Years of research by Booze & Co. have shown no correlation between how much you spend on R&D and how well you perform over the long term. A better strategy? Understand what customers want… so your R&D doesn’t develop great cures for no known diseases.
More in article, Better get used to mediocre growth
In a whispered voice, a B2B business executive confided to me that his company seldom spent more than $10k on their product launches… even after spending hundreds of thousands developing the product. This isn’t launching a product. This is kicking it off the loading dock and hoping someone finds it.
More in article, Stop Squandering Your Product Launch Budget
You can improve a process anywhere down the value chain, or you can improve the ultimate product. (Mid-stream products don’t count.) Equipment and service providers often have their biggest impact on processes. Component or material makers often have a larger impact on products. In either case, you need to pursue these improvements with passion.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 26).
In Level 1, you start with your ideas and launch products you think customers will want. In Level 2, you still start with your ideas, but “validate” them with customers. In Level 3, you start with customer needs, using divergent and convergent interviews. You uncover a full range of outcomes and only work on those customers care about.
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).
If you focus on unimportant outcomes, customers will greet your new product with a collective yawn. If you satisfy outcomes competitors already meet, customers will greet you with a phone call requesting lower prices. How long will this take them? Depends if they have you on speed dial.
More in article, Your Best Path to Profitable, Sustainable Organic Growth
You want to get the right B2B interviewees in the room, but setting up great interviews can be tough. Interviewees may think… “I’m too busy… I don’t want to discuss confidential information… I can’t be bothered by a boring survey… I’ll bet they just want to sell me something.” Knowing how to overcome objections is as important a competitive edge as the interviewing skills themselves.
More in article, 9 Best Practices for Recruiting Customers
When you launch a product, do customers instantly begin buying? Or do they need months of deliberation? Start them deliberating well before your launch with engaging interviews and follow-up. Customers will help you make course corrections for a better new product… and when you’re ready to sell, they’ll be ready to buy much faster.
More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC
The first is inherited growth from products launched long ago, which now “carry” your business. The second is market growth… the tide that lifts all boats. You can only impact the third—earned growth—by doing a better job than every competitor in understanding and meeting the needs of a market. This means it’s easy to be lulled into thinking your underlying growth is greater than it is.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 14).
The term “B2B” is useful, because business customers can be so different than end-consumers. But it’s a blunt and imprecise term, and we can do better. Check out the “B2B Index” developed by The AIM Institute. The higher your market’s B2B Index, the greater you can engage customers… in both early-stage and late stage marketing. (This is a free service.)
Calculate your B2B Index at www.b2bmarketview.com
Imagine a fellow on a date that talks about himself for an hour. His only questions are, “What’s your income? What’s your educational level?” Then he closes with, “Will you marry me?” Does this sound like an old-fashioned “qualify-and-then-close” sales call? As in a good date, you should be genuinely interested by your customer and their needs.
Learn more about B2B innovation at theaiminstitute.com