The Overview #17
This week: Diagnosing positioning problems, GTM motions of 30+ B2B SaaS, and the wrong insights.
👋 Hey there. This is The Overview, a weekly roundup of noteworthy B2B SaaS stuff. You'll find interesting tweets and articles from around the internet, plus highlights from my personal swipe file.
FYI: this issue is coming from a shepherd’s hut in the countryside - I hope you’re making the most of your PTO wherever you are!
Your problem isn’t marketing or sales: it’s brand positioning.
In this article, Built In featured my thoughts along with esteemed experts from Forget The Funnel and Firebrick Consulting on how positioning works, and what to do about it.
I wanted to highlight this snippet - common symptoms that stem from lousy positioning:
One is that sales cycles are long — like really long, according to Melinda Wilken, a positioning strategist at Firebrick Consulting. Anytime the sales process is elongated — with lots of back and forth, discount offers thrown in, complex demos and decks shared, and comparisons to competitors’ product features being made — there is likely a positioning problem afoot. Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t be so laborious to close a sale.
Other signals include suspiciously quick customer churn, as well as a steady stream of support requests from confused customers who are unsure if they can use the product to accomplish their goals. Those are telltale signs your customers don’t really get what you do — or more importantly — they don’t get what you’re supposed to do for them.
These symptoms are often diagnosed as product, marketing, or sales problems… and a misdiagnosis is expensive.
GTM motions of B2B SaaS startups
This table (and accompanying subscriber-only article) looks at how the initial go-to-market motions have changed for 30 different B2B SaaS startups.
Every company expands beyond its initial Ideal Customer Profile, with most broadening the scope to accommodate Midmarket and Enterprise customers too
The “OG” product-led companies (Zendesk, Intercom, Box etc) are now sales-led organizations with product as bottom-up lead gen
Newer product-led companies have integrated sales assistance into their motions = although when does this become sales-led?
What’s interesting is how companies evolve along similar lines, at similar times as paradigms evolve. I bet if we organized this by Series A funding years, we’d see a lot more correlation.
You can’t build positioning by talking only to customers
Today’s customers may give great product feedback, but don’t use them for positioning, marketing, or product opportunity research.
Rather than talk about their big picture problems and challenges, you’ll be bogged down in incremental, solutionized product improvements that leave little room for manoeuvre.
Don’t ignore them - make sure you do include them in your research - but often, looking to insights from a broader audience will deliver much more impact.
How do you find those people? Use social media, engage connections, use your SDR team, and don’t be afraid to connect with current and potential prospects either. (Potential prospects are exactly the kind of people you want to understand, so don’t forget them).
That’s the Overview for this week
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