Jeff Bezos believes this is a more important question than “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” In the world of new product development, we find that customer outcomes—desired end results—tend to be more stable over time than supplier solutions. So instead of validating your solutions during customer interviews, seek to uncover and understand the most important, unmet customer outcomes. Then pursue these stable targets with your solutions.
More in video, New Product Blueprinting—the Future of B2B Innovation
Research shows that it’s often “game over” for your product if a competitor’s product has a better Google search ranking. The key is good search engine optimization (SEO), and the key to that is predicting which keywords your prospects will search for. Here’s a tip: In your front-end voice-of-customer interviews, capture customers’ comments verbatim. Then use their language—which is unlikely to change—in your SEO strategy.
More in article, B2B Product Launch: How to get it right
What else is there besides hearing customers’ needs? Impress them so they’ll want to do business with you. Incorporate your insights into a value calculator to optimize pricing. Use their precise interview language on your website to improve SEO. Uncover unspoken needs in a post-interview customer tour. Understand their next best alternative. Never stop learning.
More in article, You Already Answered 4 Questions, but… Correctly?
Your new product development should start where it ends: with the customer. When you take your “pride and joy” hypothesis to customers and ask their opinion, two bad things can happen: 1) They tell you what they think you want to hear. 2) You hear what you want to hear. Start by uncovering their needs, not testing your pre-conceived notions.
More in article, Give your Hypothesis the “Silent Treatment (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).
One of our best innovations started as an experiment. In 2004 I projected my notes during a customer interview. The customer loved it, the meeting went far longer than expected, and we haven’t looked back since. Sure, customers can correct your notes this way, but our biggest discovery was that customers own what they create and can see.
Read more in the article, The Best Customer Interviews Use a Digital Projector (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).
Most companies know they should be interviewing customers to understand their needs. But how many have changed behavior? Are most of your new-product teams out there doing great interviews when no one is looking? The knowing-doing gap is the corporate version of the New Year’s resolution, with results just as impressive.
More in article, Where New Product Ideas Begin (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).
If the customer felt they helped you with your interview, you probably wasted your airfare. But if they felt it was their interview, asked for a copy of the notes, and said you were a good meeting facilitator… you probably learned things your competitors don’t know. B2B insight skills are needed for this. Do your people have them?
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 9).
Some companies rely on a handful of internal VOC (voice-of-customer) experts to interview customers. You’ll do far better if you train a critical mass of employees—who routinely interact with customers anyway—to gather customer needs. Keep your VOC experts as coaches and trainers, but implement “VOC for the masses.”
More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth
With apologies to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina… all great voice-of-customer interviews are alike in the same way: The customer is talking during most of the interview. And they are talking about those outcomes (desired end results) they want to talk about. Anything else is clutter, much of which leads to unhappiness.
More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)