Product Features

A day in the life of a sales head – Building user persona for CRM

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
This is the user persona of Sam-the-sales-head, as we imagined him (and validated him). He is the sales head of a mid-sized enterprise that sells equipments & hardware to other companies.  The excerpt is a day in his life as we imagined it for the purpose of developing features and functionalities for our CRM.

‘Sam woke up at 6:30AM to the sounds of his kids getting ready for school. He got up and went straight for the iPad kept by his bed side. He scrolled through his inbox to check if Cersie-the-warm-lead had responded to his proposal. There wasn’t any so he went on to check the rest of his emails.  Seth -the-psychopathic -salesman-CEO was asking him to share the numbers for this month end.  He glanced through the rest of his inbox before writing a quick one liner to his sales-team – “Need numbers for Monday meeting”.

The numbers this quarter weren’t coming along that well! He was counting on Henry-the-hot-lead and Winona-the-warm-lead to convert. He quickly scanned his calendar to plan his day and stepped into the living room just as his kids were finishing their breakfast.

He reached office at 8:30, right in time to spend an hour reviewing his sales dashboards. This was his daily ritual where he would switch off his phone, logoff his email and just spend the hour reviewing sales.

As he logged into the CRM, the activity stream opened up giving him a glimpse of all that had happened yesterday. He was particularly interested to know how many deals closed, how many moved further down the funnel and how many were lost.

Only 7 deals had moved down and none had been closed (won or lost). He looked up the forecast for this week to see which ones are likely to close but the numbers were abysmally low. He checked the forecasts for next 3 weeks and they weren’t that great either.

The data was wrong, he thought! They had been running the adwords campaign for well over 2 months and with an average closure cycle of 3-4 weeks, he expected to see more closures every week that were showing in the forecasts.  “Is our conversion rate really that low?” he thought.

He went on to check his conversion rates, which were in excess of 15% and his pipeline was upwards of $200,000. He went back to the forecasts and then quickly figured what was going on – “The guys aren’t updating the closure date. I need to talk about it”. He sent out a note to his one-downs to update the closure dates before moving back to the pipeline.

So how many will they close by end of the month? The question still loomed in his head. The CRM was telling him an average conversion cycle of 28 days so he went in and looked up his opportunities by no of days. It showed $24000 for the 21 – 28 days and $70000 for the 30+ days.

The pie chart on the right also told him that 42% of deals closed in the 21-28 days cycle and about 11% in the 30+ day cycle. A quick mental calculation told him he was looking at adding about 15k before the month ended.  They had added $65k until now and with just $15k in the probable pipeline, they were way off their target of $120k.

I hope Henry -the-hot-lead and Winona-the-warm-lead closes, he thought to himself and then quickly realized that he may already have added them in his $65k. He opened up the opportunity-list and went in to check the individual opportunities in his pipeline. Both Henry -the-hot-lead and Winona-the-warm-lead were there in the list.

This would be the second consecutive month they’ll lose their targets. Seth -the-psychopathic -salesman-CEO would have one of his classic fits if he heard those numbers. Sam decided to check the individual opportunities in the pipeline. Is there a lead they could close?

He first went to opportunities which were right at the bottom of the funnel. 12 deals were at the demo stage, 9 at the send-proposal-stage, 11 at negotiations-stage, 9 at submit- contract-stage and just 1 in the contract-pending-signature stage.

He looked at the submit-contract-stage and arranged them by “days since last update”. At-least 3 deals were more than a week old.  Lennie-the-laggard-sales-rep had 2 such opportunities and Amar-the-amazing-sales-rep had 1. He was about to send out a notice to all his sales-reps but he noticed that all 3 of the deals had action-items listed against him. He opened them up &  remembered he had to get them approved by Lego-the-legal-advisor.  He had been getting reminders on his email and iPhone but Lego-the-legal-advisor was out for the week.

He checked the other 6 opportunities and sent out messages to his sales-people urging them to update the deals. And just before he rushed for the 9:30AM meeting, he followed all of these deals so that he could monitor their progress.

To be continued…

Calendar starts from Sunday and other usability feedback from our users

Friday, June 21st, 2013

We’ve had some awesome users who’ve been kind enough to devote time and give us some amazing feedback on our product. And these are not huge changes, just those little tweaks here and there which make all the difference.

For example, Mike pointed out that informational icons on our opportunity view should be visible at all times. We on the contrary had made them appear only on-hover. Just that one change made a huge difference. Another subtle change he suggested was to tell us that calendars in most applications actually start from Sunday. (The calendar we used had started from Monday and I am sure it must have ‘felt’ different).




RB pointed out the concept of driver information and while I can’t elaborate too much, it should add to making the CRM-ERP even more effective. Ashish pointed out to left-to-right readability in a (funnel) flow.

In a nutshell, we’ve been busy! There is still so much that can be done to simplify the CRM-ERP software space. There is still some time before we make it as simple as “facebook”!

Why we changed our menus (especially the way they look)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We are fairly proud of the half-and-half buttons on Yavvy. I had never seen anything like that before and everybody who I have demonstrated it to had liked them. The other benefit was that it helped us keep our menus short and largely de-cluttered.




Unfortunately, they weren’t working for the new signups. Newly signed up user look at menus as a map, something that should help them reach some place they want to. Our small menus weren’t working because our users did not have familiarity with our application. We used to get queries like – “How do I add a contact?” and we’d reply saying – “Go to Account and click on Add Contact”. We figured out everybody wanted “Contact” on the menu itself.

But as we expanded on the whole idea of building familiarity, we realized that users are probably the most comfortable with a Facebook kind of menu. Why don’t we just build something like that? Let the UX look a lot like FB. Pride kept us from doing that. We were proud of the UX we had built, it’s not a clone, it’s not a me-too.  We had made the ERP sexy and we did it our way!

So here we were swinging on both sides of the pendulum, looking to add familiarity while trying to retain novelty. We thought and thought and designed and tested; and then we redesigned it again and then tested it again.

The end-result: We got a menu that looked a little like Google Plus. We’ve kept the half-and-half in a cold storage. Maybe we’ll bring it back from the half-dead later.