Buyer , User , Startups , Client Stories — 12.16.2019

How Product Design, Product Marketing and Brand Equipped Costello for Acquisition

Innovatemap Team

A sales team communicates the unique value of their solution to the right people in the right way. It’s critical to ask the right questions to ensure prospects understand exactly how the solution will benefit them by solving key problems or pain points. When managing deals, there are many moving parts: from communicating with multiple stakeholders, to preparing for the next call, to executing on key deliverables. It’s not easy.

Most high-performing sales teams use a handful of software solutions to help execute their processes at scale and visualize key performance indicators. 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 key ingredient to their success.

Costello, a sales playbook and pipeline management software, exists to be one of those key ingredients. Think of Costello like a co-pilot, keeping sales reps on top of every deal, on-track during every conversation, and earning buyer trust by never missing a step so they can close more deals.


Costello came to us with a vision for a sales solution that would help salespeople execute their sales process more consistently. They had a temporary business name and an evolving idea of who they were. With prior experience in the software space, Costello’s team was inspired and motivated.

There was no question that Costello would build a tool to enable better conversations for sales reps. Other questions needed to be answered: what do we build in the near term to gain traction, and who is it for? Their team hadn’t yet identified what end users wanted or how the 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 resonates with buyers.


First, we established a name and brand identity. To come up with a name, we ideated around words that evoked partnership. The name needed to tell buyers “this is your virtual partner.” We landed on Costello, inspired by the old comedy duo, Abbott and Costello.

Then, we aligned on Costello’s goals, and how its brand identity could scale with the company. With the brand identity in place, we established foundational positioning and messaging to empower the sales team. Strategic product marketing helped Costello go to market successfully by describing their unique value and resonating with the right buyers.

While the brand and positioning process was underway, our product research team uncovered 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. Research insights inspired Costello’s vision concepts.

Together, our product design teams iterated concept designs for new features and solutions, validating with customers and prospects along the way. This consistent feedback loop ensured the product solves the right problems, for the right users. It also helped our product managers prioritize new features in the product backlog and product roadmap.


Costello gained traction in market with a brand, positioning and messaging that resonated with the market and clearly communicated the value of their user-focused solution.

Because of research and 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 users started using the product, it’s value was evident and it spread throughout organizations. The consistent feedback loop was 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 achieved impressive growth. After only two years, Costello was acquired by SalesLoft, one of the top sales engagement platforms in the market.

Find out how our product experts can define your product vision and translate it into words that will resonate with your buyers.