AIM Archives - Tag: B2B

Expect more out of your interview with a hydraulic hose buyer than with a garden hose buyer.

472

You can have an intelligent, peer-to-peer conversation about pressure ratings, fluid specifications, etc. And expect greater B2B interest vs. B2C, since your innovations can help the hydraulics engineer become a hero with his next new product. Without innovative suppliers like you, his path to recognition is a difficult one. The more you understand B2B vs. B2C, the more you can “take advantage of your B2B advantages.”

More in white paper, B2B vs. B2C

Lean Startup is fine for B2B… but don’t skip this extra “Learn” step.

470-Learning-before-Hypothesizing

The “Build-Measure-Learn” cycle in Lean Startup begins with a hypothesis, and is great for B2C. End-consumers can seldom tell you what will amuse them or increase their sense of self-worth. But knowledgeable B2B customer can predict their desired outcomes. So start with a “Learn” pre-step. Customers will tell you all you need if you know how to ask.

More in white paper, Lean Startup for B2B (page 3)

If you like sub-optimizing, you’ll love using traditional voice-of-customer methods.

467-Traditional-Voice-of-Customer

B2B companies have huge advantages over B2C, but they may not be obvious. After all, didn’t the same fellow who bought a rail car of soda ash also buy a can of soda pop? Nope. He changed… a lot. B2B customers are more technically savvy, objective, supplier-dependent, and can predict their needs. Careful reflection of these differences leads to different approaches.

More in 2-minute video at 15. Put your B2B advantages to work

You have two options: Ask for pricing decisions or understand customers’ pricing decision making.

448-Price-Decision-Making

You can ask for pricing decisions using a survey, e.g. Van Westendorp. But it’s hard to get a straight answer in concentrated B2B markets: They know they’ll be negotiating prices later. Better to understand the customer’s world so well you can create a value calculator… to model their pricing decision-making. You’ll have longer-lasting insights vs. a one-time survey.

If you’re a B2B company, stop using hand-me-down consumer goods voice-of-customer methods.

424-Questionnaire

Traditional VOC relies on questionnaires, tape recorders and post-interview analyses. That’s fine for B2C, but your B2B customers are insightful, rational, interested and fewer in number. They’re smart and will make you smarter if you engage them in a peer-to-peer fashion, take notes with a digital projector, skillfully probe, and let them lead you.

More in 2-minute video at 14. Understand your B2B advantages

Create a Product Spec in Four Steps

create a product spec

Within every new product initiative, we must create a product spec.  As a result, engineers need to know what to “build to.” Meanwhile, modern innovation methods begin with customer needs as the input to the process, leaving an important, and too-often unanswered question, “How do we get from a customer need to a product specification?” ... Read More

Jobs-to-be-done: The Cure for B2B Myopia

Harvard professor Levitt began the JTBD discussion by teaching that the railroad industry should consider itself as the transportation industry..

Modern “Jobs-to-be-Done” (JTBD) thinking began with the most popular HBR article ever written: Ted Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia.” It begins this way: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are not riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned ... Read More

The B2B interviewer should have two goals: customer insight and customer engagement.

400-Business-Interview

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 2-minute video at 29. Engage your B2B customers

Your B2B customers are smarter than you.

395-Businesswoman

It may be OK for consumer goods producers to guess their customers’ needs. After all, their product developers are end-consumers themselves. So if you’re an Apple engineer, you already know what consumers like you want in a mobile phone.

But your B2B customers know much more than you about their needs. If you make pigment, your customers know a lot more than you about the paper production it’s used in. Isn’t it silly to guess their needs when they’d love to tell you… if you asked the right way? That’s why you need to let the customer lead the interview, not you. Yep, you can put your questionnaire or interview guide away now.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Three B2B product launch problems to avoid.

391-Three-Shortcomings

We see three common shortcomings with B2B product launches: 1) Low-quality front-end work: Suppliers develop the wrong product, so even the best launch is just putting lipstick on a pig. 2) Poor linkage between stages: The launch is not driven by what was learned in the front end. 2) Out-dated promotional tools: This includes poor selection of the many traditional and digital tools available today. It helps to follow these 4 steps: The Right Product delivered to the Right Market using the Right Message through the Right Media.

More in 2-minute video, Launch new products with power

How many B2B-vs.-B2C differences are there? We count 12 that matter.

368-B2B-vs-B2C

In our white paper, B2B vs B2C: Organic growth implications for B2B professionals, we cover 12 differences between suppliers to B2B vs. consumer goods markets. Is this just an academic exercise? Not at all. Every one of these differences has implications for organic growth. The news gets better if you’re a B2B supplier: Nearly all these differences are advantages in your favor. Of course, an advantage is no advantage if you don’t take advantage of it. This white paper will show you how.

Also see the 2-minute video, Understand your B2B advantages

Are you taking advantage of the Customer Insight Gap?

362-Customer-Insight-Gap

The Customer Insight Gap is the difference between what suppliers typically understand about customer needs… and what they could potentially understand. This Gap is usually small for consumer-goods suppliers (B2C): Typical insight is high since their employees are consumers themselves and understand customer needs. At the same time, potential insight is low, because end-consumers often struggle to articulate their true needs.

The Gap is huge for most B2B suppliers: They know less about their customers’ world, but these customers could tell them much, given their Knowledge, Interest, Objectivity & Foresight (KIOF in chart). For more, watch this 2-minute video, Understand your B2B advantages. If you learn how to close the large B2B Insight Gap, you’ll get an amazing competitive advantage.

See white paper, B2B vs. B2C.