Product Manager Training: Let’s Get Started

Time for product manager training

Product managers are critical along the journey to become customer-centric. To that end, few investments are more important than product manager training. Before diving too deep into the product manager training strategy, let’s discuss this title, “product manager.” Since titles don’t always mean the same thing from company to company, let’s be precise in our ... Read More

Awkward Reality #274

What’s the #1 driver of profitable, sustainable growth? Survey says…

274-Create-Value

Our survey of 540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience—investigated 24 possible growth drivers. The highest rated driver of growth was delivering strong, differentiated value propositions. Doing so requires both 1) understanding and 2) meeting customer needs. Respondents felt a much greater desire to improve the former (understanding) than the latter (meeting.) Of 24 growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight.

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

Awkward Reality #273

Does the Ansoff Matrix make you think… “high risk”?

273-High-Risk

You know this 2×2 matrix: Projects in familiar markets & technologies are in the lower-left corner… the “core.” Most companies think projects outside this core are “risky.” But you can’t assign a level of “risk” because that requires assigning a probability of failure.  And you simply don’t know enough to do this. All you can say is you are “uncertain.” Good news: Uncertainty can be resolved by laying out all your assumptions and investigating each to drive it to certainty.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

B2B Value Propositions - voice of customer interviews - 10-Pricing-Window

Your “second objective” after customer insight should be customer engagement. These 9 approaches help: 1) Kill the questionnaire, 2) let customers lead, 3) discuss their “job-to-be-done,” 4) project your notes, 5) focus on customer outcomes, 6) probe… deeply, 7) don’t sell or solve, 8) get quantitative, and 9) use triggers. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #272

Leaders don’t need to “motivate” employees to innovate for customers.

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Leadership is less about motivating employees to create value for customers… and more about equipping them with the tools, training, and environment for doing so. A good leader provides and clears the path for innovation. When employees gain customer-insight skills and are free to practice them, they “rise to the occasion.” Sadly, some leaders’ net impact on innovation is more negative than positive due to their short-term actions, e.g. travel bans, hiring delays and spending freezes. They would boost innovation by staying home.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Awkward Reality #271

Here’s what you’ll never hear blamed for slow business growth (but should).

271-We-did-this-to-ourselves

How often have you heard this at a financial review meeting, “Well, one reason our revenue is lagging today is that crazy spending freeze we put in place last year”? If you’ve never heard this, it’s because leadership was fixated on last year’s first-order action (making the quarterly numbers), not the second-order effect (slower growth later). And they probably remain so today. If so, what does this tell us about a) our ability to learn from our mistakes, and b) our future growth prospects?

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

Awkward Reality #270

Here are 4 practices that expose your innovation to confirmation bias.

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Confirmation bias is seeking and interpreting data in a manner that supports our pre-conceived notions. Most innovation processes treat confirmation bias with apathy, when the proper response is dread. You increase your exposure to confirmation bias when you 1) start projects with your solutions, not customers’ outcomes, 2) ask customers to “validate” your ideas, 3) fail to identify and test all assumptions, and 4) skip quantitative customer interviews.

More in article, Market Satisfaction Gaps… your key to B2B organic growth

Target Customer Needs and Win

Bigger-payload-vs-better-targeting

How critical is it to target customer needs? Imagine three situations where you might face the question of a bigger payload vs. a better targeting system: missiles, cancer treatment and gold mining. A bigger payload would be a larger warhead, radiation dosage and backhoe shovel. Better targeting would be more precise hits on enemy positions, ... Read More

3 Problems with Innovation Metrics

14 Inovation Metrics

Everyone wants to use metrics to monitor their innovation. That's fine… but unless you’re using “intermediate” metrics, you could be missing 3 qualities of a good metric: 1) predictive, 2) insightful, and 3) actionable. Consider these 12 intermediate metrics for your business. ... Read More