We use a 3-step process as part of our Buyer Legends process.
- Eisenberg’s Hierarchy of Optimization
- Scoring Priorities
Of course, you cannot start the 3-step process without first creating actionable personas based on qualitative and quantitative data. Buyer Legends employ storytelling to optimize customer experiences.
Why do we focus on customer experience? We wrote in 2001 that conversion rates are a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. They’re a reflection of your effectiveness at satisfying customers. For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.
The reality is that most companies lose more sales every day than they make. If you are converting less than 15% you need to evaluate what is broken in your customer experience.
Get to the bottom of what is going wrong, and plan to get it right. That is why, hands down, the pre-mortem step is the most impactful step of our Buyer Legends process. In fact, rarely does this exercise fail to produce at least one a-ha moment for our clients. When you imagine the sale is already dead it frees up all the mental energy that you used to try and get the sale and points it at all the potential pitfalls and problems in your experience.
Eisenberg’s Hierarchy of Optimization
After you perform your pre-mortem you will likely end up with a long list of potential proof of Murphy’s law, but not everything on your list is equal. Some thing are worth your effort some are not. In my work with clients we often use Eisenberg’s Hierarchy of Optimization to separate the more pressing issues from the tinier ones.
First sort the list of problems into the follow categories:
- Functional. Does this product/service do what the prospect needs? How easy is it for a prospect to determine this?
- Accessible. Can she access it? What are the barriers to her ability to realize the need? Is it affordable, reasonable, and findable?
- Usable. Is it user-friendly? Are there obstacles?
- Intuitive. Does the sales process/Web site feel intuitive and natural based on her buying preferences? Is she forced to endure unnatural buying modalities to realize her need?
- Persuasive. Does she want it? Does she truly understand if it fills her need or solves her problem? Is her expectation reasonable? Will she be delighted?
Once they are sorted simply work your way up the pyramid. Again, remember not every problem is in search of a solution, and you should focus on the problems that are likely to impact the most customers and problems that you can actually fix. Be practical, don’t get caught up in the problems you can’t fix.
Let’s consider another simple system to enable your organization to prioritize more effectively when planning tests. The system is based on prioritizing all your planned efforts by three factors with a score from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best and 1 being the worse:
- Time – How long will it take to execute a project (a change, a test, or full scale roll-out) until its completion? This includes staff hours/days to execute and the number of calendar days until the project’s impact would be recognized. A score of 5 would be given to a project that takes the minimal amount of time to execute and to realize the impact.
- Impact – The amount of revenue potential (or reduced costs) from the execution of your project. Will the project impact all of your customers or only certain segments? Will it increase conversion rates by 1 percent or by 20 percent? A score of 5 is for projects that have the greatest lift or cost reduction potential.
- Resources – The associated costs (people, tools, space, etc.) needed to execute a project. Keep in mind: No matter how good a project is, it will not succeed if you do not have resources to execute an initiative. A score of 5 is given when resources needed are few and are available for the project.
Next, take each factor and multiply them (don’t add them because these factors are orthogonal) for each project. The best possible score is 125 (5x5x5). Tackle and complete the highest-ranking projects first. Meet weekly with a cross-functional group to evaluate the status of each project. Be prepared to re-prioritize regularly; once a month or at least once a quarter.