Awkward Reality #38

Make your innovation metrics a participant sport… not a spectator sport.

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A fine innovation metric is the vitality index… % of total sales from new products (usually launched in the last 3 or 5 years). But it doesn’t tell you why your % is going up or down, does it? Sure, you can see which new products contributed… but you need to uncover the underlying reasons driving results. Otherwise you’re just watching from the bleachers.

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Awkward Reality #37

Doing quantitative voice-of-customer? Good. Now do it “the B2B way.”

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Clever companies realize they’ll “hear what they want to hear” without quantitative VOC. To do it right, B2B companies should weight responses based on customer buying power. And don’t just ask for importance ratings: Ask for satisfaction ratings as well. The only hope for premium pricing is pursuing needs that are both important and unsatisfied.

More in article, Constraints to Organic Growth

Awkward Reality #36

It is impossible to capture maximum new-product value without side-by-side testing.

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Two conditions must be present to capture maximum value in product pricing. Condition A: Your product provides a benefit the customer values greatly. Condition B: The customer is unable to get this value elsewhere. If you only interview customers, you learn A, but not B. You need rigorous side-by-side testing for B. Few companies do this correctly. Do you?

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Awkward Reality #35

Asking an executive to focus on maximized shareholder value can have dangerous consequences.

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If a stock’s P/E ratio is 20-to-1, then only 5 percent of a firm’s value is driven by this year’s earnings. Put another way, 95 percent of shareholder value is driven by investors’ expectations of the future. Executives with rich stock options have “motive and opportunity” to manipulate these expectations… in ways that often damage the firm’s long-term health.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Awkward Reality #34

Finished with your VOC? Not so fast. We need some numbers first.

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Think your VOC work is done if you can splash some pithy customer quotes on a PowerPoint slide? Nope. You must conduct quantitative interviews to isolate the important, unsatisfied outcomes (using 1-10 scales). We all “hear what we want to hear”… so unfiltered customer data is needed. Never spend development dollars until someone “shows you the numbers.”

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Awkward Reality #33

Your new product development process is backwards.

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If your new product development process begins with “idea generation,” is it your idea… or your customers’? If you start with your idea, you probably won’t understand customer needs until the end… by seeing if they buy your new product. Why not flip your approach and start with customer needs? Unless you’d rather your R&D kept guessing at customer needs.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 4).

Awkward Reality #32

If you’re a B2B company, stop using hand-me-down consumer goods voice-of-customer methods.

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Traditional VOC relies on questionnaires, tape recorders and post-interview analyses. That’s fine for B2C, but your B2B customers are insightful, rational, interested and fewer in number. They’re smart and will make you smarter if you engage them in a peer-to-peer fashion, take notes with a digital projector, skillfully probe, and let them lead you.

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth.