UX Research: What We Learned by Talking to Our Audience [Case Study]

Sales Hacker
Mar 6, 2017 · 8 min read

What is UX Research? Why does it matter? Isn’t that a marketing “thing”? Why should salespeople care?

Sorry to tell you, but it’s not just a marketing thing. It’s a business thing. UX research is especially important to the SaaS lead gen model. If you’re in B2B SaaS sales, where do you think your leads are coming from? Chances are that a good bulk of them are coming from inbound marketing.

This very simple diagram from HubSpot illustrates a typical SaaS lead generation funnel. The impact of UX is most critical at the convert stage. If visitors can’t easily and enjoyably accomplish their desired tasks, conversions will suffer tremendously.

saas lead gen funnel
saas lead gen funnel

We all know that aligning sales & marketing is a huge buzz topic, so here’s a practical analogy.

[Tweet “”UX Research to digital marketers = CSAT surveys to customer success managers.” — @gaetano_nyc”]

So What is UX Research Anyway?

According to common definition, UX research is an investigative process that begins with declaring assumptions and applying various research techniques to make data-driven validations.

During that process — facts are established, problems are uncovered, and conclusions are reached.

In most contexts, UX research is primarily associated with enhancing web design. While this is true, UX research can also help improve audience targeting, persona development, content strategy, business objectives, and more.

How We Applied This at Sales Hacker

There are plenty of scientific ways to go about UX research, but I decided to take the quick & dirty “growth hacking” route.

By the way, growth hacking is another one of those buzz words you hear a lot, but not many people know exactly what it is.

[Tweet “”Simply put, growth hacking is getting more sh*t done with less available resources.” — @gaetano_nyc”]

You don’t always need the fanciest methodology to get the answers you need. Here’s how I did it.

Set Goals & Assumptions

Straight up, this is just declaring a few outcomes you hope to achieve with your research.

To be transparent — I’m brand new to Sales Hacker and I’ve been tasked with closing the gaps in our marketing strategy. From my experience, talking to customers is always a great place to start.

  • Goal 1 — Find one major copywriting / brand messaging insight.

Can you help us out real quick?

While we’re on the subject, I thought I’d ask. Can you take this brief 12 question survey to help us validate our findings? It’s for internal use only, and your responses won’t be shared with anyone. If you want to just keep on reading, that’s cool too. There’s a link to the survey at the end of the post if you’d rather do it later. Thanks!

TAKE THE SURVEY RIGHT NOW

Personal Interviews

I set up 30 minute personal interviews with a representative sample of Sales Hacker’s audience. Here’s who I talked to:

UX Research sales positions
UX Research sales positions

And here are some of the questions included in the interviews:

  • What Are Your Most Common Daily Tasks?

Brand Insight: What is the main benefit of Sales Hacker?

We offer a lot of things. Narrowing it down a bit helps when it comes to crafting core messaging.

UX Research main benefit Sales Hacker
UX Research main benefit Sales Hacker

Brand Insight: How would you describe Sales Hacker to your grandma?

  • “Rebels / Disruptors — changing the old school sales process day by day”

Brand Insight: Sales Hacker Slogan Suggestions

  • Be Fearless

Audience Insight: What Are Your Most Common Daily Tasks?

UX Research most common daily tasks
UX Research most common daily tasks

Audience Insight: What Are Your Top Challenges in Sales / Business?

top challenges sales and business
top challenges sales and business
  • “Competition is everywhere; it’s harder to sell because it’s harder to stand out.”

Audience Insight: What Primary Audience Does Sales Hacker Serve Well?

  • “SDRs / AEs in SaaS Sales”

Google Analytics validates much of what we already knew; Sales Hacker largely caters to a younger male audience.

UX Research Google Analytics Age
UX Research Google Analytics Age
UX Research Google Analytics Gender
UX Research Google Analytics Gender

Given that Employment / Career Consulting is a top in-market segment, that suggests our audience is likely to care about how to advance their sales careers, and how to provide support for those seeking advancement.

UX Research market segment
UX Research market segment

Content Strategy Insight: Persona Targeting

A top feedback point was that content should cater to the specific needs of each audience segment. For example, Sales Directors have very different concerns than SDRs / AEs.

ux research personas
ux research personas

Content Strategy Insight: User Journeys

Awareness:

“I am a salesperson and I need to hit my goals, but I’m not looking for any specific tips or help right now. However, I may be open to reading a story with a cool headline.”

Interest:

“I could use some help refining my sales process, but my sales manager doesn’t have enough time to help me. At this point, I’m just searching Google for resources that can provide tips and guidance on the things I’m struggling with. I’m considering several options — including sales content, sales books, guides, checklists, and templates.”

Consideration:

“I need a more personalized experience, so I’m specifically looking for direct help from the sales community. I’m considering several options — including slack groups, forums, attending a conference (to network or meet leads), sales meetups, hack-a-thons.”

Decision:

“I’m ready to make an investment in my sales career. I’m considering sales training, advanced courses — but I just don’t know which platform to try. I am evaluating effectiveness and efficiency at this point — and need social proof, testimonials, case studies, and comparisons to help me make the right decision.”

Loyalty:

“I am a huge fan of Sales Hacker — I learned so much from reading their content as an SDR that I gained an enormous advantage over my peers, ultimately leading to a promotion just after 8 months in my first inside sales gig. I want to help amplify Sales Hacker and become a brand ambassador to enhance my personal brand.”

UX Research Helpful Content
UX Research Helpful Content
UX Research Annoying Content
UX Research Annoying Content
  • “I’d love an all-in-one package; Sales University”

Usability Testing Insight: Sales Hacker vs Topo HQ

I used a tool called “What Users Do” to get real-time user insights on how first time web visitors navigate our site.

First, I set up a testing scenario. Then, I created a new set of tasks on a competitor website to see who the user would rather buy from.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

UX Research Usability Test
UX Research Usability Test

Email Marketing Insights: What Would Discourage You From Subscribing?

  • “I never subscribe to any email list.”

Final Insights: What Should Sales Hacker Do To Improve?

  • Consider Communication; Chatbot, Human Element

We Need Your Help!

We’re working hard to better serve the sales community. This is just the first step of many, but I wanted to be very transparent about what we’re up to. As you can tell, plenty of good things in the works!

If you have any feedback or want to contribute ideas to helping us improve — leave them in the comments below to get the conversation started.

Of course, we’d encourage you to take our survey too if you haven’t already done so!

On behalf of Sales Hacker, I’d like to thank you for being a part of our journey. We look forward to continuing to serve you as best as we possibly can.


Originally published at Sales Hacker.

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