Can you become a CRO expert in just 6 months?

Chloe O' Keeffe

A phrase you often hear at Conversion is “Testing is at the heart of what we do’’.

In that spirit, the team decided to ‘test’ their first ever Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) training scheme. The ambition is to equip individuals who have no previous CRO experience with the knowledge, skills and practical experience to become a ‘Conversion Consultant’ in just 6 months.

That’s where I come in. I joined Conversion as the first ever Associate Consultant on the training scheme, and over the past three months I’ve been the willing ‘guinea pig’ in this test. I’d like to share my experience to give an idea of what it’s like to join a fast-growing company in a brand new industry, and to learn an entirely new skill set in a relatively short amount of time. I can definitely say it’s been both exciting and rewarding.

The training phase

Throughout the recruitment process I was intrigued by the company, people and job role. A friendly team, great perks and quirky London office – what more could one want from a job? However what excited me most was the challenge of learning how a whole new industry works, while developing a shiny new skill set alongside it.

The 6 week training phase was well planned out from the beginning. Each week focused on a specific learning area such as usability and persuasion theory. I learnt the fundamentals of key insight tools such as Google Analytics, and key skills for conducting user-research such as effective survey design. The weeks were filled with training sessions and relevant practical tasks which helped the information to stick.

I began to look at websites in a completely new way, understanding how they work and why users behave the way they do. On top of this, I had a chance to collaborate with other team members – a huge company value. I joined client calls, meetings and internal ‘kick-offs’ where ideas for testing are discussed. To assess what I had learned, I delivered a mock client presentation to the heads of Strategy and Client Services, nicely bringing the training phase to a close.

Not only was I learning the ropes of CRO – but from my first week I took part in a range of social events – quiz nights, poker evenings and a scary movie “fright night”, to name but a few. I instantly felt encouraged to have fun and get to know my colleagues socially. I also had an amazing opportunity to kick off a monthly presentation group where team members have the chance to practice speaking in public and receive peer feedback. It was refreshing to be given this kind of autonomy and support so early on in my role.

The pod rotations

The next stage of the training scheme was the Pod rotations. I would spend a month in each ‘Pod’ i.e team of Developers, Designers, Consultants and Project Manager, to practically apply my newfound knowledge from training.

In my first Pod, I worked on an insights project for a client in the online health industry, while at the same time embracing ‘Pod Life’ and shadowing a senior consultant. This gave me a realistic view of the Pods – what went on day-to-day and the collaborative nature of the team. I felt my input and skills were truly valued, especially when presenting my insights project back to the team.

In my second and current Pod rotation, my area of focus is the testing process and how we take ideas, driven by insights, and bring them to life. Getting to grips with the Optimizely testing platform, practicing wireframing and learning the basics of coding are just a few of the latest skills I am adding to my CRO toolkit. I’m adjusting to a new way of ‘Pod Life’ and understanding an exciting new set of clients from industries such as online gambling and finance.

Looking towards the future, my third Pod rotation involves working towards pulling everything I’ve learned together to start building long-term optimization strategies for clients. I’ll also progress to take over my first client, build relationships and become responsible for the clients’ insights research, strategy and testing process.

My story to date

After 3 months in the role, how would I sum it up? Did it meet my expectations? Honestly, yes, and so much more. I’ve felt supported, stretched and valued while learning everything there is to know about CRO along the way. I now feel confident evaluating the CRO opportunities for a client by conducting quantitative and qualitative research. I can turn insights into ideas for impactful A/B tests and I’m starting to look at CRO from a more strategic perspective as I gain more experience.

As with any learning curve, at times I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall and just ‘’get’’ a concept or method quicker. But those ‘’Ah-Ha!’’ moments certainly were worthwhile. Although I still have a lot to learn, the main goal to become a Conversion Consultant is getting closer each day. In the meantime I’ll continue developing my skillset in the fast paced, ever changing CRO industry.

If you’re looking to start a career in CRO, head over to our careers page to see our current open positions.

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