One company truly made from the ground up, from grit and determination, is Proposify. Established in 2013, and enduring a rocky road towards growth, co-founders Kyle Racki and Kevin Springer can feel proud of this innovative business, and proud of the fact Proposify has helped clients win nearly $4 billion in new customer business.
I’m really impressed by the tenacity and drive that serves as the foundation for this company. I wanted to know more about their processes, and the software they use to maintain their efficiency as such a fast-growing organization.
In this interview, I talk to Genevieve Kelly, Product Designer, and Lead UX Researcher.
We take a deep dive into the processes behind the UX function at Proposify and the absolute importance in keeping it tightly organized and integrated into other business mechanisms within the company.
Sofia: Hi Genevieve, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and Proposify.
Genevieve: I'm a user experience researcher at Proposify who focuses primarily on qualitative data and a bit on quantitative data. Right now, I am the entire research department, but we've got a few more coming on board soon.
Proposify is proposal software that modern sales teams use to create, send, track, and e-sign winning proposals, contracts, and agreements.
Our team is composed of a product leader, product manager, project manager, six product designers, myself who was a product designer and now in a research role, a data analyst, and a data analyst from another team we pull in from time to time.
Everybody on the team conducts research but to varying degrees. I do the bulk of the user testing, prototyping testing, and interviews, whereas other team members conducted more desk research like talking to customers or getting secondhand information.
We plan to train the team in detailed research methods so they can conduct more of it on their own and add their unique information to EnjoyHQ. That way, even if people are researching at varying levels, the process is much more efficient.
Sofia: When did you decide you needed a better way to deal with your research data?
Genevieve: The other software we were using was only bringing in feature requests. I had to analyze all kinds of qualitative data dispersed throughout the company. I wanted to bring in user testing videos, interviews we had conducted, Chorus calls from customer success, and all of the support tickets. We were missing insights because they remained hidden in individual brains.
I wanted to have one place of truth. We were also using Google Drive, but everything was still all over the place and hard to find. We had to piece everything together and try to make sense of it all. I had tried many tools in the past, but nothing provided a repository where I could access and combine both qualitative and quantitative data.
EnjoyHQ seemed to have more automation than a lot of the other ones. With other tools, I had to enter a great deal of information manually. They didn't have integrations with workflow tools like Intercom or Jira, for example. The ability to see the big picture was the deciding factor for me. Now, I don't need access to the five different tools I was using before EnjoyHQ. We now have a robust, flexible tool where we can perform much integration.
Sofia: How is EnjoyHQ helping you today? What would you say are the main benefits?
Genevieve: With EnjoyHQ, I have a wide-lens view of everything. I can identify patterns and see where issues lie. I can get an idea of our overall health. I can gather data from various sources and organize them into a complete picture.
The searchability of EnjoyHQ is essential because I'm able to access information retroactively. If someone comes to me and asks, "What do you have on this?" I can search and tag all the relevant content.
It expedites the assembly process, and I no longer feel like important information is escaping as it did before. It's helped me become so much more efficient. My insights are better, too, because I have more gathering capability. Before, data collection and organization was so manual in nature, so tedious to do.
EnjoyHQ allows me to seamlessly connect stories and illustrate the links between different components of the story, like how Salesforce connects to workflow, which ultimately connects to products and fee tables in our product. It helps me create context and put all elements into perspective for a bigger view, so I know where I can dive in deeper.
Sofia: Building a useful repository takes time, now that you have one, was the initial time spent on setting it up worth it?
Genevieve: Setup and preparing the tool took a week or two total. It only took me a couple of days to learn it, which wasn't hard at all. Then all that was left was refinement work.
To build critical mass, it took about two months. I’ve made a habit of taking an hour every day to gather information from emails or conversations and input it into the tool, which pays huge dividends later.
Just like a garden, invest a little care and feeding, and it will give you what you need. The increased efficiency by having your data all in one place and having a big picture view of everything is entirely worth the time spent upfront. It's made work so much quicker. Now, when someone needs something from me, I'm able to use the tool to find relevant data and start up the project. I've always got something there. I never come up empty-handed.
I describe EnjoyHQ as a place of truth, the place where research lives.