Blog Category: Business-to-Business (B2B)

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).

Jobs-to-be-done: The Cure for B2B Myopia

Harvard professor Levitt began the JTBD discussion by teaching that the railroad industry should consider itself as the transportation industry..

Modern “Jobs-to-be-Done” (JTBD) thinking began with the most popular HBR article ever written: Ted Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia.” It begins this way: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are not riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned ... Read More

You can only help B2B customers two ways: improving their processes or products.

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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).

All B2B markets are not created equal. How well do you understand yours?

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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