Awkward Reality #342

Are you focused on “time to market” or “time to money”?

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When you launched your last product, did customers start buying it right away? Or did they take a while to evaluate it because they were swamped with other matters? Why not start engaging their decision-makers and -influencers before you launch your new product? Start this engagement during voice of customer interviews, and continue it all through your development. You’ll find they evaluate—and start buying—your product sooner. Rapid “time to market” is good, but fast “time to money” is better.

These are explained in the article, The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

Awkward Reality #341

Great R&D project reviews share 4 qualities…

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1) Everyone on the leadership team—HR, Finance, Legal—understands your project de-risking plan and progress. 2) Because you’ve explained potential landmines early, management is confident you aren’t “hiding something.” 3) Management sees you’re investigating critical assumptions fast and cheaply, so they don’t second-guess or micro-manage. 4) When it’s time for investment decisions, they are made quickly and wisely… because these leaders have been on the journey with you. (See 2-minute video, How to manage transformational projects.)

More in article, How to de-risk projects and overcome management doubt

Awkward Reality #340

How to use the top selling question in new product development.

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In the landmark book, SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham’s research on 35,000 sales visits found the best salespeople engage customers in discussions about their problems. Consider your own stage-and-gate process: After Concept Development, Feasibility, Development, and Scale-up, your best salespeople ask customers, “What problems are you facing?” Why not pull this question to the front end and ask it before developing your product? This engages customers in a genuine manner and starts the “selling process” before you have something to sell. See video at www.vocforb2b.com.

More in article, The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

Awkward Reality #339

What’s the missing objective in many B2B customer interviews?

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It’s pretty obvious that one objective is customer insight—understanding customer needs so you can develop the right product. The oft-overlooked objective is customer engagement. This is conducting your voice of customer interviews in a manner that “primes” customers to buy your product when you’re done developing it. Do this well and you sell your product before it even exists. Learn more about customer engagement in the 2-minute video, Engage your B2B customers.

More in article, The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

Awkward Reality #338

Every new product project should start with these 2 questions.

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First, ask what “job-to-be-done” you want to help customers improve. Then ask who these customers are. There’s more to the second question than many realize: a) Which point of the value chain is key? Our customers? Our customers’ customers? b) Which job functions should we interview at these companies? c) Who else in the ecosystem should we interview? Industry influencers? Co-suppliers? Regulators? The more diverse your input, the more likely you are to uncover an exciting market need your competitors missed.

More in article, Elevate Your Success in New Product Blueprinting Step 1

Awkward Reality #337

How virtual voice-of-customer accelerates new product development.

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If your new product eventually reaches sales of $5 million/yr with average profits, accelerating its launch by one month boosts NPV by $80,000. Speed matters! Virtual voice-of-customer helps you move faster for 2 reasons. 1) Instead of finding 1-2 travel days for your team that align with the customer’s schedule, you just need 1-2 hours… letting you pack in more interviews earlier. 2) You can schedule multiple interviews per day. Employing more virtual VOC can easily trim a month or two off your timeline. See 2-minute video, Conduct virtual customer interviews.

Download our white paper at www.virtualvoc.com

Awkward Reality #336

Top-quartile growth comes from top-quartile capabilities.

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Do you want serendipitous growth each year… or superior, sustainable organic growth you can count on year after year? For the latter, you’ll need improved capabilities—training, methods and tools—across your organization in many areas. We’ve identified 24 of these “growth drivers” in our research, What Drives B2B Organic Growth. You can see your percentile benchmark rank against others on all 24 with our free B2B Growth Diagnostic. It’s the first step on the road from serendipity to sustainability.

More in article, Is it time for a growth capability diagnostic assessment?