The power of CRO mentorship with Tracy Laranjo

AI-Generated Summary

Fractional Head of CRO, Tracy Laranjo talks about the power of Mentorship for Conversion Rate Optimizers (CROs). We cover: Why would CROs need mentorship? How do you find one? When are you ready to be a mentor and how do you get that word out? Would Tracy be a mentor for our listeners?


AI-Generated Transcript

Tracy Laranjo 0:00
You’re less likely to end up with a mentor if you kind of come in hot and just like cold outreach on LinkedIn and be like, Hey, I’m looking for a mentor. You really have to set that intention of what you want to get out of the relationship and then also be clear on what you can give to your mentor.

Rommil Santiago 0:23
Hi, this is Rommil Santiago founder experiment nation and today we have a special episode. Today’s episode we interview Tracy Lorenzo, not only issue of fractional head of CRO, but she’s also a host of this podcast. Today we talked about zero mentorship. Why would you need a zero mentor? How can you find one? And how can you have Tracy as your mentor? We hope you enjoyed the episode. Welcome everyone to another episode of experiment nation. I am your host Romo. Santiago and with me today is someone you might recognize from previous episodes. Her name is Tracy, but I’ll let her introduce herself.

Tracy Laranjo 0:55
Yes, I I’m Tracy, you might recognize me from the other side of the microphone on this podcast. Yeah, and you already put the tables a lot. Exactly. Yeah, we got to switch it up. So it’s, it’s a lot of fun being here. I’m excited. And rawmill I think this is gonna be a special topic, at least, I’m feeling it’s gonna be a special topic. Story to get into.

Rommil Santiago 1:23
So how does it feel being on this side for once? It’s,

Tracy Laranjo 1:25
I mean, it’s a lot more pressure to deliver something fun and insightful. Usually I just ask a bunch of stupid questions and get great answers. So I help with questions you can.

Rommil Santiago 1:42
I think a lot of people don’t. As I as I’ve done this, I feel like there’s a different kind of pressure being on both sides of the mic. I think on your side, you’re like, I don’t know what Ron was going to ask. And I could come from any direction. You hope you don’t feel stupid. And then when you’re when you’re on the other side, it’s like, how can I keep continues this, continue this momentum and make it interesting. And also make sure all the things are recording and, and all that.

Tracy Laranjo 2:07
It’s a different kind of pressure. But I think regardless of which seat you’re in, I always end up later on in the day being like, Why did I say that? Or why didn’t I ask that? Yeah, so that’s gonna be universal. But I’m happy to be on this side of the mic.

Rommil Santiago 2:22
So last time, we talked at least on air, or when you were when a lot of things have changed in your world. I’d love to hear a little bit about what you’ve been up to, and maybe tell our listeners,

Tracy Laranjo 2:35
yes, so I not sure when was the last time I was on the podcast or sometime last year. In all of the shuffle of the world and everything I decided, hey, I’m gonna ruin my life, and I’m gonna become self employed. And I love it. I am a CRO strategist for CRO agencies. And also some in house brands will hire me on to work with their team to build their first CRO programs. So I love it. I love being self employed. And I’ve met with a lot of other experimenters in the community who also made that leap last year. It’s really hard. And I don’t know if you saw my LinkedIn posts the other day, but I truly I halved my income instantly by becoming self employed. But it was so worth it just having that. Well, it’s how for know how for now Yeah, half for now. It’s still year one. But it’s brought me back some work life balance. It’s brought control over who I work with, and the outcomes of my work. And I just love it. So

Rommil Santiago 3:50
my life, I think you’re selling yourself a little bit short there. I think I know, fairly well. And I know you’re very least very selective about who you work with ensuring that that the stuff that you can your your strengths align with the client, and that you can deliver value for them. So you’re not taking every client. So I mean, if you wanted to not be half you could but you know, exactly out there, you know,

Tracy Laranjo 4:16
and this is actually totally relevant to our topic for today. I often have to get a read on if I’m over undercharging, my clients and spoiler alert, I’m usually under charging. So literally every time I’m about to send a proposal, I go to you and I’m like Rommel is this is too expensive and your every time like, raise your rate raise your rate and my life. I hardly

Rommil Santiago 4:47
read those messages and I just default.

Tracy Laranjo 4:51
Of course we don’t talk all day every day. Yeah.

Rommil Santiago 4:55
Well, I mean, I think there’s a there’s a hesitancy of Have a lot of folks who like me, if I overcharge them, they won’t go with me. But they might say, Oh, that’s a bit high. And it’s an opportunity to either justify your cost or come down if you want to or not. It’s not the end of the world they’re not going to go you know, we had all these conversations with you and want to engage with you. Oh, you’re too expensive. We’re out of here. You just gone too far down that path. You have a few moments to start with it’s the same thing with contract negotiations whatever you’ve gotten far enough.

Tracy Laranjo 5:24
You can always go down but you can’t go up. Yeah,

Rommil Santiago 5:29
it’s up for you agree on a certain price. You know what I’m gonna double down on you know, they don’t. Okay, so this is Rama Santiago from experiment nation. Every week we share interviews with and conference sessions by our favorite conversion rate optimizers from around the world. So if you liked this video, smash that like button and consider subscribing, it helps us a bunch. Now back to the episode. Today’s topic, we’re going to talk about CRO mentorship. Actually, that was a really great segue. I think the first question is, why do you think CROs are new experiments? experimenters need mentorship, considering there’s so many so much material out there in the world? There’s blogs, there’s courses, whatever, what have you? Why do you think CRO mentorship is still important today?

Tracy Laranjo 6:15
I think there are so many reasons. And speaking as someone who has a mentor, it’s you. Surprise, surprise. It’s completely changed my career path and trajectory. I believe like, I credit. The fact that I have as a mentor as part of the reasons why I was able to upskill and CRO so quickly. Like I’ve been in the space for three years. I’ve done all the courses, I’ve done all the books, but sometimes you run into a challenge, right on the job. And a Google search is not necessarily going to be able to answer that for you. For

Rommil Santiago 6:55
example, your or AI is not going to solve that. Yeah. Ask

Tracy Laranjo 6:59
Enzo, on experiment nations website, the chat bot. Yeah, I mean, it’s different having someone who’s been there before, many times before you to be able to tell you how they would approach this challenge. So if I’m dealing with a stakeholder who’s a pain in the ass, like to be able to have you tell me either go in with curiosity or challenge me to take a different approach than I my gut wants me to, that is so helpful. So the upskilling the ability to ask stupid questions, or run stupid ideas by you, and get a read from someone who’s been there before. That’s invaluable. No chat bot, or book or course is going to do that for you. So there’s that piece. But then there’s a lot of other intangibles that have at least come my way from having a mentor. The big things are, you know, I, I’m fortunate that you refer me to work and you’ve been a reference for me before. So it helps with my own credibility as a CRO practitioner, I would assume you wouldn’t want to mentor someone who sucks at CRO or who doesn’t have the willingness to be good at it. So I

Rommil Santiago 8:20
always like to challenge number two.

Tracy Laranjo 8:23
I like people need that people need to be challenged, and you’re not going to be good at something. If you surround yourself with people who are worse than you at it. You have to surround yourself with people who are better than you at it. And I strongly believe that

Rommil Santiago 8:37
and then realize that it’s awkward because I’m interviewing you, but you’re not the only person that you’re going to if you have a few people that you’re able to bounce ideas. And that’s that’s also important, I feel.

Tracy Laranjo 8:48
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s another thing, which is you don’t need to have one mentor, you can have different mentors for different things. So I have a self employment mentor, I actually I’ve several self employment mentors. These are people who run their own agencies or freelance businesses. I have you my CRO and experimentation mentor. So I think it’s worth assessing what is what do you want to get out of your mentorship experience as a mentee and looking already inside your network and being like, who in my network? Do I already have a great rapport with and would be a helpful resource for this very specific thing that I want to improve on? Actually,

Rommil Santiago 9:33
that’s, that’s a great segue into the next topic is like, how do you find one? You know, it sounds like you have things you want to improve and or at least a rough idea, but you don’t know everything? You don’t know what you don’t know. So one how do you find one and how do you arrange for this? Because it’s kind of like it’s not everyone. Not everyone I know has a mentor. And I’m even fewer of them actually have an approach approach to asking for mentorship. So how do you do it? And what what ways don’t work? Yeah.

Tracy Laranjo 10:05
So all of my mentor mentee relationships are, they just happen, they happen naturally, it’ll be a matter of you know, I met this person, and we’re constantly bouncing thoughts and ideas off of each other, and it just becomes what it is. So I’ve never really gone out of my way to secure a mentor. But there are a lot of different ways that you can do it. And just think one of the big things is being clear on do you want to mentor? Or do you want to coach? Because those are two very different things.

Rommil Santiago 10:43
Let’s hear more about well, how are the different? What’s the difference between Yeah.

Tracy Laranjo 10:47
So to me, a coach is a little bit more performance based, they’re going to be laser focused on your performance, where a mentor is there to guide and support you through your challenges. And also with a coaching relationship, more often than not, the coach is going to be driving that relationship. Whereas in a mentorship relationship, your mentee is going to be driving that relationship. Yeah. And I also find that coaching is a lot more specified on specific outcomes and tasks and work. Whereas, you know, a mentor mentee relationship is kind of freestyle.

Rommil Santiago 11:32
I, I’ve mentored a few people in the past, and I think it’s one of the nice things to bring up is specifically what you’re looking for. I think that helps. You know, that helps the conversation completely, because unless you specify that I may be trying to mentor you on starting a business, when that’s not really what you’re seeking from me. Yeah, so I think that’s great. But how Where did you find where do you suggest people find one?

Tracy Laranjo 11:57
Yeah. So your network,

Rommil Santiago 12:01
so it’s easier for you. But yeah,

Tracy Laranjo 12:03
I’m, like, I am DMing people on LinkedIn all the time, every day, I’m responding. I know, I know, just a social butterfly, I guess, I don’t know. Um, but So okay, so I want to take a step back and kind of outline, there’s a few different types of mentorship relationships, like, it can be an apprentice master relationship, which is kind of what we have where I’m a lot more junior, you have a lot more experience, you can also have peer to peer mentorship. So my peer to peer mentorships it like relationships. These are people I met on the job. These are like former colleagues and co workers, these are people who I just met on LinkedIn online, and we have something in common and we bounce ideas off each other. So you know, it depends. I think you’re less likely to end up with a mentor, if you kind of come in hot, and just like cold outreach on LinkedIn and be like, Hey, I’m looking for a mentor. You really have to set that intention of what you want to get out of the relationship. And then also be clear on what you can give to your mentor. It’s, oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, it goes both ways. Like it’s what is the purpose and you mentoring someone if you’re just giving, giving, giving, and you’re not actually getting anything from it? So I don’t know. Do you get anything from our relationship? Like?

Rommil Santiago 13:40
I actually, it’s something that I don’t think it’s highlighted enough. Folks think that mentors just like to mentor, but the truth is, like, I’ve learned things over the years. But when I mentor people, and they go through similar things that I have gone through, I hear about topics from a different angle, or a different idea. And it gets my head going and works through that problem. And sure, I could give guidance, but I learned as much as you’re learning, I think, yeah, because I’ve never seen XYZ or I’ve never had a client say whatever. And that is an interesting situation that you’re in. So I think the learning goes both ways. go both ways. I think the the mentor just picks up nuances to things that they already know.

Tracy Laranjo 14:23
Yeah, absolutely. And it shouldn’t be a full time job and it shouldn’t feel like a full time job. Usually, you should as a mentor feel like you’re getting something out of that relationship from your mentor,

Rommil Santiago 14:35
are you? I know you mentioned it was like it’s kind of ad hoc type of conversations. But do you have any guidance around how often folks should at minimum talk to speak to their mentor if they decide to do that?

Tracy Laranjo 14:48
I mean, we, you and I don’t really need regular calls or anything like that. And I don’t actually have any mentorship relationships where there are regular calls, but that may be an option. Run, kind of like a once a month or once a quarter touch base, depending on how busy you both are. And just to kind of keep that relationship going, I’ve never really needed to do that. But that might help keep it a bit more formal and structured,

Rommil Santiago 15:15
if you will. Yeah,

Tracy Laranjo 15:18
exactly. Do you have like a cadence with any of your other mentees?

Rommil Santiago 15:25
When I don’t do it so much these days, because I just started Optimizely. So I don’t have a whole lot of time. But in my previous roles, I used to do it every other week, or once a month. It was often a list of topics that they wanted to talk through, like during the time in between, they face challenges, they could pick it out in time. But for their schedules in my schedule, we often grouped it together. And we got to go through the things that they’re trying to get through. And yeah, the the sometimes we push it out, push it out or cancel or what have you. But having it in the calendar means this isn’t this is an important conversation. And we’re not going to we’re not going to drop that like. Yeah, I think I think that’s a decent time. Cadence. I mean, when I was a mentee, I think I did quarterly, especially with senior leadership’s senior senior leadership, they don’t have a whole lot of time. So quarterly is all I could get from them. So I think it depends on how busy the person was. Yeah.

Tracy Laranjo 16:26
It’s weird to think of you as a mentee, by the way, like I was having a mentor.

Rommil Santiago 16:32
Once upon a time, I was young. Yeah, I think my first mentor was in like, the early 2000s Oh, gosh.

Tracy Laranjo 16:43
You’re dating yourself.

Rommil Santiago 16:46
And I had to do a lot of influencing and so I needed senior leadership mentorship around, how do I influence without any authority? Recommended good books, and they coached me through okay, well, this person is demonstrating XYZ, you may want to appeal for their desire for so and so. They got that opened up a whole world of influence and, and trying to speak with senior leadership. So yeah, it was good. I learned a lot. And I hope to pass that along. Yeah,

Tracy Laranjo 17:14
I definitely see. The, like stakeholder management and political aspect being one of the most important reasons for me, having having a mentor is like, I have a lot of experiences I’m going through for the first time ever, whereas you know, you’ve been through it several times over. Yeah, like, I’m sure you also, like, messed it up before.

Rommil Santiago 17:44
Like, yes.

Tracy Laranjo 17:45
What can I learn from your screw up so that I screw up less, and then when I’m screwing up along the way, someone might else might benefit from that experience of mine.

Rommil Santiago 17:57
So we’ve talked about that. And I’m wondering, when do you think someone is ready for a mentor? And when? When do you okay, I should listen? That’s a good question. When are they ready for a mentor? And when do they transition to become to becoming one? Yeah, like one day, you’re gonna be a mentor. I feel

Tracy Laranjo 18:16
it’s so weird. Because the other day I what I thought I had was a peer to peer mentorship relationship with someone, but he told me you’re such a great mentor. And I’m like, why don’t you see me as a mentor? I didn’t know that I was ready to be one. But maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s you’re always ready to be a mentee. And maybe you’re always ready to be a mentor, depending on what you bring to the table. So you know, you can be like a big brother, big sister kind of mentorship relationship. You don’t have to be anything but an adult to help a teen as part of a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I think you’re always ready to be a mentor or a mentee, it’s just are you clear on the value you can give someone as a mentor.

Rommil Santiago 19:08
So we want to cut you off what you’re saying.

Tracy Laranjo 19:10
I’m not just going to add like when, when we first connected, I was just starting in CRO I knew that I had been doing it wrong for a long time. But I was willing to learn and get it right. And it just happened. Our engagement just kind of happened. You DM me on LinkedIn after I bought your book, sprinting to show value. Get it on Amazon. I loved it.

Rommil Santiago 19:36
I don’t know. Okay. I don’t love that book. Long story. I hope to have a second revision that’s better written.

Tracy Laranjo 19:46
Don’t buy it. The author says don’t buy the book.

Rommil Santiago 19:49
Just talk to me. I’m a better source in the book.

Tracy Laranjo 19:53
Yeah, well, well, here’s the thing. Like I didn’t know that I was ready for a mentor because I didn’t I didn’t know that I needed one. But sometimes it just happens. And I think part of part of just anything in general is just being open to these things as they come. Being brave if you want that kind of relationship with a mentor,

Rommil Santiago 20:18
I think that’s a great call out. Because, yeah, in, I find a lot of folks who start out in this or in any field I’ve seen in a lot of disciplines, they’re too shy, they’re shy, or they, they feel it will make them seem less. And how can you be so how can you be an expert with only two years experience or one years experience? Yeah, you have to have that humility of some sort, to accept that someone might be able to teach you. And I think that that moment, you’re like, Okay, you’re, you could be a good candidate for this.

Tracy Laranjo 20:51
Yes. And you read my mind, I was gonna say it’s a lot of humility is being able to recognize your gaps and being ready to say, I want to fill those gaps. I just need some help along the way to do it. And sometimes you’re going to talk to someone and they’re not going to want to be a mentor for you. And that’s okay. You, you should be okay with the rejection and be able to move on from it

Rommil Santiago 21:14
sounds like a lot like dating. It does. Yes,

Tracy Laranjo 21:17
it does. I’m so glad I don’t have to do.

Rommil Santiago 21:22
Can I buy you a coffee? Yeah. You get those a lot. No.

Tracy Laranjo 21:27
No, I wish people offered to get me coffees. No,

Rommil Santiago 21:31
give it give it give it a bit. Yeah, faculty, we’re asking for mentorship now.

Tracy Laranjo 21:36
Yeah. And he’s gonna, I’m gonna add what actually one more thing? I am signed up on growth mentor. Have you heard of growth mentor?

Rommil Santiago 21:45
I have heard of it. I’ve never used it. But I know, man.

Tracy Laranjo 21:49
Oh, okay. So it’s great. I love growth mentor. I’m a mentor on growth mentor, and I’m also a mentee. So it’s a very easy way to dip your toes into mentorship or trying to get a mentor. It’s great for me to just as a mentor, sometimes I pack on so much value into a call that people are like, I want to work with you. And it ends up being like a paid engagement. So check out growth mentor, for sure.

Rommil Santiago 22:21
How do we find you there? Just look up your name. I’m gonna give you my

Tracy Laranjo 22:25
referral code and then you put it in the show notes. And then I’ll get like a kickback. But yeah, you can find me on there. Tracy, Lorraine Joe. Yeah, I got a poop emoji in my sub headline. So if you see that, you know, you’re you found the right person.

Rommil Santiago 22:42
Oh, I’ll have to check out why you have a poop emoji in there. I’m sure it’s, it’s something clever.

Tracy Laranjo 22:48
It’s irrelevant. It’s irrelevant.

Rommil Santiago 22:51
It’s just the emoji him? Oh, yes. So the the big question is, would you be a mentor for our listeners? Because you know, this, this podcast is probably gonna get one or two listeners, including my mom. My mom will be a terrible client. Let me tell you. So, yeah. Would you Would you be open to that?

Tracy Laranjo 23:11
Yeah, hell yeah, I got a lot of satisfaction from coaching Junior CROs through new challenges, new experiences, I don’t know if your mom would get much out of a mentorship relationship with I wouldn’t. My mom still thinks I’m a CMO. And I’m like, Mom, please stop. Wow.

Rommil Santiago 23:34
This was right. My daughter? Yeah.

Tracy Laranjo 23:41
Bless her. But yeah, I will. Yeah, I would love that I even a casual DM through LinkedIn with a question that like a burning question you want answered? I’m happy. absolutely happy to.

Rommil Santiago 23:55
Awesome. Well, that’s our time today. But I’m gonna give you an opportunity to plug in something that you’re working on, or want to tell our listeners about? Yes.

Tracy Laranjo 24:05
So again, you can find me on growth mentor if you’re interested in starting to find your own mentor in a whole bunch of different fields and areas. You can also find me on LinkedIn, you can email me at hello at Tracy LorAnn And if Yeah, oh, so clever. Yeah. Yeah, and then, you know, I do CRO consulting. So if you’re on a team that really wants to start exploring CRO but not sure where to start. You can message me anytime and I’m happy to look into that for you and I also help CRO agencies as well with managing their CRO strategy for their clients.

Rommil Santiago 24:52
Amazing. Well, thank you for being on the show today. Tracy always great to catch up. Nice to see you in person, live and move Yeah pictures even though we had a lot of frozen pictures today.

Tracy Laranjo 25:03
Yeah, that’s that’s my internet for you.

Rommil Santiago 25:06
I look forward to when you’re on this side of the of the microphone. Yes. This year. I see you have a few people lined up. Yeah, I won’t spoil it because I don’t remember who you

Tracy Laranjo 25:21
I don’t either, but well,

Rommil Santiago 25:22
we’ll get there. Amazing. Thanks so much. Thank you have a good one. You too. This is Rommil Santiago from experiment nation. Every week we share interviews with and conference sessions by our favorite conversion rate optimizers from around the world. So if you liked this video, smash that like button and consider subscribing it helps us a bunch

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