With apologies to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina… all great voice-of-customer (VOC) interviews are alike in the same way: The customer is talking during most of the interview. And they are talking about those outcomes (desired end results) they want to talk about. Anything else is clutter, much of which leads to unhappiness.
For B2B voice-of-customer interviews, plan on two rounds of interview… first qualitative interviews (called Discovery), followed by quantitative interviews (called Preference). In both cases, the customers will be doing most of the talking… and about matters that interest them. They’ll be happy. You’ll be happy.
More in video, Reinventing VOC for B2B
Do your sales and tech support reps make hundreds of customer calls annually? Why not train them to probe deeply and capture customer needs uniformly in your CRM? You’ll gain unprecedented market insight when you turn your sales force into a learning force—to help you develop better future products. And with Everyday VOC probing, they’ll ... Read More
In the 1970’s, Detroit automakers didn’t realize they were in a battle for quality. but Toyota did. In later years, the battle moved from quality to productivity improvements. But those were both last century’s battles. Today the battle is over innovation… to deliver more value to customers than your competitors.
Does your business leadership team know it’s in a battle for innovation? One way to find out is to wait until a competitor upends your market with a blockbuster new product. A better approach is to start building innovation capabilities earlier and strong than those competitors. More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave
Also see 2-minute video, Catch the innovation wave
You’ll have much better project reviews if they understand this difference. You can only assign a level of risk if you know the probability of an unfavorable event, e.g., 40% chance of a thunderstorm. It’s pointless—even misleading—to assign probabilities of success, net present values, and so forth in a project’s early phase. That comes later, after your team drives dozens of assumptions from uncertainty to certainty. The methodology for doing this isn’t difficult: Check out this 2-minute video at Why risk and uncertainty are different.
More in video, Project de-risking with Minesweeper® software
We see three common shortcomings with B2B product launches: 1) Low-quality front-end work: Suppliers develop the wrong product, so even the best launch is just putting lipstick on a pig. 2) Poor linkage between stages: The launch is not driven by what was learned in the front end. 2) Out-dated promotional tools: This includes poor selection of the many traditional and digital tools available today. It helps to follow these 4 steps: The Right Product delivered to the Right Market using the Right Message through the Right Media.
More in 2-minute video, Launch new products with power
Is your business looking for ways to accelerate its new product development? Here are four ways to do this: 1) Set clear design targets in the front-end. When the team knows what the customers wants early-on, it eliminates second-guessing, dead-end detours and hesitation. 2) Concentrate resources on fewer projects, staff them for speed, and kill any dead-end projects quickly. 3) Focus on “time-to-money” (not just “time to market”). If you engage customers throughout development, they’ll anticipate your new product and begin evaluating it sooner. 4) Eliminate “organizational friction”… travel bans, spending freezes, hiring delays, re-orgs, new initiatives, and so on.
More in 2-minute video, Pursue fast innovation
The Vitality Index (% of sales from new products) is helpful, but it suffers from being a lagging indicator. So how would you supplement it? Any new innovation metric you adopt should satisfy 4 rules: 1) Leading: “If we do more of this it will lead to growth.” 2) Actionable: “Our employees can make this happen.” 3) Benchmarkable: “We can compare to others and year-to-year.” 4) Impactful: “Improvement will significantly drive growth.
Here are two new innovation metrics that satisfy all four rules: Growth Driver Index (GDI) and Commercial Confidence Index (CCI). These measure your growth capabilities and evidence-based customer insight, respectively. (See white paper, New Innovation Metrics.)
More in 2-minute video, Employ new growth metrics
If you want to develop a great new product, your first step should be to target a single market segment and job-to-be-done (JTBD) within that segment. A market segment is a “cluster of customers with similar needs.” If you develop one product for multiple market segments, your new product won’t satisfy any customers to the fullest extent. By definition, different market segments have different needs, right?
If your company makes colorants, your target market segment might by paint producers. But your project scope is still too broad: You need to target a specific job to be done by those paint producers. Their job might be, “production and sale of semi-gloss paint.” This is explained further in the article, Quantitative questions for interviews
More in 2-minute video, Begin with customers’ job to be done
My golden rule of investment is, “Make your decision when you’ve gathered the most facts and spent the least money.” If you do it right, this point in time is the gate just before the costly development stage. Most companies are far too casual here, letting each team build and present its own unique PowerPoint slides. Human nature says teams will use these slides to talk about their project’s strong points, avoiding weak areas.
So management tries to guess what’s missing: “What about the competition? Are there more technical risks? Is the problem this? Is it something else?” This shell game is waste of time, money and self-respect. Better to have a standard business case everyone works from. Here’s a sample of an abbreviated business case called a Market Case: www.marketcasesample.com
More in 2-minute video, Build a front-end business case
What’s the key to accelerating your B2B business’s organic growth? The research is clear: Superior customer insight drives stronger new product value propositions… which in turn boosts organic growth. Now you can use this new Innovation Maturity Level chart to assess your current level… and plan your ascent all the way to Level 6. The ... Read More