For years, good design was a bonus for companies, especially for large enterprise. They simply didn’t see the value and focused mostly on the sales process (the end point) rather than the brand.

Years before I entered my career in design and marketing, I was in tech sales—inside and outside. I hated it. Perhaps it was the particular industry or the particular decade, but whatever the case, it was dull. My job was to sell PCs, servers, storage and memory from the likes of HP, Compaq, Dell, and others I have now forgotten. I can still remember reading through the sales materials and ‘slicks’ the companies would send out—glossy white paper stock, small type bullet lists of specs, and small, beige thumbnail image of the systems (nothing to look at here folks, just a box). Suffice to say, design wasn’t important in sales back then.

Eventually, marketers realized that enterprise people are consumers too, why not market the same way Apple and Chevy do? So, what’s my point? Design should help sell. And it doesn’t matter what your industry: SaaS, Alt Energy, AI, Robotics, Healthcare, and consumer. To compete today, you need to compete at the most basic level starting with your visual brand—what do you look and feel like to your customer?

Today, things have improved on the design front. Savvy companies are leading with a design thinking approach. This mentality now permeates organizations from the top to the bottom and is an essential strategy for startups and mature companies alike. Products are designed and engineered with the user in mind to provide better, more intuitive experiences.

As products become more sophisticated, and marketing becomes more nuanced, the need to provide better user experiences becomes more important than ever. Good design throughout the entire sales experience; branding, email marketing, website design, shopping cart, unboxing, customer support and more are now all part of the selling process—and good design sells.