Blog Category: Business-to-Business (B2B)

Great B2B innovation starts with customer engagement. Are you applying customer detachment?

27-Customer-Detachment

Many suppliers unwittingly detach from customers with a host of risky behaviors: 1) Asking customers to fill in boring questionnaires, 2) using interviews to “validate” their preconceived solutions, 3) failing to probe with insightful questions, and 4) neglecting to follow-up interviews with rich, ongoing engagement. Is it time to learn customer-engagement skills?

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Interview B2B customers in a way that allows—even invites—surprise.

22-Business-Surprise

We’ve coached hundreds of B2B new product teams and here’s the awkward reality: When teams begin using advanced methods to interview customers, they are usually surprised by what customers want. This means the teams had been planning on developing a product that interested them, not customers. This is a sobering experience. Have you had it yet?

More in article, The Cost Cutter’s Guide to Growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Closely examine B2B innovation malpractice, and you’ll see a pervasive disregard for customer needs.

19-Customer-Disregard-1

It’s ironic: B2B customers have the only vote on whether our new product is any good. B2B customers want us to innovate on their behalf. B2B customers are eminently qualified to guide us. Yet many suppliers all but ignore B2B customers when developing their product concepts. Today, this is a global pandemic.

More in article, Is Your Innovation Supplier-Centric… or Customer-Centric? (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

The B2B interviewer should have two goals: customer insight and customer engagement.

8-Customer-Engagement

Research shows the best way to sell a product is to probe customers’ needs. But why wait until the product is developed? If you probe beforehand, you’ll create a better product and “pre-sell” your product. This isn’t practical for interviewing millions of B2C toothpaste buyers, but it is for concentrated B2B markets. B2B engagement skills aren’t difficult. Do you have them?

More in newsletter, How to Grow in a Stagnant Economy (Nov-Dec, 2008)

Your B2B customers are smarter than you.

3-Smart-Customer

It may be OK for consumer goods producers to guess their customers’ needs. After all, their product developers are end-consumers themselves. But your B2B customers know so much more than you about their needs. Isn’t it silly to guess their needs, when they’d love to tell you… if you asked the right way?

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 1)