Good feedback is key to a great solution 🔑
Sales Team Pipeline Tool
Improving sales metrics through
How it started...
Working in a design lead capacity for this project, I wanted to answer the following questions:
"As a sales rep, how might I better track prospects and deals that I am currently working on, so that I might have a better understanding of my sales numbers and can see all my prospects and their details at a glance."
"As a sales manager, how might I better track my teams' wins and losses, so that I might have a better understanding of my sales numbers and can use that information to improve sales processes."
Working with my team of engineers, project manager, business intelligence and UX content specialist, I created a pipeline tool to address these problems.
The sales team pipeline tool serves several functions; First, it allows sales reps and managers to forecast revenue by looking at what stage of the sales process prospects are in and predicting how many of them will close-win during a given time-frame. Additionally, it allows users to quickly scan their work for a given time-frame and understand at a glance what they need to act on. Finally, it allows for archiving and analysis of closed opportunities to better understand successful sales strategies.
The feedback and suggestions that I received prior to starting this project derived mainly from two personas; The salesperson and the sales manager. It was important to focus on these two personas as they were the primary users of my sales tool and would provide really good feedback around my ideas. In addition to these personas, I also reached out to key stakeholders, including c-level individuals, within our organization. It was important to include these stakeholders as this was a new problem area for me and I wanted to ensure that my solution fit within the vision of the company.
To develop the personas, I facilitated user interviews with a number of salespeople, sales managers and other key stakeholders. I also performed some external persona research to see if we were aligning with industry-standard personas.
The information I collected mainly revolved around their frustrations and friction points with our current sales tools as well as needs, but also included some personal information.
After collecting this information and creating the personas, I brought my findings back to the team for discussion. I lead a card-sorting workshop to identify common key needs which included the need for the solution to be tactile, scannable, and customizable.
I regularly referred back to our personas to ensure that I was aligned on the needs of the users. At several stages of design I had to adjust the personas in order to meet needs that weren't readily apparent at the time.
The main purpose of this card-sorting activity was to determine common themes across individual and user-types. I performed this activity in-person with salespeople, sales managers and key stakeholders. Participants grouped information in terms of key actions needed to improve their existing workflows. This card-sorting activity resulted in some interesting insights that I had not considered prior to running it. One of those insights was that both salespeople and sales managers valued the ability to save views of their prospects/opportunities for quick access. Based on this, I recommended that "Saved views" be explored as a feature in conjunction with filtering and sorting.
I decided to do user journey mapping in order to have a better understanding of how our users were currently using our sales tool. Because I was working with two personas, I wanted to know if there was some overlap that would allow for a one-size-fits-all solution. I identified a primary goal for both the salesperson and sales manager users; The salesperson needed to be able to close deals more quickly and efficiently, and the sales manager needed a better view of current deals in their sales teams' pipelines. I used Figma to create an interconnected user journey map that illustrated how workflows might cross paths and link different users together. I wanted to surface the interconnected nature of both the salesperson's and sales manager's journeys because they are closely related and share many of the same steps and actions. The user journey steps were based on existing workflows as well as persona feedback, and feedback from the previous card-sorting activity. During the user journey creation, I identified several keys areas where there seemed to be a lot of friction and frustration. These areas closely aligned with the feedback I received during the personas creation and reinforced some of my assumptions around potential solutions.
I like to start the design process with low fidelity wire-frames. This way I iterate through many design options quickly, separating the ones that work from the ones that don't. My goal for this activity was to get feedback on a variety of layouts and concepts from my stakeholders. Using the needs of "tactile, scannable, customizable" that I established from previous activities, I was able to come up with several layouts. These layouts ranged from stacked rows, rows of cards, tabbed cards and single-column stacked cards. Out of all these variations, the single-column stacked cards seemed to be the best fit. Users liked the idea of dragging cards from one stage to another, and having all of their most important opportunities visible on the board. This particular layout also happened to be common in other sales tools, providing validation some external validation.
After deciding on a sketch, I moved on to wire-framing. I wanted to put together a rapid prototype to test out the functionality of this layout and see if my users still felt it worked for them. I used Figma to put this wire-frame together and linked up several menus and other interactions to make it feel like production software. Having an interactive prototype is crucial in helping users understand how the end product might feel and function.
I made sure to user-test at every stage of this project. Feedback was crucial in shaping the correct solution and the feedback I received ensured that I was on the right track. Feedback was moderated and performed both in person and remotely. User testing yielded useful insights throughout this project (The importance of micro-interactions, drag n' drop fluidity, important UI elements). These insights greatly impacted the final product and provided some direction for future versions of this tool.
Using my low-fidelity wireframes as a guide, I started designing the final screens in Figma. I leveraged the Angular Material framework for the UI and aligned it closely with existing UI within our platform. I designed this mainly for desktop use, but made allowances for mobile users and responsiveness.
I made several changes to this UI based on user feedback and testing, primarily around micro-interactions and card content. Through this feedback, I was able to design solution that worked for all my users and stakeholders.
I really enjoyed this project as it was an area that I hadn't explored before, and it allowed me to experiment with drag n' drop functionality. Before this tool was created, the Vendasta platform didn't have many instances of drag n' drop functionality, so it was really empowering to be forging new ground in terms of interaction and behavior.
The biggest challenge that I faced during this project was that this was brand new functionality, and I was designing a tool from the ground up. To overcome this, I made sure to get feedback at every stage of the project, and performed lots of industry research to ensure I was designing the right thing. After releasing this tool, we saw a 15% increase in closed-won opportunities. Both sales managers and sales people attributed this to the new pipeline tool and functionality that came with it.