Creating Your Dedicated Optimisation Team

by Andrew Furlong RedEye

Customer Experience Optimisation Is A Team Sport!

As with all successful teams you need talent and ambition to succeed. However, to be really successful, talent and ambition alone won’t quite cut it. When it comes down to small margins, having a clear game plan and learning from experiences along the way is what makes the difference.

Clive Woodward coined the phrase T-Cup (Thinking Clearly under pressure) when coaching the England Rugby team that went on to win the 2003 World Cup. On paper other teams had just as much talent but ultimately England had developed an ability to win. That famous drop goal epitomised T-Cup – most grass roots fly-halves could kick a drop goal from that distance but it was England’s composure as a team, sticking to the game plan, that secured the field position to kick the three points to win the game.

In reality, the glory of the 2003 World Cup was years in the making. Rugby is unique as a sport, requiring a mix of team members with very different attributes. Customer Experience Optimisation is rather similar in this respect. But what is a World Cup winning Optimisation team made up of?

  1. Digital Analyst – brilliantly hands on with a variety of data sets, deriving insight.
  2. UX Specialist – leads qualitative research as well as influencing design and product development projects.
  3. Designer – strong UX and UI capabilities, awesome at bringing ideas to life through great visual designs.
  4. Developer – you need multiple front end and (more and more) back end developers on your team. They need to be adept at working with different code bases to find ‘workarounds’ and be particularly strong with javascript, angular and react to name a few.
  5. Optimisation Manager – responsible for executing a programme of customer experience and conversion rate optimisation, typically this will be running ongoing experiments and personalisation campaigns.
  6. Optimisation Strategist – owns the business objectives, making sure all endeavours are aligned to what the business is trying to achieve through customer experience optimisation.
  7. Optimisation Success Manager – helps the team collaborate with the wider business, expanding the reach and influence of the optimisation strategy across the organisation.

As this graph from the 2018 Optimisation Report shows, companies that establish a team are significantly more likely to be successful than those that take a lone wolf approach.

How many team members you need in which roles, will vary depending on your:

  • Velocity of output
  • Desire to scale
  • Expertise in other teams across the business to adopt optimisation

Every successful team has a coaching and management function supporting them. England Rugby, for example, has a whole host of people that collaborate towards a single vision – help the team win! If your optimisation team isn’t supported by senior managers things will inevitably unravel at some point. Jessica Hayes, Head of Customer Optimisation at The Guardian, put it perfectly in the 2018 Optimisation Report:

“It is essential that the budget holder and the optimisation team have the same agreed-upon success metric that they are working towards. Without this, misalignment in priorities is bound to occur. ” Jessica Hayes, Head of Customer Optimisation, The Guardian

Once you have established your optimisation team and got the support needed from your senior management you need to start testing how your optimisation approach scales. Collaborate with other teams to look at how you enable them and identify bottlenecks in the process as you scale.

It is hard to build an optimisation team with the correct dedicated resource. I often see companies compromising in this area, typically by sharing pooled resource. Unfortunately, this approach seldom yields the success you may be hoping for; make sure you understand what you need to achieve to secure the dedicated resource required.

Finally, be ruthless on delivering that vision.

Discover more from the full Optimisation report here.


CRO Optimisation