How Costello Gained Market Traction With User-Centered Brand, Positioning, and UX Design

An organization’s sales team is responsible for communicating the unique value of their solution(s) to the right people, in the right way. It’s critical to ask the right questions, of the right people, to ensure prospects understand exactly how the solution will benefit them by solving key problems or pain points. There are a lot of moving parts when managing deals, from communicating with multiple stakeholders, to preparing for the next call, to executing on key deliverables. Needless to say, it’s not easy.

Tech solutions are not new in the sales space. Most high-performing sales teams use a handful of software solutions to help execute their processes at scale and get visibility into key performance indicators and metrics. Buyers of these sales tools have high expectations, and they do their homework. At the same time, they understand that implementing the right technology to support their sales teams is a secret ingredient to their success.

Enter Costello: a sales playbook and pipeline management software that, for many sales teams, has been one of those secret ingredients. Think of it like a co-pilot, keeping sales reps on top of every deal, on-track during every conversation, and earning buyers’ trust by never missing a step so they can close more deals.


Costello came to us with a rough vision for a sales solution that would help salespeople of all skill levels do their job better by helping them execute their sales process more consistently. They had a temporary business name and an evolving idea of who they were, and their team was inspired, motivated, and convicted, with prior experience in the software space.

There was no question that Costello would build a tool to enable better conversations for sales reps. The open questions were around what to build in the near term to gain traction, and who it should be built for. Their team hadn’t yet narrowed in on exactly what their end users wanted, how they thought, or how that first version of the product would function. They needed a profile of their key audience, an understanding of their ideal solution, and a compelling brand identity and message that effectively spoke to buyers and users.


Our partnership began by establishing a name and brand identity for their business. To come up with a name, we ideated around words that evoked partnership; it had to imply that this product would be their virtual partner. We landed on Costello, inspired by the old comedy duo, Abbott and Costello. Having landed on a name, we then jointly discuss who Costello would grow to be, and how its brand identity could grow over time as the company scaled. With this brand identity in place, we established foundational positioning and messaging to empower the sales team to take this new tool to market and describe Costello’s unique value in a competitive space.

While the brand and positioning process was underway, our product team was digging in on research to uncover user pains during the sales process, existing technology usage, and what made rep’s jobs easy or difficult. Additionally, the team looked to analogous industries for inspiration, specifically to understand how other solutions managed information heavy phone calls. Through this research came insights, and those insights inspired the vision concepts for what Costello could be.

The Costello and Innovatemap product and design teams continued to iterate through concept designs for new features and problems to be solved, validating with customers and prospects along the way. This consistent feedback loop ensured the product was solving the right problems, for the right users, and also informed new features that were prioritized in the product backlog and reflected appropriately in the product roadmap.


Costello was also able to gain traction in market with a brand, positioning, and messaging that resonated with the market and clearly communicated the value of their solution. That momentum was backed up by a product that solved a real problem for users.

Because of the time spent conducting upfront user research and ongoing user validation, Costello fits seamlessly with its customer’s existing sales processes. It was designed to fit naturally into their current workflow, and this was evident in Costello’s negative churn rate: once reps started using the product, the value they saw caused it to spread throughout their entire sales organization. The consistent feedback loop was also a key influence on the product roadmap, ensuring the Costello team was focused on the highest impact features.

Through a compelling brand identity, marketable features, and a valuable and usable product, Costello was able to achieve impressive growth. After only two years, Costello was acquired by SalesLoft, one of the top sales engagement platforms in the market.


  • In a crowded space, your product’s position and brand identity can be your best differentiator, your way to establish trust and credibility, and the key to landing first conversations.
  • Nurture relationships with your early users; they will provide the valuable feedback to form your product and help it grow.
  • Conduct ongoing research to ensure your product aligns with the needs and desires of your users.
  • Watching users interact with your digital product will either confirm your decisions, shine a light on what needs to change, and potentially inspire new ideas.