Can’t talk to users? Why not talk to sales?

For many projects, getting together a group of users to survey using a screener is enough to gain valuable insight before the start of a project. However, sometimes it’s necessary to speak directly to the product’s actual users and even better, those that considered your client but didn’t become users. One might think getting a client to give over some information on a few of its users might not be all that difficult, but in reality, this can be a tall order.

Those charged with working with client relations don’t necessarily want some outside team calling up their clients asking questions about the service or product if they’re not there to vet questions or simply try to smooth out any potential bumps in the conversation. These users may be new and not totally understand the product or service. They might not have the time to spend an hour on the phone talking about one small piece of their stack. Additionally, there might be some clients that are actually a bit pissed at how the service has been and were it not for the time left on the contract would be long gone. So, how do you go about getting this information? Look internally.

Every company has people that work closely with current clients and prospects in the sales funnel. As such, they’re equipped to dish out a lot of intel in the process.


User surveys: Condensed.

These people have seen a lot of customers. They know what they love about the product, what they hate, and what they want changed. They can provide you these insights instantly without having to spend the time interviewing countless users and compiling the data to suss out trends.


Internal means honesty…and not annoying their users

Since you’re not asking the users directly, you can be sure that the responses you’re getting about shortcomings aren’t going to be sugar-coated. Similarly, it also buffers against unhappy users with an ax to grind. You’re also free of having to worry about saying or asking something that might show your client in a bad light.


See what never was

People in sales deal with users at a number of steps in the funnel: from very early prospects to those who’ve converted and stuck around for years. As such, they can give you insight into a group that’s otherwise almost impossible to talk to: those that didn’t convert. Dig into when they dropped out of the funnel, who they went to, and what caused them to go with a competitor.


Nothing’s Perfect.

Condense weeks of interviews into a few conversations with salespeople? Seems too good to be true. Well, yes and no. While there are huge benefits to surveying this way, you’re leaving out a very crucial component: the actual user. If possible, set up some time to speak to them. Take this time to corroborate what you’re hearing from the inside and to find answers to questions the sales teams simply couldn’t know.