How I designed the Tesla Sales Momentum App
Tesla’s big picture
Until now, Tesla has relied on its powerful brand to attract early adopting customers but if we’re going to really make an impact on this world, we need to become the largest car manufacturer and residential renewable energy company in the world. Elon believes this will happen by 2020 and personally I do too after we had the most successful product launch in history with the Model 3 and the recent acquiring of the largest residential solar company in America, SolarCity.
In order to have successful products, Tesla needs three things:
1. Value Proposition
Fortunately, Tesla has a great value proposition for all product offerings:
Self Driving, world’s quickest sedan, safest car on the road, all electric
Falcon wings, self driving, world’s quickest SUV, safest car, all electric
$35,000 before incentives, autopilot, long range, all electric
Renewable energy, roof makes money, best looking solar roof in existence
Independence from grid, no more power outages, control from phone
Peak shaving, load shifting, scalable, emergency backup
2. Business management
As far as business management goes, Elon Musk is at the helm and is very involved. Need I say more?
3. Market Strength
The heart of business success lies in its marketing. Marketing is about having the appropriate products and services for the customer, at the right price, place, and time. This is done through proper sales, PR, and advertising.
Sales is the most important role in every business. It’s sole intent is to build cash flow. Cash flow dictates speed at which the business can operate.
“Nothing happens until someone sells something” –Henry Ford
Having had experience working on a direct sales team, I know firsthand what a successful sales team needs to thrive. They need:
After working with Tesla’s direct sales teams, I found some important culture and motivation characteristics were missing that I might be able to resolve through design.
- Tesla didn’t have a motivating and competitive sales culture
2. Sales reps didn’t have a good way to communicate as a team in the field
3. Sales reps weren’t effectively notified about incentives or challenges
4. Reps weren’t able to easily set, track, and share personal and team goals
I’m targeting Tesla direct sales channel at first, then all sales reps and installers. Direct sales channel is dominantly male, between ages 22 and 39.
Whenever I approach an new design project, I make an effort to get to know my audience. It helped that I already had experience as a sales representative in a similar field with the same team structure. I also took time to work with and document sales reps in action with customers. I frequented sales meetings and attended conference calls. As I built prototypes, I met with sales managers and reps to get their input which was very useful in the iteration phase.
The sales team uses a very clunky sales tracker. It’s packed full of information and does not translate well to any of our established mobile patterns. The many problems we are trying to solve with a single app were big to begin with and if done wrong, could bloat the app and shun users from the get go. Simplifying the mobile experience was one of the biggest tasks of this project. Additionally, Tesla did not have an established design system or GUI which meant I would need more people to inspect progress and critique which wasn’t ideal for the quick turnaround that was expected.
Another constraint is that sales reps are always moving so a mobile/responsive platform is necessary.
1. Stimulate team competition through ability to issue challenges and incentives
2. Motivation through personal goal tracking and stats
3. Establish reliable and easy-to-use messaging system between reps
4. Build media platform (video feed) to keep reps informed with company news
Design, Ideation, and Iteration
I took to the white boards for a day and scribbled out a user flow and asked another designer to step in the room and give feedback. That same day, I was emailed by the VP of sales saying he needed some Hi-Fi screens to show the CRO the following day. I had to ditch the whiteboards and start mapping everything out in Sketch. I exported a few based off the whiteboard drawings and handed them over that night.
Process of issuing a challenge to a teammate:
The next day, the sales VP gave me some good feedback but also asked me to add many other functionalities—some of which were unrelated to the main purpose of the app. I explained that I wanted the app to work flawlessly with each of the core functions so I would be building a 1.0 release stripped to the bare essentials, keeping the app simple and familiar to iOS and Android users. Once I could prove reliable usability in the field, I would then add more functionality in version 2.0. He agreed and I proceeded to build this prototype:
To make the design feel intuitive for both Android and iOS users, I took elements I like from Material and HIG. For example, you’ll notice Material depth when opening the upper left menu. You’ll see Material’s top bar, and nav button at bottom right. But on the HIG side of design, my buttons are very circular and I use blur to communicate depth as well. I built a very simple wireframe that would be flexible for quick execution. I was told to spend a little less time on the visual aspects of the app so I could get this out as fast as possible. Which is also why I used Twitter bootstrap icons in the menus. I used a cool darker theme with vibrant colors inspired by leading athletic color choices to amp up the energy.
There is a lot I’m not proud of, but considering the timeline I was given, I am glad I at least got to throw some pixels around.
I met with the head of our engineering teams and we plan to start working on developing the app and integrating it with our other systems in the three months. I am positive that when I start working with an engineer, we will run into a plethora of unforeseen challenges, but I’m excited to learn and grow from the experience.
- A Hi-Fi prototype is worth a thousand emails
- Most direct sales teams thrive off of testosterone-driven design
- Ethnography is the best way to learn sales process.