Enterprise Growth Hack with Design

Growth Hack is a mindset to rigorously improve business metrics. Design is a human centric approach to improve customer experience. Growth Hack and Design should be marriage made in heaven. Large component of growth hack in enterprise is sales, however we do not see many practice where we design sales in enterprise.

I went to design meet up events and pointed out solution selling is actually very similar to experience design approach. Many designers just said “Oh yeah?” and turned face away as if they are not interested. As if selling is something filthy and designers should not touch. Lars Dalgaard described this misconception in his blog article “Coin-operated Idiots”. Chris Wanstrath, CEO of Github, also explained in podcast his initial misconception of the role sales. He later realized sales play important role in bridging gap between Github and large enterprise customers.

Role of Sales in Product/Market Fit and Traction

Andreessen Horowitz Podcast “The Why, How, and When of Sales” illustrates the role of sales very well. Sales is something B2B cannot stay away from to grow business. The growth hackers in enterprise B2B companies are sales reps. Selling is something we can design using existing solution selling methodologies by solving customer problems.

Sales reps are the last one mile to align product and market. No company can survive without product market fit.

“The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.” — Marc Andreessen

Sales reps are also the last one mile to customer traction. Growth hack book “Traction” defines 19 traction channels for growth hacking. In enterprise business, 18 out of the 19 traction channels generate marketing leads, but only one traction channel can convert the leads into sales pipeline and close as deals. That’s what sales do.

Solution Selling is a Design Process

If you are selling a pen, sales will find a way to solve customer problem with the pen. It’s different from talking customers into buying a pen they don’t need. We need to find a way for customers to solve a problem using the pen. This is solution selling approach.

Corporate customers also have very long procurement process that requires different layers of approvals. If you are selling just one pen, then it will not be a problem. But if you are selling 100 million set of pens, it’s a different story.

Many solution selling methodologies, such as SPIN and Challenger Sales, are designed to better understand customers and offer product/service that solve the customer problems. The solution selling process is very similar to experience design process. They are both customer centric. Focus on solving customers’ problem.

Miller Heiman’s Red Flag

Think of selling as a service to customers. Selling is a process of understanding customer pain and providing solution to the problem. Miller Heiman’s Red Flag practice is very similar to stakeholder mapping in design practice.

The diagram below is Service Diorama with Miller Heiman’s Red Frag concept. Service Diorama is a tool for non-designer (and designer) to map customer experience.

Miller Heiman’s Red Flag with Service Diorama

Red flags indicate people who you (and your company) do not have good relationship with.

Design Solution Selling with Service Diorama

Good sales team understand customer organization well. But they are not necessarily aware of all resources available to them. You will notice a few thing.

  1. Lack of Blue (Internal Resources)
  2. Lack of Other Colors (Customer’s Customer / Partner / Competitor)
  3. Lack of Elements (Place and Item)

Removing Red Flags by Maximizing Internal Resources

There are many reasons why a particular individual or group are in Red Flag. They might have horrible experience with your technical support team. VP of sales may have bad experience with your executive sponsor in previous role. Their legal simply cannot accept some legal terms in the contract with your company.

If it is contract terms that make the customer unhappy, Red Flag actually is the contract. If your website is hard to use to solve customer problem, then Red Flag actually is your website. You cannot change customers, but you can change something your company own like contract and website.

Maybe your legal department is happy with existing contract because it protects your company well. They probably do not realize how the contract makes your customer unhappy. Website owner is happy with existing website because it gives marketing team good conversion rate. Usually they just do not realize how they play big roles in customer support. Inviting them to this Service Diorama exercise helps your greater team bridge the gap.

Playing Service Diorama Together with Your Customers

Company is big and complex. Even someone inside will find it difficult to understand the whole picture.

They have their own customers both internally and externally. Your customer is not happy if their customers are not happy. Simple. But uncovering customer pain points with your customers is not easy to do without service design tools. This is where Service Diorama can fit in because it is a service design tool for non-designer.

Playing Service Diorama with your customer help you and your customers uncover the pain points. Invite your customers to Service Diorama workshop. Now we use Orange as customer. Green as Customer’s customer. Purple as Partner and Blue is still you.

Co-create Solution with Customers using Service Diorama

Your customer sponsor of the project will be the good starting point. CRM Project Manager (IT) for example. Let’s invite the customer sponsor and play together. What really is the problems they want to solve? How can you actually help them solve the problem? Use Service Diorama to visualize the pain and existing system in their perspective.

Forecast accuracy is very poor with existing CRM system because of low adaptation rate. Why sales people hate using CRM system? Is it difficult to use? They don’t have time? How do they measure success? Uncovering things we don’t know. After you and your customer sponsor play the Service Diorama, your customer sponsor can do the same exercise internally inviting all stakeholders. Once you understand what you don’t know, then you can ask questions to the stakeholders and have them illustrate their view of the world.

Your customer sponsor will then have better picture of what’s going on uncovering customer pain points.

Start Designing Growth Hack in B2B Business Today

Service Diorama is a set of cards. Free to download and print. Free to use under Creative Commons license. Service Diorama is also a community in Slack. You can download printable Service Diorama PDF from the Slack community.

Join Service Diorama community and start designing great sales experience with your customer using Service Diorama.

Happy selling :)