B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #20

Begin with customers’ job-to-be-done

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Instead of starting with their solution, B2B companies should begin with the customers’ “job-to-be-done”… and learn which outcomes are leading to “imperfection” in that job.
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Transcript of Chapter 20

In the last chapter, we said many companies make the mistake of leading with their own solutions.

What should you lead with instead? The customers’ job-to-be-done, a powerful concept developed by Clayton Christensen and Tony Ulwick.

You’ve probably heard this quote: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

The customers’ job-to-be-done is creating the hole. They hire a solution—your product, the drill—to accomplish this job. Now why would they hire your solution over competitors’? You need to improve their job-to-be-done by improving the outcomes that are part of this job.

Some outcomes impact the customer’s process… the time and effort to drill, and whether the drill seizes up. Other outcomes impact the customer’s product… how the hole looks in terms of splintering… burn marks… and smoothness. In your B2B world, all outcomes will fall into one of these two groups… customers’ process or product.

While in the front-end of innovation, successful teams spend less time thinking about their solutions… their hypotheses… their product… their product’s attributes. And they spend more time learning everything they possibly can about their customers’ job-to-be-done, and all the outcomes they could improve in this job.

If you’d like to fully grasp the power of jobs-to-be-done, read this book by my good friend and colleague, Scott Burleson, with 48 laws of jobs-to-be-done.

Why did Scott title it Statue in the Stone? When the pope asked Michelangelo how he turned a block of marble into David, he said, “I just removed everything that wasn’t David.”

Today your customers’ job-to-be-done is imperfect. Every time you improve an outcome, you’re chiseling away imperfection. In coming chapters, you’ll learn how your customers can tell you exactly where to chisel… where to sand… where to polish… and where to leave the marble untouched.

It’s all about seeking perfection in the customer’s job-to-be-done, by improving the right customer outcomes.