Awkward Reality #280

Beware 8 first-order actions that can stymie your future growth.

280-Second-Order-Effects

A good business leader understands that every decision will have second-order effects after the initial “intended consequence.” Slower future growth is the second-order effect that often follows these decisions: 1) severe spending cuts, 2) rapid re-organizations, 3) hiring freezes, 4) travel bans, 5) R&D staffing cuts, 6) marketing staffing cuts, 7) new initiatives that distract, and 8) excessive M&A activities. Some such decisions may be needed… but consider the second-order impact on your growth.

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

B2B Growth: Research on how to accelerate it

B2B-Growth-How-to-accelerate-it

No one likes to be average—another word for mediocre—in something as important as growing their business. Of course, half of all businesses are below average in any given year. And few in the above-average ranks for B2B growth are confident they can stay there year after year. This can change for your business. You can ... Read More

Awkward Reality #279

Do you have too many projects on your “NPD highway”?

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What should be done if highway traffic slows to a crawl? Probably not put more cars on the entrance ramp, right? With every month of delay, a typical B2B new product loses $80K in net present value. So reduce your number of active projects and accelerate those that remain. The best way to kill dead-end projects—or stop them from even starting? Better up-front work. Then your R&D only works on customer outcomes you know they want, not hope they want.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs

Awkward Reality #278

Evidence-based innovation leads to innovation speed.

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If your NPD teams are confident of customer needs, your projects will go faster for 3 reasons: 1) Bad ideas are killed quickly, freeing up resources. 2) Dead-end detours and diversions are avoided. 3) Hesitation—with second-guessing, delays and debates—is squelched. As Netscape founder, Jim Barksdale, said “If we have data, let’s use it. If we have opinions, let’s use mine.” B2B innovators can find the data they need in Market Satisfaction Gaps.

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps

Awkward Reality #277

Business Leaders: Are you building your growth capabilities?

277-Rock-Climbing-Capabilities

It may seem counterintuitive, but many business leaders focus too much on business results. Wise leaders balance the pursuit of results with capabilities. Can you name any endeavor—rock-climbing, martial arts, chess—where champions didn’t first build their capabilities? Their victories (results) came later. When you see a leader fixated on quarterly results, picture an amateur climber at the base of El Capitan. He has the wrong shoes, no climbing skills and flabby abs… in other words, no capabilities. But boy oh boy, is he ever eager to climb. Yes, he wants results.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #9

 

Awkward Reality #276

What’s the most important thing to improve… to drive profitable, organic growth?

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We asked this question of 540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience. Of 24 possible growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight. We defined this as “Obtain market insight proactively to drive strategic decisions (vs. being just customer-reactive).” Just as quality and productivity each had their waves of popularity, so market insight is increasingly sought today. Here’s a short video on one way to succeed: Focusing the fuzzy front-end of B2B product development.

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

Don’t Confuse Concept Testing With VoC

Concept testing vs VoC

If we bring a prototype to a customer, this is “concept testing.” Something different from  voice of the customer research. But when these become conflated,  we fool ourselves into believing that we’re more customer-centric than we really are. This confusion results from how innovation and new product processes have evolved. In an earlier era, we ... Read More

Own the Future with B2B Customer Insight

Avoid the 4 traps of technology prediction using jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) thinking that is informed by the voice of the customer. Image of a large door open to the future.

Today's innovation methods will look outdated in the future, with these 6 “awkward realities”: 1) We test market needs by launching products at customers. 2) We don’t understand what organic growth requires of us. 3) We misunderstand the proper role of stage-and-gate processes. 4) We interview customers to “validate” our hypothesis. 5) We fail to fully engage customers in our innovation. 6) We are easily distracted from customer-facing innovation. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #275

Never treat organic growth as a “new initiative.”

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I hear this all the time: “We just finished trimming our costs, and now it’s time to grow.” Another variation: “Our last CEO focused on operational efficiency, but our new CEO wants growth.” This is nuts. If you run a business, B2B organic growth isn’t an initiative. It’s your job. All the time. Profitable, sustainable organic growth is the only way to ensure your company’s value keeps rising and your employees can count on stable employment. Who wins a race by wandering on and off the track?

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth