I often hear from innovation teams inside B2B companies about the difficulties of conducting tests around new business ideas. Eric Ries, in his new book, refers to a really good example about B2B testing that I want to highlight here.
Basically, a company wanted to test a new medical device to see if doctors were interested in the solution. Rather than just asking the doctors to gauge interest, the team asked them to sign a letter of recommendation to the hospital administrator. The letter simply recommended the medical device, and aimed to get the hospital administrators to sign the documents.
It’s a great example of an experiment that goes beyond asking people about their interest. Signing a paper to the hospital administrator gets the doctors to have “skin in the game” even if the document has no legal value. It’s a lot stronger evidence of interest than a “yes, I’m interested”, which costs doctors nothing.
The above is also a great example of an experiment that doesn’t require you to physically build anything just yet. In B2B I often hear people say “we can’t do testing because an MVP in our industry would cost $20m”, or they mention regulation as a barrier to testing. That’s just not true. start getting creative with your experiments!