The secret to identifying your customer's sweet spot could just be your customer.
Time and time again, companies spend significant time and money to identify new products or services that will wow their customers and grow their business. Too often, the response from would-be buyers is lukewarm. If it's happened to your organization, it may be that you failed to work with the right business consultant -- the customer itself.
In trying to determine a new product sweet spot, companies frequently turn to market research organizations. Remember the game of telephone we played as kids? Outsourcing this project to a market research company is just as effective. Ideas, issues, and experiences get watered down, lost, and/or jumbled by everyone involved. Don't outsource this project, instead do the work yourself and get out there.
When I say get out there, I mean get out there. Go and visit your customer. Spend time, energy, and money meeting with your customer and watching how systems, services, and products work -- or don't work -- for them. Spend time listening to your customers. Don't just spend time talking with upper-management. Instead, get into the trenches with the employees. This is where you will really learn what works and what doesn't. These real life experiences will provide insight for current product improvement, as well as a road map for future products.
Don't under resource this project. Your senior people, those with authority and resources to act, should be the ones involved with this project. They should be the ones going out and meeting with the customers.
Make sure that the effort goes to the very top of the organization. The CEO is the chief solutions architect, top salesman, and key messenger of your company. It will do him good to get out there and talk to people. Better still, the clients will love it.