Categories: Product Marketing
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July 2, 2021

How to Nail the Product Positioning of your B2B SaaS Product

By Aggelos Mouzakitis

Building an incredible product is just half the battle. The real struggle starts with positioning it the right way. Sure, your product is amazing and has countless benefits, but so do all the competing products. So why will a customer choose your product over the rest? That’s where product positioning steps in.

For example, a potential customer is looking for an email automation tool for their company, and they google “best email automation tool”. A list of equally competent tools will show up on the screen. What exactly do you think will make the customer choose one of them? 

Once you figure out the answer to this, all you need to do is design a strategy that aligns your product to your customer’s requirements and makes it stand out. 

However, nailing the positioning of your product takes a few more steps than just the basics. So, I will walk you through the entire process and help you outshine the competing brands.

Product Positioning: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

Before we dive into the complexities, let’s wrap our heads around the basics.

What Is Product Positioning

Whether you like it or not, product positioning is an integral part of marketing that you cannot ignore.  It is the process of creating a specific picture of your product in the customer’s mind. It entails finding the right place in the market for your product to fit in and communicating the benefits of using your product. But it’s done in a way that makes your product more appealing and unique than your competitors.

Why Is Product Positioning Important?

Positioning your product forms the foundation of your marketing strategy. An effective positioning strategy incorporates the roadmap starting from the stage of product designing to your marketing strategy.

Typically, an effective positioning strategy includes:

  1. Identifying customer pain points
  2. Designing a solution-centric product
  3. Sketching out product differentiators
  4. An effective marketing strategy and clear messaging
  5. Seamless strategy execution and product placement
  6. Evaluation of market response

Although product positioning is considered a part of marketing, the initiation starts before the product development stage. After all, don’t you think offering a solution without recognising your customers’ pain points is an impractical approach?

Objectives Of Product Positioning

Before you step into a whole new wing of marketing, understanding the bigger picture is crucial. Here is a list of all the objectives that your product can meet if you can position your product the right way:

1.It Makes Your Brand Stand Out

The number one question that affects a potential customer’s buying decision is, “Why should I select this product?” You need to ensure that you sweep them off their feet with your response.

Sometimes it’s not just about the features of your product. After all, there is a limit to the number of features you can add to a single product. What really makes the difference is how well you paint your product’s picture in the customer’s mind. 

2. It Helps You Target The Right Customer

For your product to sell, you need to steer your efforts to the right customer. For example, if you have designed an email marketing automation tool, you will need to approach people who hold important positions in a brand’s marketing department. Your efforts should concentrate on impressing this set of people alone.

Segregating your target audience will help you identify who is the right customer for your product. Your product is solving a very specific problem that only a few target groups have. You need to identify those groups and approach them in a style that clicks with them. 

3. Establishes A Relationship Between Your Brand And The Customers

One of the fundamental objectives of effective marketing is to retain customers and establish brand loyalty. In a research, it was found that 81% of the customers buy from brands they can trust. Another study showed that 66% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that are transparent. 

Brands might succeed in manipulating their customers in a B2C model. But in a B2B model, you are dealing with another business that knows how the industry works as well as you do. Hence, your positioning strategy needs to focus on establishing a long-term relationship based on trust and transparency.

Types Of Product Positioning

There are 5 types of product positioning you should know about:

  1. Quality

In this type of positioning, the product is positioned and marketed based on the superior quality they offer compared to its competitors. Luxury brands like Gucci and Chanel use this kind of positioning.

  1. Pricing

Certain brands intentionally position their products on a lower price margin to capture market share from their competitors whose products cost more. A classic example of this is Gillette Vs Dollar Shave Club. Since the latter offers cheaper products, Gillette has witnessed a decrease in their market share.

  1. Convenience

Customers love to spend on their convenience. So brands use that requirement as a key focus of their marketing strategy. For example, brands like Canva popularised their service by providing convenient designing tools.

  1. Customer Service

When competing with someone who has an almost perfect product, you can undoubtedly try beating them by focusing on the customer experience. Your product should be positioned to make customers believe that along with the product, they are also purchasing impeccable service that will add value to their experience.

  1. Differentiation

If you do not want any unnecessary competition, focus on an unexplored dimension. Let’s take the example of Tesla. With its self-driving features, solar panels, supercharging compatibility and options to customise your car, Tesla offered a service that did not have any major competition. This differentiation from the competition was a huge catalyst to the brand’s success.

  1. User Group

In this method, brands focus on an entire group and explain to the customers how their product can improve their life. This generalised approach is not very helpful for SaaS products. An example of this kind of positioning is Johnson’s. They have established themselves as a reputed brand for baby products and only cater to the target group of parents with infants. 

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Product Positioning

It’s finally time to understand the steps involved in effective product positioning. These steps include:

  • Defining your ideal customer profile
  • Understanding your customer’s needs
  • Observing your competitors
  • Creating a USP for your product
  • Preparing to sell a solution along with your product
  • Bringing your plans to live

Let’s dig into the details!

1. Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

An ideal customer profile means the target group that will be most interested and benefit from your product or service. 

For B2B SaaS products, these are the few common factors that you need to consider while determining your target audience:

  • The business’s size
  • The domain in which it operates
  • Potential Problems it might face
  • Their revenue and if they can afford your product

Detailed research and surveys on market trends, customer needs, and common problems will further help you nail the step. 

To narrow down on your target audience, you can follow these steps:

  • Research and create a database of all businesses who might benefit from your product
  • Check if they might need your product right now. After all, small business and large-scale corporations have different types of needs. And it takes a different dimension in your pitch to sell to both of them.
  • Check if they have the financial capacity to afford your product.
  • Identify their current service provider and see if you can take your competitor down.

These steps will help you filter out the dead leads and focus only on the potential customers. After all, there is no use investing in a brand new product if no one wants it, right?

2. Understand What Your Customer Wants

Getting inside your potential customer’s minds is an interesting way of catering to their needs with increased efficiency and appeal to your product. An easy way to do that is by deploying the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) framework for a particular customer issue. Here JTBD simply means understanding the ‘jobs’ a customer wants to complete by using your product. It is this thought process that will govern their buying decision.

To help you understand better, let’s break down the framework into the roadmap you need to follow: 

  • Identify the problems the customer is facing
  • How will they search for a solution?
  • How will your product help?
  • What will influence their buying decision?

Answering these questions will take your marketing strategy a step closer to being a success. To do so, you need to conduct thorough market research and identify the buying pattern of your target audience. 

For example, you have created a survey for your research that will help you find the answer to the questions mentioned above. Now how do you find respondents for the survey? In this case, you can use your email list or online tools like Google Consumer Surveys and Specialist Panels to find people to participate in your survey. The results from these surveys will go a long way in helping you craft the right strategies.

3. Observe What Your Competitors Are Offering

How do you surpass your competition and establish yourself as the better option for potential customers? Well, it’s simple. To beat your rivals, you need to know them first. 

Study the products launched by your competitors and observe their shortcomings. Then incorporate the upgrades in your product and launch it with a strategic marketing plan highlighting the upgrades.

Now let’s assume that the product is actually superior in every aspect. What should you do then? Well, no matter how perfect a product is, every product has a particular dimension that they are focusing on. So for the same product category and type, if one dimension is already taken, you can always choose a different angle.

Let’s take an example. Netflix and Amazon Prime are both OTT giants. But Netflix being way older, already had an established consumer base in 2016, when Amazon prime was launched. To counter that, the latter smartly included a host of other benefits to the subscription like – free delivery, free gaming, Prime Music etc. and all of that at a lower price. And today, Amazon Prime has over 200 million prime members.

4. Create A USP For Your Product

We have already discussed the need to differentiate your product from the competition. But how exactly can you accomplish that goal? The answer to that lies in creating a USP for your product. A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) will greatly influence your potential customer’s buying decision.

For example, Slack provides a faster means of communication for professionals and reduces unnecessary work emails. And that’s the USP of Slack – simplifying communication at work. The same messaging reflects in their tagline, “Be less busy”, as well. 

The magic with USPs is that people start associating better. So the next time a customer thinks of faster and convenient team communication, Slack will be the first option to cross their mind.

5. Prepare To Sell An Outcome, Not A Product

Simply stating the features of your product will be of little help in convincing your customers. You need to sell them a solution to their problems, help them visualise an experience they can never forget instead of putting your product alone out there.

Here are a few common ways to do that: 

  1. Do Not Just State Features, Explain How They Will Benefit From The Product

Let’s assume you are marketing a tool that automates all financial processes within a company. Instead of using a dull approach like “our tool will automate all your financial processes”, say something along the lines “Get 50 invoices processed in just 5 minutes ”.  A straightforward message like this will provide them with a vision before another brand can grab their attention.

  1. Create A Desire By Showing The Difference The Product Will Make

To grab the attention of your customers, you need to show them the difference your products make. Using testimonials to market your service is a popular tactic to attract customers instantly.

  1. Offer Free Trials To Help Them Experience The Product Themselves

Free trials are a pretty effective way to get your customers hooked. It’s a natural human tendency to prefer things they are familiar with. Hence, if your product stands true to its claim, then a simple 7-day free trial will help you retain a huge chunk of your target audience.

6. Bring Your Plan To Action

While chalking out a strategy is crucial, bringing your ideas to action constitutes a major part of your plan. Start with a pre-launch marketing campaign. Keep at least 30 days in hand to build a buzz around your product. The aim here is to keep your target audience curious about your product and meet their expectations.

An important part of positioning is determining how you can communicate your message to your target audience. A few common strategies include:

  • PPC Campaigns
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Personal Outreach

If you already have an established website, then introducing your product through blog posts is also a wise choice. 

For Example, Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool by entrepreneur and marketer Neil Patel. Every time he writes an article or makes a video on keyword research and SEO guidelines, he mentions his tool among the other options. Having built a brand around himself, he makes his audience feel comfortable enough to trust his product. And that’s how he uses his website and YouTube channel to drive leads.

Examples Of Successful Product Positioning

Brand positioning is the perception you want your customers to have about your brand. Here are a few examples to prove the power of effective brand and product positioning:

  1. Canva

In the digital age, graphics are an important tool for brands. But for companies who cannot afford or manage a graphics team, Canva is a blessing. What makes it unique is its easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder that requires no designing knowledge to use. Its simple interface and the countless options it provides is what makes it stand out.

  1. Hubspot

The core concept of Hubspot is built around providing marketing tools that will simplify business requirements for their customers. While their competitors offer equally powerful tools, Hubspot wins the customers with their easy-to-use customer interface. With a growing number of solopreneurs, not everyone has the technological expertise to comprehend complicated processes. That’s where Hubspot comes to their rescue and provides them with every solution they need without unnecessary complication.

  1. Amazon

This e-commerce giant needs no introduction. What makes it stand out from the competition is that it has established itself as a one-stop online store. They cater to the larger section of society looking for affordable products with great service and quality. Plus, by selling products from almost every domain, their customers are increasingly dependent on them for every need. This helps the brand form a long-lasting relationship with its customers and increases its customer retention rate.

Key Takeaways

  • To weave an effective product positioning strategy, you need to think of the customer and not your brand.
  • Untangling the thought process that influences buying decisions of your customers is crucial. This can be attained by increased surveys and customer interaction.
  • Along with effective positioning, you also need to increase your brand’s awareness and how you want the customers to perceive your brand.
  • Focusing on your product isn’t enough; you need to watch your competitors and their progress. To surpass them, you need to offer more value for money to the customers.

And that’s all you need to plan a brilliant positioning strategy. Launching a new product and generating demand for it in the market is a challenging journey. But this guide will help you steer your efforts on the right track and simplify the process for you.  After all, products do not sell alone; you need to create the desire in your customers.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

Aggelos is the founder and Growth Product Manager of Growth Sandwich. He is among the first Customer-led experts in the world, leveraging advanced, Jobs-to-be-done customer research to orchestrate and guide Growth for B2B SaaS companies. A- and B- series SaaS are hiring him to organise, design and execute programs that infuse the whole company with qualitative data, empathy and the necessary knowledge to address any growth dilemma. In the last 4 years, he has worked with more than 100 SaaS companies and trained literally, thousands through my physical and online courses.