As an account manager who works with a number of enterprise teams for SiteSpect, I get a unique view into how different organizations set up their testing teams. I’ve seen organizations get it right, I’ve seen teams struggle and adjust, and I’ve been there to ensure that no matter what, they’re set up for success with SiteSpect.
With A/B testing and personalization increasingly recognized as a critical component of improving the user experience, many organizations are restructuring their teams and reallocating resources. While there isn’t one right way to tackle optimization, there are best practices that when followed can be the difference between success and failure. Here is what I’ve learned that will help you on your way to optimization success, no matter your structure.
The most successful departments own testing outright, so they can truly understand the metrics and how they tell a story about the customer experience. If product or marketing teams take on the role as “part time” testers, maximizing the investment in a testing platform and truly optimizing a site becomes difficult.
Each year high level goals should be put in place just like they are in every other department. A sales team might focus on certain accounts they want to acquire, or marketing may focus on penetrating a certain vertical. For a testing team, a big goal may be improving mobile conversion.
Center Of Excellence
Many successful customers collect testing ideas from across the organization that relate to the goals and go through a hypothesis and discovery stage. While the testing team should own optimization and personalization, recruiting ideas from all over the organization leads to the best and most innovative programs.
Once the the discovery phase is complete, prioritizing tests and experiments with KPIs is paramount in helping reach those goals. Sticking with the mobile conversion example, what tests are going to be prioritized to hit that goal? UX, shopping cart, PLP, etc. This stage is where the wheels can start to come off the cart within testing teams. Not having a roadmap is akin to not having a game plan in football and just hoping your hunches are correct.
With any good partnership, collaboration is critical. In our organization we have 11+ years of helping companies optimize their site and a staff of people who are really good at testing. I’ve seen a number of great test ideas come out of a half hour working session per week where both the client and our Optimization Consultant discuss different areas of the site that may need some love. However your team is structured, make sure you’re getting the support and input you need.
I love schedules because they communicate internally what’s coming and allow you to allocate resources (developers) as your tests become more complex. A lack of cross-departmental communication is often the biggest roadblock to optimization.
Even though a roadmap is in place, things can change quickly and testing teams have to adapt. An experiment may produce an unexpected result that requires additional testing that wasn’t on the roadmap and it’s ok to follow this up. A coach may want to run the football as part of the game plan but when the team goes down by two touchdowns, the strategy changes and it’s time to throw the ball deep!
If you encounter any pain points in your optimization work, I hope that you’ll work through this list and use it as a tool to diagnose and cure your pain. If you take the advice, let me know how it goes and share your optimization experiences in the comments!