Proven A/B Test Winners for B2B CRO

David Vogelpohl
David Vogelpohl • CMO
July 11th, 2024
Estimated read time: 34 minutes, 55 seconds

The most common examples of successful CRO tactics provided at many conferences tend to focus on B2C ecommerce, but what are the proven winning tactics you can use in your B2B CRO strategy?

In this episode of Growth Stage, we interview Sahil Patel of Spiralyze about his thoughts on: 

  • Special considerations for B2B CRO.
  • The best way to think about your B2B test data approach.
  • Winning strategies Sahil has found helping clients like BambooHR, Okta, and Harvest with their B2B CRO. 

If you’re scratching your head wondering what you’ll test next with your B2B CRO strategy, don’t miss this episode!

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Podcast Full Interview: Video


David Vogelpohl (00:04)

Hello everyone and welcome to the Growth Stage podcast by FastSpring, where we discuss how digital product companies can grow revenue, build meaningful products, and increase the value of their business. I’m your host, David Vogelpohl. I support the digital product community here in my role at FastSpring. And I love to bring the best of the community to you here on Growth Stage. In this episode, we’re talking about a topic that I’m really excited about: proven AB testing winners for B2B CRO, and joining us for that conversation is Mr. Sahil Patel. Sahil, welcome to Fast — I’m sorry, welcome to Growth Stage.

Sahil Patel (00:42)

David, really glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

David Vogelpohl (00:45)

Excellent. Well, thanks for bearing with me while I stumbled over your name there a little bit in the beginning; with a last name like Vogelpohl I should be better at that. But thank you for joining. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And so for those watching and listening, what I wanted to share with you is kind of what we’re going to talk about today, which is Sahil’s thoughts on the special considerations for B2B CRO (what’s different about B2B versus B2C),

Sahil Patel (00:54)

Hey, we’re here. It’s good.

David Vogelpohl (01:12)

the best way to think about your testing data when you’re doing B2B CRO, and winning strategies Sahil has seen with clients like Bamboo, Okta, and Harvest. And so those are some really meaty B2B puzzles, Sahil. And so I’m really curious about what you’ve seen there. So I’m going to kick it off by asking you the first question I’ve asked every guest, which is, what is the first thing you bought online?

Sahil Patel (01:41)

What a great question. I’m gonna age myself a little bit. Probably it was in the 90s.

Buying stuff was not super common…

It probably was some kind of Star Wars related collectible on eBay.

David Vogelpohl (02:04)

Nice, do you still collect Star Wars collectibles?

Sahil Patel (02:08)

I do, yeah, but I have a decent amount. So there’s like a household cap on adding new Star Wars stuff.

David Vogelpohl (02:16)

I like it. I like it. Is it like one in one out the kind of thing at this point or have you hit the cap?

Sahil Patel (02:21)

Well, it’s pretty close. My kids are into it now, which gives me a little bit of leeway, which means I can get things that are for them, but aren’t really for me.

David Vogelpohl (02:32)

Nice, nice. I like it. Well, that’s a great first thing you bought online story. Thanks for sharing.

Sahil Patel (02:37)

What about you, David? What was the first thing you bought online?

David Vogelpohl (02:39)

The first thing I bought online was a product called Zanfel. It was designed, it is still sold today, but it’s a poison ivy cure. So I was at the end of like a three or four day stint of just being miserable with poison ivy. And I Googled a cure for poison ivy. Zanfel came up and it actually did work for me. It doesn’t necessarily work for everybody, but it was like a magic cure for me. So, late nineties. So yeah.

Sahil Patel (03:03)

And when was this? How early days internet was this? Yeah.

David Vogelpohl (03:09)

I might have done something before that, but that was the first one I remember. All right, cool. Well, let’s switch gears a little bit, kind of get get closer to the topic at hand. Could you quickly tell me about what Spiralyze does and what you do there?

Sahil Patel (03:26)

Yeah, thanks. I’m the CEO of Spiralyze. We’re an A-B testing company. There are 34,000 websites that run A-B tests somewhere on their website. We scrape all of them. We find the best A-B tests in the entire internet, then we run those for our clients.

David Vogelpohl (03:43)

Nice. So you’re detecting the sites that are running those tests. And then how do you know the ones that are best from sites you don’t control? I’m just kind of curious about this.

Sahil Patel (03:52)

Yeah, great question. How do we know which ones are best? Because all we can see is that they run a test and which version of the page, the A or the B, they chose at the end of the test. The first thing. No, go ahead, please, David.

David Vogelpohl (04:06)

So you’re, go ahead. I was gonna say, so you basically detect a test that’s happening and then when you figure out which one won in the end, you mark that as like that was the better one.

Sahil Patel (04:18)

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. We’re doing those things digitally, but that’s a really nice way to describe it. If we.

David Vogelpohl (04:20)

very cool.

Nice, nice. I like the very simple explanation I needed to understand sometimes.

Sahil Patel (04:31)

We do this thousands of times a day. So what we’re looking for is not kind of one company running one test. If they do it, so what? It’s an anecdote, I’m not running out, tell them, I gotta say, you should go run this test. But for example, if we see 10 companies all run the same test and they converge on an answer, it’s what we call a proven winner. Those are the kind of tests that we like to run for our clients.

David Vogelpohl (04:59)

Right, because things are so specific to a specific company, I guess. So if you can look at multiple data points across multiple companies and find that common factor, you could identify something that would be, kind of in a sense, universally applicable to lots and lots of companies. Is that the gist?

Sahil Patel (05:15)

That’s right. That’s right. And you don’t have to look far to find one. I’ll give you an example of something that’s actionable for everyone listening at home if they say, well, hey, I’d love to try one of these. What have you learned that I could do right away? A great one to try is to show— But here’s the context. We’re talking about B2B SaaS companies.

And the problem many of them have is go to the home page. They have a picture of a happy person at the top of the page. Marketers call this the hero section of the page. This happy person costs you a ton of conversions. It doesn’t tell you anything about the product. It’s boring. And when someone is looking at your website, they’re there to buy software, which is to be really clear. They’re there to feel good about themselves.

They’re looking for product, and they’re somewhere on their buying journey. Some are early, some are ready to buy. That’s where they are. And the answer is, the A-B test I would run is, instead of showing a picture of a happy person in the variant, I would show a screenshot of your product.

And then run that test. Our data shows that just doing that can get you about 12 % more conversions from your website, from the traffic you already get, which is the beauty of conversion rate optimization, CRO. Take the traffic you already have, you run a split test, and you have the data to show whether it works for you or not. And you’re not blindly copying. You’re running the test. You’re not just doing it. But we’ve now seen this test run hundreds of times and has a high, high likelihood of

outperforming the picture of the happy person, that stock imagery of the person with a nice looking shirt looking or peering at a laptop looking at me. Who are all these happy people, by the way? Like what makes them so happy? I guess it’s better than sad people, but happy people don’t really convert that well. Pictures of your product convert much better.

David Vogelpohl (07:23)

Yeah, this debate actually is raging and FastSpring right now, which is like, okay, do we favor product images or people images and what degrees do we do that? Which one’s in the hero? Which one’s not like that kind of thing.

Sahil Patel (07:35)

And what’s the debate? I love that you’re sharing that, because my guess is people who are listening to this podcast are probably inclined to show the product. They get it. They maybe hear some this, this anecdote for me that there’s data behind it. But the reality, the messy reality is they have to then go convince some people internally. They may not be able to unilaterally run this AB test or just make the change. So what’s that? What’s that debate like internally? What’s the other side for the people that are.

in favor of showing more people on the website.

David Vogelpohl (08:08)

I think it connects to what I’ve seen is a shift in marketers mentality around CRO relative to optimizing favoring for emotion versus optimizing favoring for information. I heard this recently at Winter Games, but folks were talking about like people are there to buy products and features, not necessarily the outcome.

And so the outcome to me is an example of an emotion, right? Rest easy, do good at your job because of our product, hit your targets because we’re going to help you do that versus I need an ad network. I need an analytics platform. And so I think internally, what I think is at the root of the debates and many of these debates I’ve been in in the past is the blend between.

optimizing for emotion versus optimizing for information. So that’s my off the cuff version. How do you think about that, Sahil?

Sahil Patel (09:10)

Well, so first of all, thank you for sharing, because I think this is the messy reality of conversion rate optimization. So we don’t operate in a vacuum of a pristine laboratory where the only thing that matters is there’s a data set that tells us you should run this test. We’re human beings with, we come with baggage, good baggage, bad baggage, prior experience, a perspective.

And changing anything in an organization is hard. You have to do the work of selling it. Here’s a couple of ways I might sell it. One is through an analogy. I think the second is putting yourself in the point of view of your audience. And both of them are helpful. The first one I would say is this is sometimes if you want to actually make an emotional win the argument or persuade people through an emotional argument, I’d say this.

Think about, and I’ll ask David, I’ll post it to you. Let’s pretend that I was on one side of this, you were on the other. And I was saying, we need to show more product. And you’re saying, no, we’re giving you motion. I ask you this. Can you think of the last car commercial you saw? What was it? And I’m asking for real. What was it?

David Vogelpohl (10:25)

You’re asking the wrong person. I probably haven’t seen a commercial in like two years.

Sahil Patel (10:28)

Okay, well, think back two years. What was the last car commercial you saw? Okay, Ford. Can you picture the commercial in your mind? Like what was happening?

David Vogelpohl (10:32)

Let’s just say Ford.

It primarily pictures images of the truck that I saw.

Sahil Patel (10:42)

Yeah, if it was an F -150, it shows the truck driving up a mountain, probably going over some water and rocks. Maybe the people are putting their stuff, their camping gear. There’s probably some emotion. Maybe it shows them doing some happy activity that they’re only able to do because the Ford truck got them there. Fair? Is that?

David Vogelpohl (11:02)

But the person is often obfuscated, which you could argue is like that gives you room to be the person in the truck basically. Yeah.

Sahil Patel (11:10)

Yep, that’s right. That’s right. Now, if you reran that commercial and you digitally erased the truck, just think about what that commercial would look like. What would it be? What would you see?

David Vogelpohl (11:25)

smiling people at the beach enjoying their outcome of a trip and a hard to reach place because they had their trucks, something like that.

Sahil Patel (11:32)

Yeah, and you get the scenery, right? You see the camera panning, the bridge, the rocks, the mountain. Now, the little subtitle at the bottom says, closed course, do not try this at home, would make absolutely no sense. And the commercial wouldn’t work. You’d be like, what is this? Is this for a camping? And the emotion is there, but people buy a car. They buy it for a lot of reasons.

functional reasons, emotional reasons, value reasons. And you don’t know on any one day who is going to watch that commercial, just like you don’t know on any one day who’s coming to your home page. But if you wouldn’t run a car ad, I mean, no one in their right mind would run a car ad without showing the car. I don’t know why anyone would, when you put it that way, would anyone do a home page for a B2B SaaS company, not show the product? So that’s the analogy.

David Vogelpohl (12:26)


Yeah, if I was making a web page for a truck, I’d have a picture of the truck in the hero, not a picture of a smiling person. Yeah.

Sahil Patel (12:34)

There you go. Number two, this is the more, I would say, trying to be a pragmatist. Put yourself in the perspective of the random person that comes to your website. You’ve got about one second to convince them to stay. That’s the job of the hero section of the home page. It’s not to sell the product.

It’s not to explain the value of the product. It’s not even to convince them to read and educate, much less convert. Convert here means they maybe click, see a demo.

just to get them to stay. You’ve got about a second. So it can’t be complicated. It can’t be nuanced. And it has to cut through the noise. Your brain processes images faster than words. If you just ask yourself, does the happy person, which, by the way, could appear on any website on Earth, is it going to convince someone to stay? My guess is that FastSpring, you have competitors. Every company does. It’s got to be something that’s going to be to be

I always assume that they’ve looked at five competitors before they get to my home page. There’s got to be something in under a second that tells them, OK, let’s stay.

David Vogelpohl (13:56)

And this is intuitive and it’s interesting to hear how you’re looking at multiple tests, including those you’re not personally running to determine like who’s running these kinds of tests and what is like this universal signal. And that’s interesting to hear about featuring products over people. To dial it in a little bit on the B2B side of the CRO equation, what does that mean to you? Like, what are you optimizing? What are you trying to drive when you…

run a B2B CRO test?

Sahil Patel (14:27)

What I’m optimizing, great question, is can I get more people from the traffic you already get to turn into a sales prospect?

full stop.

Now, let’s unpack what a sales prospect means. But let’s be real simple, crisp definition. Traffic you already have, get more people to turn into a sales prospect.

Sales prospect if you’re a product -led growth company it can be that sign up for that 10 -day free trial If you’re a sales led company it’s Get a demo talk to sales get a quote some variation of it that’s for your highest intent audience. It’s the most valuable audience. That’s what everyone craves. It’s the hand raisers that go Hey, I may not be ready to buy but I’m ready to move towards the purchase

David Vogelpohl (15:20)


Sahil Patel (15:26)

That’s what I focus on. That’s what most of my clients, that’s where the value is, it’s what moves the needle. If you fully optimize that, then you start moving higher up the funnel for things like downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, reading some content. You should do all those, by the way. But you should start with the highest value, highest intent conversion on your website. And B2B SaaS, it’s a good idea.

Get a demo slash talk to sales or start your free trial. It’s almost always one of those two things.

David Vogelpohl (16:03)

I’m assuming for those metrics you’re excluding disqualifieds and things like that. Like it’s obviously more than just a form fill. When you think of quote prospect.

Sahil Patel (16:09)


Yeah. You should rate your lift based on the quality of the lift. Getting more lift, I don’t want to say it’s easy because nothing in life is easy, but you can do parlor tricks to just get more form fill. Cut out all the fields. Make it a single field. Sure, you should get garbage. You should track first. Did you get more of your traffic to fill out the form fill? Because if you can’t do that, none of the other stuff matters.

David Vogelpohl (16:40)

You didn’t –

Sahil Patel (16:40)

Once you do that, then say how, go ahead, David, sorry, please, you’re about to ask a question.

David Vogelpohl (16:44)

I was going to say what I didn’t hear you say is like your initial thing you’re optimizing for the primary thing is the softer leads, like the webinar, ebook download type stuff. A lot of folks place a lot of value in that one. We’ll even mention that as the primary thing they’ll optimize for, for B2B CRO. Why didn’t that make your cut for your top KPI?

Sahil Patel (17:07)

It doesn’t make my cut for two reasons. I’m going to put my CEO hat on.

I’ve got a revenue and a profit target I gotta hit. That target is on my back and I wake up every day thinking about it.

demo requests, free trial starts, or account sign -ups is what gets me to my target as soon as possible. It’s the highest intent, highest value, closest to revenue conversion you have on your website. Now, if you fully optimize that and you’re hitting diminishing returns on your A-B testing efforts, by all means, work on those softer, lower intent. Use some marketing speak.

top of the funnel or tofu type of leads. Sure, you should do it. I’m not saying there’s not value. You shouldn’t do that. But always, always, always start with your most valuable, highest intent conversion.

David Vogelpohl (18:04)

Yeah, it makes sense. Like they’re the most likely to emerge as pipeline and bookings. And so even if you’re optimizing those top of the funnel leads, you’re trying to get them to spit out the pipeline and bookings eventually. And if you’re putting too much value on the top of the funnel leads, then you may not even be representing real pipeline and bookings basically. Is that kind of the gist of how you think about it?

Sahil Patel (18:29)

100%, 100%. Let’s also go back to something I love that you raised at the beginning, just a few minutes ago, which is you’re having this internal debate about showing the product versus showing the people. I think if you have to sell people on just running the test, then you have to sell them on the outcome. Like here’s the results of the test.

I think if you are a CRO person, whatever your title is or function, you’re an agency or an in -house, you’re VP of digital, you’re an analyst, at some point you have to go to the senior people and say, we ran this test, here’s the outcome. And we got.

20 % more qualified sales leads. I validated them with the sales VP or the chief revenue officer and she’s thrilled.

Her pipeline is bigger, right? Yeah. Now, no, no, no, please go ahead.

David Vogelpohl (19:20)

So validating the quality of those as well. Right, because if I’m, go ahead.

If I’m only optimizing for raw qualified leads, but they don’t, they’re not quality as the sales team sees them. Cause qualified leads typically follow like a data pattern, right? Or a DQ from a rep. But then behind that, there’s still like a quality layer. And so what you’re saying is that by having the sales leaders validate those leads even further, it can help strengthen the case for why you should go with X or Y variant.

Sahil Patel (19:40)

That’s right.

It’s a, I’ve seen it happen and it’s a cautionary tale. You’re someone that works in marketing. You take a victory lap because you had this huge lift and then the sales leader goes, yeah, but they’re sh*t leads.

takes all the air out of the balloon. It’s not a fun moment.

David Vogelpohl (20:14)

Yeah, so take, so.

Yeah, I have fun in those moments because I learned something I learned. We didn’t work so try the next thing, but I know there’s like that sunk cost fallacy thing. People feel like when they spend a bunch of time testing something and it doesn’t work like all my ideas are bad or my execution was bad. Maybe, but like sometimes it just doesn’t work and like knowing that it’s valuable.

Sahil Patel (20:26)

Of course, of course.

So that’s the first thing. The second thing is.

really your sales team, your revenue team, whatever you want to call them, ought to be the biggest proponents of conversion rate optimization for the website. They are the biggest beneficiaries. In fact, they should be not just willing, but asking to ante up and put their budget towards CRO because they’re the main benefits. What salesperson wouldn’t want 20 % more qualified leads inbound?

Now let’s go ahead, please.

David Vogelpohl (21:18)

Yeah, I mean, that makes sense. Yeah.

Sahil Patel (21:23)

If we contrast that with you, I’m going back to the root question. Why do these type of conversions versus webinar signups? Because I think if you go to the sales leader and say, hey, we got you 20 % more webinar signups, I think he or she first goes, well, great, you got me from 30 people on an average webinar to 20 to 25. I’m not super excited about that. Also, if they say, well, what was the quality of that? Well, it’s going to be.

three months because we know from webinar sign up to drip campaign to nurture to sales demo takes three months and we know like one out of 50 actually turn into an opportunity. Just who’s going to get that excited about it? You got to do it. That’s an important part of the equation. It’s just not where I would start.

David Vogelpohl (22:12)

Earlier you said that sales leaders and salespeople should be the biggest advocates of CRO. I can think of a situation where it makes them very nervous and that is where you’re optimizing around lead gen.

Versus self -serve. Like I worked at a company called WP Engine We had like self -serve signups on the website and then like, you know schedule or demo or get a quote for like bigger services and If you want to you’re gonna test the the heartiness of your team start that debate around how you should change your pricing and packaging page with the blend of self -serve versus Lead forms and that the company was great. Everybody worked with is awesome

But obviously, this creates tension. So how do you think about that? How do you think about that blend in a B2B scenario where you have both the PLG self -serve motion and the sales -led motion?

Sahil Patel (23:07)

Ooh, you’re stepping. You’re opening a door. That’s tough to walk through, but it’s a really good one. Glad you asked it.

And let’s just assume for a moment that’s the right strategy for any particular company. You want to offer both. It fits your business model. I think the first thing is, I think you run different tests on both of those. And here’s why. They have very different down funnel conversion rates.

Because what you’re trying to do most of the time with PLG is make it as easy as possible to sign up and then give people really rewarding, fulfilling experience when they’re trialing your product. And industry average, what I read is somewhere between 8%, 10 % of free trials turn into a paying customer. And if you’re in that 15 to 20, you’re an all star. And I’ve seen some companies that are in like 3 % to 5%.

That’s a very different game versus the sales motion, which trying to do is just get people to talk to sales, but you don’t want to waste the sales team’s time. And you want to be a little bit more discerning with, hey, if you’re Sahil’s laundromat, why are you signing up for this enterprise software package? You’re going to waste my sales team’s time. So very different set of tasks. The first one is almost primarily about removing friction, getting people.

into that free trial as quickly as possible. And on the sales motion, I often run tests that are much more about improving the quality of the conversions so that the sales team goes, hey, my dance card is full of great prospects, real prospects. They’re in our ICP. They want to talk to me. They’re the kind of people I want to talk to. They have the headcount. They’ve got the revenue. They’ve got the problems that we can solve for.

David Vogelpohl (25:15)

If you separate your tasks on a page like that, obviously what’s good for self -serve and what’s good for sales assisted could be two totally different things, right? The best thing for sales assisted is to just delete the self -serve tiles. And the best thing for self -service is also to do that. The other way.

Sahil Patel (25:25)


That’s a different strategy. That’s probably outside of CR conversion rate optimization.

David Vogelpohl (25:37)

Well, I mean, I really love extreme examples in business because it shows the tension. And so then obviously the answer is in the middle, right? And so I’m just curious, like if you have seen anything in the clients you’ve worked with or had any observations, it would be helpful about how to think about that tension. Like the way I’ve approached it in the past is, well, look, it’s all a revenue game. How much revenue did the A or the B shoot out? And…

Who cares about the mix of self -serve and sales assisted? So that’s one way I’ve approached it. I’m just curious like how you’ve seen it then.

Sahil Patel (26:15)

Is the question, David, like, how do you decide whether to hide one or the other? I think I lost you there.

David Vogelpohl (26:22)

I think the question is, if you’re a CRO in a scenario where you have both self -serve and sales assisted, what are some ways to deal with your test to get the most value for the company?

Sahil Patel (26:34)

to get the most value for the company.

David Vogelpohl (26:41)

I mean, how do you make the call? How do you know which one won or lost? If you tank the sales team’s leads with a B, that increased the total revenue, do you call that test? Yeah.

Sahil Patel (26:53)

I would. I would. Now, let me say, so let’s take that use case. You run an A-B test, and it shows why you’re getting fewer conversions. The conversions you do get are higher quality. Higher quality mean they fit the ICP, and the sales team says a higher percentage of these are turning into sales accepted or sales qualified leads. I think that’s the scenario you’re talking about. Is that right? Yeah. So first of all, I think most companies will take that all day long.

David Vogelpohl (27:17)

Yeah, basically.

Sahil Patel (27:22)

and I would call it a win.

Now the answer is there’s a trade -off that you have to measure. Is 10 % fewer leads for 10 % more qualified leads better? Most salespeople will take that.

David Vogelpohl (27:40)

What if you got 10 % less everything for sales, but total revenue went up? These are the types of decisions that I feel CROs have to make. And obviously, if you tank the leads for the sales team, that probably means somebody is going to get laid off somewhere along the way. So that’s a bad thing for the business. And then if you increase revenue but decrease the number of people signing up,

Sahil Patel (27:41)

There’s some extreme though that’s not. Go ahead, please.


David Vogelpohl (28:06)

then your total addressable market will start going down. And so these are the pressures I felt in similar roles in the past. I’m just curious, like, if you, how you think about it. We can keep going too. I was just curious.

Sahil Patel (28:16)

That’s a good one. It’s a good one. Here, I’ll answer this one. Let’s keep going. Let’s assume you mean you can actually attribute the change in revenue to that particular AB test. Is that right? That’s what you’re saying? OK. Yeah. I mean, first of all, I would tell everyone to throw just a word of caution. The further you get from the whatever activity you measured in your CRO test, you should take it with a bigger grain of salt. So.

David Vogelpohl (28:28)

Yeah, let’s assume that I get how tricky that yeah.

Sahil Patel (28:46)

you know, the form fill total, I think 100 % attribution, the impact on sales acceptedly pretty strong. Sales qualified lead also pretty strong. Opportunity, yeah, I’d put a lot of stock in that. Now, you know, kind of the value of the deal.

the whether it closed or not and the rate at which it closed, I would want to see a really big effect size before I drew a conclusion. Like a small nudge.

David Vogelpohl (29:15)

And the further you get.

Sahil Patel (29:19)

I would be hesitant to then claim a big conclusion about the impact. Because there’s so many other things that could have affected it. Do a trade show. You got a bunch of better leads. There’s some seasonal affect, all kinds of things.

David Vogelpohl (29:26)

Yeah, that’s a real…

Yeah, it’s a really good point, especially as you get further down the funnel in those metrics. And of course, those metrics get smaller and smaller. So it makes it, yeah.

Sahil Patel (29:44)

Yeah, your n is smaller. Yeah, I mean, a word of gosh, verily is like, don’t take your statistical significance on your conversion, like the form fill, and just assume that that’s true all the way down the funnel. It’s usually not.

David Vogelpohl (30:00)

Yeah, it definitely gets tricky, especially if you have like wildly different pipeline amounts or something per deal, like average deal size is like some whale will come in and you’re like our B1 and you’re like, well, not really. Just look at the op. You just got lucky. Yeah. So,

Sahil Patel (30:12)

is heavily tilted by this one. Yeah. Great point.

David Vogelpohl (30:19)

So that kind of brings up my next question, which what are the benefits or drawbacks of actually using pipeline and bookings? Like if I go to our CEO and ask about some test, he’s always like, well, how much pipeline and bookings sped out the other side of it? And rightfully so. But like, what are some other drawbacks and benefits to using those down funnel metrics?

Sahil Patel (30:38)

Well, I think that the main benefit is it gets the attention of the C -suite and it increases the likelihood that they will invest in CRO activities on an ongoing basis. That’s, I think, the most important thing and the best reason for using what CRO people call down funnel metrics. The impact not just on the form fill, but on sales, qualified lead, activation, account sign -up, whatever those things are, eventually revenue.

And you got to do it, and you should do it, and you shouldn’t shy away from it. I would lead with it, number one. And number two, the more you talk about it, the more you present it, the more space you have to then put caveats and just say, hey, let’s be realistic about what we know and what we think we know is the impact. And some of this is we have to speculate.

or we have to make a lot of assumptions for these realistic assumptions. But I would not shy away from it. When we do, I’ll say when I work with my clients, the impact on pipeline and on revenue is one of the first things we show them.

David Vogelpohl (31:53)

Yeah, it’s so important because there’s the politics of getting your testing invested in, getting the resources you need, the attention you need. And then as you pointed out earlier, kind of selling the results internally. And if your CEO or other leaders are asking about pipeline or bookings, it’s great to lead with that. I like that. Kind of reminds me of the trick of using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to convince your boss your website should be faster. See, Google thinks it’s slow. Yeah.

Sahil Patel (32:19)


It’s good. It’s objective. It’s good. And I think that maybe the lesson learned, the actual insight I would tell everyone is spend a lot of time, maybe more than you think you need to, on testing the assumptions behind your estimated impact of an experiment on pipeline and revenue.

David Vogelpohl (32:44)

So earlier, you had mentioned that in your tests you’ve done and the kind of analysis you do of the 30 ,000 sites doing A-B testing, that product images are beating people images. You tend to. Yeah, I get it’s not absolute. Thank you for that clarification. What are a couple of other winning tactics you’ve detected that people could write down and go try on their own?

Sahil Patel (32:58)

They tend to, yes. They tend to.

Yeah, great question. Let’s do some actionable insights that people can take away. The second one I would do is, this is a great one to do on a home page or a landing page, is a quantitative bold claim headline.

I’ll give you an example. We’re in a client’s landing page, and it said something like this. Next gen.

financial reporting software.

It was just so bland. What does next gen mean? It says what it is. There’s no hook. There’s no benefit. It’s soft. I don’t think it persuades anyone. Just as bad as, you know, the number one financial reporting software. Just number one at what to whom? And no one 10x better than everyone else. No one believes that. It’s just not credible. There’s no benefit.

Now a better headline might be like, close your books 20 % faster than with spreadsheets.

I’m talking about this financial reporting software package. It’s specific, it’s quantitative, and it’s believable because it’s clear it’s 20 % better than what. Maybe it’s 20 % faster than using SAP, if you’re allowed to say it. You may not be allowed to say that. This is a great test to run, one, because it doesn’t require a heavy investment to run the test. You don’t have to do a lot of software development or designers or fancy graphics.

And you can run these tests very quickly at a low cost. Number two, it forces you to really articulate what is the value of our product? What is the hook that gets someone to stop scrolling and say, hey, this is the value to me. It’s not the emotion. It’s the benefit. So that’s number one. Number two.

is go on your website and find anything that’s more than two lines, like two line breaks. Turn it into bullet points. We call that skimmability.

David Vogelpohl (35:26)

is the benefit that you feel there? Like I feel like, I guess you’ve seen this in test results, that there’s different schools of thought on this. One thought is there’s skimmers and there’s readers and long form content is good for the readers and bulleted bold content is good for the skimmers. And there’s tension here too, when you create a landing page, cause you’re like, well, wait a minute, some.

Sahil Patel (35:32)

Mm -hmm.

David Vogelpohl (35:52)

I know our technical buyers, they like to read, you know, things like that. How do you how do you think about that? Like that’s that’s a bold claim even even in and of itself.

Sahil Patel (36:02)

So I’ll put some context around it first. I’m talking about a landing page, a home page, product page, not a blog, which is a blog should feel a little bit more conversational, a little bit more prose. You’re trying to get some people to think. But I think for everything else, home page, pricing page, demo request page, solution page, landing page especially.

No one is reading. Exactly 0 % of your audience wants to read. They’re all skimmers. And if you have any doubt about it, just go to YouTube. Go to TikTok. There’s a place for long -form content. It’s very valuable, high engagement. That’s why they call it long -form content. That is not what people are doing on your website. You’re fooling yourself if you think that’s what people want to do. Now.

David Vogelpohl (36:56)

So it’s.

Sahil Patel (36:56)

If you want to put that, I’ll just add a part. If you want someone to skim, and they like, and they want more, then take them to a place with more detail. Put that below the fold. Find a link. Read more here. You take them to your blog page or your detail page. Yeah, there’s a part of your audience that wants that when they’re ready for it. But don’t start there. No one wants a wall of text.

David Vogelpohl (37:20)

So it seems like you’re kind of positioning, and I’m going to paraphrase a little bit, that your home page and pages like that kind of have two jobs, to give you the gist and to point you in the right direction, where.

Sahil Patel (37:31)

Actually, I might change that a little bit. Your home page is there to get people to stop scrolling.

Full stop.

Once you’ve done that, then you do those other two things.

David Vogelpohl (37:48)

Ooh, I like that variation. And then my other follow -up question real quick on your bold claim one, I thought it was interesting the way you described that, you know, close your books 20 % faster. I feel like most people think of bold claims as like representing their scale, you know, over 2 million businesses trust whoever, you know, like that kind of thing over like an outcome oriented bold stat. Did you choose that example like that on purpose or do you think, okay.

Sahil Patel (38:13)

I did. I did. Bolt claims should be a direct benefit to the user. You then support that claim with the copywriting on the page. One of those points can be social proof.

Our data shows bold claim, especially when it’s quantitative and specific, with support. And one of those support things is social proof, like 2 million happy customers, whatever, quadrant leader according to Gartner, five stars on Capterra. Those help people believe the bold claim. But the reverse is not as effective. If you lead with a,

you know, four stars on Capterra and then the sub bullet is close the books 20 % faster. It doesn’t perform as well. Yeah.

David Vogelpohl (39:05)

It doesn’t make sense as a story, even. Yeah. All right, that’s cool. Last question. If someone wants to get in touch or see what you’re up to, how should they do that?

Sahil Patel (39:17)

The best place is on LinkedIn. I post every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 .30 AM Eastern.

David Vogelpohl (39:25)

Ooh, very scheduled there. I like it. Sounds like you.

Sahil Patel (39:28)

It is, and I try to keep everything short, sweet. You can get something from it in about 60 seconds.

David Vogelpohl (39:37)

Excellent, excellent. Well, thanks so much for joining and sharing today, Sahil. So glad to have you here.

Sahil Patel (39:43)

David, thank you for having me. This is a lot of fun.

David Vogelpohl (39:46)

If you’d like to learn more about what Sahil is up to, you can also visit Thanks everyone for joining us on the Growth Stage Podcast. Again, I’m your host David Vogelpohl. I support the digital product community here at FastSpring, and I love to bring the best of the community to you here on the Growth Stage Podcast. Thanks everybody.

David Vogelpohl

David Vogelpohl

David is the CMO of FastSpring. For 25+ years, David Vogelpohl has led teams building elite engines of growth and software for leading brands like WP Engine, Genesis, AWS, Cloudflare, and more.

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