Measure Camp VIII: 5+5 Tips on Soft Skills for Web Analysts

At measurecamp 8 we had a 5+5 session, where the speaker gives 5 tips and the audience another 5, on Soft Skills for Web Analysts. This is what happened.

Introduction by the speaker:

After many years working and Web Analyst and CRO Specialist I've come to realize that to be a great Analyst, it's not enough with being a great Analyst. It's not enough with knowing GTM, GA, Adobe Analytics, how to segment, report, create kick ass visualisations, automations, javascript, R, statistics, impactful presentations, SEO and so many other hard skills. It's jus NOT enough.

On the top of that you need to be a catalyst of change. 

That's what will make you a great analyst, SEO or CRO. The impact that you can drive on the bottom line based on your analysis and insights.

As analystis we sit in the middle of everything, but we own nothing. We don't own the web, the design, the testing roadmap, the ads, the content, the social media, the offering, the promos....  We need to INFLUENCE others to do changes and tests that they don't want based on our analysis, and that takes influence and good deal of soft skills. That's why I said this:

Soft Skills matter more than Hard Skills.
— Xavier Colomes

Why so?

Because.... you are a smart lad/girl and you can learn hard skills overnight, but oh boy, soft skills can't be learned. It takes a good deal of courage, guts, willpower, and time. And not everyone is ready to improve in that area, which gives you an edge over other colleagues.

Presentation:

 

These are the 5 tips that I gave:

1) Act like and owner

First of all, ACT. Aim for doing a change a day, no matter how small it is.

Then, acting like an owner means treating Analytics like a product. This is the best tip I can give you: Don't be an Analyst. Be a PM of Analytics. That changes everything. Lead meetings, take notes, follow up, make questions, demand and manage a budget, create bugs, launch new projects... be an ACTIVE agent of change, not a passive receiver of request. I can't stress enough how this change will improve your career. It's not easy, and will take courage, but it's worth understanding your role this way.

2) Anticipate

Don't be passive, reactive. Anticipate to meetings, questions and requests. Do your homework and always have your numbers on the top of your head: traffic, signups, weekly, monthly, yearly, conversion rates, segments... you will be asked anytime out of the blue and you need to show you are in control. In the case that you don't remember follow this advice:

  • Try to give an approximate number "Conversion rate was around 3%". If that's not possible...
  • ...try to give a range "Conversion rate was between 2% and 5%". If that's not possible...
  • ... try to give a valorisation on performance "Conversion rate was good"

And always follow up with that person with the specific number after the meeting, using the opportunity to pitch your project.

3) Avoid negative people

And I can't lie. I've been a very negative person at work, so I kind of spot them quickly. Stop blocking other's projects, and become a supporter of them rather than preventing them from failing or succeeding. Even if you think someone is wrong, you can't deny their right to fail and learn. Not to talk gossip, rumours, drama at work, and being thin skinned (too sensitive to criticism or taking everything personal). 

On that note Gerry White raised a very good point:

Don’t just avoid negative people, change management is about trying to convert them to allies
— Gerry White (@dergal)

So true. Understanding their motivations and frustrations can help us achieve this. Easier said than done, I know.

4) Always have your pitch ready

If you don't have a big project that you are working on, go and find one. To be an Analytics Avenger you need to understand that the big projects are the ones that will make you a legend. And you need a couple of them. It can be anything from changing the internal search, to launch a new site, update the product page, or connect two important data sources. Whatever your big project is,  have a deck always ready and your elevator pitch always ready, you never know when you'll have a shot with a senior manager that can become the sponsor that you need.

5) Adapt. Embrace change

Of course you've heard this millions of times, but hey, this is it. This is a fast changing industry and re-orgs, changes of teams, strategy, tools and so are the norm. Who adapts wins.

 

6) LISTEN

Firs tip from Ton Wesseling, was about learning to Listen and answer the questions we are made, not the ones we want. Active listening is the #1 soft skill that you should practice.

7) find people who challenge you

Not only Mentors, who can be anyone you follow, but also colleagues, feedback buddies or a manager who knows how to make you stretch to your A game.

8) Effective communication

Another important one, learning to communicate to an specific audience. On that, Gerry mentioned to check out the DISC profiling method, that helps us know how we are, how others are, and how to talk to them.

9) Be ambitious

Doesn't need much developing, does it?

10) share the knowleDge

Don't keep things to yourself, share more. Data democracy is the way, and the more the people know about the data you use, the more action this data will drive.

11) ASK YOUR CLIENTS HOW THEY FEEL

Excellent tip from Ed Brocklebank for agencies and consultants. Ask your client how they feel about what you are doing. Ask the PM, the developer, the stakeholders what they think, that will help you understand and anticipate issues that could show up later on the project.

13) be specific about the request

Again, nothing to add here.

 

So, that's it. Soft skills are crucial for your development as web analyst, but they take time to master, so better get started now with these great tips.

Thanks to everyone attending to the session and see you in the next MeasureCamp!