The 4 Steps of the Lean B2B Customer Development Process


The customer development process in Lean B2B alternates between divergent and convergent phases to explore, refine and validate solutions.

The UK Design Council created the Double Diamond design process in 2005 to capture this innovation process. It has since been widely adopted in user experience design and is the foundation of the interview process I follow.

Double Diamond process for Lean B2B Customer Development

The first part of the Double Diamond process helps entrepreneurs define the problem (customer discovery) while the second part is used to validate the solution (customer validation).

Although going through the four phases of the Double Diamond process might not require four separate interviews, all of these phases will need to be part of your customer development process if you are to be successful:

  1. Discovery – Problem interview (divergent)
    The starting point of the problem interview phase can be as little as a market insight around which you try to explore and discover problems and opportunities. Whether you have a good hunch for a problem or not, it’s best to start with a divergent interview to explore as widely as possible and learn about your prospects, their business and their problems.
  2. Drilldown – Problem interview (convergent)
    The second problem interview helps the entrepreneur hone in on problems and dig deep to understand the root causes and the impact that solving this problem would have.
  3. Exploration – Solution interview (divergent)
    The solution interview phase begins after you create a solution to your prospect’s problem. This stage is about exploring, iterating and testing the solution to maximize its impact and relevance with prospects.
  4. Confirmation – Solution interview (convergent)
    The final phase of the solution interview is about confirming that the solution provides enough value for money to change hands. The outcome of the confirmation stage is a solution that has been validated or invalidated by prospects.

Plan to go through these phases in two, three, four or more interviews. Although more than two interviews might feel like overkill for you, it’s best to plan for more than less and take your time.

Don’t rush problem discovery. Don’t settle for a low-impact problem.


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