Developing B2B customer insight skills for this growth requires a commitment your competitors may be unwilling to make. Good. You need them to remain shortsighted. As you gain insights, you may enjoy a bonus: Customers are impressed with suppliers that listen to them… and often offer near-term adjacent opportunities.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 15).
Keep your process… but don’t expect a neat, linear progression for all projects. Product development is like preparing a fine meal: There’s a messy kitchen somewhere. Look at the unpredictable, messy paths of your own company’s earlier blockbuster products. You need nimble, open-minded teams to complete such journeys quickly.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B
Should your employees learn customer insight skills from an external firm… or should you develop home-grown training? If the external firm has worked with many companies across many global industries, it will probably advance these methods faster and further than you can. Think of them as the golf club maker. The glory belongs to the golf pro… so focus on your practice time, coaching and desire as the pro… not in making clubs.
More in article, You Already Answered 4 Questions, but… Correctly?
“Market Growth” is the tide that lifts all boats… your reward for being just average. “Inherited Growth” comes from great products developed long ago. These are the gifts that keep giving… until they don’t (when you’ve been commoditized). The only one you control is “Earned Growth,” when you understand and meet customer needs better than anyone else.
More in article, Better get used to mediocre growth
I’ve come to believe two principles: A) The only way to create customer value is by improving their important, unmet outcomes. B) A supplier’s only path to profitable, sustainable organic growth is in creating customer value. Do you agree? If so, you might want to place a very high priority on understanding which customer outcomes these are.
More in article, Your Best Path to Profitable, Sustainable Organic Growth
In every other business area—e.g. production or accounting—surprises are unwelcome. But when you are surprised by customer needs that competitors have missed, you have an edge. Seek these out in free-thinking, customer-led interviews, maintain a probing curiosity, and avoid rigid schedules that discourage flexibility. Be surprised. And be happy about it.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 10).
Many B2B producers are stuck at the 2nd of the 4 innovation maturity levels: Solution Validation. When they ask customers to validate their cool new idea, they think they are understanding market needs. They are not. They are simply understanding market reaction… to one idea… their idea. You’ll get far better results by reaching the 3rd maturity level: Market Insight.
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).