B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #22

Immerse your team in customer outcomes

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During interviews, customers give you Outcomes, Solutions, or Background. The science of B2B customer insight lets you examine outcomes at 9 increasingly-detailed “magnifications.”
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Transcript of Chapter 22

What’s the key to becoming a market leader? Understand customer outcomes better than anyone else.

When your customer speaks, you could hear an Outcome, what they want to have happen… a Solution, how that outcome is satisfied… or Background, helpful context.

Don’t discuss solutions with them because the first solution you hear is seldom the best. Pursuing this could jeopardize your intellectual property if the customer thinks it’s their solution.

Focus on customer outcomes: They have obvious value, are stable over time, are unambiguous, and measurable. In other words, outcomes are OSUM.

If you make conveyor belts, you might hear these outcomes: more abrasion resistance… lower maintenance costs… faster operating speed… and dozens more.

Two principles are key. First, your only path to rapid, profitable, sustainable growth is customer value creation. As we discussed earlier, nothing else is sustainable.

Second, customer value is only created when an important, unmet customer outcome is improved. Customer value is not created in your laboratory or factory. Only when a customer outcome somewhere along the value chain is improved. So the better you understand customer outcomes… the more customer value you create… and the better your growth is.

The study of customer outcomes can be a science. As a microbiologist slides a specimen under the microscope, so you’ll study customer outcomes, turning up the magnification at 9 levels. The first 3 occur during Discovery interviews, the next 3 during Preference, and the rest in later steps.

It helps to consider 3 innovation maturity levels: For “Solution Push,” you start with your ideas and develop solutions you hope customers want. For “Solution Validation, you still start with your ideas, but interview customers to “validate” them. With Market Insight, you start with customer outcomes.

Many Level 2 companies think they’re learning about Market Needs. But they’re only learning Market Reaction. To one idea. Their idea.

As we’ll see in coming chapters, there’s great power moving from “voice of ourselves” to “voice of the customer.”