Blog Category: Business-to-Business (B2B)

A Primary VoC Tool: B2B Customer Tours

B2B customer tours

How valuable are B2B customer tours? Well – in the early 1980s, Eugene Goodson was the head of Johnson Controls’ automotive seating group, when a Japanese competitor requested a plant tour. The Japanese visitors spent less than one hour in the plant and took no notes. Harmless, right? Years later Goodson and his team were ... Read More

Some leaders could boost innovation by staying home

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We see three areas where leaders can have a greater negative impact on innovation than positive: 1) organizational friction (travel bans, spending freezes, hiring delays, excessive re-orgs, etc.) that slow innovation to a crawl, 2) spreading too few resources over too many projects so that nothing moves briskly, and 3) short-changing the front-end of innovation, so that a clear picture of customer needs is lacking. Companies pay a heavy price for keeping such leaders in place.

More in article, Accelerate New Product Innovation

Don’t lob until you’ve learned

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There are several things you should never lob at B2B customers until you’ve first learned from them. Don’t lob your hypotheses, prototypes, or new products—until you’ve learned what these customers want. B2B customers have high knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight… so they can tell you exactly what outcomes they want… if you know how to ask. It’s both wasteful for you and insulting to them if you assume they can’t help you.

More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 12, Stop leading with your solutions

Optimize for each B2B market’s unique nature

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Each of your market segments has a unique nature, defined by five qualities of its customers: knowledge, interest, objectivity, foresight and concentration. If you treat all markets the same, you’ll seriously sub-optimize. Better to fine-tune your early-stage marketing (understanding customer needs) and late-stage marketing (promoting your solutions) to each market segment. Use this free service to calculate your market’s B2B Index (how B2B it is) and learn 15 customized marketing strategies.

Calculate your B2B Index at www.b2bmarketview.com

Engage your B2B customers

B2C suppliers use customer interviews to gain insight. B2B suppliers should do this AND to build B2B customer engagement. If your B2B market has a handful of large buyers, use your interviews to impress them as the supplier they should do business with. Three practical ways to do this are explored here.

More in ebook, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Most B2B commercial risk is avoidable. Risk-takers should get their thrills elsewhere.

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When do most producers resolve commercial risk? After product launch, when they learn if their product is a success or failure. You can build a “certainty time machine” and remove most commercial risk in the front-end of innovation. But only if you’re serving B2B customers, who can explain nearly all that you need to know.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 5).