Have you ever wondered why, despite having amazing products, customers still struggle to understand your company’s value?
April Dunford, an authority on product positioning, discusses the critical role of positioning in sales and marketing.
Known for her first book “Obviously Awesome” and her expertise in positioning, April shares her insights on why companies often struggle with positioning their products. She emphasizes that most companies have positioning, but it’s not deliberate, leading to misalignment and missed opportunities. She highlights the transformative power of effective positioning, using an illustrative story from her early career where repositioning a product from enterprise CRM to CRM for investment banks led to significant business growth and acquisition by a major player.
The episode underscores the common disconnect between how companies perceive their products and how customers understand them. April points out the importance of involving sales teams in positioning discussions, as they have direct insights into customer perceptions and competitors. And describes in her second book, Sales Pitch, how to translate the marketing work done for positioning into sales speak.
April advises CEOs to routinely reassess their company’s positioning, even if it seems satisfactory, to ensure alignment with market realities. She stresses the need for a cross-functional team approach to redefine positioning involving sales, marketing, and product teams.
The episode serves as a crucial reminder for CEOs and sales leaders of the importance of clear and strategic positioning in today’s competitive market. April Dunford’s insights offer valuable guidance on how to approach this process thoughtfully and effectively to drive business growth and customer satisfaction.
This podcast is a must listen and her books are both must reads.
Watch below or on our YouTube channel
[05:26] Lack of methodology and squishiness surrounding positioning in marketing
[0:09:02] Naming of April Dunford’s books: “Obviously Awesome” and “Sales Pitch”
[11:12] Importance of aligning positioning with customer perception
[14:01] Components of positioning: competition, differentiation, value, customer,
[19:07] Example of a company positioned as Enterprise CRM but found success in investment banking
[22:36] Shifting positioning to target specific industries led to success
[25:51] Understanding the buyer’s perspective and guiding them through the buying process
[31:20] Buyers are overwhelmed with information and struggle to make decisions
[33:56] Poor positioning and difficult buying process on websites.
[39:07] Cross functional team approach to positioning.
[42:45] Leveraging product knowledge to identify unique value propositions.
[44:59] Characteristics of a Best Fit customer and market categories
[46:13] Mapping positioning to a sales narrative for effective storytelling
You can learn more about and connect with April Dunford in the links below.
Connect with April on LinkedIn:
Check out April’s website:
Check out April’s Podcast:
Check out April’s Newsletter
You can learn more about and connect with Alice Heiman in the links below.
Connect with Alice on LinkedIn:
Check out Alice’s website:
I spent the first 25 years of my career as a startup executive, running marketing, product, and sales teams. I led teams at seven successful B2B technology startups. Most of those startups were acquired (DataMirror to IBM, Janna Systems to Siebel Systems, then SAP, Watcom to Sybase via Powersoft, to name a few), and I ran big teams at IBM, Siebel, Sybase, and others. The total of those acquisitions is more than two billion dollars. Across that journey, I positioned, re-positioned, and launched 16 products, and created dozens of sales pitches.
I have a deep curiosity about what makes the difference between a winning product and a loser. Developing a systematic way of positioning technology products and companies has become my life’s work. As a consultant, I have had the privilege of working with more than 200 companies, allowing me to go even deeper and broaden my positioning expertise. The bulk of my work is with growth-stage startups and larger technology companies. Companies where the stakes are high – and weak positioning can mean the difference between success or failure.
My first book, Obviously Awesome – How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it (aprildunford.com), captures my ideas about positioning and a methodology for doing it that any startup can follow. It’s become a best-seller and popular among entrepreneurs, product, and marketing folk. My second book, Sales Pitch, was designed to teach a step-by-step way of building a sales pitch that reflects that positioning, and helps make a clear compelling case for why prospects should pick you over the competition.
I studied Engineering at the University of Waterloo. If you had told me back then that someday I would be an author, I would have said you were nuts. It turns out my grade 6 English teacher was wrong about the importance of grammar.
I’m at the stage of my career where I’m trying to give back as much as I can. I am a mentor and advisor to dozens of startups and folks that work in them. I am also an enthusiastic board member at a handful of startups.
I live in Toronto, Canada. I have kids, a small dog, and a cabin in the woods.