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The Application of Jobs to Be Done in B2B Markets: Unlocking Value and Driving Innovation

By Scott Burleson posted 08-16-2023 17:57

The Application of Jobs to Be Done in B2B Markets: Unlocking Value and Driving Innovation

The Application of Jobs to Be Done in B2B Markets: Unlocking Value and Driving Innovation

Read time: 4 minutes

As the speed of innovation increases, understanding customer needs and creating products and services that address those needs is crucial for success. The Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) framework has gained significant attention in recent years as a powerful philosophy for customer-centric innovation. Initially developed in the context of consumer markets, JTBD is just as relevant for business-to-business (B2B) sectors. 

I. Understanding JTBD in B2B Markets

The Jobs-to-Be-Done framework is centered around the idea that customers "hire" products or services to get a job done. In B2B markets, this concept becomes even more complex due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders, lengthy decision-making processes, and the interplay between functional and emotional considerations.

To effectively apply JTBD in B2B markets, companies need to understand the various "jobs" that their customers are trying to accomplish. These could be internal jobs, from streamlining internal operations and increasing productivity to enhancing collaboration and reducing costs. They can also be external jobs. That is, the jobs of their customers and their customers’ customer. The JTBD process begins by defining an ecosystem of jobs and stakeholders. This truly makes it a great fit for the complexity of B2B. By identifying these jobs and the associated pain points, companies can align their offerings to better meet customer needs and gain a competitive edge.

II. Benefits of Applying JTBD in B2B Markets 

Customer-Centric Approach: JTBD helps shift the focus from product-centric to customer-centric thinking. By understanding the underlying motivations and desired outcomes of B2B customers, companies can design products and services that align with their needs, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  1. Innovation and Competitive Advantage: Applying JTBD in B2B markets facilitates the identification of unmet needs and opportunities for innovation. By uncovering the "jobs" that customers struggle to accomplish or that existing solutions fail to address, companies can develop new products or enhance existing ones to meet those needs, creating a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  2. Enhanced Sales and Marketing: By adopting a JTBD approach, B2B companies can refine their sales and marketing strategies. They can craft compelling messages that resonate with customers' motivations and highlight how their offerings can help them accomplish their desired outcomes. This leads to more effective communication, increased engagement, and higher conversion rates.

III. Challenges and Considerations

Implementing JTBD in B2B markets comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. These include:

  1. Stakeholder Alignment: B2B decision-making involves multiple stakeholders with diverse priorities and perspectives. Aligning these stakeholders around the JTBD framework can be challenging but is critical for success.
  2. Data Collection and Analysis: Gathering comprehensive data on customer needs and pain points is essential. However, in B2B markets, obtaining such data can be more complex due to confidentiality concerns, limited access to customers, and longer sales cycles. Companies must find creative ways to collect and analyze customer insights effectively.
  3. Customization and Scalability: B2B customers often have unique requirements and expect tailored solutions. Balancing customization with scalability is crucial to ensure that JTBD-driven offerings can be deployed across different customer segments efficiently.

IV. Best Practices for Applying JTBD in B2B Markets

To effectively apply JTBD in B2B markets, companies should consider the following best practices:

  1. Research and Customer Discovery: Conduct in-depth research to understand the jobs, motivations, and pain points of B2B customers. Engage in direct conversations, interviews, and observations to gain valuable insights.
  2. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Involve various departments, including sales, marketing, product development, and customer support, in the JTBD process. Collaboration between these teams ensures a holistic understanding of customer needs and enables a seamless transition from insight to execution.
  3. Iterative Approach: Implement JTBD through an iterative process, continuously testing and refining solutions based on customer feedback. This approach allows for rapid adaptation and ensures that offerings stay aligned with evolving customer needs.

The application of the Jobs to Be Done framework in B2B markets has the potential to unlock value, drive innovation, and create a customer-centric approach. By understanding the jobs that B2B customers are trying to accomplish, companies can design and deliver products and services that meet their needs more effectively. While challenges exist, such as stakeholder alignment and data collection, embracing best practices and taking a thoughtful approach can help B2B companies successfully implement the JTBD framework and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Thus, B2B companies can avoid the myopia of a product-centered approach and can properly align their business with customer unmet needs.

Resources to learn more about jobs-to-be-done:

“The Statue in the Stone: Decoding Customer Motivation with the 48 Laws of Jobs-to-be-Done Philosophy”

Jobs-to-be-Done for B2B Markets

Jobs-to-be-Done Philosophy: A Practical Application for Product Innovators

About the Author

Scott Burleson

William “Scott” Burleson is the author of The Statue in the Stone: Decoding Customer Motivation with the 48 Laws of Jobs-to-be-Done Philosophy.

He has a diverse professional background within manufacturing engineering, product management, voice-of-the-customer training and SaaS development. Notable career stops include product manager for John Deere’s compact tractors, innovation leader for Actuant corporation, and Director of the Strategyn Institute. At Strategyn, he worked alongside the world's best jobs-to-be-done practitioners. Strategyn, founded by pioneer Tony Ulwick, is ground zero for Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI).

Today, as Senior Vice President for The AIM Institute, Burleson leads product development for Blueprinter® software, teaches workshops on innovation using the New Product Blueprinting process, and advises corporate leaders and practitioners on growth via JTBD principles.

He has a MS in Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

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