KEN CHENEY

Contributor

Learn how point of view marketing works and why it's so effective for SaaS and other software-centric businesses. It can help your business reach new customers, increase sales and conversions, and generate leads.

Point of View Marketing: How SaaS and Other Software-Centric Businesses Breakout and Win

What is Point of View marketing?

Point of view marketing is a marketing and selling strategy that takes advantage of the latest research in behavioral economics, linguistics, and the science of selling to architect the choices made by the market. The goal of point of view marketing is to architect the choices of your entire market in


A Point-of-View provides a narrative framing the market from your company or brands perspective.

your favor.


Research has shown that people think in metaphors and narratives. We are hard-wired to prefer a great story. One study found that 92% of consumers prefer a story as the primary form of communication. Many forms of communication take advantage of our preference to consume information in narrative form, including PR, advertising, psychotherapy, and political rhetoric and propaganda. What makes point of view marketing unique as a form of communicating a message and position is the framing of the overall market including current challenges and a future vision.


On the surface, a point of view is not about your specific company; it's about the challenges faced by the whole market and the wrong way vendors to date have taken to solve those challenges followed by the right way your company believes the challenges should be solved. Note, at this point, the right way is not about your products and services but what the right solution would look like. If done right, the right way maps to your offerings, making it clear that your company is uniquely positioned with a differentiated product set to address a significant number of the core challenges today and you have the vision to fully deliver on the right way in the future. A strong point of view drives the language or terminology used by the market and the buying criteria and increases the likelihood buyers will choose a company's or brand's products and services.


When is point of view marketing required?


Are you in a competitive drag-race and unable to break out of winning and losing deals based on features and functions that often do not address the core pain points of the buyer? Vendors commonly leapfrog one another in a continual cycle of competition based on features and functions with no clear market winner. Alternatively, in many markets, a vendor has a toehold on market leadership yet faces competitive pressure and wants to take market share from the upstarts. Or a company may face the opposite, with best-in-class capabilities yet remaining a laggard in the market, not gaining the attention required to break out.

In all of these scenarios, point of view marketing can drive market buy-in. A compelling point of view establishes a vendor's capabilities to meet market requirements today while also gaining agreement from prospects and customers that the product vision is the right to meet future needs.


Are people more likely to buy from companies that have a point of view?


Increasingly, a point-of-view is the difference between people talking about your company and products and people forgetting you.


Leading-edge vendors have used point of view marketing to make an impactful and lasting impression by establishing a shared vision and values with prospects and customers. It's a strategy proven to distinguish a company from others by telling a unique story and defining the buying criteria for your market.


What are some examples of companies successful at point of view marketing?


A great B2B example is Salesforce.com and its point of view that changed the CRM market forever. Salesforce launched a unique and different "No Software" point of view at a press event where reporters were met at the entrance to the event by protestors holding signs stating "No Software". The point of view provided a vision of the future for the CRM market, and it was not costly on-premise enterprise software but software-as-a-service (SaaS). The result today is that Salesforce.com is the clear market leader in the CRM market.


What is the risk of your company not having a point-of-view?


The risk to your company of not having a point of view marketing strategy is that you will be at the mercy of the shifting tastes of the market. Markets are inherently unfair. Why let your competitor define the market when you have the tools to determine the buying criteria for your market? If you constantly are mimicking your competitors messaging, positioning, and product direction, you are subject to the whims of your competitors.


Without a point of view marketing strategy, companies struggle to establish market differentiation and a shared vision and values with their prospects and customers, which are the most critical factors in brand or product engagement. In one study, 64 percent of consumers with a brand or product relationship say shared values are the reason why they've engaged with a brand (by far the most significant reason cited). With point of view marketing, differentiation, vision, and values become competitive weapons.


How to create a unique and different point of view?


Creating a unique and different point of view marketing strategy means taking the time to define what makes your company unique and different from the competition. Make sure it's authentic to you. Don't choose something that doesn't fit into your values.


You start with your customers and listening to what they say about the problems they are solving with your product or service. Continue your market research to refresh your understanding of the market. This research should include a robust and honest win/loss analysis, followup conversations with prospects you lost and customers who bought, gaining the perspective of industry influencers such as industry analysts, and gathering articles from the trade press, academic research, and other sources. It is hard to create a point of view marketing strategy if you don't know market details such as customer pain points, market sizing, competitive strengths and weaknesses, and what influencers think about the market.


When your team gathers to craft a point of view narrative, typically done as a workshop, the goal is to reframe the emergence and evolution of the market, the current state, and the future state of the market. When done right, your team will craft a point of view narrative arc that you can payoff with your product capabilities clearly being the best at addressing the challenges of today and into the future.


How do you know if your point of view is effective in the market?


A compelling point of view resonates with your prospects and customers. When properly delivered, buyers will strongly align with your it, identifying where they are similar to the challenges you describe and where they are different. In addition, they will seize on the terminology you use, embracing the language as their own. We have even had prospects take our point of view and immediately use it internally to help their peers understand the challenges they face. 


When a point of view works, you will quickly see your competitors copy-cat it. Soon after, the entire market will be delivering a similar point of view. Your competitors adopting your narrative arc or the language and terminology you have coined will be evident to your prospects and customers. It is a clear indicator that your company is steering the market's direction and that you are a market leader.


An ineffective point of view typically gets tossed before launch by properly validating it internally and externally with customers and analysts. The risk of a lousy point of view is that it quickly gets lost in the clutter and is not relevant and emotional for your target buyers.


How will my team react to a point of view marketing strategy?


A point of view may make many in your company feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. It is often viewed internally as too edgy, or people fear that it might fail. Sales teams are often resistant if they have become accustomed to selling based on features and functions or have focused on selling one targeted use case to a sub-segment of your market. In addition, executives, sellers, services, and support teams are often uncomfortable taking the time to deliver a point-of-view framing the market for the buyer. These teams legitimately fear alienating and wasting the buyer's time and losing a deal. 


If you're willing to go out on a limb for what you believe in, you're likely to find an audience who feels the same and wants to stand with you. Research and experience shows that a point of view marketing strategy works if you're willing to go out on a limb for what you believe. Ensuring teams are enabled and consistently delivering a point of view has positively impacted our client's businesses in the short and long term.


How to enable sales and partner teams on your point of view?


Enabling teams on a point of view is best done in-person and often at the start of a new fiscal year. An annual sales kickoff or company-wide meeting works well. A point of view will become part of your sales pitch. A senior executive, preferably the CEO or head of sales or products, should walk through the point of view and emphasize why it is crucial. In addition, it is a best practice to provide and enable teams to utilize a comprehensive sales playbook that includes all the messaging and positioning for the target personas, speaker notes, sales plays and sales motions, customer case studies, and competitive battle cards. A point of view may shift sellers from selling to individuals and teams within an account to a more strategic approach to selling that requires account-based marketing (ABM) and strategic top-down sales tools, processes, and methodologies. Marketing, sales, services, and support often undergo significant changes in tools, processes, pricing, packaging, and other areas requiring enablement as part of the work to support a point of view. 


What seven items do you need to get right when launching a point of view?


  1. Do your research on the market, your target buyer, and conduct a win/loss analysis.
  2. Develop a point of view and validate it internally and with customers and industry influencers.
  3. Create marketing and sales enablement assets and campaigns to support the launch of your point of view.
  4. Make changes as needed to products and services as necessary to ensure alignment to your point of view.
  5. Enable the entire company on your point of view, deep-dive on the enablement of customer-facing roles such as executives, sales, services, and support to ensure they are competent at the delivery. Put in place ongoing enablement of customer-facing teams and ensure they deliver the point of view.
  6. Be willing to adjust your point of view based on internal and external feedback.
  7. Formally launch your point of view to the world. Optimally, tie the launch to other news, such as a product announcement. Choose a date and a venue, either online or in-person, for your launch. Ensure you have speakers for the event, including customers, partners, and analysts ready to validate why your point-of-view is the proper perspective on the market. Begin a drip campaign to sign-up attendees and create forward tension prior to the event. Prepare presentation materials for the speakers, write the press release, pre-belief press and analysts, and hold a company meeting to inform your teams of the launch. On the launch day, drop your press release on the wire, be ready to field press inquiries, cross your fingers that the launch event is excellent, and post-event, kickoff your campaigns unveiling your new point of view and other news.


What to look for when selecting a consulting agency to assist with point of view marketing?


When you are looking for a consulting agency to help, be sure that the company has significant experience developing and executing a point of view marketing strategy. Many firms focus on brand identity, growth marketing, or digital marketing but have little real-world go-to-market experience in the technology industry. Check to verify they have a deep understanding of all go-to-market functions and the willingness to go deep on the technology that composes the products or services you offer. The average agency or consulting shop is ill-suited for crafting and executing a point of view marketing strategy but can definitely help with portions of the asset creation or with executing events and campaigns.


Why is ModernGTM the right choice to create and launch your point-of-view?


ModernGTM has deep experience developing a point of view marketing strategy and successfully executing it for companies. The organizations we work with have accelerated the growth of qualified leads, improved conversion rates across all pipeline stages, accelerated and increased the number of closed deals, and significantly increased the overall lifetime value of accounts. The strategic outcomes have been impressive and have included:


  • Large exits for employees and shareholders.
  • Significant increases in the total addressable market.
  • Moving from a position as a laggard to market leadership.


The ModernGTM team is ready to assist your organization. Please contact us for an introductory consultation.



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