Awkward Reality #208

Future B2B companies will have a good laugh at our expense.

208-Laughing-at-Us

We now chuckle at how sales people used to rely on ABC (Always Be Closing) and manufacturers relied on end-of-line inspectors (vs. statistical quality control). But those will pale compared to the way today’s B2B companies test markets: by launching fully-developed products at their customers. When they could have learned customer needs first with some simple interviews. Funny stuff.

More in article, Why will future companies laugh at us?

How to move from unearned growth to earned growth

Weed Growing in patio

A large, unexpected revenue upturn this quarter is good news, right? It certainly feels good, but the satisfaction is fleeting. What you really need is growth that is unrelenting, earned and reliable. When business executives don’t understand the nature of “good” organic growth, they risk three pitfalls. Pitfall 1. “Let’s have a great quarter.” Imagine ... Read More

Awkward Reality #207

Most suppliers expect to grow faster than their served markets. This is usually fanciful thinking.

207-Fanciful-Thinking

On average, you and your competitors will grow at the same rate as the markets you serve. Don’t feel entitled to this. If a competitor develops a blockbuster, you’ll be happy to minimize your sales decline. Thinking otherwise is like 1970’s Detroit auto-makers assuming Japanese competitors would keep producing junk.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 15).

Episode #07

Awkward Reality #206

Delay the urge to converge in product development.

206-Diverge-then-converge

The human brain likes to diverge first (look at all these deserts), and then converge (the chocolate lava cake, please). We shortcut this highly-effective approach when we begin by asking customers if they like our idea, hypothesis, or prototype. First, diverge with an open-minded exploration of all customer needs in B2B-optimized, voice-of-customer interviews. When you converge in a later round of interviews, do so quantitatively, so your confirmation bias doesn’t kick in.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 16).

Close the Customer Feedback Loop

Without VoC feedback, growth stalls.

Quality guru Edwards Deming taught us that “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven.” With the right systems, a company will grow and thrive. And few are more important than the “feedback loop.” Unfortunately, this term has been used so broadly that the original and powerful meaning has ... Read More

Awkward Reality #205

Shareholder value: Great result. Lousy goal.

205-Goslings

Increasing shareholder value is simply the result… the “effect.” What’s the “cause”? It’s profitable, sustainable, organic growth. Demonstrate this and stock prices will follow like goslings after their mother. Quit performing for Wall Street analysts, who have never created real value and couldn’t do so if their bonuses depended on it. Instead, work for customers who will appreciate and reward the value you create for them.

More in article, How to become a great business leader

Awkward Reality #204

Awkward Reality #203

Episode #06