Setting the Stage
Starting out Q1 of this year, our Chief Product Officer laid out his vision for improvements to an existing feature of Terminus.  We have an Opportunity Journey that lays out how Salesforce Contacts interact with an opportunity over time. This allows a marketer to understand when there were periods of higher interaction (illustrated by the steeper curve), and then attribute those to activities they undertook, such as emailing lists or purchasing ad space.  Naturally, knowing what types of activities are most effective lets you get the best bang for your buck with your marketing dollars: if something is working, spend more money there!
We knew that marketers were excited about this feature and it came up constantly in our sales calls.  Our goal was to take this feature and data and deliver it in a way that sales could consume, ultimately driving better sales and marketing alignment.  It turned out the process of researching this feature was a perfect case study for the UX process, and we made major pivots before we committed to development.

Initial Opportunity Journey to improve

The Research
After discussing the problem space from the business perspective, we set out to discover what pain points our customers had.  First we worked with our customer-facing teams to identify customers that would be a good fit for the outcome of this project. The first round of interviewees were positive and it was clear that marketers wanted these tools to help drive alignment with sales.   While conducting these interviews I also brushed up on current best practices for graph design.  I found lots of tips and tricks, but the most important piece of advice was to design with data.  The form and shape of the data influences the design at its core - and without having data to work from, you risk future re-work as you refine and increase the fidelity.
Two weeks into the research process, we interviewed our first salesperson and, while hard to hear, their feedback was the most valuable.  Our main question to validate was "If you had this resource for a year and then your boss took it away, would you be disappointed?" This person gave us a resounding no.  For him, his key pain point in the sales process was deciding who to call, and giving him all this raw data just gave him another noisy signal to process. This sentiment was shared by further interviews with sales.  We took a step back and decided to focus instead on insights: what signals did sales people already use, and how could we surface that data for them instead?

We like Trello to organize research.  Organize with color! (blurred for privacy)

The Design
This research completely shifted our design, and we moved quickly to prototype out a tabbed interface that included "insights" front and center.  The difference in our interviews was immediate.  After a round of feedback we showed it to the sales person who had initially given us negative feedback and he had a complete 180.  His new response to having the feature turned off was "I would be pretty pissed if this was taken away.  Please give me this before we give it to any of our customers," and he sent us another email the following morning "I continued to think about what you showed me yesterday after we met (clearly I liked what I saw lol)."
"I would be pretty pissed if this was taken away.  Please give me this before we give it to any of our customers"
The key was recognizing that the solution we had been working on was for the wrong person.  Sales had a very different set of needs, and by listening to them we were able to turn a feature into a win that surely would have been a miss.

Salesforce helped demo this integration on the mainstage at Sirius Summit!
While we found a good MVP for this project, we're excited to give it more widespread exposure and see how salespeople use it "in the wild."  One wide spread industry problem is the ability to quantify and measure engagement as opposed to traditional marketing metrics like leads.  The account insights journey is a compelling overall view into engagement as a whole, and this type of analysis may become more central to our platform as we move forward.
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