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.
Some would say that investments in Voice of the Customer are “too expensive and time consuming.” After all, does it really make sense for employees to spend time on VoC projects? For them to be on the road, interviewing customers? Instead, shouldn’t they be doing things that “drive sales?” Like working more shows? Assisting sales ... Read More
I’ve come to believe two principles: A) The only way to create customer value is by improving their important, unmet outcomes. B) A supplier’s only path to profitable, sustainable organic growth is in creating customer value. Do you agree? If so, you might want to place a very high priority on understanding which customer outcomes these are.
More in article, Your Best Path to Profitable, Sustainable Organic Growth
This original research by The AIM Institute investigates 24 possible growth drivers… and the views of over 10,000 years of professional B2B experience on their growth impact. Bottom line: Most companies want to put more emphasis on understanding customer needs in the front end of innovation.
More in research paper, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?
In every other business area—e.g. production or accounting—surprises are unwelcome. But when you are surprised by customer needs that competitors have missed, you have an edge. Seek these out in free-thinking, customer-led interviews, maintain a probing curiosity, and avoid rigid schedules that discourage flexibility. Be surprised. And be happy about it.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 10).
Many B2B producers are stuck at the 2nd of the 4 innovation maturity levels: Solution Validation. When they ask customers to validate their cool new idea, they think they are understanding market needs. They are not. They are simply understanding market reaction… to one idea… their idea. You’ll get far better results by reaching the 3rd maturity level: Market Insight.
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).
We now chuckle at how sales people used to rely on ABC (Always Be Closing) and manufacturers relied on end-of-line inspectors (vs. statistical quality control). But those will pale compared to the way today’s B2B companies test markets: by launching fully-developed products at their customers. When they could have learned customer needs first with some simple interviews. Funny stuff.
More in article, Why will future companies laugh at us?
The human brain likes to diverge first (look at all these deserts), and then converge (the chocolate lava cake, please). We shortcut this highly-effective approach when we begin by asking customers if they like our idea, hypothesis, or prototype. First, diverge with an open-minded exploration of all customer needs in B2B-optimized, voice-of-customer interviews. When you converge in a later round of interviews, do so quantitatively, so your confirmation bias doesn’t kick in.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 16).
Quality guru Edwards Deming taught us that “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven.” With the right systems, a company will grow and thrive. And few are more important than the “feedback loop.” Unfortunately, this term has been used so broadly that the original and powerful meaning has ... Read More
In Asia, for instance, people are especially mindful of the feelings of peers and bosses. And if customers are accustomed to a trading culture—not “consultative selling”—they’ll expect visiting suppliers to “sell us something.” Patience is needed, but thankfully the desire to be understood is universal.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 27).