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Positioning strategy for B2B scale-ups: Example with a PM SaaS Tool

This was created for a Product Management SAAS tool after we faced a lot of competition, and the process of how we did it about a year ago and how it lead to creating a wedge for ourselves and the resulting increased revenues.

Gaurav Chandrashekar
Co-Founder at productscale.xyz Previously ScaleNL, PayPal, Grab, Spotify

Positioning sprint scale-ups: PM tool example

This document outlines the steps to run a positioning sprint with your team to figure out where your wedge, or differentiation lies amongst your competitors in the market, if you are a B2B scale ups.

An eg follows which is the positioning for a SAAS product that helps manage product strategy.

Positioning Sprint

To get started with your positioning sprint, there is a process that breaks down the questions and gives you the toolsets to make a decision of where you want to play and win in the market.

Positioning Sprint

How do I position against my alternatives?

  • "Alternatives" encompasses a broader range of options that your prospect may consider instead of your product, including but not limited to indirect competitors, substitute products, and even the option of doing nothing.
  • Your alternatives broadly fall into two categories, for which you can employ the strategies below.
  • Shortlist: The list that’s in your prospects head, where you have to convince them why they should pick you, by educating them about the market.
  • Status Quo: Essentially, what would customers use if you didn’t exist, and for B2B SAAS, this defaults to using “spreadsheets”.
What is your product's competition

Product Management Tool: Positioning Strategy Example

On Alternatives

Here is the positioning output after going through the sprint for a Product Management tool that was struggling amongst competitors that were offering similar roadmapping, project management and customer feedback aggregating tools. To start off, we made a list of all alternatives (including competitors), and the list below isn’t exhaustive.

Table

Synthesizing the above alternatives, there is a pattern you tend to see, ie

Pattern

Furthermore, as part of analysing alternatives, we got a pulse of pain points, via both sales teams and customer interviews, that

  1. CXOs are concerned about revenue retention for products given the tight cash market we are in ~2024, as layoffs are a reflection of the pressure for SAAS scale ups to become profitable.
  2. As any organization grows, there are teething pains on coordinating teams to execute faster, as alignment becomes process driven, and not always, but often, causing overhead and reducing efficiencies.
  3. Teams want to work on high impact products, and want to know and understand how best they can do that, along with the immediate teams and their leaders.

Testing positioning hypothesis

Bringing together these initial parts of understanding both customer insight and alternatives’ unique value propositions, our product management tool built a thesis on where they can play to find differentiation, looking at the buckets of, are we cheaper, could we focus on a underserved market, is it convenient and delightful to use our product (and more in the flow chart (b)). Our thesis helped inform both our product development and sales strategy, that after a quarter, we started to see uptick in our sales calls, contributing to increased revenues.

Next steps

The tenets of the strategy are a guideline not a silver bullet though in arriving at a strong hypothesis that the internal team has strong conviction takes weeks, often months; before even implementation begins. My only advice is: know when you need to reposition, because you(r team) will feel the weak positioning with growth plateauing and acting early is critical especially if your runways are not long.

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