The Email That Closes Sales On CRO Projects

Closing The Sale

Conversion rate optimization projects need to be sold before any work can begin - obviously. Some time ago we started using the following email template to close sales, which I wanted to share. I think it's successful because it frames the project as an investment within a range of possible outcomes.

Getting To Know The Client

First of all, I should mention that we don't usually fire off a price to a potential client on day one. Instead we ask a series of questions (hopefully like most people) which help us to discover some of the following:

  • Key metrics & how much they are worth to the business (in dollars per month)
  • Current traffic & conversion rates to gauge testing sensitivity (how small of an effect can we detect) & testing velocity (how many tests we can run each month)
  • Testing scope (how many pages are there to test)
  • Targets & timelines (what does success look like and by when does it need to happen)

The Email

Once we have a conversation or two or three, eventually the client will want to know the cost of the project. But what they really want to know (that they rarely say) is an understanding of what they will get in return in dollars. So we tell them exactly that - what kind of a ROI can be expected and at what cost. I should also add that we price our projects with a hybrid model that combines a base monthly fee with a performance bonus (tied to relative effects from actual test results). Here is the email that we send out once we feel that we can offer something of value:

Hi [FIRSTNAME],

Thanks for the call the other day. I wanted to share with you a couple of possible outcome scenarios if we decide to work together. I'm proposing to go with a 4 month term at $4k per month with a $600 per 1% bonus, that would cost $16k for 4 months as the base price.

Scenario 1: No Wins (unlikely based on our track record)
Loss of $16k with learning potential from insignificant and losing tests

Scenario 2: +10% [METRIC]
Cost of $16k + $6k performance fees = $22k total cost.
Given your $60k Monthly Revenue, you would recoup the investment in less than 3 months (by raising your MRR to $66k)

Scenario 3: +20% [METRIC]
Cost of $16k + $12k performance fees = $28k total cost.
Given your $60k Monthly Revenue, you would recoup the investment in less than 2.5 months (by raising your MRR to $72k)

Scenario 4: +30% [METRIC]
Cost of $16k + $18k performance fees = $34k total cost.
Given your $60k Monthly Revenue, you would recoup the investment in less than 2 months (by raising your MRR to $78k)

Overall I feel that that there is an upside and the numbers are on our side to move forward with this.

Let me know if this helps you to understand the optimization investment and when you are ready to decide.

Waiting to hear back & looking forward to working together.

Best,
Jakub

Authenticity

The email above actually closed a number of sales for us and one of the reasons why it might have done so is its authenticity. What I mean by that is that when we do CRO work we cannot guarantee results - and we admit that. Since we're dealing with uncertainty we can only communicate probable results that range from 0% and upwards (usually upwards). We might have a track record that gives us confidence that we'll deliver positive outcomes, but we clearly admit the slight possibility of ending on a 0% effect outcome - at which we tag the project at a possible loss. This frames the project as an investment and clients like this honesty. Honesty is a building block of relationships.

ROI Duration

The other possible reason why the above email works is because it shows to the client by when the work will pay for itself. Knowing the business value of each metric (shown in monthly revenue) we can easily calculate when the total cost will be recouped. And what we want to convey is that the higher results we deliver, although the cost increases (due to performance bonuses), the recoup duration gets shorter (from 3, to 2.5, to 2 months, and so on). This gives both of us a clear green light and incentive to score as high gains as possible.

Performance Element & Risk Sharing

Finally, we often hear from clients that they like seeing our hybrid performance based pricing where we take on some of the risk. Although we never take on 100% of the risk (since we charge monthly fees as well), clients do like the element of having us equally invested (we like it too).

What worked for you?

Share your thoughts and experience around what helped you close projects (CRO projects).




Comments

  • Emils

    Emils 2 years ago 00

    This seems great and makes a lot of sense but it can also cause problems and a conflict with the client.

    How do you measure the real uplift? Is it just based on test results? If so, how do you communicate confidence interval/margin of error to a client?

    The 20% lift can turn out to be just a 10 - 15% lift after one month (or worse, a false positive especially if you just ran one or two tests)

    What do you do then?

    And if there is a 20% lift, the client might believe that's it's not only because of the work you did but also something they did ( e.g. a new campaign) so they can't attribute the whole 20% lift to you.

    It's very hard to prove the exact ROI.

    • Jakub Linowski

      Jakub Linowski 2 years ago 10

      Hey Emils, thanks for raising the concern. The short answer is to always be transparent on the effect and communicate it as a range. When we talk about a test effect we always let the client that know it can be +20% with ±10% for example. At which point, we both decide if we run it longer for more confidence (delaying other tests) or call it done (in the interest of time). Stopping is often a mutual decision.

      Another way of dealing with this problem is to take on lower performance fees (and higher base fees) on sites that are more prone do delivering results with wide margins of error (lower traffic/conversions sites). For example, for sites that have fewer than 500 conversions per month, we usually won't do any performance fees. This way, we avoid the amount of uncertainty in the fee itself.

      Finally, this problem of measuring "real" uplift isn't just present when charging for performance. It's an everyday problem for anyone who deals with uncertainty, statistics, and makes decisions based on test results. You're still responsible for communicating clearly however you get paid.

  • andyedge

    andyedge 2 years ago 00

    Nice Work Jakub! love how clearly you stated the scenarios. It shows great transparency and emphases the upside of the ROI in the final point. Nice progression. Being a visual guy I can see this in a cool infographic or bar chart.

  • Danny

    Danny 2 years ago 00

    Nice! It's a very good way to present the offer. With some metrics and somme $ to figure it out.

  • Danny

    Danny 2 years ago 20

    Love this! I had been pondering the ideas for awhile now but couldn't quite verbalize them into practical terms so easy to understand. Thanks again guys! Please keep this stuff coming. Been a subscriber for years now and have NEVER regretted clicking that subscribe button :)