Building Your Optimization Technology Stack and CRO Agency Masterclass Review

This article is part 12 of 12 reviewing the CRO Minidegree at the CXL Institute.

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I am super excited to announce that this is the last article in this CXL Institute course review series because *clears throat* Ahm, drum roll, please…

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I have completed and PASSED all 31 courses consisting of 350 lessons and a Final Exam in three months. I am oozing with excitement and proud to say I am officially a part of the top 1%! See my certificate below.

The last two courses in this series are Building Your Optimization Technology Stack taught by Merritt Aho and CRO Agency Masterclass instructed by Peep Laja.

Building Your Optimization Technology Stack

In this brief course, we learn how to map out a plan for obtaining the right technology stack for a business we work for (from the perspective of in-house CRO).

Aho informs us that when we are trying to secure the budget for a technology we should look for opportunities to collaborate with other departments. He even warns that it is not uncommon for vendors to sell the same tech to several departments within the same company, especially at the enterprise level.

CROs can collaborate or crossover their technology stack with the following departments:

  • Design
  • UX
  • Inbound marketing
  • Product development teams
  • IT teams

In this course, Aho also shares some notable tips regarding mistakes to avoid when investing in tools.

Mistakes to Avoid when Investing in Tools

Failing to account for the resources and time necessary for adopting the new tool

Accompany executives to technology salesman

Beware of overlapping products across the organization

Focus on the users who will make the most of the tool

Clearly define your needs to avoid falling for sales pitches

This course was very brief as a result I don’t want to share all the knowledge bling in this course and spoil it for everyone!

CRO Agency Masterclass Review

This course is a little over one hour packed with information for CROs that want to build their own agency…

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He shared several valuable nuggets and knowledge bling about being successful in this space. A few takeaways from this course:


When mapping out pricing, CRO agencies should consider the following:

  • You’re in the margin business, not the volume business.
  • Low pricing works when getting started, but it’s not sustainable
  • Calculate your cost
  • Add margin

Another very common question startup CRO agency asks:

How many client’s can you sustain at one time?

Laja’s response:

One CRO analyst can adequately handle a maximum of 4 to 5 clients at the same time. (This means managing the relationship, digging in the client data and figuring out what’s going on turning data into insights, and so on). So two CRO analysts can handle 8 to 10 clients and so on.

In order to get your foot in the door, Laja recommends offering nibbles, or chunks of one-off services, including:

  • Audits, research
  • Website review/1 hour consultation
  • Redesigns
  • GA/GTM implementation

Do a great job with these services and the client is more likely to become long-term, paying a retainer fee.

Tips for Closing the Sale

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Closing the sale is the lifeline of any business, we are given tips and strategies for walking away with the close.

Zoom is great for closing sales! This is great advice and with the pandemic now it is becoming more and more of reality around the world.

  • Ask ask ask
  • Diagnose the pain, understand goals. Get confirmation.
  • Who else are we up against? Try to find out who your competition is…
  • Highlight your deep expertise
  • Detail your process
  • Mention case studies, share results
  • Uncover FUDs (Fears, Uncertainty, Doubt) Ask: when working with an agency what’s your biggest fear or uncertainties?)
  • Go for the close
  • Money is in the follow-ups (follow- up once a week until you get a yes or a no.)
The art of the sale is in your follow-up game! Image: GIPHY

There was a lot of valuable information shared in this course but I definitely have to save some of the knowledge shared for those that actually enroll!

My Thoughts

Building Your Optimization Technology Stack this course definitely taught me a thing or two but as I mentioned in my last review about Merrit Aho’s previous classes — I’m not crazy about the short chunks of video. I do appreciate the content provided within this course but I do wish that he would have gone a little more in-depth with his tech stack tool recommendations.

CRO Agency Masterclass was a great way to finish the mini-degree program. I really enjoy Peep Laja’s laid-back no B.S. teaching style. There was definitely a lot to learn from this course regardless if you are getting started or repositioning your agency.

The final exam was not 100–250 questions like I imagined it would be in my head! But the questions that were asked I feel are reasonable and a few challenging, but not too challenging if you know what I mean. As I mentioned in the introduction I am now officially a part of the top 1% and I am ready to perform accordingly!

It’s been a very busy three months, but I made it through learning so much more than I already did along the way! I am excited to embark on the CRO journey that lies ahead of me. I am so excited that I can now officially call myself a CXL Certified Conversion Optimizer!

Hard work pays off! It’s official I’m in the top 1% of CROs! — Ashley Neal

If you are thinking about learning from the top 1% of digital marketers in the whole entire world, JUST DO IT! See you at the TOP!

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Check out more of my in-depth reviews of CXL Institute’s CRO Minidegree courses:

  1. Intro to CRO and Best Practices Review
  2. Intro to Conversion Copywriting, Product Messaging, Psychology, and Social Proof Review
  3. Neuromarketing, Emotional Content Strategy, Influence, and Interactive Design Review
  4. Google Analytics for Beginners Review
  5. Landing Page Optimization, Conversion Research and Using Analytics to Find Conversions Review
  6. Google Tag Manager for Beginners, User Research, Fast and Rigorous User Personas Review
  7. Heuristics Analysis Frameworks for CO Audits, Google Analytics Audits, How to Run Tests
  8. Testing Strategies, Statistics for A/B Testing and A/B Testing Mastery Review
  9. Optimizing for B2B, Customer Value Optimization, Digital Psychology, and Behavioral Design Training Review
  10. Advanced Experimentation Analysis and Applied Neuromarketing Review
  11. How to Design, Roll Out, and Scale an Optimization Program; Evangelizing for Optimization in Enterprise Review
  12. Building Your Optimization Technology Stack and CRO Agency Masterclass Review

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