Act! Essentials - Opportunities

Creative Direction, UX Design, Interaction Design, Research, User Interviews

Overview

While Act! Essentials was built and released for businesses with a simple sales process, Opportunities was built for the multi-step sales cycle without complex processes and workflows our other product, Act! Premium, has to offer.

Challenges

Working with leadership and the Act! Product Manager, we set up a set of requirements to define Opportunity Management late 2013. We looked to Act! Premium’s Opportunities feature and pulled the fundamental sales process elements to build into Essentials which included a funnel, a list of opportunities within each stage of the funnel, and relevant information to each opportunity.

The project was put on hold in January of 2014 to work on higher priorities and picked up again late summer of 2015 with a release date in a couple months. Even in the dormant periods the design team kept doing light research on oppportunity management so we still felt a little prepared for the quick turnaround but from a development perspective, the ask was to follow existing product patterns in order to get to release to the market as soon as possible. This was our MVP.

Whiteboarding Opportunities into existing product patterns.
Early notes and research.

Exploration

We asked questions to gain an understanding of the sales process and how a pipeline is useful to sales teams and managers. Since we were following existing patterns, we needed to figure out the best way to present the information on the Opportunity card and we did this with a sorting exercise in-house with acount managers, sales, and leadership experienced in a sales process.

Working in existing product patterns initially.

Sorting exercises in-house.

Patterns

Opportunity management for a user doesn’t live only within the entity; in a holistic contact relationship managment system, the user needs to know if a contact or activity has any relations to an open (or even closed) opportunity as well. Most task flow decisions were easily solved with existing product patterns.

Editing an Activity card and associating an Opportunity to it, following existing patterns.

Talking to Users

KISSMetrics code was dropped in Act! Essentials at product launch in October 2013 to better understand who was using it, how, and where they were coming from but nobody was truly owning this piece of the project so I jumped in. The data I wanted to pull was based off segments of behavior patterns. In this case, I wanted to talk with users who I believed had a strong sales process.

I started with an assumption in which users who visit the Agenda frequently are likely using Act! Essentials as part of their sales cycle and possibly in need of an opportunity management system. I would then drill into a user, look at their behavior, and make a call if I thought they would be a good candidate to talk to based on some quick internet research. If so, I sent a friendly email asking for some time to talk about their process. The result was about a handful of very good, ongoing relationships I have been able to keep an open conversation with on our evolving new feature and overall product.

Results of a group of people based off specific criteria.
Drilling down into one individual's product usage.
An individual's timeline of using Act! Essentials.
Drilling down into a specific timeline of product usage.
I use Act! Essentials to keep track of all the users I talk with.
I use Act! Essentials to keep track of all the users I talk with for any project.

Outcome

Currently the user is able to add opportunities as part of a sales funnel, associate them with Activities, Contacts, and other users on the account. Custom fields enable the user to tailor opportunity details to fit their needs. There is a responsive list view with a visual of their sales funnel to identity at a glance their progress, as well as a left-to-right progressive pipeline view. In the near future, users will have the ability to edit stage names, show or hide more stages in order to best fit their processes, as well as drag-and-droping opportunity cards between stages on the pipeline view.

Talking with users has been essential in validating and informing our design decisions to make opportunity management as useful as we can. The feature, Opportunities, is still in public Beta as of now and the company has plans for a go-to-market release in 2016.

See it in action at mycloud.act.com
See it in action at mycloud.act.com