Bonus Tip
Results.com has a wonderful webinar that’s been uploaded to YouTube. It goes over the importance of company alignment and has some great case studies of companies that have seen amazing lifts in growth by implementing similar tips. Watch it here:
More than half of the employees who participated in our survey said there was a significant positive impact on their productivity when bosses openly shared information.
In order to grow a team working towards the shared goal of increased conversions, be transparent and open to sharing business metrics. The more they know, the more they will step up to help reach the company’s goals.
Make tracking metrics fun for the team. Consider gamifying metrics by creating a challenge or leaderboard displaying who is having the biggest impact on KPIs.
No matter how you increase employee interest, keep metrics front and center. The result will be a motivated and collaborative team. Oh, and an increased conversion rate, which is the goal you started with, right?
About the Author: Paul Joyce is the Founder & CEO of Geckoboard, a TV dashboard application that makes your most useful data available and understandable to drive focus and growth.