Digital and Print Design
Based in Allen, Texas, Bridge Metrics is a technology services business situated in the IT indirect sales channel. Bill Carroll built the company on providing top-notch lead-generation campaigns with clients spanning manufacturers, resellers, integrators, and consultants. Alongside Bill, technology leader Jason Langford worked on tools to help sales teams find and use marketing content to close more deals. The company’s early services included ChannelAvenue, an innovative marketing campaign and content management platform that enabled the company to deliver more content to prospects, and more leads to clients, while navigating the extremely complex revenue-sharing relationships inherent to multi-layered sales channels.
With Grant Wynn as CEO, Bridge Metrics currently delivers services focused on enabling your sales force to close more deals by leveraging the highest-value marketing content at just the right time.
I first met Bill by video where he explained the ways he envisioned Bridge Metrics would play in the sales enablement space. He invited me to Allen, TX for a 3-week engagement that would focus on developing new product and service concepts within the context of the rapidly exploding content marketing universe.
1 User and Context Definition
All my work begins with the question, “Who is the user and what user-centric problem are we trying to solve?” In the case of Bill and Jason, they are both astute entrepreneurs who had managed businesses that were addressing problems in the market space. Through guided storytelling, both easily provided real, concrete examples of people and companies while I visually modeled the landscape they were describing.
It became clear that the way marketers, sellers, and buyers generate and use content in the selling activity was an area where Bill was really passionate. I proposed a series of 1-1 interviews with five stakeholders who could help me quickly model known behaviors that relate to generation and use of marketing content in the sales activity. Using guided interviews to encourage story telling, I set out to answer the questions:
- What forms does content marketing take?
- How does content marketing behavior vary among organizations of different size?
- How does content marketing enable the sales process?
- What are the specific goals of marketers, buyers, and sellers at each stage of the funnel?
Regardless of the interrogative approach, the goal of these survey sessions is to identify the factors that most reliably predict variability in the behavior. Ultimately, a matrix of People, Organizations, and Personas was documented and supplemented with additional secondary research enumerating the tools, services, and techniques trending within the space. Sources include identifying thought leadership, identifying major sources of influence and market power, generating a glossary of terms, mining publicly available social channels for references to specific tools or skills in the domain, competitive research, and synthesis of major syndicated market research.
2 Design Concepts
As a design researcher, I pray that I’m not full of crap. I’m often hollering about spending adequate time modeling and visualizing what we know so that we can have well-defined problems to solve. Sometimes you look at a domain and realize that you don't see anything interesting. In the case of Bridge Metrics, we identified several really interesting problems that all pointed in the same strategic direction. The fastest rapid prototype you’ll ever build is a context scenario that describes how a human user will experience your idea to achieve a goal. In the final week of the engagement, we used personas defined earlier to quickly iterate through product and service concepts using narrative.
Ultimately, the engagement provided Bridge Metrics leadership an opportunity to quickly explore their intuitions about their own capabilities as well as their market space. A series of context scenarios give a high-level starting place for building technical and user experience design requirements. These design explorations are supported by thirty hours of custom user and market research comprised of interviews and secondary research documented in the form of models: visualizations, lexicon, graphs, tables, personas, behavior matrices, and stories.