Sales

What Is A/B Testing? And Is It The Secret to Sales?

Explore the power of A/B testing in sales! Uncover what A/B testing means and how it can optimise your strategies.

Rory Sadler
September 23, 2023
February 24, 2024
Explore the power of A/B testing in sales! Uncover what A/B testing means and how it can optimise your strategies.
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No marketers or salesperson knows how their latest campaign will go. Whether you've launched a landing page, email newsletter, or call-to-action button, even the experts get it wrong.

Like a comedian refining their act, A/B testing, or split testing, allows you to ditch what people hate and focus on what people click and connect with. It's so powerful some consider it the secret to sales.

At trumpet, we work tirelessly to refine our personalised microsites to guarantee our customers the best conversion rate possible. That means lots of A/B testing. If you're launching a new sales strategy, you should consider split testing to help up your game.

In this guide:

  • A/B Testing Meaning
  • How A/B Testing Works
  • Harnessing A/B Testing For Your Sales
  • Examples of A/B Testing

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is simple: you create two versions of the same campaign, A and B. There's only a subtle difference between each one. For example, a landing page may use a different colour for the call-to-action (CTA) button. You then run these two versions to see which gets the greater reaction – that's the one you pick.

Once you've done one test, you can repeat it again and again, changing a different component each time to gradually optimise your content, website, or sales strategy to its full potential.

Still confused? Let's explore how A/B testing works in detail to ensure you get the most out of this key refinement tool.

How Does A/B Testing Work

To optimise your sales strategy through A/B testing, create two versions of the strategy, tweaking just one element.

Next, present these strategies to two comparable sets of sales prospects and assess which garners more favourable outcomes within an appropriate span (ensuring the duration allows for conclusive insights). You should clearly define your success parameters beforehand, e.g., conversion rate, customer acquisition cost (CAC), or customer quality.

A/B testing empowers sales professionals by letting them gauge the effectiveness of one sales method against another.

Examples of A/B Testing

Example 1:

Suppose you're wondering if initiating your sales pitch with an engaging story would outperform a data-driven introduction.

For such an A/B test, you'd craft two distinct presentations.

The traditional presentation grounded in statistics termed the "control," is version A. On the other hand, Version B, commencing with a story, is the "challenger." You'd then introduce these pitches to two groups of potential clients to identify the more compelling approach.

It would be optimal if each group comprised a similar number of prospects. The desired outcome could be more sign-ups after the pitch.

Example 2:

Imagine you're trying to determine whether a personalised video message as a follow-up after a sales meeting is more effective than a traditional email.

For this A/B test, you'd devise two distinct follow-up methods: The classic email follow-up, recognized as the "control," is version A. Conversely, Version B, which incorporates a personalised video message, is the "challenger."

You would then send these follow-ups to two subsets of clients with whom meetings were held to see which method prompts more interactions or responses. For the most accurate results, both subsets should contain an approximately equal number of clients.

The best result might be a higher rate of scheduled follow-up meetings or more queries about the product.

Pros and Cons of A/B Testing

A/B testing isn't devoid of risks. While it's a core tactic for improving sales and marketing strategies, it's not without its drawbacks.

For instance, you need a reasonable sample size to yield significant results. Running a large-scale test costs money but can also cost you potentially lucrative clients if one-half of the test doesn't go well. Nonetheless, the data you get can help inform your sales strategies for years to come.

Consider these benefits and drawbacks:

Pros:

Data-Driven Decisions

A/B testing provides quantitative data, allowing sales teams to make informed decisions based on actual results rather than intuition or assumptions. This can lead to more predictable and successful outcomes.

Optimised Sales Strategies

By continually testing different sales tactics, teams can refine their approach, ensuring they use the most effective strategies to engage and convert potential clients.

Cost-Effective

Instead of investing heavily in a single, unproven strategy, A/B testing allows for small-scale trials. This means sales teams can avoid costly mistakes and allocate resources more efficiently based on what works.

Enhanced Understanding of Target Audience

Testing different strategies can provide insights into the preferences and pain points of the target audience. This deeper understanding can lead to more personalised and effective sales pitches.

Cons:

Time-Consuming

Setting up, running, and analysing A/B tests can take time, especially if aiming for statistically significant results. This could potentially delay the implementation of new strategies.

Potential for Misinterpretation

If not appropriately conducted, A/B tests can yield misleading results. For example, external factors (like market changes or seasonal influences) could be mistaken for the impact of the tested variable.

Risk of Alienating Prospects

If one of the test strategies is not well-received, there's a risk of losing or alienating potential clients who were exposed to the less effective approach. This can also result in skewed feedback if prospects share negative experiences within their network.

How to Add A/B Testing Into Your Sales Process

Beyond just comparing email subject lines or presentation style, A/B testing should be a core tool to refine your strategy. If integrated correctly, it can rapidly skyrocket your sales, creating a positive feedback cycle of ever-increasing personalisation and segmentation.

Here's how you should embed the tactic into your sales process:

Understand the "Why" Behind A/B Testing

Most sales professionals understand the basics behind A/B testing but overlook the reasons for its necessity. They rely on gut instinct or arrogantly assume they've already locked down the optimal outcome. Appreciating the "why" can:

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement among sales reps.
  • Assist in identifying underlying issues rather than just the superficial ones.
  • Drive home the point that, in sales, intuition can sometimes be misleading.

Advanced Strategies for A/B Testing in Sales

Mastered the basics of A/B testing? It's time to take it up a notch. Trial these strategies to further augment your sales strategy:

Segmentation Testing

Don't just split your audience into two random groups – if you've got a potentially large dataset, segment based on specific criteria like industry, job role, or company size. That can help you uncover the best sales tactics for particular segments.

Sales Script Variations

Sales scripts can get a little monotonous and familiar. Alter the opening line or vary the sales narrative to see what works best. Different storytelling techniques, objection-handling methods, or closing techniques can yield different results.

Follow-up Frequency

Test the number of follow-up calls or emails that optimise conversions. Similarly, experimenting with different communication modes like SMS, video calls, or social media can provide insights.

Training Methods

Onboarding new sales reps is always challenging. Trialling different training methods is a sensible way to get the best out of your new team. Traditional training might work for some, while hands-on, interactive sessions might be more effective for others.

Factors to Ensure Reliable Results

A/B testing is only as effective as the test. Avoid running poor-quality tests by following these techniques:

Feedback Mechanism

Set up channels for prospects and sales reps to provide feedback. Understanding the "why" behind a preference can be as valuable as the preference itself.

Avoid Overlapping Tests

Running multiple A/B tests simultaneously can muddle results. Stick to one test at a time for clear, actionable insights.

Review External Factors

Seasons, industry events, or market shifts can influence sales. Ensure such external factors don't skew your testing results.

Final Thoughts

Maximising your sales strategy's potential means relying on A/B testing. By methodically integrating it into your process, sales professionals skyrocket their success and optimise their performance. Rigorously testing, refining, and optimising every aspect of the sales funnel moves your team closer to the elusive goal of sales perfection.

Let's recap the main points:

  • It's all about creating two versions of a strategy, where only one variable differs, and then measuring which version performs better.
  • From testing sales pitch styles to different follow-up techniques, the opportunities for optimization are vast and varied.
  • While A/B testing offers data-driven decisions and strategic optimization, it also demands time and can occasionally lead to misinterpretations or risks.
  • Beyond the basics, sales teams can explore segmentation testing, sales script variations, and alternative training methods for deeper insights and refinement.

At trumpet, we're specialists in refining and redefining the sales experience. Our personalised microsites are designed to elevate the buyer's experience, helping you sell more, quicker. Want to learn more? Book a demo to get started.