Awkward Reality #470

Lean Startup is fine for B2B… but don’t skip this extra “Learn” step.

470-Learning-before-Hypothesizing

The “Build-Measure-Learn” cycle in Lean Startup begins with a hypothesis, and is great for B2C. End-consumers can seldom tell you what will amuse them or increase their sense of self-worth. But knowledgeable B2B customer can predict their desired outcomes. So start with a “Learn” pre-step. Customers will tell you all you need if you know how to ask.

More in white paper, Lean Startup for B2B (page 3)

Moderating Focus Groups with Jobs-to-be-Done

Young,Business,People,Are,Discussing,Together,A,New,Startup,Project.

Let’s learn to moderate focus groups with jobs-to-be-done. Focus groups are a cornerstone of market research, providing valuable insights into consumer behaviors, preferences, and perceptions. Jobs-to-be-done is our primary methodology to understand customer behavior and decision-making. It’s natural to consider the interplay of moderation skills, the special context of the focus group, and the mental ... Read More

Awkward Reality #469

Awkward Reality #468

The forces moving a supplier from commodity to specialty come from within…or they don’t come at all.

468-Commoditization

There are many forces dragging your products toward commoditization: competitors trying to imitate your products… purchasing agents trying to standardize your products… new technologies trying to obsolete your products. In your quest toward specialty products, you’ll get no outside help. You own this one, baby.

More in 2-minute video at 9. Avoid the commodity death spiral

Awkward Reality #467

If you like sub-optimizing, you’ll love using traditional voice-of-customer methods.

467-Traditional-Voice-of-Customer

B2B companies have huge advantages over B2C, but they may not be obvious. After all, didn’t the same fellow who bought a rail car of soda ash also buy a can of soda pop? Nope. He changed… a lot. B2B customers are more technically savvy, objective, supplier-dependent, and can predict their needs. Careful reflection of these differences leads to different approaches.

More in 2-minute video at 15. Put your B2B advantages to work

Awkward Reality #466

Awkward Reality #465

Be clear on what you own and what your customers own.

465-Solutions

Customers own “outcome” space. You own “solution” space. Don’t let them into your space… unless you want to become a contract manufacturer. Instead, enter their space to understand desired outcomes better than competitors. This lets you deliver unique value in your solutions, which is handsomely rewarded though premium pricing. The best way to do this? Use qualitative and quantitative interviews.

More in the video, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Awkward Reality #464

Maximizing shareholder value is a lovely result… but a lousy goal.

464-Shareholder-Value

Tell me to increase shareholder value and I struggle to identify something I can do as an employee to raise earnings per share. Tell me to understand and increase customer value, and I can think of a dozen things to do, most of them actionable, measurable, and beneficial to our bottom line. Many of these I will find inspiring… as will others. Our research shows companies pursuing shareholder wealth grow slower than others.

More in Chapter 4 of Business Builders by Dan Adams

Awkward Reality #463

You’ll either get familiar with customer outcomes… or with mediocre growth.

463-Slow-Business-Growth

All growth-oriented innovation starts with customer outcomes. This is what customers want to have happen, with no understanding yet of how it will happen. Nothing a company does can achieve profitable, sustainable growth unless customer value is created… which comes only by improving these outcomes. Want to improve your new product success? Understand your customers’ outcomes in incredible detail.

More in 2-minute video at 22. Immerse your team in customer outcomes

Awkward Reality #462

Product development is a footrace… either a customer-reactive or a market-proactive footrace.

462-Business-Footrace

Picture this: A customer tells your sales rep what they want, who hands it off to your R&D. This clever customer tells your competitors the same thing. Terrific. If more than one supplier crosses the finish line, you can forget any price premium. Try this: You choose the race conditions by targeting an attractive market, and exploring its needs better than competitors. This is one reason why market-facing innovation is superior to customer reactive innovation.

More in 2-minute video at 16. Segment by markets for innovation