If you are a start-up or SME that wants to know how to continually offer products and services that will meet the needs of B2B customers, here are some product management guiding principles that you should follow:
Your Ultimate Aim: Delivering Value
The overall objective of your start-up or SME is to deliver value to your business customers. This is achieved by meeting the needs of your target segment and customers while also managing customers’ expectations.
Remember: We are operating in B2B therefore it is critical that you understand and deliver value and meet the needs of the buying group as well as users. In larger organisations these are often separate people with their distinct requirements and preferences.
Deliver a true comprehensive core product or service offering
Your product or service should solve your business customers’ key problems. (Again, this needs to be viewed from the buying group’s perspective). Your core offering is not merely the main product or service that your start-up or SME provides. It also should include the services, programs, systems and processes that your customers deem critical for them to buy from you.
Some examples include:
- Customer service and support
- Service levels and/or Service guarantees
- Payment terms and Options
Include “value adds” in your product or service offering as a means to differentiate
In addition to a comprehensive product or service offering, you should also look for opportunities to provide your business customers with “value adds” or sometimes referred to as an augmented product offering whereby your start-up or SME is meeting a broader set of business customers’ requirements and preferences that often exceed expectations and deliver value.
- Training and Reporting
- Industry and market research
Doing so, will not only enable your company to differentiate itself but can also lead to your start-up or SME building strong relationships with key stakeholders within your customers. This can lead to your start-up or SME being regarded as a trusted advisor. This can lead to opportunities to upsell /cross-sell other products and services, referrals and references to enable you to gain new (and bigger customers) as well as potentially expand into new markets and/or industries.
Build leveraging expertise
As a B2B start-up or SME, you should look for problem that a number of customers are experiencing so that you can invest in expertise that could be shared across customers to solve or alleviate problems.
Consider providing “naked solutions” to meet market and customer need
Balance the need to produce on scale with meeting customers’ specific requirements.
One way to achieve this is to create a Naked Solution with Options.
A naked solution is the bare minimum of a product or service that all members of a niche or segment uniformly value and are sold at the lowest profitable price. These naked solutions are wrapped with options that some but not all segment or niche members value and are offered separately for those customers that do value them. These options are chosen by start-up or SME prior to offering them to customers. This leads to the final B2B product management principle.
Develop your product and service offerings based on customer input.
To ensure that you are delivering compelling products and services, you must regularly measure the value that your business customers gain from your offering. Look for opportunities to refine and improve your offerings. Also consider collaborating with your customers develop and improve your offerings through co-creation, customer advisory panels and customer trials.
Want to know more about delivering compelling products and solutions for business customers?
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