A sales force is fine, but why not add a “learning force”? You don’t have this today if you’re hiring, training and rewarding your sales force to sell for today, not learn for tomorrow. But you could turn them into an “early warning system” that allows you to pursue market innovation at just the right time.
More in white paper, Timing is Everything: Exposing Deep Flaws in B2B Innovation Today
The potentially-intrusive nature of consumer “big data” has already caused some mistrust of B2C marketers. Conversely, the best B2B marketers—especially in concentrated markets with fewer customers—are now developing powerful interviewing skills to listen closely to their customers. You can imagine the response: Who among us doesn’t want to be carefully listened to and understood?
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 15)
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
Your front-end-of-innovation should center on a specific customer job to be accomplished. Focusing on your product concept is far too limiting. Let’s say your business makes some physical article. By focusing on the customer’s job, you might conceive a different product, service, or even a completely new business model.
More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 13, Immerse in customer outcomes
More than you might think. We asked nearly 400 people who had conducted over 1800 B2B-optimized Discovery interviews. Over half agreed or strongly agreed that they had gained unexpected interviews. Only 14% gained no unexpected information at all. (Most of the 1800+ interviews were in suppliers’ existing markets.)
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 6)
Research shows top sales professionals ask customers questions such as, “What problems are you facing?” Why not ask this before you develop a new product —not just afterwards? Such questions engage, so customers are often “half-sold” by your launch date. And their answers let you create much better new products. So… one question, two benefits.
More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 17, Engage your B2B customers
Your market is growing at 3% and your operating plan says you’ll grow faster than this next year. Of course, your competitors have similar plans… meaning everyone plans to grow faster than the market served. As TV psychologist Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that been working for you?” Could it be time for a different approach… e.g. understanding customer needs far better than competitors?
More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 1, Recognize your growth challenge
Some companies use the front end of innovation to validate hypotheses or make financial projections. Wrong approach. The front end is a time for learning what you didn’t know, not analysis. Successful teams usually pursue a market without a solution but with an open mind. Converge too soon, and you’ll often miss the best fodder for innovation.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B
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
It’s natural to ruminate on the future; in particular, about technology adoption. What changes will future technology waves bring? Will we ride them to riches or drown under the weight of disruption? A Danish proverb warns that “Prediction is dangerous, especially about the future.” A cycle of bad logic Unfortunately, when we theorize, we can ... Read More