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  • Writer's pictureclara fairbanks

Zero to One Innovation: Leading the Design of the Contacts Feature at Yesware

My Role: UX Research, UX Design, UI Design

Tools: Figma, pen and paper

Date: Jan 2021 - August 2021

Project Overview:

Yesware is an incredible suite of tools for salespersons. Founded in 2010, Yesware is one of the oldest and leading names in sales tools. It's likely that if you are in the business of Sales, you have heard of Yesware... and if you haven't, I recommend you give it a try ~ and let me know what you think!

One of the interesting things about Yesware is, because of its age, the product has had time to evolve and grow its feature set into a wide range of tools. Yesware's growth has largely been dictated by market trends and user behavior. But over the last few years, the company has noticed that the majority of users are only using 2 -3 of Yesware's features, never touching the other powerful tools the company offered.

We wanted to explore both how we could unify our various tools and how we could better serve our users in doing so.

Exploring the Problem:

Through research and discovery we determined that the reason for the homogenous use of tools is two fold: 1. lack of discoverability for other tools and 2. lack of a unifying connector of our various tools.

After working towards better discovery through CTAs and product restructuring we determined that Yesware is missing a core element to unify our various features. This is when we started exploring the contacts app.

Contacts felt like a logical way to unify Yesware's features for a number of reasons, but it also aligns with several other Yesware objectives. For one it closes a gap between Yesware and many of our competitors. It also provides a light weigh solution to our premium and pro users that don't use Salesforce for contact management.

Research Process

In order to properly flesh out the problem space here I employed both primary and secondary research.

My secondary research started with a comprehensive competitive analysis. Reaching out to our sales and CS teams I got a list of our top 5 current competitors that specifically attract our premium and pro customers. These are companies that we have specifically lost deals or customers in our premium markets to in the last 6 months. The list returned Salesloft, Outreach, Hubspot, Pipedrive, and Copper.

For each competitor, I signed up for an account if I didn't already have on and started testing their CRM features. Using a list of 36 specific attributes I evaluated each CRM and how the feature interacted with the rest of the ecosystem. I then turned to Youtube and Reddit to find two key pieces of information: 1. how do power users engage with these features, and 2. how do new users engage with each of the features. What questions are frequently asked? What complaints are frequently aired.

I also did research on the best practices for sales people using CRMs. I discovered scientifically what the best sales flows are and how and where CRMs fit within that sales process.

Armed with my initial secondary research, I developed a set of hypothesis on best practices and best use for a lite CRM concept, and I was ready to validate them with user interviews.

My primary research focused on 2 sets of users. First I wanted to know how current Yesware users are solving the problem of organizing contacts (without Salesforce). Next I wanted to see how non-Yesware users are organizing contacts.

I collected a set of five users for each of the two groups and developed interview questions for each. The first set was culled from our CS team, the second set was culled from our sales team. The interview questions were designed to validate or invalidate my hypothesis, but primarily focused on getting an organic walk through of the sales persons process.

I conducted interviews via zoom, the bulk of which consisted of a walk through of the users process for managing their contacts, and the different ways they reference and utilize their CRMs.

Planning the Solution

At Yesware, our mission is to make sales people more effective rather than more efficient. We want our users to be conscientious about their communication with others. We don't support spamming prospectors or invasive sales processes. We wanted to build something that would help humanize a sales person's process.

Through research I validated the competitive and functional need for a CRM. I discovered the contexts that sales people are referencing their CRM, and the contexts for updating their CRMs. From this I knew we needed to build something that would ultimately be accessible for most of our users, but that initially we could test and develop with a limited number of users.

Based on this, I decided to build a solution for Yesware's web app that would easily port into our inbox tools. Because we have longer sprint cycles at yesware, I was able to build out a long term vision of what contacts could be and do in Yesware, and then pare back to an MVP after getting feedback.


Leveraging my research and user research I received from my larger vision of Yesware's contacts app I constructed and

MVP. The key features of the MVP are a functional contact list, and a contact details page.

While long term the contact object will need to integrate with all of Yesware's other features, the contact object itself is the starting point for that technical capability, so our contact MVP integrates the components of Yesware that are prepared to connect while laying the groundwork to connect our other systems.

The Future of Contacts

As we release contacts into the wild we will continue to collect feedback and build from our current work. The hope is to create a contact centric environment at Yesware to better serve our users. Stay tuned to learn what we discover after launch!


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