AIM Archives - Month: May 2019

The only business area where you want surprises is customer-facing innovation.

211-Business-Surprise

In every other business area—e.g. production or accounting—surprises are unwelcome. But when you are surprised by customer needs that competitors have missed, you have an edge. Seek these out in free-thinking, customer-led interviews, maintain a probing curiosity, and avoid rigid schedules that discourage flexibility. Be surprised. And be happy about it.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 10).

Do you understand market needs… or market reaction?

210-Validate-Idea

Many B2B producers are stuck at the 2nd of the 4 innovation maturity levels: Solution Validation. When they ask customers to validate their cool new idea, they think they are understanding market needs. They are not. They are simply understanding market reaction… to one idea… their idea. You’ll get far better results by reaching the 3rd maturity level: Market Insight.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

It’s better if the project team—not management—stops a project.

209-Stop-Project

No team wants to waste time on a loser: Life is too short. So if management has to stop a project, the team was inexperienced, communicated poorly, or had different expectations than management. All these ailments are addressed by requiring every team to use a common business case template, not their own, start-from-scratch PowerPoint® presentations.

More in article, How Leaders Can Accelerate New-Product Development

Future B2B companies will have a good laugh at our expense.

208-Laughing-at-Us

We now chuckle at how sales people used to rely on ABC (Always Be Closing) and manufacturers relied on end-of-line inspectors (vs. statistical quality control). But those will pale compared to the way today’s B2B companies test markets: by launching fully-developed products at their customers. When they could have learned customer needs first with some simple interviews. Funny stuff.

More in article, Why will future companies laugh at us?

B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth

Weed Growing in patio

A large, unexpected revenue upturn this quarter is good news, right? It certainly feels good, but the satisfaction is fleeting. What you really need is growth that is unrelenting, earned and reliable. When business executives don’t understand the nature of “good” B2B organic growth, they risk three pitfalls. B2B Organic Growth Pitfalls Pitfall 1. “Let’s ... Read More

Most suppliers expect to grow faster than their served markets. This is usually fanciful thinking.

207-Fanciful-Thinking

On average, you and your competitors will grow at the same rate as the markets you serve. Don’t feel entitled to this. If a competitor develops a blockbuster, you’ll be happy to minimize your sales decline. Thinking otherwise is like 1970’s Detroit auto-makers assuming Japanese competitors would keep producing junk.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 15).

Recalibrate your time horizon

New research shows huge financial benefits realized by companies exhibiting long-term behavior. And yet, short-termism often prevails. Here’s the reality: your financial results today are just the future someone else created years ago. Isn’t it time to make your career a participant—not spectator—sport?

More in article, The Inputs to Innovation for B2B