Your New Product Development (NPD) teams likely struggle with securing Voice of the Customer interviews in new/unfamiliar markets due to the challenges in securing decision-maker interview participation with non-client companies. We call these 'Voice of Competitor Customer' new product interviews - VoCC.

Why is it so hard for NPD projects to identify unrealized needs in new/unfamiliar markets that could give them first-mover advantage?

  1. Conducting relevant market research is very challenging for NPD teams in markets not well known to their firm. There is little to no published market research on highly focused B2B micro markets. There are few options to find often highly confidential sales and purchase data on companies in the target market. 
  2. Identifying and securing the right Voice of the Customer (VoC) interviews with unfamiliar/non-customer companies in these micro markets is a very difficult task for NPD teams. The first step of identifying all the important companies in a micro market is hard enough. Finding and talking to the right relevant decision makers at these unfamiliar firms is an almost impossible task for NPD teams.

10% to 30% of NPD projects in B2B firms are focused in new/unfamiliar markets where NPD teams have little marketplace knowledge and no introductions from internal resources.

What are the problems? 

The Most Difficult Projects Are The Most Profitable: NPD projects in new/unfamiliar markets are the most difficult innovation projects that B2B firms face today, yet research shows they can be the most profitable long term. 

Fewer Blockbuster Products: This challenge to find 'blockbuster' innovation in new/unfamiliar markets can be extremely dangerous for any innovation-based B2B firm whose future depends on the ongoing creation of blockbuster products for new, unfamiliar, adjacent markets utilizing existing firm IP. 

Low Innovation Success: For those NPD teams that do brave unfamiliar market projects, the challenges of securing introductions to the right decision-makers at unfamiliar target-market companies (non-customers) for VOC  result in uncovering few unmet needs and therefore low innovation success. 

NPD Teams Don’t Have Executive Cold Calling Skills: The executive cold-calling skills needed to secure VOC interview appointments with highly informed contacts in non-customer companies are not common to NPD teams, nor are they within their nature as technical professionals. It is hard to secure interviews with non-clients with whom teams have no relationship or connection. 

Our work in this area has shown that NPD Teams working in unfamiliar markets often try to jump straight to securing VOC interviews after finding a handful of companies, without knowing how important these companies are to the market or having a clear idea of which contacts out of hundreds in a target firm they should call. NPD teams often start calling the main numbers for this small number of companies, asking for the right person for a non-customer VOC interviews. 

Non-Customer Organization Are Designed To Keep Non-Engaged Vendors Away From Important Decision-Makers:  This process tends to grind to a halt quickly as receptionists and administrative staff, who work to limit access to managers and executives, put up road blocks and obstacles. NPD teams quickly become frustrated and lose momentum. They stop calling once they feel it is impossible to gain access to those who can answer their essential VOC questions. The result is poor market and company research and very limited interviews often with the wrong person in the organization. 

Bad Communication Management:  During the cold calling of non-client companies, another challenge facing NPD team is that contact participation is lost due to the problems with back-and-forth communication while NPD teams are busy with their many other essential tasks. It is critical that communication with non-customers is quick, effective and professional.  Non-customer decision makers rarely have time to waste talking to parties not presently supporting or engaged in their business operations.  Just one delay or missed communication will alienate that hyper busy decision maker and completely eliminate their desire to help what they see as a non-benefiting time-sucking conversation with an unknown party.

Staff Costs: The almost impossible job of finding and securing participation from non-customer companies in unfamiliar markets often turns into a sinkhole of time. The process can be anything but efficient with hundreds of hours expended, often with poor results. Additionally, the significant time needed to conduct company and marketplace expert searches takes away from team members’ more essential task of ensuring new product success. 

Lost Revenue Opportunity from Delay: When an important NPD project is delayed from a prolonged research cycle, this leads to a delay in product launch and lost revenue from the delay. Lost revenue from 4-6 month delays can quickly add up and become a significant dollar amount. 


The result of jumping into new/unfamiliar markets with poor research, no expert help, and poor VOC interviews by NPD teams can be:

  1. Bad: Dead-ended NPD projects with no innovation due to lack of market research and quality VOC interviewsmoney and blockbuster opportunity down the drain.

  2. Worse: Forfeit of market opportunity to competitors who uncover unmet needs and use their IP to produce a blockbuster product to which your firm has no response.

  3. Unthinkable: The development of the wrong offering, which not only is not a blockbuster, but which hurts your reputation in the new market, wastes time and money, and provides a critical opportunity loss. 

Our Unique Offering: Supporting Innovation (SI) has the staff, tools, systems, and platform to rapidly help your NPD teams facing new/unfamiliar markets.

Supporting Innovation guarantees your NPD teams have the very best interviews with the right companies and decision-makers who will clearly define their future needs for your 'new product' assessment. 

Supporting Innovation uniquely provides remarkable and unmatched market research, decision-maker/company research, VOC interviews for your most demanding new/unfamiliar market NPD projects.

We know how to find the right decision-makers you need to interview and how to present your firm's value to these decision-makers so they engage in the our VOC interview process. We have the resources and methods to present your firm in the best possible light as a valuable innovator to all the targeted decision-makers/companies.

We generally provide these services in 6-10 weeks, which is often at least 3-4 times faster and with far better quality than an NPD team or any other source can produce, all at a fixed reasonable cost


Benefits of Working with Supporting Innovation

We identify and qualify the very best customers in an new/unfamiliar Marketplace who are ready to engage and provide critical insight through our in-depth VOC interviews.  All our interviews are recorded, segmented and transcribed on our Project Dashboard so your team can easily work with our insightful interviews.  Our systems and platform provide a working environment that NPD teams love. Our platform and methods also allow something very essential to your firm's NPD effort: the memorializing of every step and decision in the process with our group-based dashboard/portal.

We take 4-6 months off your product’s release schedule for time to market, ensuring the research phase does not slow down your NPD delivery schedule, allowing your firm to gain months of revenue opportunity. No one but SI has the systems and resources to dramatically reduce the time for the research and company engagement stage in NPD projects in new/unfamiliar markets from 5-9 months down to 6-10 weeks. 

We free up your NPD team’s resources (saving hundreds of staff hours) by taking over the impossible work of this complex and specialized VOC task with non-customers, while leaving your NPD team fully in control of all decision making. Our professional research staff is uniquely equipped with proprietary software tools specifically designed for background research work.  Our executive callers have the skills to secure deep VOC phone interview to make sure all insights are from the right decision-makers at the right companies.

1. Finding the target companies for your team's NPD efforts in new/unfamiliar markets

We extensively research, qualify, and pre-interview all the right companies for your new market needs, providing you with a remarkable selection you will not find anywhere else.

It’s hard work finding the companies ready to help your team best understand the new/unfamiliar marketplace your firm is entering. We find the companies with significant experience working in the target market. These non-customer companies often have untapped, unique insights often unknown to your competitors. We won't just provide one or two companies, but the a set significant number of highly focused leadership in your target market . We provide a complete process to qualify the right companies out of hundreds so you have the best group to select from.

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2. Finding the right decision-makers at the right innovative and engaged companies in new/unfamiliar markets

We research, identify, and conduct background interviews with the best group of decision makers at companies in your target market and insuring those decision makers are engaged in deep  VOC interviews.

It is difficult to find the leading, forward-thinking unfamiliar decision makers in unfamiliar markets willing to participate in VOC interview process.

Supporting Innovation has a complete process to identify the perfect decision-makers from hundreds of people in these critical companies.

We do it all quickly, effectively, and with a transparent web-based process that produces better outcomes much faster than any NPD team could do themselves. 

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Calculating Staff Costs & Lost Revenue from Project Delay

To see just how expensive 'do-it-yourself' research can be, Supporting Innovation provides an ROI Calculator that shows just how much money can be lost by handling this research internally. 

Take five minutes to try our NPD Calculator and we will show you how expensive doing this research internally can really be: 

* Blueprinting Discovery Interviewing: If you have not been introduced to the exciting practice of Blueprinting Discovery Interviews from AIM and Dan Adams, please visit to find out more. We recommend you contact Dan Adams to learn how his team has revolutionized the NPD interviewing process for many of best B2B industrial firms and how they can help your efforts.