UX designers in B2B SaaS startups suffer a lot.

Early stage startups don't focus much on user research, and end up making errors that UX designers have to keep "cleaning up". The fixes seem never-ending. And the pressure is immense when their customers are other businesses.

Answer to this problem? A system of UX research which is integrated in a B2B startup from the beginning.

CleverTap's Senior UX Manager, Niyati Roy Chowdhury says it's possible to solve this. In her meetup last week, Niyati shared actionable steps for designers to set up UX research workflow for B2B SaaS startups.

This blog post features Niyati's insights, along with a series of actions for designers in B2B SaaS startups.

"Tech for good is impossible unless you focus on your users" - Niyati

When is the right time for UX research for B2B SaaS?

When you want to start focusing on users. From acquiring new users, to the difficulties they face, to retention & ensuring improvement in features, all this and more needs qualitative and quantitative data.

Tip: Use tools like FullStory to observe where your users are struggling to use the product. Extract that data, do a bit of analysis and map it to the issue tickets that users raise. This way, you get a clear data of comparison to show your upper management and convince them for user research.

"How will you know your users are complaining about, unless you go and ask them?" - Niyati

Keys to Insightful User Research

For early stage startups - your qualitative data is very valuable. It stands out in depth and focused points of improving the experience.

For Mid-stage startups & beyond - Mix qualitative and quantitative data to give a robust set of insights on the UX and what issues users are facing that can't be ignored.

Tip: Focus on "Job to be done" to collect qualitative data from users. Is your B2B SaaS product allowing users to get their job done? What tasks do customers use your product for most frequently?

The key to good UX research is to find 'how fast and accurately users are able to do their work' using your product.


Frameworks of UX Research

  1. Thoughtful execution framework
From Niyati's slides
  • Define a goal. - it will help you prioritize the insights that you want to chase as a research hypothesis. This is business goal + project goal.
  • You'll get qualitative and quantitative insights, where one will validate the other.
  • Create insight statements out of these. So that you can create opportunities or problems to solve.
  • Once you map that opportunity, you can make a hypothesis to find solutions for, based on data.
  • Start solutioning based on that hypothesis and test those solutions
  • Learning - Once you have a solution at hand, test it with your users before the feature goes into development. If many users are not available multiple times, then test it out with the Customer Success team.

Here's a guide to applying the above framework: https://spotify.design/article/from-gut-to-plan-the-thoughtful-execution-framework

2. When you're redesigning

Niyati's slides
  • Evaluate - it has many phases, including the evaluation of user tickets, their decision making, time taken for finishing a task, etc.
    Quantitative + qualitative data is gathered in this stage. Also involves competitor research analysis.
  • Redesign - application of the design solutions for insights and problems extracted from the first stage. The changes made here are tested again.
  • Evaluate Redesign - for the new changes, gather qualitative data via internal teams - like sales and CS teams.
  • Compare initial design with redesign - measure the impact of your new design. Gather the data in this phase. The metrics depend on the initial goal and what your teams have thought to change for a feature.  

Techniques to convince the management for UX research and changes

"B2B startups have a mindset where they don't change problem-causing features just because a lot of users are using them. So they ignore the few users who complain about those problems" - Niyati

Make them see the problem through a proof of research concept of an existing feature of your product.

How?

  • If you have a good amount of user base, start using tools like FullStory, and map out their journeys for whichever feature is performing badly on your product.
  • While mapping that journey, identify the points where users take too long to finish something they've started.
  • Now, do a round of qualitative research with at least 10 users. And plot the journey again, with the user feedback. And try to map the two journey's together. This is to see if your readings from FullStory are valid and in sync.
  • Do this to chart out the whole experience of a feature. And validate really persisting problems.
  • Check out the online reviews - for the most used words.

This process will give you what is wrong a feature, and you can put this analysis in a form of a short presentation, and share it with the decision makers of the product and ask them to do this at scale for other features which have not been working.

What will it give?

  • Lots of insights on the performance of your users when they use a feature, based on qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Options to come up with alternatives and upgrades that you can brainstorm with the decision makers.
  • Opportunities for more products that serve only a particular function that users are looking for

We thank Niyati for breaking down a complex topic which require so many case studies to understand. Her live session was lit with amazing practical examples and takeaways!

We're bringing more of startup experts like Niyati, on niche UX research topics!

If you'd like to have more resources like this one, subscribe to this blog! And check out www.hub.hellomeets.com for live meetups!!