Test to Sell!

Original Question that triggered this blog post:
Ashutosh Garg in TTT DiscordIs testing or a part of testing also sales?

“What are we testing for?” It is a fundamental question that helps us to explore the purpose behind our testing. For different stakeholders, there might be different purposes, some of which would be common, while the others would be totally exclusive.

Over the years, as a tester, my understanding of the purpose behind testing has also grown from mere UI fact-checking to information gathering, identifying risks, avoiding pitfalls, knowing the true status of the project, as well as the sellability (selling ability) of our product.

But wait? Aren’t selling and testing two totally different topics? How are they even related? Isn’t selling supposed to be done by the sales/marketing team?

The following excerpt from Perfect Software & Other Illusions about Testing by Jerry Weinberg was a trigger that broadened my view on how I think about testing:

Whenever you “test” something, you test to see whether your software product will sell. And “selling” includes cases in which you think users will be “forced” to use the software, such as when they are employees of an organization that mandates its use. Don’t kid yourself. Software users will find ways of not using software that they don’t want to use. So, even internal users have to be “sold”—though not all testers think of their work this way.

Chapter 1: Why do we bother testing?, Perfect Software & Other Illusions about Testing

Now, Assuming that we want to think about our testing work as a selling activity, How should we think so that we can test to sell?

Help solve (reduce?) customer (user?) pain points in all possible ways.

  • Give them a marginally better User Experience (Δ >= 4)
  • Δ = [Product Efficiency Score] – [Regular Efficiency Score]
    • Product Efficiency Score = Efficiency score out of 10 for the product
    • Regular Efficiency Score = Efficiency score out of 10 without the product
  • If Δ < 4, then the user (customer) will go back to their old product or look for a new product or go back to the state where they don’t even avail a product. It’s eventually a sale risk in long run.
  • The higher the Δ, the more likely, they would stay with you for the long run and the chances of selling (for now as well as in the future) will increase.
  • Note: Watch more about Delta Concept: https://youtu.be/fWm_NKCtXdA by Kunal Shah.
  • What can possibly reduce this Δ?
    • Functional Failures
    • UI Glitches
    • Bugs
    • Errors
    • Crashes
    • Inconsistencies
      • With Product
      • With Other Features
      • With History of Product
      • With Claims made by the Product, etc.
    • Poor (or Average) Accessibility
    • Gaps in Documentation
    • Complex Learning Curve
    • Poor Onboarding Experience
    • Non-Friendly (Meaningless) Error Messages
    • Too Complex Error Messages
    • Slow Speed
    • Poor Support
    • Poor / No Community for its Users.
    • Unclear Status / Ambiguity
    • <and any other thing that reduces the charisma of the application>.
    • <this list is incomplete and I feel you can help me to extend it by posting other relevant points in the comments>
  • All the above factors eventually lead to a bad UX.
  • Of course, other factors like cost, time savings, features, capabilities, scalability, speed, response to user complaints, etc. also matter a lot.
  • However, if the other factors are cut-to-cut, then selling (or sellability) can be elevated if testers test from the perspective of selling or Test to Sell! so that our product doesn’t end up in a low Δ zone.

Ex: Let’s look at Postman Tool from this Δ perspective.

  • When asked any normal tech user who has used postman, about the Efficiency Score of the Product, the average rating would be somewhere around 7-8.
  • Whereas, the efficiency score to deal with API(s) using command line clients, programmable library clients or other popular API tools would be around 3-4 or sometimes even less.
  • This makes the Δ for postman >= 4 and in the sustainable range model.
  • Tomorrow, if postman stops (defocuses) their work towards all their Δ factors and in parallel other alternative tools really strengthen on all the Δ aspects, it might soon get into close competition.

As a tester, I feel it’s really important to think from a selling perspective and help our products grow. A growth-focused, learning tester would eventually start doing this once these aspects are brought into awareness

  • Can we know about our customer pain points? Can we ask them?
  • Can we study UX? Onboarding Experiences?
  • Can we study accessibility? How to improve it?
  • Can we study competitors? Can we study our own business?
  • Can we consider different personas in our testing?
  • Can we consider diversity, & inclusion?
  • Can we do competitor analysis?
  • Can we think about customer success?
  • Can we help provide them with mindful user experiences?

If the answer to any of the above questions is Yes and you are not considering it yet, then perhaps it could be a good starting point to work towards selling better 🙂

Is functional the only aspect that can help us to sell? NO!
We responsible testers, in our organizations, should bring awareness and help them become better.

Let’s redefine the value of Testing by Testing to Sell!
Let’s be the enablers of our product’s business!


Credits: Proofread & Suggestions by Sandeep Garg.

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