Structure a CRO team

1. Choose between a centralized team with a manager with plenty of resources, or a decentralized optimization team where different business teams are staffing and managing the CRO function individually.

Set your centralized CRO team as an internal digital agency working with stakeholders across the business. They will provide both leadership in CRO, as well as supporting other teams. Introduce a technology platform for the decentralized team, which can be managed by one central team, whereas the usage of technology and the practice of CRO remains distributed among all team groups. For example, SaaS companies with large development teams are more common to adopt a decentralized team that moves at their own pace and operates outside the marketing function.

2. Hire staff with expertise in multiple disciplines to create an effective cross-functional team.

Hire people that can support the team with technical expertise, such as a JavaScript developer, an analyst, usability and behavioral science researcher, and a graphic or UX designer. Hire someone who understands the business, the customer, and the brand, and someone who has a good sense of strategy and could help the strategic orientation of the team.

3. Start building the team by hiring someone who is an excellent strategist and who also has familiarity with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Alternatively, if you are without time pressure to create a team, hire someone with 3-5 years of CRO experience to be a founding member of the team. Finding someone with this requirement may take several months up to a year. Or start with an agency and put someone less experienced in charge of the engagement to learn from the pros. Monitor this individual to see if they establish sustainable practices related to the job role, demonstrate the high ROI of the function, and partner up with other internal resources like designers, developers, and analysts.

4. Set the order of how you make the next hires into the team. For example, with a full-time developer and one person steering the ship, the next hires will be an analyst or researcher, followed by a dedicated designer and internal copywriter.

Look for a developer who is flexible and who preferably has experience in CRO. Having an experienced developer on the team can make a huge difference.

5. Use a project manager to keep the core team aligned and organized, and to secure team resources.

Hire a good project manager and use them to ensure your team has enough resources, is not overwhelmed by task-switching, and can readily accept new team members as needed. Use the project manager to document processes, keep things organized, and set priorities for operations.

6. Scale up your team with more specialized hires such as behavioral scientists or a data scientist, after you build your core team.

Expand the core team, CRO strategist, developer, analyst, and designer, based on company needs and broader organizational goals. For example, the core team may benefit from having an internal copywriter. Or perhaps a UX researcher is needed to dive more deeply into consumer behavior.

7. Set a steady stream of budget for raises and promotions, and provide CRO team members with opportunities to network and educate such as conferences and training related to their jobs, in order to retain talent in a competitive market.

Incentivize personnel with raises and promotions in a job market where salaries can range up to $150k, or even higher for senior individual contributors, and where there have plenty of other job opportunities. Send people to different conferences and learning events across the US and Europe that offer individuals great opportunities to learn and network with peers. Invest in employee training and education as people in the CRO space need opportunities to learn from others in their industry and since expanding their skills can be continuously challenged.