Low hanging fruit: A/B Testing Transactional Sales

- January 24, 2014 4 MIN READ

When it comes to sales and the way I look at customers, I choose to break them down into three categories:

  1. Transactional Sales
  2. Upgrade Sales
  3. Relationship Sales

Simple? Yes, but by looking at customers in this light, it starts to become easier to identify the skill set needed to make money from them, and the methods you should integrate into your business in order to successfully get a continuous flow of revenue from all three.

As a startup, you are probably just beginning to look at how you will actually begin to make money from your venture, so it is important that you approach this exercise with clear testing to measure your performance. This is what helps you create a sales approach for your business – and although many principles of sales stay the same across all businesses, no two will be ever 100% the same, as everyone has at the very least a different value proposition.

In this post we are going to look at transactional sales and how we have been testing them within our business:

Transactional Sales

These are the sales that I call the low hanging fruit. They are often at a price point below $2500 and closed in at 2 phone calls, or the customer is purchasing them directly from your website, after checking everything out and verifying they are getting what they need / want.

A transactional sale usually looks like this:

wants - needsWhen you have the formula right, these sales are quite easy to make by segmenting your pipeline into three lists you will be able to identify those customers who are happy to spend a smaller amount with you. These people then become a great source of cash flow, as there are usually lots of them, and they are easy to reach.

I should also add that generally in an online volume play, most customers are transactional, they take minimal effort to maintain given majority of the services you are providing are automated.

So how do you get the right formula?

We have been testing for the last 6 months our transactional pricing structure for the site aussiebackpacker.com.au – For me personally the market was very different to anything I have ever tried to sell into before. Because this was a new product and site altogether, it was important for me to A/B test the sales pitch and pricing.

In fact, I always split test my sales pitches and pricing.

Without giving away our actual pricing, the split test for our transactional sales looked like this:

Same demographic of customers are shown



When I am split testing my pricing, I am testing what type of money the market is willing to spend on that product. In the case of aussiebackpacker.com.au, one advertising product we are selling is being tested at a very cheap rate and the other at a rate that is double that.

Both packages are exactly the same, both are designed to produce the same results, but the perceived value is completely different across different demographics. For instance, one particular vertical of customer was more comfortable with paying more because they were used to having to advertise for their business and because we were priced similar to competitors they trusted that pricing structure and what they would get out of the deal more.

Another customer vertical however was not used to advertising, but the lower cost structure allowed them to ‘test’ the waters without breaking the bank and we converted all most all of those 50 customers in that test group on that vertical, whilst not converting any with the higher pricing in that segment.

I should also note in that segment that didn’t convert on the higher pricing, we got 5 times the amount of questions, which started to take the ‘transactional’ sale into ‘relationship’ sale territory.

As a result the two demographics of customers we target with this solution has now been split into two products. Whilst the both do the same thing – both sets of customers perceive them as very different items, as they are filling particular needs in their businesses.

Sales Copy

You need to split test your sales copy. Always. Your sales copy is actually way more important than your pricing.


Because it explains why your pricing is the way it is. You will need to continually tweak your copy until you get it right if you are doing it yourself. Whether being delivered online or via a script, if the message you are trying to get a cross is not resonating with your target, than you will never get them to spend money with you.

When we were testing our sales copy for aussiebackpacker.com.au we found out very quickly that the language we use for shoestring.com.au did not work at all – not in the slightest. We had to strip everything back and talk in the same language that these business owners were used to.

After a lot of testing we found that visuals were a vital inclusion that needed to be part of the copy to achieve a faster close rate.

Over the next 4 weeks of February our business will now put the highest converting tests into practice on a pipeline of 2000 customers. If all goes as tested, we will see our highest sales month for these product offerings on aussiebackpacker.com.au and then some.

Before you implement sales processes, test to prevent wasting your time on something that was never going to convert anyway.

Image: Laboratory maze game. Source: Shutterstock.