When product managers and their teams are designing a new product, they try to do so with the customer’s needs and wants in mind. After all, people will have to need and/or want something if they are going to spend any money on it.
In a sense, the PMs work on understanding the problem first before setting about working on a solution to the problem. The problem can be anything, from having to lift heavy boxes to needing a way to make the most of your savings. The solution to the problem is the product that’s created.
Many companies recently have been looking at how design thinking can also help them elsewhere in their business. They’re asking how design thinking can be applied to other departments to help drive more revenue and increase profits. For example, in the finance industry design thinking is being incorporated to help deliver what clients want, leaving them with happy customers that come back to do more business.
Let’s take a look at a five-stage model of design thinking and how it can be applied to your business in a way that will help you grow your revenue.
Understanding what potential customers really want is essential when creating a successful product. It can also be very effective in helping you increase sales and deliver financial products that your clients will be delighted with. Indeed, empathy is already one of the most effective tools in any sales methodology, so it makes sense to incorporate it into your overall strategy.
Run surveys and ask questions to your target audience. Find out what they are looking for in products and services:
- What do they like best?
- What do they dislike?
- Is there anything new they’d like to see?
- What would encourage them to do business with you?
- What would discourage them from doing business with you?
Gaining such information is very powerful in just about every scenario – but it’s what you do with the information that really counts.
2. Define the Problem
Taking all the information you gathered from the empathize stage, you now need to define the problem. Defining the problem will make it easier for you to do what you need to do as a provider to deliver a service or product that solves your customers’ problems.
With this approach, you can put more of a focus on value selling – which is delivering something that offers genuinely good value for your customers’ money. This will make it a lot easier for them to see why they should part with their money to do business with you.
Once you have defined the problem you need to solve, it’s time to get creative. Get people together and start bouncing ideas off each other to try and think of ways to develop a solution to the problem.
Create an environment that promotes employee engagement and encourages everybody to make suggestions. There is no such thing as a bad idea in such a scenario because even “bad” ideas can be adapted to make them a work of genius.
If you are a company trying to apply design thinking to your sales process then bring in your best salespeople so you can tap into their knowledge and experience. If you’re in the finance industry, bring in people who have a strong understanding of financial products. Don’t be afraid to bring in some junior members also. They are likely to be younger and might have fresh ideas that will appeal to the people you’re trying to sell to. And consider taking a training course to help you nail down concepts and potentially spark ideas.
Once you have a few ideas, it’s time to get some feedback on them from your target audience. Create some prototypes of your ideas and share them with people. The prototypes might be a different process, a new manufacturing method or maybe a particular financial product. Regardless of what the prototypes are, you’ll need to find out what potential customers think of them.
Creating and sharing prototypes will help you discover which of your ideas will work best. You might end up choosing to go with just one idea or more than one. You might even discover that none are suitable and that it’s time to go back to the drawing board. While the latter is far from ideal, it’s still a lot better than pushing on and spending time and money on something that doesn’t work.
Once you have decided on your solution(s), it is time to start testing:
- Introduce your solution to the real world and take it for a test run.
- Work with your target audience to try and find out what works and what doesn’t work so the solution can be adjusted accordingly.
- Determine whether or not the solution is solving the problem as needed.
- Find out how the solution can be altered to help ensure it hits the mark and is appealing to the people who are most likely to buy from you.
Remember that feedback from testing is essential and all feedback, whether it is good or bad, should be treated as such.
The Bottom Line
Adopting design thinking will help you work with your target audience in a way that helps you solve their problems, and having solutions that solve problems is key to generating revenue growth. The approach can be tailored to a wide range of processes and departments and in a wide range of industries. Design thinking can help salespeople to touch all the right buttons when it comes to selling and it can help financial advisors give advice that genuinely serves their clients’ needs.
Above is a brief look of what it takes to adopt product design thinking and how to apply it to your business. Do so successfully and you may see a considerable boost in revenue growth. At the very least it can help you learn more about the people you are trying to sell to.