"Would you trust a product made by someone who doesn't even use it themselves?”

Head of Product Design and UX Research

In the fast-paced world of product development, putting your customer first is a mantra we all know but don't always know how to put into practice. Whether you're in a startup or a well-established company, the key is to create something valuable, something your customers would pay for.

But what is "valuable" to your customer? Well, as Warren Buffett wisely put it, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." It all boils down to understanding your customer.

Now, if you've ever tried arranging user interviews or testing, you know the struggles. Finding the right people, scheduling meetings, and often, facing no-shows— it's a familiar headache, especially in B2B and the sales industry.

So, here's a trick I've picked up at Superlayer to solve this friction and get closer to our Sales team.

This is how we do it.

{Editor’s note: if you are used to the double diamond methodology or with the work of Jen Cardello, you’ll find it very familiar}

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/fidelityjobs/182735029279/the-user-experience-research-framework-at-fidelity

From day one, we've embraced a user-centered product process driven by primary research.


(Finding the Right Problem to Solve)

If you're clueless about your product's context, like I was when I joined Superlayer, seek valuable sources of information. I dove into books like "Cracking the Sales Management Code" by Jason Jordan with Michelle Vazzana, "The Sales acceleration formula" by Mark Roberge and “The Sales enablement playbook” by Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey to understand the Sales process, roles, and pain points. The epiphany? Sales processes are like UX research, and Sales and Product teams are two sides of the same coin.

So, instead of hunting for user testers, I started listening to our Sales Team’s discovery call recordings. Pure gold. I watch every call recording stored on Superlayer and use the automatic transcripts to feed our UX research repository, saving me from endless retyping. Video tags and bookmarks, snippets, playlist and sharing links make future referencing a breeze.

Tagging activity and playlist collecting snippets dedicated to a specific pain point or need is important also to support prioritization: How many times has this pain point been highlighted? Which roles mainly experience it?
All these insights, prioritized nurture our Opportunity map (see “Continuous Discovery Habits” by Teresa Torres) and our Product Roadmap too.

Here's a twist: We, the product builders, can be credible testers if we use our own product daily. That's how we identified recurring issues and what our users really needed.


(Finding the Right Solution to Solve the Problem)

We frequently run workshops and design critiques where all roles of the team have a voice (Product, Development, Business, Sales Team and Marketing). 

For research to be truly valuable, everyone on the team has to be part of it. 

That’s why, as anticipated, I add tags and bookmarks, create snippets etc to meeting recordings in Superlayer.
This comes handy to 

  • share most relevant insights during our weekly product meeting,
  • set the basic shared knowledge to start an internal workshop, 
  • enable informed feedback during design critiques.

There are many reasons to adopt this approach: 

  • Reduce the intermediary bias: watching the same video, we all have the chance to directly elaborate it without pre-filters.
  • Nurture a deep feeling of ownership and commitment in understanding the problems users have,
  • Facilitates an active collaboration to find new solutions.

(read more from Jared Spool on this topic).


(Ensuring We Built the Right Solution the Right Way)

After agreeing on a solution, we design it and use Sales demo calls for validation. Yes, it's not your typical user testing, but you can still learn a lot from it, like user reactions and doubts.
“Standard” User Testing comes into play as well, following more conventional UX research principles.

And guess what? We use Superlayer to record usertesting sessions too, so as to have a shareable knowledge and the chance to analyze and prioritize it. 


Back to the title of this article: not every Product team gets to be their own customer, but that's okay. The real question is, if you could be a user, why aren't you using it? 

Look deep inside yourself… You know the hard truth.

Roll up your sleeves, the last word is not yet spoken. Building a product is an iterative process that's never truly finished: your context is continuously changing, you customers too. 

Keep listening to them, wherever they are, even in Sales calls. 

I hope you found this article useful. Reach out to share your feedback with us and if you're up for trying these tactics with your Sales and Product teams, reach out to Megan or Jim for a FREE TRIAL. It's time to make your product truly customer-centric!

Head of Product Design and UX Research