AIM Archives - Tag: VOC

Want to engage B2B customers? Here are 10 ways.

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If you sell into a concentrated B2B market (one with just a few customers), your voice-of-customer interviews should have two goals: “insight” plus “engagement.” The latter is important: You want these big customers to be impressed and eager to work with you, not your competitors.

These 10 approaches help you engage your customers when interviewing them to understand their needs: 1) Kill the questionnaire. 2) Let customers lead the interview. 3) Discuss their job-to-be-done. 4) Project your notes so they can see them. 5) Focus on customer outcomes. 6) Learn how to probe deeply. 7) Don’t sell or solve. 8) Get quantitative in your VOC. 9) Use triggers to generate fresh ideas. 10) Use B2B-optimized interview tools. (See the 2-minute video, Engage your B2B customers.)

These are explained in the article, The Missing Objective in Voice of Customer Interviews

Is in-person voice-of-customer superior to virtual VOC?

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In general, we do consider in-person interviews to be the gold standard. But there are 10 advantages of virtual VOC you shouldn’t overlook: 1) lower cost, 2) reaching dispersed customers, 3) viewable probing tips, 4) training for colleagues, 5) probing suggestions, 6) assistance for note-taker, 7) rapid de-briefing, 8) easier scheduling, 9) low-impact cancellations, and 10) greater project speed. To maximize effectiveness and efficiency, you’ll be wise to blend and balance both types of VOC. (See 2-minute video, Conduct virtual customer interviews.)

More in white paper, Virtual VOC

How much does VOC (voice-of-customer) training impact your understanding of market needs?

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We studied this question in our research on B2B VOC skills, which included a survey of 300+ B2B professionals. We grouped respondents into 4 groups depending on their type of training (New Product Blueprinting or Other) and level of training (Extensive or Some).

Respondents also reported their typical new product success rates: Only 20% of those with “Some” training in “Other” methods had new product success rates over 50% (green in chart). But 80% of those with “Extensive” New Product Blueprinting training were “in the green.” Just think: Instead of one-in-five employees having successful new product track records, you could move to four-in-five with such training.

More in research report, B2B VOC Skills: Research linking 12 VOC skills to new product success

What’s the fastest way to boost your new product success rate?

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This was a question we studied in our research on B2B VOC skills, which included a survey of 300+ B2B professionals. Some respondents reported a “poor” understanding of market needs while other reported a “good” understanding.

We were surprised at the difference in the two groups’ typical new product success rates: Only 5% of the former group (with poor market understanding) reported their new products were successful over half the time. But 70% of the “good market understanders” reported better than average new product success rates. So instead of hiring more R&D, your shortest path to successful new products might be to understand market needs better.

More in research report, B2B VOC Skills: Research linking 12 VOC skills to new product success

10 Tests to reveal if you’re using Voice-of-Ourselves or Voice-of-the-Customer.

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In my experience, VOO is much more common than VOC among B2B companies today. This will surely change, given the huge advantages of B2B-optimized VOC. (See e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B.) You can learn your position on the VOO-vs.-VOC spectrum by diagnosing 10 factors: 1) interview scope, 2) interview objective, 3) types of questions, 4) note-taking, 5) interview skills, 6) observation skills, 7) companies interviewed, 8) deliverables, 9) engagement timeframe, and 10) interviewing staff.

For descriptions of all 10, see article, Why Advanced Voice of Customer Matters

Is your company still using “Voice of Ourselves”?

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Surely nobody would brag about using VOO to develop new products. But if you aren’t having intelligent conversations with B2B customers before developing your new products, isn’t this what you’re doing? A good test is to add up your hours of internal conversations and compare with your voice-of-customer (VOC) hours. If you are not happy with the ratio, this might explain why customers are not happy with your new products.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Avoid the 4 Traps of Predicting Technology Adoption

Avoid the 4 traps of technology prediction using jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) thinking that is informed by the voice of the customer. Image of a large door open to the future.

It’s natural to ruminate on the future; in particular, about technology adoption. What changes will future technology waves bring?  Will we ride them to riches or drown under the weight of disruption? A Danish proverb warns that “Prediction is dangerous, especially about the future.” A cycle of bad logic Unfortunately, when we theorize, we can ... Read More

Build your interview team’s skill in a stepwise fashion.

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Want to build an amazing customer interview team in a stress-free manner? Gradually increase the “stakes” of the interview by starting with easier, safer interviews. You might follow this six-step progression: 1) industry experts you pay to interview, 2) sales colleagues, 3) other departments/experts in your company, 4) your distributors, 5) smaller, safer customers, and finally, 6) larger, high-stakes customers. By the time you reach the later group, you’ll have one highly-polished and confident interview team.

More in article, Virtual VOC: 10 Advantages and 7 tips

Are there advantages to virtual customer interviews over in-person?

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While in-person interviews remain the “gold standard,” we’ve found 10 advantages to virtual voice-of-customer. These include 1) lower cost, 2) reaching dispersed customers, 3) viewable probing tips, 4) colleague training, 5) probing suggestions, 6) note-taker assistance, 7) rapid debriefing, 8) easier scheduling, 9) low-impact cancellations, and 10) greater project speed. If you’re not taking advantage of these advantages, you’re forfeiting effectiveness and efficiency in your customer insight efforts.

Download our white paper at www.virtualvoc.com

The Amazing ROI for Voice of the Customer

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Some would say that investments in Voice of the Customer are “too expensive and time consuming.” After all, does it really make sense for employees to spend time on VoC projects? For them to be on the road, interviewing customers? Instead, shouldn’t they be doing things that “drive sales?” Like working more shows? Assisting sales ... Read More

Which is better… in-person VOC or virtual VOC?

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If you compare a 2-hour in-person voice-of-customer interview to a 2-hour web-conference interview, the former wins. You can interpret body language better, build stronger relationships, and perhaps get a customer tour. But what if it took you and your interview team 10 hours of (mostly non-productive) travel time for the interview? A better question might be, “When is each type of interview most appropriate?” (See interview examples in the video at www.VOCforB2B.com.)

For 7 factors to consider, download our white paper, Virtual VOC (page 8).

Your failed product launch was probably doomed earlier

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Imagine you just launched your new product and the market responded with… one big collective yawn. Was it a poorly orchestrated launch? Perhaps, but it’s more likely your launch was doomed a couple of years earlier by poor front-end work. Our research shows five of six B2B product development teams lack a clear understanding of market needs before conducting B2B-optimized VOC. Without this insight, your launch might be putting lipstick on a pig.

More in article, B2B Product Launch: How to get it right

Ignore experts who want you to ignore your sales team during VOC interviews.

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Some voice-of-customer experts recommend you exclude your salesforce from interviews because “they can sell but not listen.” True sales professionals are actually great listeners: You just need to reward them for listening. Strengthen listening and learning by your entire team, and you’ll out-perform competitors who side-line their sales pros when gathering market insights.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 24).