The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

B2B Value Propositions - voice of customer interviews - 10-Pricing-Window

Your “second objective” after customer insight should be customer engagement. These 9 approaches help: 1) Kill the questionnaire, 2) let customers lead, 3) discuss their “job-to-be-done,” 4) project your notes, 5) focus on customer outcomes, 6) probe… deeply, 7) don’t sell or solve, 8) get quantitative, and 9) use triggers. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #272

Leaders don’t need to “motivate” employees to innovate for customers.

272-Motivate-Employees

Leadership is less about motivating employees to create value for customers… and more about equipping them with the tools, training, and environment for doing so. A good leader provides and clears the path for innovation. When employees gain customer-insight skills and are free to practice them, they “rise to the occasion.” Sadly, some leaders’ net impact on innovation is more negative than positive due to their short-term actions, e.g. travel bans, hiring delays and spending freezes. They would boost innovation by staying home.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Awkward Reality #271

Here’s what you’ll never hear blamed for slow business growth (but should).

271-We-did-this-to-ourselves

How often have you heard this at a financial review meeting, “Well, one reason our revenue is lagging today is that crazy spending freeze we put in place last year”? If you’ve never heard this, it’s because leadership was fixated on last year’s first-order action (making the quarterly numbers), not the second-order effect (slower growth later). And they probably remain so today. If so, what does this tell us about a) our ability to learn from our mistakes, and b) our future growth prospects?

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

Awkward Reality #270

Here are 4 practices that expose your innovation to confirmation bias.

270-Confirmation-Bias

Confirmation bias is seeking and interpreting data in a manner that supports our pre-conceived notions. Most innovation processes treat confirmation bias with apathy, when the proper response is dread. You increase your exposure to confirmation bias when you 1) start projects with your solutions, not customers’ outcomes, 2) ask customers to “validate” your ideas, 3) fail to identify and test all assumptions, and 4) skip quantitative customer interviews.

More in article, Market Satisfaction Gaps… your key to B2B organic growth

Target Customer Needs and Win

Bigger-payload-vs-better-targeting

How critical is it to target customer needs? Imagine three situations where you might face the question of a bigger payload vs. a better targeting system: missiles, cancer treatment and gold mining. A bigger payload would be a larger warhead, radiation dosage and backhoe shovel. Better targeting would be more precise hits on enemy positions, ... Read More

3 Problems with Innovation Metrics

14 Inovation Metrics

Everyone wants to use metrics to monitor their innovation. That's fine… but unless you’re using “intermediate” metrics, you could be missing 3 qualities of a good metric: 1) predictive, 2) insightful, and 3) actionable. Consider these 12 intermediate metrics for your business. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #269

Your company’s strongest products were once fragile innovations in the making.

269-Shelter-Your-Innovation

The wise business leader treats innovation as a seedling to be sheltered from distractions, treated with care, and prized as the very lifeblood of their company’s future. Shortsighted leaders see innovation activities as costs to be endured or manipulated for this quarter’s financial report. They chase away your best innovators, brightest ideas, and future growth. Be careful: The person you allow to lead today will determine the strength of your business tomorrow.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video#30

Awkward Reality #268

Good B2B VOC is an exercise in humility.

268-Humility

It’s different for consumer goods innovators, who can often observe end-consumers and then come up with clever solutions. But B2B innovators must approach their customers with hat in hand and humbly ask, “Can you help me understand your world?” Remarkably few do this. Just as remarkably, B2B customers love it when they do. The customer becomes the teacher, the supplier the student… and both are rewarded with market-changing innovation.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs

Create a Product Spec in Four Steps

create a product spec

Within every new product initiative, we must create a product spec.  As a result, engineers need to know what to “build to.” Meanwhile, modern innovation methods begin with customer needs as the input to the process, leaving an important, and too-often unanswered question, “How do we get from a customer need to a product specification?” ... Read More