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
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
The world of B2B sales techniques can be a confusing landscape. “Confusing” because it’s hard to know when to rely upon traditional B2B sales techniques and when to embrace newer approaches. Certainly, B2B sales are more complex than B2C sales – and despite the information revolution – this complication persists. Many of the current challenges ... Read More
The Oxford Dictionary defines a factoid as an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often it becomes accepted as fact. Too often in product development, what we view as a fact is just a factoid. Its fine to have assumptions, but make sure they don’t dress up as facts. What you think you know is more dangerous than what you know you think.
View video, De-risking Transformational Projects
You’ll continue seeing innovations for how we innovate… but you should critically assess them with a “B2B filter.” Take Lean Startup. It offers some good ideas, but it can encourage you to develop and show prototypes to B2B customers before having an intelligent conversation with them. Now that’s just silly.
More in white paper, Lean Startup: Expanding the Build-Measure-Learn Cycle
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
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
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 companies have enormous insight advantages, because their customers have high knowledge, interest, objectivity, foresight and concentration.
Check out this free service to score your market’s B2B Index. You’ll see “how B2B” your market is… and learn how to take advantage of your B2B advantage.
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).