Sales navigator 2.0
After the initial hugely successful launch of the Sales Navigator platform. The team received lots of feedback and data from customers who used the tool on a daily basis. We took a careful look across the platform and identified the homepage as the main experience to focus on improving. As the lead designer, I partnered closely with product, user research, engineering, and product marketing teams to come up with an aligned vision and plan of execution. We successfully launched a newly improved homepage experience that decreased customer retention, and greatly improved product engagement.
user feedback AND BUSINESS PROBLEM
The homepage is the main experience that greets our users when they first enter Sales Navigator. Despite finding the insight updates extremely valuable, sales professionals who are used to other enterprise tools sees a homepage experience purely dedicated to a stream of insight as missed opportunity. They also described the process as “sieving through the noise”, as not all insights are particularly valuable, depending on the state of their sales process.
Other users have expressed concerns with the steep learning curve of our product. As mentioned previously, the sales process has long been established as a numbers game. With the introduction of Sales Navigator, we introduced the concept of social selling, where the quality of the reach out is far more important than the number of cold calls one makes. Our users were not getting used to the new interface, but also trying to learn a whole approach to selling. One account executive famously remarked,
“it’s like giving an iPhone to a caveman”
Most important of all, the old sales process was much more measurable. Sales managers would look at how many calls a report is making versus how many deals they are closing, and track his or her performance easily based on those numbers. With social selling, it was incredibly hard to measure your daily performance based on “numbers of engaged updates”
Due to the these problems, our product was experiencing churn and low customer retention. The folks who gets it loves the platform, but more novice sales professionals had a hard time adopting and obtaining value from it.
Defining the experience gap
Based on the feedback received from our customers, talking to our corporate support teams, as well as observing the LinkedIn sales' teams daily usage behavior, we started to define the two experience gaps we wanted to focus on bridging from a design and product perspective.
1. The insight stream was very serendipitous and the experience was not productive
2. Huge social selling learning curve for novice users.
MAPPING OUT THE VALUE flow
At the very beginning, I took a step back and asked, what are the real values we are trying to provide to our users with the insight stream? What actually helps them close their deal, or move their leads along the sales funnel? What is their flow in the existing product to achieve such value?
exploring on a continuum
To make stream less serendipitous, we studied productivity tools that gave people a strong sense of progress. We looked at the usage of products that allowed people to take notes, and create to do lists. We studied the experiences of going through an email inbox, and how people used RSS readers to consume content from different sources. From there, we tried applying some of these experiences for our use case, and diverged into a massive amount of different ideas.
What if the homepage was just a search portal?
What if it showed key insights, and a high level overview of everything else?
What if we grouped insights around accounts (companies) people are targeting?
What if we grouped insights based on their types?
What if we had powerful filters that allowed the insights to be sliced and diced in hundreds of different ways?
Overall, we came up with different ideas on a continuum. From low liquidity and high relevance with little need of control, to high liquidity and low relevance with lots of control.
Besides the stream, another huge experience gap was the steep learning curve of social selling as a new selling process. There, we started looking at different ideas of hand holding more novice users through their process. We optimized iterating on two ends of the spectrum, from traditional, inline support, to an intelligent, social selling advisor.
testing our ideas, rigorously
Throughout the process, testing and validating all these concepts and ideas became increasingly more important. Partnering closely with our Product Marketing team, we formed a research SWAT team, consisting of the most passionate, knowledgable sales professionals within the LinkedIn sales team. With the SWAT team, we started a rolling study where ideas and prototypes were tested against real sales professionals on a biweekly basis. This process quickly surfaced many key elements that resonated extremely well with our user base.
ITERATING, ON THE SMALL (BIG) THINGS
A few themes started to emerge from all the research and testing. Sales people really don't enjoy being told what to do. And realistically, its extremely hard to anticipate the need of any specific sales person on a specific day. As customers who used the tool from 9-5, they really wanted the power to control and fine tune what they are seeing. On top of that, we started exploring many different options to make each insight more actionable.
SALES NAVIGATOR 2.0
A more powerful insight stream
At a glance, I can quickly filter my stream based on the type of insights that are most important to me. We gave users the ability to have a quick glance at their most recently active accounts, without ever leaving the homepage. Turning the old “you take what you get” stream experience into a task oriented, user driven, reader-like experience.
We wanted the home experience of Sales Navigator to be more encompassing. While the original homepage was great at delivering timely insights, users had no idea how they are doing, or any sense of progress through their social selling process.
We tailored the right rail to be the personal space of the sales person. This is where you go to find everything about you. The team introduced Social Selling Index, a number derived off your social selling activity on LinkedIn, to track your progress. We added recently viewed leads and accounts to allow users quickly pick up where they left off.
Through research, we discovered that sale professionals operate within a defined target space on a quarterly basis, so the recent searches module on the homepage enabled people to quickly conduct searches with preset parameters, as well as alerting them when new leads are introduced.
Help, right when you need it.
Many feedback we received showed that people who are used to the traditional cold call process and those who played the numbers game simply did not understand the value of social selling. An important insight like a job change meant very little to them. So one of the key component of our redesign effort was to educate users as they went.
Depending on the insight type, we created contextual suggestions on what users could do with the presented information. And based on their Social Selling score, which correlatively highly with their social selling savviness, the amount of inline help would increase/decrease intelligently.
Results, in the numbers.
Since launching the new experience, we've heard great feedback from our users. More and more people are finally starting to realize the true value behind Sales Navigator and social selling. Our Net Promoter Score increased by 10pts. And below are some detailed numbers since our launch -
14% uplift of actions in stream
30% saved leads from the homepage
6% lift on messaging from the stream