I love the work of solving problems for people. Understanding problems through interviews, analysis, and observation are where I like to start. I then endeavor to discover a solution through the use of sketches, wireframes, high-fidelity mockups, prototypes, and discussions
with others. My understanding of the problem, and how so solve it, is refined through this process of exploring, testing, and feedback until it's clear something of value has been uncovered.
I love the work of solving problems for people. Understanding problems through interviews, analysis, and observation are where I like to start. I then endeavor to discover a solution through the use of sketches, wireframes, high-fidelity mockups, prototypes, and discussions with others. My understanding of the problem, and how so solve it, is refined through this process of exploring, testing, and feedback until it's clear something of value has been uncovered.
Things were looking rough. We had many customers leaving every month and our efforts to stop the bleeding didn’t seem to be working. Our new CPO at the time made the astute observation that we simply didn't know who our target users were. We weren't clear on who we were making our software for and what their needs really were. We were shooting in the dark relying on our own assumptions. No wonder our efforts weren’t working.
With this stark realization, we set out to learn as much as we could about our ideal target customers and users through extensive one-on-one customer research. The goal was to get to the root of what problems they were trying to solve and why. We weren't exactly sure what to expect, but we had a hunch that there was a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered from conducting this research.
We started by compiling a random sampling of customers that had been paying us for a year or more. Our hypothesis was that because they had been paying us for a longer period of time that they would represent happier customers. Our hope was they could tell us why they came to us in the first place and why they continued to pay us month-to-month.
After many phone calls, we came together to share what each of us found and to map out comon themes about the types of customers we talked to and what problems they were trying to solve. To our surprise, one of the dominant themes that emerged was around businesses with small sales teams that used our software to keep track of leads moving through their sales funnel. We knew that we had these types of businesses using our software, but we didn't think it was a substantial amount and had kind of forgotten about them.
We discovered that one of the main things we could do to keep them happy, and to attract more customers like them, was to enable sales reps on their team to work through, update, and take action on their leads with greater speed and efficiency.
With this clarity on the problem, and an understanding of how painful the current flow and experience was, we began the work of designing a better solution. Each person on the team, from designers to developers, had an equal voice and we embraced hearing and building upon each other’s ideas. We all knew that great ideas can come from anywhere and that we would ultimately make a better solution by working closely together.
After exploring some initial ideas, we quickly agreed that our solution must enable a sales rep to work from one screen instead of having to jump around multiple screens with multiple page refreshes (which is what they had to do at the time). Efficiency was key.
Through rapid feedback and iteration, a good solution emerged. Instead of starting from something that was akin to an excel spreadsheet, a sales rep could now see their leads in a scrollable vertical list. Once they selected a lead, that lead’s info would appear. Reviewing recent activity, sending an email, making a phone call, updating to-dos, and changing the sales stage for a particular lead could now be done quickly, all without having to leave their list of leads. Moving onto the next lead was as simple as selecting the next lead in the list. Gone was the need to return to a list of search results, finding where you left off and starting the multi-step process all over again.
The above mockup is one of the concepts we played with for this solution.