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How 'Jobs-to-be-Done' is Transforming the B2B Landscape

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

The key to success lies in understanding customer needs. One methodology that has been gaining momentum in recent years is Gartner's "Jobs-to-be-Done" (JTBD) framework. This groundbreaking model provides a fresh perspective on product development and customer satisfaction, shifting the focus from the customers themselves to the tasks they are trying to accomplish.


The JTBD framework is not a new concept, but its application in the business world has been revolutionized by Gartner, a leading research and advisory company. The framework is built around the idea that customers essentially "hire" products or services to complete specific jobs. These jobs can be functional (performing specific tasks), emotional (feeling a certain way), or social (being perceived in a certain way by others).


Core Principles of JTBD

At its core, the JTBD framework is built on a few key principles. First, it posits that customers have underlying jobs or tasks they are trying to accomplish. Second, it asserts that these jobs are independent of any particular solution or technology. Finally, it emphasizes that understanding these jobs can lead to effective innovation.


The Evolution of JTBD

The JTBD framework has evolved over the years, with various interpretations and methodologies being developed. However, the central idea remains the same: understanding the jobs that customers are trying to get done can lead to better products and services.


The B2B buyer journey is far from static. It has evolved significantly over time. The journey is no longer simple; it has become complex with the transition of in-person meetings to online platforms. This change has necessitated new strategies for sales representatives to assist customers in making informed decisions.


Three key questions that B2B leaders need to answer are:

  1. How has your buyers' journey evolved over the past six months?

  2. How have you embraced these changes?

  3. Where are the opportunities to increase brand awareness, consideration, and selection?

The Non-Linear Buyer Journey

The traditional belief that the buyer's journey is linear has been challenged by the advent of technology. The unlimited access to information has empowered buyers, but it has also led to information overload. The buyer's journey is now seen as a series of circular activities, with each step informing the next.


Gartner's "Jobs-to-be-Done" framework identifies six tasks that buyers aim to complete:

  1. Problem identification

  2. Solution exploration

  3. Requirements building

  4. Supplier consideration

  5. Validation of capabilities

  6. Consensus creation

Understanding these tasks can help businesses guide their buyers through the journey, build their confidence, and simplify the purchase process.


One of the most essential aspects of this framework is the fact that nearly every successful B2B purchase progresses through the first four tasks. However, buyers simultaneously address tasks 5 and 6 throughout the entire buying process.


This is not a linear process but rather a series of circular activities, one informing the other as knowledge is gained and refined to complete each and every task.


How much does this represent your buyers’ journey? What are the jobs your buyers are trying to accomplish and how can you help them do so?


IF YOU CAN:

  • Enable the buyer by guiding them through their tasks to completion

  • Build their confidence to make sound, reasonable, decisions for their company

  • Simplify the purchase process to make it as efficient as possible for them

… your organization will be the brand that is chosen.



The Importance of JTBD in Business Strategy

Incorporating the JTBD framework into a business strategy can provide valuable insights into customer behavior. By focusing on the jobs that customers are trying to get done, businesses can identify unmet needs and opportunities for innovation.


The Process of Implementing JTBD

Implementing the JTBD framework involves a series of steps, each designed to deepen understanding of the customer and their jobs.

1. Identifying the Job: The first step is to identify the job that customers are trying to get done. This involves understanding the tasks that customers are trying to accomplish and the outcomes they desire. 2. Understanding the Customer: Next, it's important to understand the customer. This involves researching and interviewing customers to gain insights into their needs, desires, and frustrations. 3. Creating a Job Statement: Once the job and the customer are understood, a job statement can be created. This statement succinctly describes the job that the customer is trying to get done. 4. Mapping the Job: The job is then mapped out, detailing the steps that customers take to get the job done. This map provides a visual representation of the job, making it easier to identify opportunities for improvement. 5. Interviewing Customers: Interviews are conducted with customers to gain deeper insights into how they go about getting the job done. These interviews can provide valuable information about the challenges customers face and the solutions they currently use. 6. Analyzing and Synthesizing Data: The data gathered from the interviews is then analyzed and synthesized. This process involves identifying patterns and trends, which can provide insights into potential opportunities for innovation. 7. Identifying Opportunities: Based on the analysis, opportunities for innovation are identified. These opportunities represent areas where the business can create new products or services that better meet the needs of customers. 8. Ideating Solutions: Finally, solutions are ideated to address the identified opportunities. These solutions are then tested and refined based on feedback from customers.


The Role of JTBD in Product Development

The JTBD framework plays a crucial role in product development. By focusing on the jobs that customers are trying to get done, businesses can develop products that are more closely aligned with customer needs. This can lead to products that are more effective, more desirable, and ultimately, more successful.


The Impact of JTBD on Customer Satisfaction

By focusing on the jobs that customers are trying to get done, businesses can create products and services that truly meet customer needs. This can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, as customers are more likely to be satisfied when their needs are met.


The Benefits of Using JTBD

The JTBD framework provides a deep understanding of customer needs, leading to more innovative and effective product development. By focusing on the jobs that customers need to get done, businesses can identify gaps in the market and develop solutions that customers didn't even know they needed.


Pitfalls to Avoid When Implementing JTBD

While the JTBD framework offers many benefits, there are also pitfalls to avoid. These include focusing too much on existing solutions, getting caught up in the technology rather than the job to be done, and failing to fully understand the customer and their needs.


Case Study: Sony Walkman and Apple iPod

Consider the case of the Sony Walkman and the Apple iPod. The job to be done was "I want to listen to my music anywhere, anytime." Both Sony and Apple recognized this job and created products that allowed customers to do just that. However, Apple went a step further by recognizing related jobs, such as "I want to easily download and manage my music," leading to the creation of iTunes and the iPod's eventual market dominance.


Case Study: Amazon's Approach to Book Availability

Amazon is another excellent example of the JTBD framework in action. The job to be done was "I want to find and purchase a book easily." Amazon addressed this job by creating an online marketplace with a vast selection of books that could be delivered quickly to the customer's doorstep. This approach revolutionized the book industry and set the stage for Amazon's future dominance in online retail.


Case Study: Facebook's Solution for Social Connectivity

Facebook recognized the job to be done as "I want to connect with my friends and family online." By creating a platform that made it easy for users to share updates, photos, and messages, Facebook addressed this job and quickly became the world's leading social networking site.


Case Study: Slack and Microsoft Teams Transforming Workplace Communication

Slack and Microsoft Teams saw the job to be done as "I want to communicate and collaborate with my team in a single, easy-to-use platform." By creating tools that integrated messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration features, these companies transformed workplace communication.


Case Study: Uber and Lyft Revolutionizing Transportation

Uber and Lyft addressed the job to be done of "I want a convenient, reliable, and affordable way to get from point A to point B." By creating apps that connected drivers with riders, these companies revolutionized the transportation industry.


Case Study: Fitbit and Garmin's Impact on Fitness Tracking

Fitbit and Garmin saw the job to be done as "I want to track my physical activity and health metrics." By creating wearable devices that could track steps, heart rate, sleep, and other metrics, these companies transformed the fitness tracking industry.


In conclusion, the JTBD framework offers a powerful tool for businesses looking to understand their customers better and develop innovative products or services. By focusing on the jobs that customers are trying to get done, businesses can uncover new opportunities and drive customer satisfaction.


CHECK YOUR KNOWLEDGE:

PART 1:

1. What is the main philosophy behind the JTBD framework?

  1. Customers buy products based on their features.

  2. Customers "hire" products or services to get a job done.

  3. Customers choose products based on their price.

  4. Customers prefer products from well-known brands.

2. Which of the following is NOT a step in implementing the JTBD framework?

  1. Identifying the job

  2. Understanding the customer

  3. Focusing on the technology

  4. Creating a job statement

3. How does the JTBD framework impact customer satisfaction?

  1. It has no impact on customer satisfaction.

  2. It decreases customer satisfaction.

  3. It increases customer satisfaction by meeting customer needs.

  4. It fluctuates customer satisfaction.

4. Which of the following companies successfully implemented the JTBD framework?

  1. Sony Walkman

  2. Amazon

  3. Facebook

  4. All of the above

5. How is the JTBD framework expected to evolve in the future?

  1. It will become less important in business strategy.

  2. It will remain the same.

  3. It will become more integral to business strategy and product development.

  4. It will be replaced by a new framework.

Answers:

  1. B

  2. C

  3. C

  4. D

  5. C

PART 2


1. What is the primary benefit of using the JTBD framework?

  1. It helps in understanding the competition better.

  2. It provides a deeper understanding of customer needs leading to more innovative product development.

  3. It helps in reducing the cost of product development.

  4. It helps in creating a better marketing strategy.

2. What is a common pitfall to avoid when implementing the JTBD framework?

  1. Focusing too much on existing solutions.

  2. Ignoring the technology.

  3. Overlooking the competition.

  4. Ignoring customer feedback.

3. Which of the following is NOT a core principle of the JTBD framework?

  1. Customers have underlying jobs or tasks they are trying to accomplish.

  2. These jobs are dependent on a particular solution or technology.

  3. Understanding these jobs can lead to effective innovation.

  4. The focus is on the jobs that customers are trying to get done, not the customers themselves.

4. How did Amazon apply the JTBD framework?

  1. By creating an online marketplace with a vast selection of books.

  2. By offering the lowest prices for books.

  3. By opening physical bookstores.

5. What job did Facebook address with its platform?

  1. "I want to buy and sell items online."

  2. "I want to connect with my friends and family online."

  3. "I want to watch videos online."

  4. "I want to play games online."


Answers:

  1. B

  2. A

  3. B

  4. A

  5. B

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