62 Scientific Specimen

A customer outcome is like a scientific specimen, waiting to be examined and understood.

Great value propositions begin and end with customer outcomes. It’s like collecting specimens, sliding them under your microscope, and continuing to turn up the magnification. The careful researcher doesn’t have to agonize over the right value proposition. It comes into increasing focus, waving its arms and screaming to be addressed.

More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 9).

Penny-pinching in the front-end of innovation is sure to hamper your organic growth

Pinching pennies in the front-end of innovation is like night-driving with burnt-out headlights.

Imagine a team spent $50,000 traveling to interview customers about their needs. What would it take to recover this front-end investment? Typically, just one of these… Improve probability of success by 1%, increase market share by ½ share point, accelerate time-to-market by one month, or raise pricing by 0.5%. Buy new headlights and speed up.

More in article, The Harsh Realities of Organic Growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

60 Price Decision-Making

You have two options: Ask for pricing decisions, or understand customers’ pricing decision making.

You can ask for pricing decisions using a survey, e.g. Van Westendorp. But it’s hard to get a straight answer in concentrated B2B markets: They know they’ll be negotiating prices later. Better to understand the customer’s world so well you can create a value calculator… to model their pricing decision-making. You’ll have longer-lasting insights vs. a one-time survey.

More in article, Pricing New vs. Existing Products (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

cathedral

You can tell if a business leader is a cathedral-builder.

The cathedral-builder has counted the cost in years and is willing to pay it to create something of enduring value. He recruits and apprentices the finest stone masons and wood carvers he can find. Because these craftsmen know the passion of the builder, they are secure in their employment, and they work with pride. Do you have such builders?

More in article, Are You a Builder or a Decorator?

58 B2B Customers

Be grateful for B2B customers… and thankful your competitors don’t understand them. Do you?

If you were gathering customer insights about belts, would you rather interview someone using a belt to convey iron ore… or to hold up their pants? B2B customers can usually provide more insight than end-consumers due to greater knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight. But these advantages are no advantage unless you use a B2B-optimized approach.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 6).

57 Price Negotiations

It’s usually a bad idea to ask B2B customers how much they’ll pay for a new product.

An alarm sounds in their heads and they move into “negotiating” mode… so good luck getting a straight answer. But they do want you to understand their needs. So collect economic data during interviews and tours for value-calculator price modeling later. This is why it’s easier to set proper pricing for a new product than an existing one.

More in article, Getting Top Price for Your New Product (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

56 Improving Customer Outcomes

A value proposition is simply improving important outcome(s) for customers’ benefit.

Unlike many B2C benefits, e.g. amusement, comfort, and self-esteem, B2B customer benefits are usually measurable, economic and—wait for it now—predictable. This predictability means B2B suppliers who study customer outcomes, like a science, will be handsomely rewarded. B2B customers will eagerly help you… if you know how to ask them.

More in article, The Science behind Great Value Propositions (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

55 Quarterly Report

Keep a straight face if you say, “This is the most important quarter in our company’s history.”

Of course, employees will be laughing; they’ve heard this one before. When satisfying the expectations of Wall Street analysts conflicts with building the firm’s long-term competitive strength, guess which usually wins? Any employee who’s been through travel restrictions, investment delays, hiring freezes, etc. knows the answer.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

54 Validate Hypothesis

Validating your hypothesis with customers doesn’t tell you about market needs, just market reaction.

Many companies think they have learned about customer needs when they visit customers to validate their hypothesis or potential solution. They have not. They have learned about market reaction. To a single idea. Their idea. On top of this, it’s likely this customer reaction was distorted by confirmation bias.

More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 15).

53 Brownian Motion

Never rely on Brownian motion for change management.

Some executives expect employees to deliver innovation-driven growth without investing in company-wide tools and skills. Either nothing changes, or employees run off changing things in random (Brownian) directions. Be intentional about what new behavior is needed, and take unwavering steps to drive it.

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).