New product innovation is a tough business. You don’t get to decide what customers want, or how fast your market grows, or if the laws of science permit a breakthrough product. But you can decide how much commercial risk you’d like to absorb… if you are a B2B supplier. This isn’t as true for B2C. ... Read More
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
How valuable are B2B customer tours? In the early 1980s, Eugene Goodson led Johnson Controls’ automotive seating group, when a Japanese competitor requested a plant tour. The Japanese team toured for less than an hour and took no notes. Harmless, right? Years later Goodson was able to read the tour report and was shocked at what the Japanese team had uncovered, including a detailed technology description and a highly accurate cost-of-sales estimate.
More in article, A primary VOC tactic: B2B customer tours
Move your organization up through these levels: 1) Conference-roomers: We meet with ourselves to decide what customers want. 2) Expert-askers: We poll our own sales and tech support personnel. 3) Customer-surveyors: We get customer answers… but only to our questions. 4) Qualitative VOC-ers: Our interviews move us from voice-of-ourselves to voice-of-customer. 5) Quantitative VOC-ers: We get unbiased, unfiltered insights. 6) B2B VOC-ers: Our probing takes advantage of powerful B2B advantages.
More in article, The six levels of B2B customer engagement
Every large company has a system for new product growth. And yet, it’s often pushed aside, not understood, and taken for granted. Some view it as too technical. Some see it as complex. Most don’t recognize the potential energy it could release. What is this critical system? It’s the new product development process. The heart ... Read More
Want to build an amazing customer interview team in a stress-free manner? Gradually increase the “stakes” of the interview by starting with easier, safer interviews. You might follow this six-step progression: 1) industry experts you pay to interview, 2) sales colleagues, 3) other departments/experts in your company, 4) your distributors, 5) smaller, safer customers, and finally, 6) larger, high-stakes customers. By the time you reach the later group, you’ll have one highly-polished and confident interview team.
More in article, Virtual VOC: 10 Advantages and 7 tips
Why would a company ever want to be a fast follower? I can only think of one reason: They want to reduce commercial risk, by coat-tailing a competitor’s market success. After all, fast-followers don’t reduce technical risk. This only increases, given the need to work around competitive patents. With B2B markets, you can eliminate most commercial risk through B2B-optimized voice-of-customer interviews. (See e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B.) Turns out the fast-follower strategy is a misguided strategy for B2B.
More in article, Chasing the Fast Follower Myth
A persona is a hypothetical archetype used to represent customers in a given market segment. Follow 4 practices for B2B growth: 1) Design for just one person, 2) be specific, 3) remember precision is more important than accuracy, and 4) separate user personas from buyer personas. ... Read More
While in-person interviews remain the “gold standard,” we’ve found 10 advantages to virtual voice-of-customer. These include 1) lower cost, 2) reaching dispersed customers, 3) viewable probing tips, 4) colleague training, 5) probing suggestions, 6) note-taker assistance, 7) rapid debriefing, 8) easier scheduling, 9) low-impact cancellations, and 10) greater project speed. If you’re not taking advantage of these advantages, you’re forfeiting effectiveness and efficiency in your customer insight efforts.
Download our white paper at www.virtualvoc.com
The Vitality Index–% of sales from new products—doesn’t tell you how to improve. Increase your R&D staffing levels? Hire more marketing people? Improve gate reviews? It’s hard to say. Imagine guessing which car pedal will make you go faster. And then waiting years to learn if you were right (since the Vitality Index is a badly-lagging indicator). Maybe it’s time to supplement your Vitality index with two new metrics: See white paper, New Innovation Metrics. These leading indicators will tell you how to accelerate your innovation success right now. Hit the right pedal and leave skid marks.
More in article, It’s Time for New Innovation Metrics