The willingness to delay or cancel a project because of bad UI is rare in the technology business, but it's necessary if a company wants to build a reputation for good products. Turning to actual designers, it's certainly true that you're better off hiring a good designer over a bad one. Likewise, a good usability specialist is better than a bad usability specialist, a good programmer is better than a bad programmer, a good writer is better than a bad writer, and a good marketing manager is better than a bad marketing manager. In all the various disciplines that come together to create a successful interface design, you should hire the best staff you can get.
The real question is not whether you should use a good designer, but whether using a good designer eliminates the need for a good usability person. It doesn't. Several decades' experience with quality assurance says that the best results come from following a systematic quality process, including reality checks every step of the way, rather than simply hoping that you got it right. As an analogy, consider accounting. As with designers, it's better to have a good accountant than a bad one. Best practices exist for a reason, and your risk of failing a tax audit is dramatically reduced when your accountant doesn't just make things up on the fly.
Similarly, user experience and website success benefit from following best practices in the form of documented usability guidelines , as opposed to making up your own, inconsistent UI.
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The difference between design and accounting is that under rare circumstances you can get a better design by deviating from the generally accepted usability principles. But how do you know whether your case is indeed one of those rare exceptions? You could guess. But it's much safer to run a study to find out for sure. Skip to Main Content.
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The Limits of Genius Design The real question is not whether you should use a good designer, but whether using a good designer eliminates the need for a good usability person. It's wrong to rely solely on a "genius designer" for several reasons: You must run your project with the team you actually have , not the team you wish you had.
In most companies, you won't find one of the world's top interaction designers waiting around to work on your project. Design is an inexact science; even if you have a superb designer, not all of his or her ideas will be equally great.
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It's only prudent to reduce risk and subject design ideas to a reality check by user testing them with actual customers. Remember, new ideas can be tested at low cost through techniques like agile paper prototypes. How do designers get to be good in the first place? What are some of thoses mistake, and why are they being made? I think that specialization of roles in the sales function is a good thing.
I do believe that we should specialize roles and skills and align appropriately. That being said, sales development reps, business development reps, account development reps, this specialized function is becoming even more popular. What I see is the division of labor and the lower labor cost — hiring a 20 to year-old. Putting a bunch of college graduates with really no knowledge, and no network, and little business acumen into the role of an SDR who is tasked with opening conversations and opportunities with increasingly more senior level people?
And even at bigger companies, how do you take that person with that lack of knowledge, and network, and experience, and acumen, and equip them with the right knowledge, skills, tools, technology, assets, and content to be effective at opening in a world where it used to be that coffee was for closers because closing was really hard. And that opening is as hard, if not harder today, than closing. In a high-velocity transactional sale, you can certainly do less personalization because you have more from a volume and addressable market perspective. So personalization… I have in my LinkedIn inbox, in my invites to connect, over generic invites to connect on LinkedIn.
Because you have to show me you know me.
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You have to show me you can help me. You have to show me that you give a shit about me. Your first impression sucked. So personalization and taking that time to do research. So that any technology that can help me filter through all of that, that noise to find this relevant signal is certainly worth looking at. Sales is always trying to identify buying signals. Automating that research helps an individual make connections. What are some of the technologies and processes that are making that sort of technical automation possible?
What role does AI play, if any? Artificial Intelligence, AI, is such a fun topic. I recently facilitated a webinar on the topic of AI in sales. One would be that discovery, that relationship network strength. One would be the calls. The phone is not dead.
We have a natural tendency to underestimate ourselves.
If I can get you on the phone, on a video call face-to-face, I will take that over a Twitter interaction all day every day. And then, the third was around sales management. So artificial intelligence which really is looking at something that a human would do, but doing it better, faster, and at more scale. I think that basic AI is if this, then that. If Kate Gutowski sends a tweet, I get notified in real time. That can be automated, right? That can be automated just through the native Twitter. More interesting and deeper is technology that looks at my calendar and prepares me for my day. Essentially gathers in-the-moment real-time insight on the call that I had with the head of SAP Hybris Influencer programs.
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When was our last conversation? What is our email history back and forth? On a busy day, I have 10 different meetings, or calls, or interactions with people at live events. What role does marketing play in assisting sales reps in their efforts to social sell? The lines between marketing and sales are blurring, and the roles are blending. If you look at what we tried to put in place earlier in my marketing automation days, where there was a perfect handoff from marketing to sales, where marketing runs a campaign, attends a tradeshow, hosts the webinar, creates a white paper.
And marketing gets a response and inquiry from that. So marketing scores that and then nurtures that inquiry based on buyer persona stage in the buying process and gets it to the point of readiness for a sales conversation and tosses it over to sales. Sales takes the ball from there. A piece of GE is, but how about power, how about energy, how about transportation, how about aviation, how about digital, how about healthcare? Marketing can help identify where can you expand and identify other people within that account. The big shift that not enough people are talking about is that Sales needs to put on their big-girl pants and they need to learn to get in early.
They need to get back into prospecting. They need to get back into influencing early-stage buying. Marketing can help sales do that by helping sales understand where buyers are hanging out in the early stage of their journey. Where are they learning? Who are they learning from? What kinds of content resonates and captures attention? We talked about how important social selling is in that initial connection piece. You also mentioned expansion. Where can social selling play a role in that? How can social selling help increase lifetime value of an account?
Social selling is throughout the entire buyer journey, customer journey. Think about social networks as another channel. I still use email not just to prospect, but to communicate with you as a customer. I still use social as a channel to better deepen our relationship, and to expand my visibility throughout your organization. So some real specifics would be, I do a lot of work with GE.
And Kate Gutowski is a client of mine. It could be that she shares a piece of content, I comment on it, and then the chief sales officer of GE power sees that. The chief marketing officer of GE digital sees that. They start to wonder who is this Jill Rowley. This is one of many many examples I could provide of how social selling is really a mindset, a methodology, a skill, a channel that should be leveraged throughout the entire customer journey.
When it comes to sales enablement, what does effective sales enablement for social selling look like? What sales enablement does broadly is ensure that salespeople, sales managers have the knowledge, the skills, the assets, the resources that they need to have every customer interaction. They have to have marketing understand that salespeople are going to be using social networks and that they need to leverage content.
Marketing can be the provider of that. Enablement oftentimes either owns or coordinates with sales training, because from a skills perspective, social selling requires an investment in new skills. You want everyone within your organization to be leveraging social in a fairly common way. Not everybody doing the same thing at the same time in every channel, but leveraging a standard set of skills. Enablement puts program, process, and metrics around the investment in either social selling or in account based sales development or in sales training, so sales enablement is really critical.
And seeing that function within an organization increase its strategic nature. Not just being that sort of catch-all VP of broken things, the group that plans the sales kickoff event, or host the infrequent lunch-and-learn on a specific topic. How can I make them more effective?
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