UX in Sales-Led Organisations

If you’re a designer joining a sales-led organisation, forget everything you know about putting UX into practice!

Product design and UX books, articles, courses, and other training materials typically assume you’re in a product-led, possibly B2C, environment. But the reality in a sales-led B2B SaaS company is starkly different, presenting unique challenges and opportunities.


Working in a sales-led org turns several standard UX assumptions on their head. Here are some of the key challenges you’ll likely face:

  • Sales Team Influence. The sales team wields considerable sway over product direction and the roadmap, often pushing for solution-driven and feature-focused approaches rather than problem-solving.
  • Customer Research Confusion. When it comes to customer research, there’s often a blurred line between market and user research. What’s more, ‘customer validation’ usually means getting feedback on designs from key customers, not the end users.
  • Persona Dilemma. In sales-led orgs, personas typically refer to buyer personas — those in charge of purchasing decisions, who are often not the end users. This dichotomy can pull product design in conflicting directions.
  • Short-term Focus. The emphasis on immediate sales wins can overshadow the long-term ROI of addressing UX debt and usability enhancements.


Despite these challenges, there are certain opportunities that come with working in sales-led orgs:

  • Lower UX Bar. The competition likely hasn’t focused much on design either. Ever hear the old joke about outrunning the bear? You don’t need to outrun the bear, just your fellow runner. Similarly, in the B2B SaaS market, offering a better design than your competitors can be a significant advantage.
  • Access to End Users. A good relationship with the sales team, more common in enterprise SaaS orgs, can grant you access to end users for research, a valuable resource for informed design decisions.
  • Impact of Incremental Improvements. In environments with low UX maturity, even small improvements, like introducing a cohesive design system, can have a substantial impact. As the saying goes: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Tips for UX Success in Sales-Led Environments

Here are some strategies to thrive as a UX designer in a sales-led B2B SaaS organisation:

  • Bridge the Persona Gap. Actively work to bridge the gap between buyer personas and user personas. Educate your team on the importance of understanding end-user needs alongside those of the buyer.
  • Advocate for Long-Term Thinking. Champion the long-term benefits of good UX, illustrating how it leads to customer satisfaction and retention, which ultimately translates into sales.
  • Leverage Sales Relationships. Use your connections within the sales team to gain direct user insights, which can inform more effective and user-centric designs.
  • Celebrate Small Wins. Highlight and celebrate every UX improvement, no matter how small. This not only showcases the value of good design but also builds momentum for further UX investment.

UX design in sales-led enterprise SaaS is a unique beast, with its own set of challenges and opportunities. By understanding these dynamics and adapting your approach, you can make a significant impact, turning design into a competitive edge in a market that often overlooks it. Good luck!