If your sales process collects all of the information you know is needed and can result in a completed sale, then your sales process is a success! Congratulations! Now that you’re done building the perfect workflow, I have to ask: How are your end users enjoying the experience?
It’s easy to get lost in the core steps of your sales process and forget that in the end it’s not run by software, but rather by people. The process you established could actually be making things more challenging for your users and that can have some big repercussions. No matter how improved the process may seem we all have to remember that we are deeply integrated into building complex sales systems and we know the excruciating detail as to why every decision was made.
People naturally hate change. Users who were used to their old way of doing things are coming in without any understanding of why the change was necessary or the journey it took to reach the end product. Regardless of how improved the process may be their initial reaction will always come with a certain amount of fear. You never get a second chance for a first impression, so you better be putting your best foot forward.
Ask yourself the following questions about your sales process:
- Am I providing the shortest possible path to the user’s goals?
- Does the user always know where they are in the process?
- Are there any dead ends that the user can’t escape?
- Can the user access helpful documentation when needed?
- Does the process make their job easier or more difficult?
These outline some of the most common points of failure within a process. Before launching any process you should remove as many of these roadblocks as possible to give the user the best experience possible, otherwise that first impression will be a terrible one. Improving this experience will reduce the time they spend in the software and increase the amount of work they can do within it. The ability to close a sale is based on a large number of factors that can be out of our control, but the better we can enable and equip salespeople, the more likely they are to succeed.
Whether you have an existing platform or you’re in the planning stages you can utilize user experience research to help improve it’s effectiveness. User experience research commonly involves in-depth discussions with key stakeholders, interface prototyping, and user testing. Through this process you can begin to zero-in on a natural flow for your software which will elegantly move the user from start to finish. This research will help guide you towards an end product that is widely endorsed by key stakeholders and helps the user do their job more effectively.
If you’re interested in learning more about usability, I recommend reading Don’t Make Met Think by Steve Krug. For a more in-depth look at Usability Research, I’d recommend Universal Methods of Design by Bella Martin and Bruce Harrington.