6 Features to look for in an enterprise testing tool

By: Alice Liang
11 min. read Last updated: August 26th, 2020

We live in an ever-changing world. Тechnology has transformed the way we work, behave, and live.

As such, today’s buyers are comparing your brand’s digital experiences to the best ones they’ve ever had—which is constantly raising the bar.

That’s why if you want to stay relevant, you need to adjust and deliberately experiment and test different ideas when it comes to your websites, processes, strategies, products, services, and marketing campaigns.

But how do you find and select the right enterprise testing tool? In this post, we’ll answer this question and look at why experimentation is so crucial right now.

Why do companies like yours rely on experimentation

Tech-savvy companies have figured out that no matter in which industry you are, the best way to create value for your customers and grow your business is to base decisions on data-driven insights.

One of the things companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix have in common is doing thousands of experiments regularly, thus improving customer experience.

According to Gartner,

Organizations that significantly outperform their competitors are almost twice as likely to make testing and experimentation a marketing priority.

Testing is more than a nice-to-have strategy; it’s more like a mindset shift. Once companies see the results of incremental improvement, as a result of experimentation, this becomes part of the company culture. In the end, it pays off. Research from Forrester shows that organizations that can create a healthy culture of experimentation grow at least eight times faster than global GDP.

That said, do you have the right testing tool in place? It might be time to re-evaluate.

Is it time to switch your current testing tool?

Finding the right experimentation tool can feel overwhelming, and analyzing unique features to choose only one solution (out of the many available) can be difficult.

Experimentation programs and technology are not static. Testing tools are constantly releasing features and users are demanding certain grades of user experience. Not all tools are keeping up with the advancements, so it’s a good idea to periodically review the requirements of your organization and your users to ensure you’re using the best software to give your program the optimal chance for success.

Michael St. Laurent
Director of Experimentation Strategy & Product Development Lead

On the other hand, if you’re already using a testing tool but you’re running into barriers and use cases your tool doesn’t easily solve, you’re probably facing one of the following scenarios:

  • Your current testing tool is not the best fit for your needs.
  • You’ve outgrown your current testing tool, and based on your experimentation program and capabilities, it’s time for an upgrade.

No matter the situation you’re in, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you weigh new and different options.

What to consider before choosing a testing tool

Before you start analyzing what tools are available on the market, you’ll first want to nail down a few important objectives and needs that’ll help you effectively evaluate your options.

And remember: Don’t rush through comparing the pros and cons of different testing tools. Consider this stage crucial for setting the right expectations and mapping your future experimentation plan.

  • Business/marketing strategy – First and foremost, the experimentation program should empower your overall business and marketing strategy. Being aware of your strategy and how the program will fit the entire ecosystem is crucial for successful implementation.
  • Goals – This means business goals, but also experimentation program goals. Ask yourself what your main goals are, what you are trying to achieve with testing, and how testing will help you achieve your business goals.
  • Business model – You can’t compare your business with companies that have a different business model. Components like value proposition, customer segments, capabilities, and revenue model can affect your experimentation program, so be sure to take this all into consideration.
  • Technology – Understanding your website platform, your marketing technology stack, and how each program supports the other is vital so that the entire organization (from marketing, sales, and beyond) is on the same page. The testing tool you choose should complement and integrate with the technology you’re already using.
  • Team expertise – Assessing the skill level of your team is a basic prerequisite that will simplify your decision making when looking for a new testing tool. Does your team have programming knowledge and analytical skills to operate the more advanced softwares? If not, you should look for a full-service experimentation partner that will power your growth.
  • Build vs. buy – Many organizations underestimate experimentation and the process of collecting and analyzing data. Even though it seems that building an in-house solution is less costly, additional features and unforeseen maintenance costs can multiply over time, so eventually, you’ll get stuck with an expensive in-house solution that’s not scalable nor up to date with new market features. This will lead to slower experimentation velocity.
  • Server-side vs. client-side testing – Despite the fact that client-side testing has been the dominant testing method, modern web applications are becoming more dynamic and technically complex. And testing within these applications is becoming more technically complex. Server-side testing is a tactic that is linked to single-page applications (SPAs). In a nutshell: If you want to test on an application, you should consider server-side testing.
  • Security & Compliance Requirements – Depending on your industry, it’s important to understand the requirements for storing and processing data and user information. Testing tools have varying levels of compliance, so be sure you understand what your needs are from a legal perspective so you’re asking the right questions when evaluating tools.

6 features to look for in an enterprise testing tool

After you assess your company’s unique requirements and needs, it’s time to consider the key features of an enterprise testing tool that will lead your team to a deeper customer understanding, more confident business decisions, and faster profitable growth.

1. Ease of integration

Some testing tools offer more advanced options, but their implementation is so complex and time-consuming that you end up constantly solving technical issues. If you are facing problems right at the beginning, you know it will be a long and unpleasant ride. Look for a solution that’s easy to integrate, and that will fit well with your MarTech stack. If there is something you can learn from mature experimentation organizations, it’s that they have an integrated, frictionless technology stack.

2. Large-scale capability

If your goal is to become an insight-driven business and adopt an experimentation mindset, you have to look for a solution with a large-scale capability. Going with a simple A/B testing tool might seem like a quick win, but if you are ready to create an experimentation-oriented organization, you will soon outgrow that tool, and you’ll find yourself going through the process of selecting a new testing tool all over again.

3. Detailed and comprehensive reporting and analytics

Setting up an experiment is just the beginning. If you can’t understand and analyze the outcome, you have words and numbers that have no value in powering your company’s growth. The real value of experimentation lies in the small tweaks or significant changes that you make as a result of the insights you collect using the testing tool. Ensure that you will be able to integrate and enrich your data from other sources.

4. In-depth support

Having rich documentation and access to experts will make your onboarding and ongoing usage of your testing tool as easy as possible. Ask yourself:

  • Will you be able to get someone on the phone when you need help?
  • Is there a clear place to post about any issues you are having?
  • Are there good educational forums and tutorials?
  • Are you going to be using a third-party partner who will be able to provide support?

Make sure you have answers to these questions. If not, you may spend more time learning how to set up basic experiments rather than generating growth and insights.

5. More than A/B testing

Think back to the features you will require as your program grows and consider:

  • Will your testing tool be able to grow with you?
  • Will you need personalization capability?
  • Will you need qualitative support?
  • Will you need something that spans across multiple marketing channels like email and display advertising?
  • Do you plan on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning?

A good experiment platform goes well beyond basic A/B testing.

6. Cost

When calculating total costs for a testing tool, besides the monthly or annual subscription, make sure to take into consideration the costs for assigning internal resources and teams, as well as costs of training and implementation. Some testing solutions that seem to be straightforward and affordable can often cost much more than a complete solution, due to the limitations and complexity they bring.

For whatever reason when people are choosing an expensive tool, they are expecting it to be easier to operate because they are paying more for it. But it is really the opposite. A Lamborghini is much more difficult to drive than a Civic. Expensive tools should be operated by experts, so honestly evaluate the skills of your team to ensure you will get the most out of your investment.

Michael St. Laurent
Director of Experimentation Strategy & Product Development Lead

Questions to help you choose the right testing tool

Before you seal the deal, make sure to answer the following questions, as they’ll give you a clear picture of what you need from an enterprise testing solution:

  • Does the tool need to integrate with your MarTech stack?
  • Do you need personalization functions?
  • Do you need a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool or just a code-level tool?
  • Do you need front-end or full-stack testing?
  • Do you need professional services for setup and experiment design?
  • Do you need specific data privacy levels?
  • Do you have a set budget for tools and services?

Next step

Now that you have all the answers you need, it’s time to take action. The new decade will reward tech-savvy companies that base their decisions on data-driven insights.

Using the right testing tool, you’ll get to know your customers better and understand how to deliver value. Applying the knowledge from your experimentation program will accelerate innovation and boost your company’s growth.

Are you ready to harness the experimentation mindset to drive growth or want unbiased advice choosing a testing tool? Our team can help you launch, accelerate, and scale your experimentation program—leveraging our industry-leading frameworks and methodologies.

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