B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #12

Know what really drives growth

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AIM research based on 10,000+ years of experience shows B2B professionals are especially eager to improve their business capabilities to understand customer needs (vs. meet them).
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Transcript of Chapter 12

Do you know what really drives rapid, profitable, sustainable growth? We were curious too… so we did our own research. We surveyed 540 B2B professionals with over 10,000 years of experience in these market-facing roles, all from B2B companies that produce a broad range of products.

Our hypothesis was, companies must understand and meet customer needs better than others for profitable, sustainable organic growth. So we tested 24 growth drivers… some that help companies understand needs… some to meet those needs… and some that do both. For each, we asked, “How important is this for driving growth?” and “How satisfied are you with your company’s performance today?”

Here the drivers are color coded by “understand”… “meet” … and “both.” As you move up, a driver is more important for growth. As you move to the right, companies are more satisfied. Companies have more incentive to improve drivers in the upper left. After all, the more dissatisfied you are with something important, the more you want to fix it, right?

B2B professionals especially want to improve drivers to understand customer needs… more than meet them.

They also said the #1 most important growth driver is delivering strong, differentiated value propositions. So we used their responses to divide companies into two categories: Weak Value Providers and Strong Value Providers.

Then we compared average satisfaction scores for the two groups: weak value providers on the left of each bar, and strong value providers on the right. We were looking for drivers with a big difference… things that separate the weak from the strong.

The top three drivers were all about understanding customer needs: 1) Front-end work… what you do before the product development stage, 2) Market concentration… focusing on key market segments, and 3) Customer interviews.

We’ll focus on all three of these in coming chapters.