Explaining your Startup Positioning



Positioning is one of the hardest things to get right in an early startup. It is more than just getting product-market fit and saying done. It is the embodiment of how you describe yourself to the market. By defining yourself and your offering, you are helping your audience to categorize you and to fit what your solution does into some existing or future need. Without it, you might as well not exist.

You might think this is not so hard. You might have a clear vision of what your solution does and the product is out in the wild. You might even have some customers at this stage. However founders often run into two common positioning issues; the product in its current state does not match the vision and the way you describe your solution is not uniquely differentiated.

This is why I said positioning is so difficult. It takes some effort to condense into a phrase or elevator pitch what you do and why anyone should care. And it is that “care” part that is especially important because we often take it for granted that our product is amazing and that people will simply “get it”. That is a dangerous assumption to make in a market that is more and more crowded with apps and websites that are very “me too” oriented. You can try to battle that out to be the best “me too” product out there, but that is an awfully dicey proposition to be betting on.

At Enhatch, we have played with a few variations of our positioning. Our current tagline is “Make Complex Sales Easy”. It gets to the point that we are about sales and that our customers are the ones that have complex sales. When we dive in deeper, we explain that it is a mobile CRM platform that sales & marketing teams configure to incorporate their branding and functionality to build and deploy apps that are more engaging and increase productivity. It is a mouthful I realize and it does not really cover three key points; focus on verticalized markets, the concept of mass customization of enterprise business apps, and our drag and drop tool that anyone can use to create apps. So I have some work ahead of me over next few weeks hone in the message.

Some might ask why I do not go the “we are X for Y” route. Such descriptions are copouts and obscure the true value of one’s solution. It is better to define what you offer the market on your own terms. That is why we go with “make complex sales easy” as it 1) hits our core audience of sales people and sales organizations, and 2) makes it clear we are for more complicated sales situations (complex products, big sales teams, long sales cycles). We could make is clearer, but that is much better than saying we are the “Wix for mobile CRM”. I am all for succinct and impactful, but your positioning also needs to sound credible and make sense to customers rather than the TechCrunch crowd.

About the author: Mark Birch

Mark is an early stage technology investor and entrepreneur based in NYC. Through Birch Ventures, he works with a portfolio of early stage B2B SaaS technology startups providing both capital and guidance in the areas of marketing, sales, strategic planning and funding.

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