4 Categories of B2B Customers

Prioritization of sales prospects

(This is a guest post by Kenny Nguyen, who has spent the last six years helping B2B companies with marketing and sales. He describes himself as a guy who "doesn't like sales, but you have to sell if you're going to help people." You can find Kenny on Twitter.)

It’s hard to keep tab of sales when we’re talking to one potential customer after another. B2B startups founders - with limited sales experience, myself included - have trouble with qualifying leads.

Every customer we talk to ends up being qualified customers somehow, someway.

As a consequence, focus ends up being diluted across way too many leads at the same time. B2B founders could benefit from having a fast and effective qualification process. There are great tools out there to help manage pipelines, ask questions, flowcharts, and analyze potential sales top-down, but there isn’t much available to help qualify potential customers in a no-nonsense manner.

To cut to the chase, you can download the cheat sheet here:

flux capacitor - a back to the future moment

Reuniting Product Management and Lean UX

(This is a guest post by Rich Mironov, who coaches product executive and product management/owner teams. He wrote The Art of Product Management. You can find Rich on Twitter, LinkedIn or on his blog.)

I was at a recent Lean Startup Circle talk about the future of product management. It was a "back to the future" moment for me, hearing about the need for the strong strategic product management that predates Lean and Agile. A return to first principles, but with more build-measure-learn.

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cookie cutter lean startup

Templates Suck, Here’s Our Lean Startup Template

Every few weeks, someone asks me if there’s a template that they should use to define their lean startup experiments…and I say no.

I’m not a big fan of templates in the broad sense of a one size fits all template to define experiments regardless of the context.

I am a huge fan of having a repeatable process.

We (TriKro LLC & Lean Startup Circle) do use templates that work well for us. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work well for someone else.

Templates are often a means of asserting order over the innovation process in order to measure team velocity in an overly stringent way before it’s appropriate or necessary to do so.

So in an effort to satisfy the requests and not give overly broad advice, here’s the template we use and why we designed it this way.

If you'd like to cut to the chase, you can download the template below. It's licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License so feel free to modify and hack to make your own.

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helpful customer discovery with Kevin Dewalt

Being Helpful – Interview with Kevin Dewalt

Kevin Dewalt (Founder of SoHelpful) is constantly helping startups 1-to-1. When he's not angel investing, playing golf or (allegedly) mangling the Chinese language in Beijing, he's always available to help out someone just getting started with lean startup. So I reached out to him to chat about his approach to early stage customer discovery...being helpful. You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or his blog)

Q:  Your SoHelpful approach to early stage startup marketing is essentially, "stop marketing and start helping people 1-on-1." What makes you favor this route when every budding entrepreneur wants to put together a DropBox type demo video, post to HackerNews, and watch the signups?

These approaches are not working for the entrepreneurs I help, mentor, and invest in.

What I teach is based on what I do and what I see working for other startups. I wasn’t working with Drew when he did the DropBox “viral video MVP”, so I don’t actually know what is myth vs. truth. Drew himself probably doesn’t remember.

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Lean Startup in the Enterprise Anti-pattern: The Lean Waterfall

Lean Enterprise Anti-Pattern: The Lean Waterfall

More and more enterprise scale companies are drinking the lean Kool Aid and starting to implement Lean Startup methodology. In doing so, they are failing at the most basic level.

Lean methodology is not lean startup. An MVP is not learning. A Business Model Canvas is not business model innovation. These things are just artifacts. They are workarounds. These workarounds, applied poorly and/or inappropriately, can result in some wonderful anti-patterns.

One of my favorites is that piecemeal lean-startup is just waterfall in disguise.

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