by Robert M. Wright, Partner, Firebrick
Growth efficiency is back. Just cutting costs won’t be enough. A strategic retreat of marketing and sales will improve burn rate, but mortgages your future to your competitors. “Nice-to-have” products will be road kill.
Positioning moves to the forefront as a CEO’s growth efficiency lever. In an uncertain climate, with little room for mistakes, Positioning is often overlooked as a pathway to navigate success. Strong positioning drives buyer urgency, distinct differentiation and cuts through the noise.
This year, B2B tech companies will no longer be able to get away with lame feature-function positioning. This won’t be tolerated and companies with feature-filled narratives will find themselves at a disadvantage in a tight buying climate.
This is the perfect moment to wake up the market with an aggressive positioning strategy and compelling narrative that takes market share while the competition is hunkered down and in retreat.
Why play at the level of your competition?
A strong positioning narrative:
- Builds an argument that turns your “nice-to-have” product into a “must have”
- Creates “hair on fire” urgency with incremental, medium intent buyers
- Justifies a premium average selling price over your competition
- Sets up the expand motion to drive CLV
- Moves you higher in sales cycles – engages executive-level buyers with real $mm budgets
- Shapes the buying criteria in your favor – to avoid feature/function wars
However, good breakaway Positioning is hard to do.
The three keys principles of Breakaway Positioning:
- Shift to a buyer-centric narrative
Stop explaining. It’s not about you and your features. Category leaders are exquisitely clear about explaining “why they matter” versus “how it works.” Buyer-centric positioning answers three key buyer questions: “why your product, now” “how are you different” “how will you make me a hero” Answering these questions requires a fundamental shift from product-centric positioning to positioning that puts buyers in the center.
- “Name” the $MM problem
“Sell” the problem, not the product features. What big $MM executive buyer problem does your product solve? The answer to this question is everything. Place your product in the context of the problem it solves. Every category leader “owns” an executive buyer problem. This is the heart of buyer-centric positioning.
- “Own” a distinct corner of the category
Carve out a unique position in the minds of your buyer. Stand for something different. Incremental doesn’t sell. What is the value delivered by your unique IP? Name it. Draw a distinction between you and the competition. Business-Ready Data, Boundless Cybersecurity, Autonomous Integration, New-Scale SIEM, etc.
Positioning is a powerful means of bringing strategy and your products to life. And has become a key lever for growth efficiency and competitiveness in an uncertain buying climate.