Blog /Optimization

Testing Mind Map Series: How to Think Like a CRO Pro (Part 2)

06th Sep 2021 –

Interview with Haley Carpenter of Speero

CRO is a process with many moving parts and each of those components needs to be expertly managed in order for the whole system to work. One essential component? Your mindset! You’ve learned all about CRO best practices from blogs, articles, videos – but you’re still not sure what’s missing from your approach.

Luckily, we have just the solution: The Testing Mind Map Series.

The series is grounded in the idea that there’s always more to learn and it provides a new framework for thinking about CRO.

Make sure you know what good looks like by learning from the best of the best in the industry.

In the second installment of the series, we talked to Haley Carpenter, Senior Customer Experience (CX) Strategist at Speero.

Q1: Haley, tell us about yourself. What inspired you to get into testing & optimization?

I have a wide range of experience from user research to building and running experimentation programs. I am passionate about helping clients break down complex problems and find where the biggest opportunities lie.

I got into the industry as an Executive Administrative Assistant at a PPC agency. I wanted to move into a client-facing role and didn’t like PPC but thought CRO sounded fascinating. I started as a “CRO Coordinator” and grew my career from there. Once I felt like it was time for a new challenge, I got a job at Speero as a Strategist (but worked up the ladder here too).

CRO initially caught my attention because of the mix of analytical and creative work. It’s a dream job that I didn’t know existed until I sort of wandered into it.

Q2: How many years have you been optimizing for? What’s the one resource you recommend to aspiring testers & optimizers?

I’m going on four years in the industry. You must absolutely do some CXL courses. I’m not even aiming to promote them just because they’re a sister company. They are truly the best around.

Also, you must read. Read. Read. Read. Anything and everything you can get your hands on that would be relevant to the job in some way. It’s such a multidisciplinary field. Learning should never end.

Q3: Answer in 5 words or less: What is the discipline of optimization to you?

Learning and generating more revenue.

Q4: What are the top 3 things people MUST understand before they start optimizing?  

  1. You actually have to care about this work to survive and do it well.
  2. You have to be obsessed with processes, not just outcomes.
  3. Details are critical.

Q5: How do you treat qualitative & quantitative data so it can tell you an unbiased story?

Constantly remind yourself that we all have biases. Know that it is your job to report as truthfully and accurately as possible. Integrity is a key value to hold high.

Also, double-check your work or have someone else review it if you’re unsure of something. A second pair of eyes can be extremely beneficial sometimes, especially if you’ve been staring at something for hours, days, or weeks.

I once took an anthropology course where we had to transcribe recordings. The professor stressed that it was of the utmost importance to keep the transcriptions true to the person who spoke the words. We were not even to do something as little as cut one two-letter word or correct a small grammatical error. I’ve held this lesson with me to this day and I apply it to data analysis… especially user testing recordings. It’s important to keep your analysis as true to the original data as possible.

Q6: What kind of learning program have you set up for your optimization team? And why did you take this specific approach?

Luckily, all Speero employees have full access to CXL. We direct all employees to take courses there depending on their skill set.

We also have weekly team sessions for things like heuristic reviews, project work discussions, lunch and learns, etc. Those are great for OJT training.

Of course, we sprinkle in training from outside vendors, book clubs, in-person meetups, etc. as well to mix it up.

Q7: What is the most annoying optimization myth you wish would go away?

Honestly, my dad still conflates my job with IT and thinks I work in the IT industry… and tells others that.

For those of you who are looking for some inspiration, download a copy of the interview with this awesome infographic below. Put it in a swipe file to use later when you need some ideas to inspire your next test.

One of the most overlooked aspects of CRO is the importance of having the right testing mindset. If your mindset isn’t in the right place, then no amount of testing tools or data will make a difference.

A CRO expert can help guide your conversion strategy in the right direction and Haley does an excellent job explaining why that’s important when it comes to strategies that work!

Which piece of advice resonated with you most?

Be sure to stay tuned for our next interview with a CRO expert who takes us through even more advanced strategies! And if you haven’t already, check out our interview with Gursimran Gujral of OptiPhoenix!

Originally published September 06, 2021 - Updated September 09, 2021

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