Awkward Reality #27

Great B2B innovation starts with customer engagement. Are you applying customer detachment?

27-Customer-Detachment

Many suppliers unwittingly detach from customers with a host of risky behaviors: 1) Asking customers to fill in boring questionnaires, 2) using interviews to “validate” their preconceived solutions, 3) failing to probe with insightful questions, and 4) neglecting to follow-up interviews with rich, ongoing engagement. Is it time to learn customer-engagement skills?

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

Awkward Reality #26

Is your operating plan promising faster growth than the markets you serve? Be nervous.

26-Operating-Plan

Do you think your competitors also plan to exceed market growth? So, all the competing suppliers plan to grow faster than the market they serve, year… after year… after year. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that been working for you?” Maybe it’s time for a different plan. A plan built on innovation, not hope… on well-grounded skills, not blue-sky spreadsheets.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4).

Awkward Reality #25

Does tripling your profit growth seem impossible? It’s not with customer-engaging innovation.

25-Profit-Growth

The data are in, the studies are done, and—put simply—customer-engaging VOC improves your bottom line. One study on innovation by Booz & Co. found this: Suppliers who directly engage customers enjoy three times the profit growth vs. those that do not. Want huge profit growth? Engage your customers. It’s not hard, but it is a different approach… even innovative.

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

Awkward Reality #24

Don’t count on your R&D people being brighter than competitors’.

24-Research-and-Development

Will you win because your R&D people are 20% smarter than the competition’s? If that logic sounds shaky, here’s a suggestion: What if your R&D worked only on problems customers truly cared about… while competitors kept guessing what to work on? Would that be a competitive advantage? This is easier than you think… but maybe you’d rather try to hire geniuses.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4)

Awkward Reality #23

You don’t know what you don’t know.

23-What-You-Dont-Know

When developing a product, you know what you know (facts)… what you think (hypotheses)… and what you don’t know (gaps). But breakthroughs usually come from what you didn’t know you didn’t know. Only your customers know this, so you must let them guide you. This provides the spark of innovation, which seldom occurs with old-fashioned supplier-led interviews.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 3)

Awkward Reality #22

Interview B2B customers in a way that allows—even invites—surprise.

22-Business-Surprise

We’ve coached hundreds of B2B new product teams and here’s the awkward reality: When teams begin using advanced methods to interview customers, they are usually surprised by what customers want. This means the teams had been planning on developing a product that interested them, not customers. This is a sobering experience. Have you had it yet?

More in article, The Cost Cutter’s Guide to Growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Awkward Reality #21

You can’t achieve profitable, sustainable growth behaving like your competitors.

21-Competitive-Behavior

Unless your company has smarter employees, some inherent unassailable advantage, or a markedly different approach to satisfying customers… pesky competitors will always limit your growth. What if you and your competitors were all committing the same innovation errors… but you corrected them first? Good news: There is much to correct.

More in article, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth