An introvert designer’s survival guide to how to work with Sales | by Kai Wong | Dec, 2023

How to help Sales enough to avoid them throwing any curveballs at you

A man in a casual shirt and jeans is giving an uncomfortable thumbs up to a high pressure salesman wearing a suit and tie
Art by midjourney (A designer feeling uncomfortable while talking to Sales)

“You know how it is; over at my old company, we’d have to chain our doors shut to avoid Sales dropping in.” My manager said as I nodded along.

While Designers need to collaborate with other departments, few departments seem more like polar opposites than Sales and UX. They’re often pushy extroverts focused on closing deals in the present, while many of us are introverts who listen and Design for the future.

However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that more than Design is needed in this economy. To remain competitive, it’s essential to consider additional skills that can help make

We must consider adding additional skills to our skill stack to remain competitive.

While I’m a big fan of incorporating Data into our design processes, according to Darren Yeo, another approach is incorporating business thinking.

Doing so can allow us to support work alongside teams like Sales and make you a stronger job candidate in the eyes of the business. However, to do that, we first need to understand the Sales team’s perspective and why UX and Sales run into conflict in the first place.

The present vs future: the core conflict between Sales and UX

Imagine an all-too-common scenario: A potential customer talks with a salesperson and says, “Hey, I like your product, but I need X feature built-in before I sign a contract.”

The salesperson is happy and says, “Of course, we can add X feature if you sign on the dotted line.” He then signs up a customer, the company makes more revenue, he gets rewarded with a fat Christmas bonus, and everyone’s happy, right?

Wrong. Because by promising that thing, he’s just thrown your Agile sprint planning into chaos. That feature, slated as a low priority by the Product team, suddenly becomes a top priority, and teams must scramble to re-arrange work priorities.

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