Begin with Discovery and Preference interviews... and then apply Lean Startup.
Over the years, many B2B suppliers have fallen into the trap of developing their own solutions—or at least hypotheses—only to be crestfallen when customers were far less enthusiastic than they. Lean Startup minimizes this problem by showing potential customers an early, inexpensive minimum viable product. This is a very good thing.
But don’t stop there. You can further minimize and even eliminate such unpleasant surprises with B2B-optimized VOC (voice of customer), before you even create your MVP (minimum viable product). This increases your speed and reduces your waste. But wait… there’s more. The type of VOC we’re suggesting gives you two more advantages:
- Done with skill, the customer—not the supplier—suggests the topics covered in these VOC sessions. Customers will often lead you to unexpected outcomes (desired end results) that you would never have imagined in your conference rooms.
- With such interviews, you engage prospective customers early in the process. When they help you design your product in collaborative VOC sessions, they’re much more likely to be “primed” to purchase your product later.
So our recommendation is to begin with Blueprinting Discovery (qualitative, divergent) VOC interviews, followed by Blueprinting Preference (quantitative, convergent) interviews. The first round of interviews reduces errors of omission (failing to uncover unarticulated needs), and the second round reduces errors of commission (choosing the wrong needs to work on).
When finished, you will have a crystal-clear picture of what customers want. Now move briskly into your Lean Startup mode… rapidly showing customers minimum viable products. Since your MVPs are focused on their outcomes, you’ll have confidence they will be interested and you’ll be on the right track.
For more, download the AIM white paper, Lean Startup for B2B.
Keywords: lean startup, New Product Blueprinting, MVP, minimum viable product, B2B, divergent interview, convergent interview, Discovery interview, Preference interview