Sales Navigator Mobile

In the year 2014, after being at LinkedIn for a little less than a year, I had the incredible opportunity to join the Sales Navigator founding team. As one of three designers, I was in charge of crafting the mobile story for sales professionals across the LinkedIn ecosystem.

 
Photo by Thomas Northcut/DigitalVision / Getty Images
 

modern day sales process - a numbers game

Before diving into the pixels, I must give more context to the actual product. Modern day sales process has long turned into a numbers game. In the B2B world, a sales person’s day involves making as many cold calls as possible, in hopes that one out of a hundred calls could be converted into a sale. There is no creativity or much thinking involved. Not meeting your numbers? Make more phone calls. 

 
 modern day sales funnel via google image

modern day sales funnel via google image

 

The initiative began with an ambitious vision of taking the mundane and boring, and turning it into a more efficient and engaging experience.

 
 

At LinkedIn, we saw the opportunity presented to us when you start to layer the professional graph over the conventional selling process. The product leadership team referred to this as Social Selling. By following decision makers at target accounts, the sales team can figure out exactly when to reach out with icebreakers (whether it's a recent promotion or being mentioned in the news). By leveraging their network, complete strangers can be introduced through mutual connections. And through the social graph, sales professionals can accurately map out related people and other key decision makers at target company.

In my mind, I see our product as a tool that turns selling into something more personal. An opportunity take a cold, almost machine like process, and turn it into something more intimate and human. As the designer spearheading our mobile efforts, I feel this is an even more important mission for me. Whether it's messaging or checking your social networks, the smartphone has always been a very personal device. One of my biggest design challenge I set forth for myself was creating an experience for an enterprise app that fitted this context.

 
 

CRAFTING AN EXPERIENCE, as personal as possible.

Before converging on a solution, we explored many different possibilities. Though with every exploration, we held ourselves against one true north, which was making experience as personal as possible.

 

 
 One of the early idea was to highlight the most important insights via a personal assistant like experience

One of the early idea was to highlight the most important insights via a personal assistant like experience

 An early version of the app's IA

An early version of the app's IA

One of the many wireframes we did before adding pixels (click to view full image)

 

Working closely with engineering and product counterparts, we evaluated the trade off and advantage of each solution, against timelines and engineering constraints. Below is the strongest solution that the team landed on as version One. Our plan was to get it into the hands of customers, and iterate quickly from there.

Real time updates

Insights such as when a lead changes job, gets promoted, or mentioned in the news are what turns regular selling into social selling. We decided to put these insight updates front and center as part of our mobile experience. Whether it's during the commute to work, or during a short coffee break, the insight feed on the phone enables the user to quickly turn these “micro moments” into productive work time, and keep up to date with their leads at all times.

 
 A few examples of the real time updates found in the Sales Navigator Android insight stream

A few examples of the real time updates found in the Sales Navigator Android insight stream

 

Easy access to leads and accounts

Another one of these micro moment opportunities presented to us when we thought about the meeting scenario. Every day, sales professionals jump in and out of meetings (sales calls) with their leads. We made sure the mobile experience enabled quick look ups of of lead and account pages, and we took it a step further to enable the seamless hand off between our desktop and mobile experience.

As a sales person, he/she can not only quickly access the same list of leads and accounts they have saved, but the app syncs to the desktop experience in the order of recently accessed, so they can pick up the exact same list in the same order on the go.

 
 An example of an account page, on desktop and mobile

An example of an account page, on desktop and mobile

 

Social graph on the go

LinkedIn’s strength lies in its people and connection data. Whether it's a VP of Marketing or Director of Product, you can always reach that person via a coworkers’ friend's coworker. The app is tailored around the importance of the social graph on LinkedIn. Every entity page in the mobile experience is highlighted with different ways you’re connected to a lead or account.

 
 A sample flow of reaching out to a stranger, via a 2nd degree coworker who is connected to the lead (in this case, they went to the same school)

A sample flow of reaching out to a stranger, via a 2nd degree coworker who is connected to the lead (in this case, they went to the same school)

 

OUT IN THE WILD

While working on the team, I had the amazing opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the industry. One of them was the head of product at the time, Sachin Rekhi.

One day I asked him “As product manager, what really drives you to do what you do everyday? Is it seeing the numbers go up? Is it shipping as many product as possible? Is it creating business opportunities at massive scale for the company? What is it?”

“It’s funny you ask” he said, “For me it's not any of those. It's all about seeing the delight users have on their face when they use your product for the time. When they use it to do something they weren’t able to before.

His answer have stuck with me to this day, as I believe this is what every product designer should truly strive for. It's hard collecting facial reactions from our users, so quotes will have to do. Below are some quotes we’ve heard from folks since shipping the app :)