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Impact of UX in B2B Segments

Excerpts from my chat with Nithin Babu, on LinkedIn

nithin-100

Nithin:

Hello Udit,
Great presentation and huge take-aways from Upgrad event yesterday,
One question – Does UX/UI make similar impact in B2B segments? How do you weigh the content or the product benefits versus the marketing efforts in final conversion/ sale?

udit-100

Udit:

Nithin,
Thanks for attending the session yesterday. It was fun interacting with you.

To answer your first question, ‘yes’ in most of the cases, UX makes a big impact and even becomes a game changer in B2B scenarios. I can pull a couple of examples from my experience-

When I was working with Cisco, I was a part of UI/UX team for the set-top boxes. Our business unit operated B2B and used to sell contracts to customers like Airtel, Tata Sky and so on. What’s interesting here was Cisco never used to make a pitch based on the hardware or security features, instead, we used to create fully functional interactive prototypes. Then these prototypes were used during the sales pitch. So actually, we used to sell the UI (or the experience), not the product. Airtel would buy exclusive rights to the UI (and features thereof) and hence making the UI/UX team a direct contributor to revenue in a B2B setup.

Another example is Kaseya, a B2B IT Management company. Kaseya sells IT management products that can be used by IT departments of SMEs to manage the IT infrastructure. IT departments receive 100s of tickets everyday and all what they care about is efficiency in resolving those tickets. Again, the entire sales pitch was made around the usability and efficiency of the product, targeting the IT Admins as the end users. The product was jam packed with features all crammed up on single screens with lot of persistent navigation bars. The product required training (of course), but once that hurdle is crossed, it used to reduce the time to resolve the tickets by a huge margin by the virtue of usability. And hence, directly impacting business.

So yes, UX plays a great role in a B2B setup. But, the role depends heavily on the business goals, target audience and scenarios. Often, the impact is directly measurable by certain metrics (like revenue earned, or time saved).

To answer your second question, I think we would need to use the lenses we talked about.
3-lenses-to-look-through
If your customer is a novice (in the domain under consideration), it is more likely that marketing and sales effort would overpower the product features or the meat. However, if the customer org is a domain expert, it is more likely go for a deeper evaluation of the product. It would understand the nitty gritty of the smallest features and is less likely to be wowed purely by the sales and marketing efforts. In fact, sales or marketing team will have to be solidly supported by the product team in order to position it right. Just like in the case of Kaseya above. Sales team used to be heavily backed up by the engineering team, and used to work very closely with the UX team in order to be able to talk about the exact features and benefits that the IT experts would be looking for. So I’d say here, a good metric could be how heavily is the sales team dependent on the Product and UX for the sales pitch. Simply put, is the UX team indispensable for sales or not? If the answer is yes, then you know that product features or the meat has a significant role to play. We’d need to think deeper on a case by case basis in order to put a number to it, but that shouldn’t be difficult! And yes, likewise, you could take a look at your customers through other 2 lenses as well if that makes sense.

Hope this helps. 🙂


nithin-100

Nithin:

Hey, thanks very much for the detailed answers – truly appreciate it

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Udit Khandelwal