Overview
Mosaic is one of the biggest fertilizers suppliers in Brazil. With a vast reach in a continental country, they wanted to get closer to their customers and sales representatives.
Problem
Brazil is huge. Mosaic was dependant of independent warehouses and sales reps that had direct contact with their clients. All these middlemen reduced Mosaic profit and blurred the information they got from the customers.
Mosaic wanted to know where their customers are located, what they produce and how to reach them before a competitor.
Engaging directly to customers was something beyond we could do with the current tools. Mosaic sold fertilizers to big companies and family-business farms and didn’t know who they were.
Internet coverage and speed is decent at best outside of the major cities. We needed something that could hop over this hurdle. Getting the users inside the platfoŕm was the key question. Mosaic couldn’t offer lowered prices over their sales rep or they would be boycotted.
Thinking from the customer side, why they would need the platform? Most of them would see it just an extra step on their already complex job.The key was obvious: we needed to make it easier.
Ideation & How
Our team came with the idea to develop a platform to connect with their final customers. If Mosaic could engage with then and sell directly, they would be able to provide a better service for their products. We needed to understand how the sale and post-sale process worked.
As we knew, Mosaic HQ was very far from who they wanted to know. Owning more parts of this process was too expensive. Instead of trying to push a undesired product down this pipeline, our key players needed to want it.
What they would like the most?
Shortcuts.
One of the main realizations of this project was that distance was affecting everyone inside it
Mosaic? Isolated on one point. Doesn’t know its customers.
Sales Reps? Sandwiched between a product that they don’t own and a client he has to seduce.
The customer? Closer to the product, far from the company . Sometimes it took too long to re-stock an essential fertilizer. Doesn’t learn about the company.
Bringing Everyone Closer
Mosaic goal of increasing revenue, became a driving force to create an alternative platform that could bring every agent closer together.
Digging Deep
We knew the ‘what’, but now we had to find the ‘how’. For that task our team interviewed more than a two hundred people over the course of 3 weeks. We traveled, we gathered data and we learned about the little moving parts that made Mosaic.
Mosaic workers enjoyed their work, but they didn’t knew the scope of what they did. This was a big demotivator. They were isolated in labs and factories away from the field.
Mosaic executives and marketers felt left aside. They couldn’t engage their company and felt a lack of tools to communicate internally.
When we reached the sales reps, they told us they felt unsupported. Mosaic didn’t offer them proper benefits on focusing on their products, nor had given them enough trade material.
The farm owners wanted to know more about Mosaic products, learn about cutting edge technology before their competitors and work with them for custom solutions.
This broad overview gave us the second point on our research.
Mosaic wanted to increase their profit by shortening the distance, the playera wanted to connect in a way that benefited them.
Enter Mosaic Online
For the next days we bashed our heads around to wrap things that could deliver what we needed. New trade marketing material app, advertising, social media. All of those could solve symptoms of the problem. None of them could cure it.
These was the moment that the team effort behind an complete user experience clicked for me. We were thinking holistically, not accepting easy answers and actively trying to mix all our skill and knowledge to develop the right product.We felt dread. After all these research, we came back to the internal marketing platform.But if we’re going to do, we’re going to do it good.
The platform couldn’t feel stale or pushy. It had to directly affect what bothered the people we interviewed. If we could understand and solve their problem on the micro-level we could align everything under Mosaic on a macrocosm.
Spliting the groups into three categories, we tackled their difficulties and from there we found two verbs that could represent their needs
The Farm Owners / Producers
Their main pain point was knowledge and delivery times. Even the most automatized farms had a lot of things to manage. When a crop cycle was about to complete and needed to work the land again, they couldn’t want wait for a product to be back in stock. On top of that they sometimes felt out of place in technological advancements, they wanted to know the products roadmap and new releases.
They wanted to grow and improve
The Sales Reps
They wanted to represent Mosaic better, since a strong brand was the guarantee of a sell. Yet, Mosaic didn’t provide them enough material for them. Not being a farmer and not working inside Mosaic, they had to hustle their own way to understand both sides. They had clients on the farmers, but couldn’t guarantee the product delivery.
They wanted to learn and connect.
The Company
Truthfully? They wanted to earn more. Yet, they didn’t want to sell directly to the producers, but wanted to know more about them. Even with a strong engineering and chemical team, they had trouble getting their content out. Building a relationship with both the sales reps and producers was crucial into streamlining profit.
They wanted to know and perform
Persona
It became clear to the team that for the platform to work, it needed to be engaging. Without sounding too gimmicky, from all the pieces of this puzzle, only one could connect everyone: the sales rep people. We decided that using them as the persona to build for would provide the perfect framework. Since their goal was connection, if we could give them a tool to connect, we only needed to make put inside the tool the solutions for the other problems.
Building the Platform
After all this research we let the development team lead us. Since our goal was big, we had to work from our technological limitations from the start. With the technology clear and defined the design team went back to research and testing. Through a new wave of interviews, focus groups, A/B testing we narrowed the features needed by the platform:
Company News Feed
Stock and Client Management
Brand and Product Content
Workshop and Events
How It Works
The sales people would receive key numbers that they could use to create accounts. Once the account was created, they could access the main dashboard. The default screen was the News Feed, this area was fed by Mosaic marketing and communication team. Distributed as cards color tagged that could be filtered and featured.
Stock management was the core of their product. Split in two dashboards: Clients and Products, the sales could add his clients, crop details and products sold. This worked both ways: it provided Mosaic with feedback in who their final customers were and what they used, and, gave the Sales Reps tools to monitor and guarantee the stock of the products.
The Support Material, provided downloadable material in PDF and let the user make orders of support collateral material about products and releases. This gave them a place to study and a way to build brand consistency.
At the end we got the Workshop and Events. Mosaic always had multiple training internal and open events. Through Mosaic Online, the reach went way further as they could reach their final customer through sales rep. Monetizing this feature, created a smaller but new lane for revenue and brought everyone closer.
Takeaways
Mosaic Online was a long project. It took 8 months of research and continuous development before we delivered the product to an internal team. It was a full effort of the team and the results showed:
76.8% increase in events attendance
39.2% increase in workshop sign-ups
reduced number of frozen stock in warehouses*
Increase in sales of premium supply lines*
*Information held by NDA

One of the biggest weak points on the project was the lack of a effective mobile support. The decision to go with a desktop version first came from the necessities of Mosaic marketing team, even though we had by research, that the sales reps prefered a true app. We started the development of the app, but the app project was scratched afterwards.
We left the product as designer, but we kept tabs on it through quality surveys. After a year some problem arose, the marketing team had a management change and stopped pushing content with frequency, affecting the user base satisfaction with the platform. This directly affected engagement compromising the performance of the platform. This taught me how important is for companies to develop a Product team internally, instead of being dependant on an external agency. A new strategy was going to be done about it, but I left the design company before.
My Role
This was the first project were I grew into the role of Product Designer. For most of the project I worked as a multirole visual designer assisting the other designers in finding the right architecture and wireframes for the platform. I quickly grew out of it and helped everyone where I could. I did extra hours only for the pleasure of learning.
Accompanied the researchers and the account analyst, prototyped with the UX designers and removed all the post-its from the wall when it was time. I sat with the developers and their energy drinks, trying to understand what they were doing (not easy).
The role showed me how Product Design is a convergence of skills, tools and a lot of sweat.
Credits
Project Manager: Vitor Rezende
Designers: Ricardo Esteves, Felipe Issas, Thiago Garcia
Account Analyst: Aline Maiotti
Researchers: Paulo Ferreira, Luis Isoldi, Mayara Lujan​​​​​​​
Developers: Ricardo Gomes, William Angelo,
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