1) It should be leading: Doing more of this will result in growth. 2) It should be actionable: Our employees can make this happen. 3) It should be benchmarkable: We can compare year-over-year and to our peers. 4) It should be high impact: If we improve these things, it will significantly impact growth. These two metrics pass all four tests: The Growth Driver Index (GDI) and the Commercial Confidence Index (CCI).
Awkward Reality #232
You’ll continue seeing innovations for how we innovate… but you should critically assess them with a “B2B filter.” Take Lean Startup. It offers some good ideas, but it can encourage you to develop and show prototypes to B2B customers before having an intelligent conversation with them. Now that’s just silly.
More in white paper, Lean Startup: Expanding the Build-Measure-Learn Cycle
Awkward Reality #231
There are several things you should never lob at B2B customers until you’ve first learned from them. Don’t lob your hypotheses, prototypes, or new products—until you’ve learned what these customers want. B2B customers have high knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight… so they can tell you exactly what outcomes they want… if you know how to ask. It’s both wasteful for you and insulting to them if you assume they can’t help you.
More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 12, Stop leading with your solutions
A sales force is fine, but why not add a “learning force”? You don’t have this today if you’re hiring, training and rewarding your sales force to sell for today, not learn for tomorrow. But you could turn them into an “early warning system” that allows you to pursue market innovation at just the right time.
More in white paper, Timing is Everything: Exposing Deep Flaws in B2B Innovation Today
Awkward Reality #230
The potentially-intrusive nature of consumer “big data” has already caused some mistrust of B2C marketers. Conversely, the best B2B marketers—especially in concentrated markets with fewer customers—are now developing powerful interviewing skills to listen closely to their customers. You can imagine the response: Who among us doesn’t want to be carefully listened to and understood?
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 15)
Ignoring your future is a bad idea for 3 reasons. First, foresight wins battles… so compete for industry foresight, capability-building and then market share. Second, see why the future is more knowable than most realize. Third, you want to be the disruptor, not disruptee. Consider Amazon, Uber, and Apple.
Get your set of Future Scenes Trend Sheets now.
Awkward Reality #229
Each of your market segments has a unique nature, defined by five qualities of its customers: knowledge, interest, objectivity, foresight and concentration. If you treat all markets the same, you’ll seriously sub-optimize. Better to fine-tune your early-stage marketing (understanding customer needs) and late-stage marketing (promoting your solutions) to each market segment. Use this free service to calculate your market’s B2B Index (how B2B it is) and learn 15 customized marketing strategies.
Calculate your B2B Index at www.b2bmarketview.com
Successful companies reap huge financial reward from bold, transformation projects. They probably approach them differently than you do today. Consider this 5-step process to safely and rationally process all the potential “landmines” that could otherwise blow up budgets, schedules, and reputations.
Learn more about project de-risking.
Awkward Reality #228
If you expect your business to be around in 10 years, why are you focusing so much of your energy on this quarter? Especially since less than 10% of your company’s stock value comes from current earnings… while the rest comes from the market’s expectations of your future earnings. Sure, this is what most leaders focus on… but not leaders like Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs.
More in article, The Inputs to Innovation for B2B
Don’t let the Ansoff matrix cause you to fear unfamiliar markets and technologies. Start by treating “risk” and “uncertainty” as different beasts. You’ll be bolder and more successful in driving from uncertainty to certainty when you plan with the FAQS map (Facts, Assumptions, Questions, Surprises).