Companies like to talk about the voice-of-the-customer, but most just listen to themselves as they create “conference room” products. The team gathers internally to decide for the customer what they’ll want in a new product. This team will always lose to the team that immerses itself in the customer experience, and designs a product to improve that experience.
More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)
Imagine your doctor entered the exam room, saying, “I’ll ask some routine questions to validate my hunch… so I can start treatment.” Would he be your doctor for long? Wouldn’t you rather have a doctor who listens first and asks intelligent questions? Your customers feel the same way, so leave your hypothesis in the waiting room and start engaging them.
More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth
Do you like to answer surveys at home? How about at work? How do you think customers feel about filling in your questionnaire? Forget your list of brilliant questions. Instead, learn to brilliantly probe whatever customers want to tell you. You’ll be rewarded by customers who actually want to talk to you.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 2)
New Product Success is a metric for current projects. Learning Success—which measures skill-building progress—is a metric for future projects. Most companies just consider New Product Success. Worse, they only look at ultimate metrics, e.g. sales. If they also used intermediate metrics, they’d have enough time to apply what they learned from these metrics.
More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics. (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)
Analysis looks for what has been done wrong; discovery for what could be done right. Failing to discover opportunities is a costly error. Paradoxically, it is most often forgiven. In fact, if your team fails to develop a blockbuster because it missed a critical customer need, no one will even notice. At least not until a competitor does a better job.
More in executive briefing, Should Your Stage-Gate® Get a No-Go?
Unlike innovation, quality and productivity apply to current operations and yield diminishing returns. What do you do after you reach zero defects… or your factory is being run by the proverbial “man and a dog”? (The man feeds the dog; the dog bites the man if he touches the controls.) Customer-facing innovation is different. There is no limit. Just look at Apple Computer.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 2)
It was designed to manage the interface between project teams and your company… for portfolio analysis, resource planning, risk reduction, tracking, etc. Fine, but you also need to improve the interface between teams and customers. Competitive advantage in customer-facing innovation requires skills and tools your competitors lack.
Learn more about B2B innovation at www.theaiminstitute.com
Customers will help you set prices before—but not after—you launch your new product. They want you to develop innovative new products and services that deliver value to them… so they’ll give you insights to make this happen. These same insights allow you to establish optimal pricing. Do you know how to do this? It will be too late after you launch your product.
More in article, Pricing New vs. Existing Products (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)
This mantra guides the decisions of the business masses. But is it right? Peter Drucker didn’t think so. He said the primary purpose of a business is to acquire and keep customers. I believe increased shareholder value is a good result, but a lousy goal. You’ll have better results if your goal becomes: “Understand and meet the needs of our customers.”
More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal
Research shows the best way to sell a product is to probe customers’ needs. But why wait until the product is developed? If you probe beforehand, you’ll create a better product and “pre-sell” your product. This isn’t practical for interviewing millions of B2C toothpaste buyers, but it is for concentrated B2B markets. B2B engagement skills aren’t difficult. Do you have them?
More in newsletter, How to Grow in a Stagnant Economy (Nov-Dec, 2008)