Designing for Sales, Selling the Design

The design team should have basic understanding of how their sales team sells, and the sales team should have some idea of the design decisions.

Vinish Garg
Jun 28, 2018 · 3 min read

I read Joe Cutler’s post on products’ failures in Its Product’s Fault! Right?, on Medium. It has been widely discussed that the primary reason of startups’ failures are around product-market fit (or as Brian Balfour says, market-product fit). This is in addition to other factors including weak leadership, flawed product execution, or lack of funds.


When we say no market, there is some context of whether there was no market of the idea itself, or there is no market for when the customers start using the product. There is a difference, because sometimes things change from the time when idea is validated, to the moment when the customers start using the product (I have seen it while working as a consultant on different two products). So it may be possible that the idea had some market, but the product did not have market because it did not evolve (for right pace, timing, experience, value).

The promise is diluted in the product UX, in leadership for right directions, in its marketability, or the market itself has changed for customers’ buying behavior (for any reason in technology, habits, competition, or any other factor).

Design for Sales, and Selling the Design

Unless the design teams know what exactly sells and how, their understanding of designing an experience is likely to be different from what actually the sales team plans to sell.


Unless the sales team really knows the argument (and the science) behind how the product is designed this way, why it interacts this way, how the customer journey unfolds across screens and interfaces, and across messages, their selling can be little off-target.

I often encourage founders to setup a process where the design team should undergo some sales training — an internal activity or some professional workshop by some narrative strategists or sales heads.

They should understand the funnel, and the pitch of how sales teams actually convert. This team does not sell of course but they need a sales-bent-of-mind sometimes while making important design decisions.

Next, the sales team should undergo some design training for how the design team actually plans the experience — the interactions, the customer success check points, and the aha moments. Their sales pitch will be more accurate and their communication will be more authentic and promising if they sell it from how-this-design-works-for-customer-success bent of mind, and not only for a conversion.

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Design for Sales

Of course I do not encourage that design teams should be open to contribute to sales or sales can contribute to design — it can hamper the pace and can even dilute the decision-making or ownership.

The whole idea is to setup a flexible framework where design and sales teams have basic understanding of each other’s work, so that they can be in right frame of mind when they design experiences and make sales, respectively. It certainly helps.

Photo Credits: Daniele Riggi on Unsplash

PS: I published this post originally at my blog.

Vinish Garg

Written by

A guardian of an intent. For the right investments in product teams for 360-Perspective on UX and CX. Co-founder Outcome conference.

Vinish Garg

Written by

A guardian of an intent. For the right investments in product teams for 360-Perspective on UX and CX. Co-founder Outcome conference.

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