Sales Experience Design: The Future of Customer-Centric Services

After nearly a decade as a design thinking consultant, I’ve learned two main lessons. One: everything can be improved by a little empathetic research, and two: services are really, really hard to sell.

Me with a startup client, super pregnant with twins

But first, let’s make sure we are using the same language:

A quick recap for you, in case you don’t live and breathe this stuff every day.

Don’t let the RBF fool you—I really do love what I do!

Simply put: it’s designing how you sell to your customers, and how they understand what you offer.

From the lead generating content to the sales call and sometimes all the way through new customer onboarding, the sales experience is an area where it’s normal to default to established traditions and processes, without considering how those processes are experienced. It works as it is, even if it’s been done since the Mad Men agency days.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

How to Design a Sales Experience:

The Content Design Component

Speak to 3 customers and you’ll observe a coincidence; speak to 8 and you’ll define a trend.

Speak to 3 customers and you’ll observe a coincidence; speak to 8 and you’ll define a trend. Often in these interviews, a phrase will be repeated — a way of describing the problem, or the process to finding a solution; even the summary of expectation.

When you’re experiencing something weird, do you head directly to the Mayo Clinic website and type in the diagnosis? Nope. You type your symptoms and hope it’s not cancer (spoiler alert: Mayo Clinic always says it’s cancer).

When you’re experiencing something weird, do you head directly to the Mayo Clinic website and type in the diagnosis? Nope. You type your symptoms and hope it’s not cancer (spoiler alert: Mayo Clinic always says it’s cancer).

Working with other design thinkers @ Google in Boulder, CO. You can tell by my hands that I am very serious, or explaining how to make a sandwich.

You can also use onboarding as a training opportunity, so look for ways to set expectations and onboard customers to new tools in low-stakes situations.

You can also use onboarding as a training opportunity, so look for ways to set expectations and onboard customers to new tools in low-stakes situations. That way, they’re ready to jump in with your team when it’s time to use that tool or process.

Let’s put a dollar value on it.

When you view your sales process as part of the overall experience and service you deliver, you can identify opportunities to bring your customers a better experience. Challenging convention when it comes to typical processes like billing, proposal delivery, and even the sales call itself can have a huge impact with your customers, how they perceive your company and even how long your relationship will last. It’s an investment in differentiation and has long term benefits for your company.

Take Sales Experience Design for a test run at your company: use our empathy-based sales script and transform your sales calls into research calls. It’s free & here.

Dana Publicover is the founder of Publicover&Co, a sales experience design agency. Learn all about it here.

sales experience designer. founder, Publicover&Co. author, Empathy at Scale