Where SaaS Sales and Customer Success Meet

SaaS Sales and Customer Success link together so tightly that I find it hard to discuss growth without including both topics.

Whereas sales is a very known entity, with countless books on the subject, Customer Success is a relatively new role whose definition seems to be quite up for debate.

Last night I hosted the Toronto Software as a Service Meetup’s June event, where Julie Federman lead a group discussion on a number of topics on sales and customers success.

Julie has been with Linkedin for 6 years and after becoming one of the company’s top sales reps, she decided to apply her remarkable communication and consulting skills to the Customer Success org. This is where she feels she can not only perform beyond expectations but also do it with more passion.

My biggest takeaway from this discussion was that the distinction between Customer Success, and all other post sales communication roles, (e.g. Account Manager, Relationship Manager, Customer Support, etc. ) is that Customer Success is about offering strategic consulting to the customer. So, rather than shooting over a ‘How To’ document, the Customer Success rep should share an example of how another customer used a particular feature of the product to a particular KPI of their business.

Finally, where SaaS Sales and Customer Success meet each other, seems to be in the places where that consulting can assist a Sales partner to increase the LTV of that account.

When to say no to the sale

say no to the sale

As a startup founder, you inevitably learn many lessons the hard way. Perhaps one of the hardest I have had to learn was when to say no to the sale.

The situation

At the time of receiving this lesson, we were at just over $10K MRR. We had raised $200K from an angel investor. Our average deal size was around $3500/yr, LTV was $20,000, CAC was $1200. And, we had a good flow of inbound demo bookings.

With metrics like this it’s easy to attract salespeople. One “rockstar” on our team was a national lead at Linkedin for the previous six years, who wanted to be our VP of Sales. And, I was feeling pretty good about myself for having a company that could attract that level of talent.

But here’s the thing. When someone with an amazing resume sits down with you it’s really easy to move too quickly. I didn’t understand where his real sweet spot was along the array of deal size.

Time for some references

There is a book that I read after learning this lesson that might have helped me avoid some pain. The book is Rethinking The Sales Force. The author is Neil Rackham who also wrote what I consider to be the essential book on sales, SPIN SELLING. But it’s the former that had the key takeaway, which had I understood earlier, would have been nice.

Most businesses in their early stage should focus on one type of customer and solve one kind of problem. While that might seem obvious, what surprised me is how important it is to build your sales team people that excel at selling a solution of your size.

Long story short, this rockstar salesman was not great, or frankly, even interested, in selling $3,500 solutions, rather, his real talent was taking a $3,500 sale and turning it into a $100,000 partnership. Notice the word partnership.

It wasn’t until I read Rethinking The Sales Force that I understood the real difference in the mind of the prospect when you are selling a small B2B SaaS subscription as opposed to an enterprise deal. Mind you, I had a sense of it given the absolute mountain of stress that this deal had caused me for months.

Yes, I’m human too

Don’t get me wrong, the moment I heard about this deal, I was beyond excited and did not even consider to say no to the sale. And when it closed, oh man did I celebrate! But three weeks later, when I learned what this customer expected, I started to see the challenges we had created.

He wanted customizations, he wanted a dedicated account manager, he wanted my personal time on a regular basis. All of which are fair expectations at that price point, none the less, we cannot accommodate.

We were set up and only somewhat optimized (at that point) for an SMB SaaS on-boarding experience, and that was leaving enough to be desired as it was. And, when we tried to support him (“him” being a gentleman who is not afraid to yell and swear at his vendors until he gets his way) through that process, guess what happened… Well, let’s say I became accustomed to having a scotch or two every night for the next few months.

The resolution

Thankfully, now two years later, he is still a customer, albeit on a very different package. And with many tense conversations, and flying across the country to meet him face to face, we maintain a mutually beneficial relationship without having to provide a refund that could have bankrupted us.

So in summary, this was a sale that I should have said no to, and today, our sales people knows that if a prospect is looking for a different kind of solution than we offer, to try to qualify them as a prospect for what we do, and send them elsewhere for what we don’t.

How to Use Webinars to Sell SaaS

how to use webinars for selling saas

If your Market is like ours, your customers are making a big decision when they adopt your service. At Hubbli, we decided to start testing webinars to sell SaaS to schools, and this is a market that is notorious for making decisions by committee.

So no matter how slick the presentation is, they just won’t click a button to pay us thousands of dollars during a webinar.

So how can webinars help shorten the sales cycle?

Well, beyond being an opportunity to demo multiple prospects at one time, we decided to come up with an offering that they can purchase during the webinar.

We tried two different ‘Middle-Sale’ offerings, with a goal of selling something that is very in line with our product, something that will make them more likely to become our customer.

First, we tried selling an online course. Our theory was that if we can get the webinar attendees to sign up for a course, they would learn how to improve their processes and get familiar with our system. Then at the end of the course, they would just transition into using their new knowledge in our out-of-the-box solution.

Well, the response to that was a lot of interest, but no real buyers. Meaning, it’s probably a good idea for us to offer this to the market, but not as a way to generate super-hot leads directly from a webinar.

My second idea was to sell a live, one-on-one assessment. We had already been offering free assessments to webinar attendees and getting a relatively good conversion on them. But it was suggested to me that if they had to pay for the assessment, there might be fewer assessment signups, but those that signed up would have a much higher conversion rate.

Webinars for Selling SaaS

Apparently, asking people to pay a small fee makes an enormous difference in the psychology of the prospect. Not only did we get a 20% conversion rate for the $97 assessment, but 100% of the attendees that purchased it signed up for our full service.

Now, it’s not that simple, so let me break down the ingredients to the secret sauce.

During the webinar, I not only offered the $97 assessment at a substantially discounted price from our regular $498, but I also stacked some more discounts on top of them.

If they did purchase the assessment, “for only $97”, they would also get a discount code for 50% off the Hubbli setup fee, AND a free month of Hubbli’s service as well.

So, in total, the value of the offer is $1600.

Webinars for Selling SaaS

Ok, so that is all happening during the last 3rd of the webinar but there are a few more important steps that occur post purchase.

Once they pay, there is an automated email sequence that drives them to fill out a survey, which is required before they can book their assessment appointment.

The questionnaire asked them questions that are designed to get them thinking about how valuable all of the Hubbli service benefits are. In addition to that, it asks them if they are interested in a 50% discount off Hubbli (to which they all have replied YES.)

Webinars for Selling SaaS

At the beginning of the assessment, I start off by mentioning that since they indicated they want the discount on Hubbli, and since that is only available today, we might as well discuss that. Because if they decide to move forward with Hubbli we will apply the $97 they already spent with us, and our Setup process will include the assessment as well (which it does of course.)

To date, this has worked 100% of the time, to turn the paid-assessment meeting into a Hubbli signup, in under 20 minutes, and without the need for another demo.

Email Automation for Your Personal Inbox

email automation

My best, current, and favourite email automation hack

If you’re like me you’re always trying to save more time with email automation and you’re always on the hunt for the best hacks and add-ons so you can do more work with less time and effort.

Well, here is one for any Gmail or Google Apps users that ties together your email and calendar. It’s called Boomerang For Gmail and it gives you a number of amazing email and calendar management features for your one to one communications.

If you use any email management systems or marketing automation systems that allow you to send, track, optimize email and calendar events then you probably understand the power of not having to manually follow up with every contact.

Boomerang For Gmail lets you perform the same type of automation but on a single point of communication. For instance, let’s say you want to send an important email to someone, well you would probably want to know if they opened it or clicked on it.

Depending on the settings you use it will pop up in your inbox to let you know what happened, or didn’t happen with the email. You can even set the date/time by which you want to be alerted about the status of that message.

A great use case scenario is when I’m emailing a customer that I’m responding to after they email me with a complaint. I can type in my response which usually has a link to book a follow up with me so I can ensure their needs get addressed.

With Boomerang I can then specify when I wanted to be notified or reminded about that message. If gets opened, clicked or replied to Boomerang will archive the message upon sending and then pop it back to the top of my inbox with an alert as to what did or didn’t happen either when it happened or if nothing happened.

It also allows you to insert your calendar availability into your message. I use this feature more than anything because when people want to book me for a meeting they always ask “let me know what works for you” well with one click I can insert my availability and say “here’s my schedule, let me know what works for you” thus putting the ball back in their court.

Additional, if they reply with a suggestion, Boomerang with highlight that meeting suggestion and with one click it will create the event, allow me to edit and then upon saving it sends the recipient a invite and even sends a reminder to them about the event first thing in the morning.

I also use this every day with hiring. Whenever I want to have a list of candidates I want to schedule on Friday for back to back interviews I send each of them a message with a dedicated time slot they can click to confirm and receive an invite and reminder.

This little app that costs $14.99/mo is replacing a person that would have to work at least part-time to help me manage my inbox and calendar.

I have to tell you, as a long time Product Manager I am in awe of how these guys simply nail it with the product time and time again. They have kept the tool basic, simple and though it has lots of features you learn about them at the right time and in context. It’s like they have ability to read your mind while you use the app. As you get to know it you’ll be like “oh, wow, yes I would like this email to do that..”

Here is a short list of the features I use regularly:
• Write an email and schedule it to go out later.
• Send out messages on a recurring schedule.
• Track opens, clicks, replies.
• Insert clickable date options in an email.
• Insert your availability.
• Send reminders to your appointment recipients the morning of the event.

There are many more features but these are the main email automation features I use pretty much every day.

If you have more ideas or other apps for hacking your inbox please but them in the comments below.

Why to use WordPress to build a SaaS product

use WordPress to build a SaaS product
People say the Internet is the greatest equalizer, dropping the barrier to knowledge for even the poorest and remote locations. Well, I can’t agree more and the reason I love WordPress is because just like the Internet lowered the barrier, WordPress built a catapult for people to launch themselves into a new existence.

WordPress started out as a simple blogging platform, nowadays it’s a full fledged development framework that can be used to create a completely new and novel Software product that can be sold.

As proof, you can look at Hubbli.com which is a Software as a Service (SaaS) product I built and started selling while having no ability to actually code.

Ok, I have to be honest here, before I started building Hubbli I had been learning design level programming skills like HTML and CSS but all that means is that I was able to change the way things looked while still not being able to build a single feature that I sold.

So how is this possible? Well the amazing thing about the WordPress community is that there are thousands of developers making plugins for WordPress.

Get the bonus content: Quick Start Guide to Building SaaS on WordPress

Another way to think of plugins is that they are a feature or function you can add to your site, or a site that you sell to someone else.

Where the HTML and CSS come in is when you want to hide the branding or settings of an installed plugin so that your customers have no idea who made the plugin, or how to change the current settings configuration.

The analogy I always use to explain how I built Hubbli is to imagine if you wanted to build and sell a mobile carpentry workshop. So you wouldn’t start from the point of the engine or doors or breaks, rather you would go buy a basic utility van from GM or Ford and then you would buy different pre-built components needed for performing carpentry work like a work bench, and saws etc.

The reason why people are going to buy your product isn’t because you were the guy that engineered the engine it. It’s because you are the expert that knows exactly what they need as an industry expert and have removed the months of time it would take to do the research on the best vehicle, tools and configuration needed.

Just to make sure this analogy is clear, WordPress is the engine, the plugins are the tools and YOU are the industry expert.

With a little time and testing this whole process is easy. There are even plugins made for non-developers to white-label or rebrand every screen of your product. There are also plugins for non-developers to edit the menus in the WordPress admin dashboard so your customers only see what you want them to see.

Here are some WordPress services and plugins that I either use or recommend when using WordPress to build a SaaS product:

Get the bonus content: Quick Start Guide to Building SaaS on WordPress

Tips for building a SaaS sales team

building a saas sales team

Building a SaaS sales team is an art

Now trust me, I’m no Picasso but I have been around the block a few times with this task and I have enough bumps and bruises to offer some level of valuable information.

After being a sales rep for an internet company on and off for 5 years, in 2009 I was put in charge (rather somehow convinced the CEO that I was the guy to make this company grow) as the Director of Sales and Marketing of a niche LMS and eLearning company called Expert Online Training. This was back in the days when you might still use a locally hosted CRM like ACT and you would have never heard of SDR’s or Customer Success reps.

We also didn’t have access to tools like Join.me or GotoMeeting, instead we would simply cold call prospects, get them to open up their browser and guide them through the site like a seeing eye dog. And it worked!

Fast forward to today where I am the CEO/CTO/CMO/CFO and founder of a currently quasi-bootstrapped SaaS company called Hubbli when I am going to share some lessons I’ve learnt along the way.

So let’s talk about recruiting

I don’t know what exactly has shifted but thankfully I have been having a much easier time finding solid sales candidates then ever before. In fact they are finding me, literally on a daily basis I have sales people reaching out to me telling me they are interested in a position.

I’m going to chalk it up to SaaS sales positions becoming really sexy and that we are a startup so a lot of people understand that in a sales role they can join a new company, make great money in the short term, and actually see some benefit when and if the company has a successful equity event.

I would say that if you are a SaaS startup that is selling something with a price tag of at least $500/mo your best bet for recruiting sales candidates are places like Angel.co, or anywhere else startups hangout online.

Get the bonus content: SaaS Sales Hiring Checklist

Don’t do what I just did

So here’s a painful lesson I just learned. If you are a founder and are trying to build your initial sales team DO NOT even think about hiring inexperienced sales people. I don’t know what I was smoking but I actually thought that since I was able to hire, train and coach large sales teams successfully in the past as a “Director of Sales” that I could also do it today as a Founder.

Well I was wrong, very wrong and it almost killed my business. After experiencing great growth for 5 months we lost our amazing sales guy and I was so busy maintaining the roadmap, managing developers, supporting customers, paying bills, etc etc etc I had no plan to onboard any more sales people to ensure continuity. Not only that, I was approached by a couple of hungry, motivated, capable but inexperienced sales candidates and I actually thought I could teach them how to close.

That was a stupid and egotistical thing to do. And there began our 3 months of no growth. Well, to be fair, these guys did a great job of booking and doing demos, but they had no sense as to when to drop a lead or when to push for a credit card.

Compare that to the new sales guy we have that just took a 5k deal and turned it into a 100K deal on a 3 year contract… ya, he knows how to do that and could write a book on the subject. That is who you want to hire, someone who can teach you how to close a deal and turn it into a front-loaded 6 figure whale.

Oh and we’re on-boarding a cohort of two more experienced sales guys every quarter so we’ll never get caught with our pants down. The way we are doing this is dedicating one day a week to continuously running new candidates through a well thought out and rather long hiring process.

I picked Friday as my interview day which means every Friday we meet, interview, test, hangout with new candidates. Now we can always be relaxed and know that at any point in time we can pull the trigger and hire the best one or two candidates in our pipeline.

The Interview Process

Here’s my process and I’m sure it could be better but it’s working well. Each one of these steps is done a no less than a week apart.

Step 1: 15 minute phone interview

This is just to see if they are worth meeting with. You should approach them the same way you might do a short discovery call before deciding if a prospect is worth a demo. You don’t owe anyone 30-60 minutes of your precious time. One thing I like to see is if they candidate ask me questions and gets me to go over the 15 minutes without noticing it.

Step 2: 30 minutes in person interview

So this one is perhaps the hardest one to do right. It’s really easy to fall in love with a candidate way to quickly without knowing nearly as much as you need to. You simply can’t learn enough about someone in one sitting so don’t even try. This is the time when you want to ask them how they handle different situations and try to get enough of a gut feeling as to whether they have what it takes.

Step 3: Mock demo

There are many ways to make this happen but I like to have them come back into the office after a week of preparing a demo of our product. They job is to sell us our product in the same way we sell it ourselves. We aren’t expecting them to nail all the features or value propositions, rather we want to see if they know how to handle a demo and secure the next goal of the pipeline.

If they do happen to nail the features and value props then you know they did their homework. In fact the two guys we just hired in our most recent cohort did such a good job learning the product that we could have literally had them start that day.

Step 4: Reference Check

Do not skip this step, it’s really easy to drop the ball on references once someone kills it in the interview and mock demos but I think this is crucial and I simply won’t hire someone unless I speak to 2 appropriate references.

Step 5: The Offer Meeting

At this point you have hopefully already discussed the way you structure your employment agreements so there are no surprises and this offer should align with that. I like taking another week before making the offer while letting them know they are in the final stages and that we are making a decision between them and other good candidates.

If they are solid candidates out in the market then they are probably fielding other offers and this gives them the chance to make a decision to go with you. Again, this was the case with both guys in our most recent cohort and it’s comforting to know that we have to new sales guys that picked us as much as we picked them.

Get the bonus content: SaaS Sales Hiring Checklist

Well I think that will do for this post but if you want to be notified when I write more then make sure you sign up for my newsletter. My next post will probably be something like ‘How to structure expectations for the first three months’

If you have other questions about building a SaaS sales team please use the comment section below.

Automation with Infusionsoft and WordPress

how to automate customer on-boarding with infusionsoft & wordpress

Automating processes is the first thing a small business needs to do when they are starting to achieve success.  Unfortunately there is an enormous learning curve at the beginning of this new phase and I can tell you first hand that you need all the help you can get. Even if you are teach savvy, there are just so many options out there and it’s hard to know where to begin.

I have had the pleasure of taking a few internet SaaS companies through that process and this post is dedicated to explaining how to perform automation with Infusionsoft and WordPress.

It’s no small feat to build a product and get customers so congratulations to you if you have done that successfully.  Depending on the product or service your customers may need some hand holding at the beginning of their relationship with you to learn how to use your product.  In our case, being a SAAS product we developed a 4 session training process wherein we guide our customers through the different features of Hubbli.

Once we hit a point of 10 new customers per month we quickly realized that we needed to automate our customer on-boarding system and our products of choice are WordPress and Infusionsoft so this is a tutorial of how to automate customer on-boarding with Infusionsoft and WordPress.

If you want to automate scheduling sessions with your customers you’ll need a tool that allows them to pick available sessions and then trigger the next step in the automation. For this we use a WordPress plugin called Appointments + which can be purchased at WPMU Dev.  This allows our support site to be used as the location for our customers to schedule their sessions and that is important to us as we have an ongoing relationship with our customers and we want them to easily understand how to reach us and get the help they need.

There is one more piece of software that is required for this automation process which is sometimes termed ‘middleware’.  This means it is a product that is built specifically to speak between two other products utilizing their API. In our case we decided to go with Parsey which can be found in the Infusionsoft marketplace.

So here is the process:
When our sales team closes a sale and processes the transaction on Infusionsoft we then tag the customer with “Start On-boarding Process”.

automation with Infusionsoft and WordPress

Then, Infusionsoft triggers a campaign that shoots them an email sequence with a welcome message and one goal which is clicking a link to schedule their first on-boarding session.  This is the link that takes to our WordPress site which is where our automated support calendar lives.

automation with Infusionsoft and WordPress

When they select a session that’s when Appointments + sends out an email to Parsey which is tied into Infusionsoft and that customer is now added to the on-boarding process.

Within the Infusionsoft campaign we setup automation to send out emails after each session that has a recording of the customer on-boarding session and a call to action to go back to our support site (WordPress) and book their next session.

All our customer support team has to do is go into the customer record in Infusionsoft and paste a link to the recording within an internal form.  That’s the only manual part of this entire process.

So here is what it looks like inside infusionsoft:automation with Infusionsoft and WordPress

I know this might seem really involved at first but it’s actually quit simple once you see how these pieces fit together.  And the only manual step our staff has to perform between each session is paste one link in the contact record.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you want more information in the comments below.

What do user experience designers do?

what do user experience designers do


As someone who professes to be not only a digital product manager but also a user experience designer, I wanted to devote this post to answering the question, what do user experience designers do?

Think of the UX designer less as a designer and more of a problem solver.
This is not to say that the UX’er doesn’t design. Of course we do, but our roles are much, much different than you may think. If we were to break the goal of the user experience designer role down to the bare bone definition, we would call UXers simply problem solvers.

A good user experience designer is really, really great at solving problems because the process, which is seeped in user centered design, can be applied to almost any issue a company is having.

So, before you can be a great problem solver you have to make sure you are solving the correct problem. Understanding the problem first, before jumping into the solution, is one of the most important arts of being a great UX designer.

Many times, clients will come to me with problems and before they even understand what their problem really means, they already have a solution they want made.

This is a big deal, because in reality, if we don’t define the problem, how do we know if our solution is the correct one?

Often times, clients will present us with what they believe the problem is.  But once you get into the weeds and start digging deeper, the problem often changes and needs to be revisited.

For example, if we ask this client why they needed an iPad app they may say something like, we need to be cutting edge or we need to get more users. After digging even more, we find out that their nearest competitor recently took 5% of their user base,… and they just also released an iPad app.

So the client is assuming that this is the cause of the competitor’s spike. But what if the iPad app has nothing to do with the competitor’s spike in users.

Unfortunately, because we didn’t work to understand the problem in totality and really get to what the client was doing that caused users to leave and go to competitors, we just spent tens of thousands of dollars, creating a beautiful piece of software that nobody wants.

Thus, you need to understand the problem first.

Here are some of the types of questions I try to answer before figuring out the real problem:

  • How is my client defining the success of my work?
  • What impact do they want me to make?
  • Are there numbers we are trying to reach?
  • Will this solution have to lead to another?
  • Are there other projects happening or planned that could influence
    the solution that I will have to take into account?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen during this project?
  • What does failure look like?
  • Who out there has solved this problem, and what makes their solution awesome?

What you are trying to do when understanding the problem is really get to the business, stakeholder’s or client’s pain points.

You are trying to get to the why. And once you have done this, you can begin working on the solution.

If you have any questions about how to approach a user experience challenge, or just want to tell me I’m crazy… please comment.

When a startup should hire a product manager

As as a product manager in Toronto who often acts as a strategic advisor to startups I often have conversations about when a startup should hire a product manager.  I have noticed a common inflection point at which I think startups need to make a strategic HR decision to hire a product manager.

I want to take a step back for a moment and talk about what a product manager does in an organization.  A PM is often described as the CEO of the product.  This is fairly accurate because the product is the central point of the business to which everyone is connected.  Similarly, the product manager is the person responsible to strategically manage the product, acting as the connection point between the product and every part of the business internally and externally.  Even if a company is built in silos, the product manager has to take the product and cut through all departments to ensure it’s success.

When a startup is just getting off the ground with a founder or two and perhaps a few additional team members, everyone is having a massive impact on the product.  These are the developers, designers and marketing people making version 1.0 in a totally flat and cross-functional organization.  It’s super easy to be collaborative and people are really excited and passionately taking ownership over the product.  I’ve been there a few times and I know how sensational it is.

If the team does a good job and creates something interesting, after three, six or nine months there will be some initial movement. This could take the form of investment capital or maybe some decent early adoption, perhaps some media buzz.  Inevitably people start to get pulled into their areas of specialty.  The founders are having more meetings with investors, the developers are squashing more and more bugs as early adopters start breaking things, marketing people are writing more copy, designers are making more landing pages, etc.  And all of a sudden the product, which is the whole reason for all this effort starts to get less attention.

What generally happens next is a resource decision to add people to the existing areas of specialty.  Another designer over here, a junior developer over there, and on the surface this makes sense.  It’s math right, like more cores in a processor… But I humbly disagree. What I suggest is making the next hire a product manager.  Why? because someone needs to be focused full time on the product.  This isn’t about taking ownership away from everyone else, rather allowing the whole team to do their respective jobs they specialize in while ensuring that the product is getting the strategic attention it needs.

A good product manager makes sure that all team members have their input on the product and understand the “why” and the “what”.  They should also be able to relieve bottle necks in different areas of operations to help everyone put their respective fires out until the business is doing well enough to hire more people.

If you’re a startup founder and you’re feeling the pain of growth then congratulations,  you’re off to a good start.  I hope this blog post gives you something to think about and helps guide you to the right resourcing decision for your team.

How to increase conversion rates

If you are like myself and most people today, you go to Google to find the answers to every question. Well, when I started learning how to increase conversion rates on websites that I work on I found a ton of blog posts and articles that all pretty much said the same thing.

how to increase conversion rates

And now after years of actually working on it I’m here to offer my version. But I have to warn you now, there is no formula that you can plug in to any site to make it work. The only way to increase conversion rates is to intensely understand your markets needs and effectively communicate solutions while offering a clear path to the answer.

You can test all the landing page designs you want, use captivating images and videos, make the call-to-action button bigger etc etc. But if you are not saying the right thing it’s all for not, or another way to say it is “it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing”.

  1. Talk to your market. If you think you know your market, think again. Really, I don’t care how smart you are, as interesting as your opinion might be, it’s irrelevant. I’m not saying you aren’t 100% correct but you just don’t know until you’ve spoken to hundreds of representatives of your target market segment. Ask them what their problems are and just keep on digging.
  2. Measure the intensity of the problems you discover. You don’t want to offer solutions to something that doesn’t feel like it’s a hair-on-fire issue. For example, if someone’s hair is on fire and you offer them a bucket of water, they are going to take it. And if you are brazen enough to ask for cash in exchange you will get it and quickly.  Use the chart at the top of the post as a way to measure the depth of pain being experienced as a result of these problems.
  3. Group the problems together. After digging for long enough you will inevitably create a long list of real problems but you will also find that many of them seem to be similar. Now you group them into categories and start thinking about features that will solve the whole group. The best example of this is “bumper-to-bumper warrantee”. There are many real painful issues solved by that one feature but when you are communicating it you don’t want to get specific. You want your features to sell your product like “bumper-to-bumper” sells new car leases. And sell them it does.

Once you have complete these steps you are ready to market your new product. For a stellar example of this check out this feature page for Evernote Business.  Each feature title is not specific, rather they effectively describe a set of features that solve a set of problems.  When the right person views them they automatically start to salivate.  I know because I’m one of them.

This form of communication is called marketecture which is a combination of market and architecture.  The link takes you to a wikipedia page offering a more detailed definition but if you want to learn how to make them like a champ I suggest attending a Pragmatic Marketing training session.

I sincerely hope this helps you understand how to increase conversions on your website and sorry for not offering a how-to on ux design.  I do believe in the power of good web design when it comes to conversions… It’s just not the place to start.