It’s that time of year, folks. Q4 is rapidly drawing to a close, and soon we’ll be ringing in the new year.
So what better time to review the work that defines your business? We’re all guilty of focusing on delivery rather than our businesses, but if you don’t work on yourself every now and again – then how will you ever move forward?
Because in a market as tough as the one we find ourselves in, your offer has to be on point, cutting through, and making the most of the real estate you occupy.
I mean, your competitors are reevaluating and cutting through to make a difference to their clients – so why aren’t you? Or maybe you are but you don’t know because you’ve not revisited your proposition.
Here, we take a look at the fundamentals of revisiting your positioning and just why you shouldn’t be forgetting it.
When was the last time you revisited your positioning?
While the world around us starts to talk about focusing on next year, how many will be checking in on their value propositions to see if they still ring true?
As we’ve said before in other corners of the internet, there’s no hard and fast rule for when you should revisit your positioning. However, don’t you think that the year end feels like the right time?
The market resets, strategies are revisited, and visions are set. Your competitors are more than likely revisiting theirs, so why aren’t you?
Further, how much detail do you think your competitors are going into on their sales strategies, value propositions, and visions for the year? They’re definitely not just re-reading them and giving themselves a pat on the back. Now is the time to get into the detail and make sure you’re still on the correct course.
But okay, we do get it to a certain extent. Perhaps it’s been a whirlwind year, you’ve hired and are scaling up. Or maybe it’s been a tough year, and the last thing you need is to work on the business when you feel like you’ve got to focus on delivery.
Whatever it is, perhaps now is the time to revisit your positioning and make sure you’re still pointing the right way.
Everything should be linked back to sales – so don’t ignore it
Your positioning is rooted in relevancy, value, and answering the question: “Why should I hire you?”. So, naturally, it’s intrinsically linked to sales.
Why, then, would you leave it to gather dust and lose relevancy? Without an updated, relevant value proposition that reflects who you are, what you solve, and where you’re at, your sales efforts are undermined.
Your positioning is multi-faceted, meaning there’s a lot for you to outgrow and a lot to fall by the wayside. With so much change involved, you have to have a finger on the pulse of both your business and the market in order to stay ahead of the competition.
You need to consider:
- Pillars of your business
- Your old strengths vs your new ones
- Team alignment
- Your audience
- Market challenges
Six areas might not sound like a lot, but within each area there’s so much potential for change. Let’s understand that now.
Are the pillars of your business still relevant?
Within your business, you’ll find a small amount of pillars that support the entire operation. You might not realise they’re there yet if you’ve not been shown, or use a different way of thinking, but they’re there.
Within each pillar is a set of products or services that drive the business forward. As your business grows and evolves, so too will your pillars. Your positioning should be heavily influenced by your pillars – so if the pillars change, your proposition will also have to.
So when we say your positioning should be influenced by your pillars, we mean that it should reflect your core offering and the strengths that are woven into your pillars. Your critical pillars are your core strengths (linked to enablers, more on them later), so as you develop you’ll naturally outgrow your core pillars and, eventually, positioning.
Where have you grown?
Speaking of naturally outgrowing, in come the enablers. Enablers are strengths that define your business and your ability to close deals. So, using the technology agency analogy again, theirs might be:
- Rapid problem solving
- Technologically agnostic
- In-house talent
- Driven by curiosity
These are, of course, made up. But the point remains: as the business scales, they may outgrow these enablers and be winning deals based on totally different strengths and reflections of who they are as a business, both professionally and culturally.
And you will grow. Even if the financials aren’t growing as quickly as you’d hope, your business will be developing into something that doesn’t resemble it’s original state. And that’s okay.
Team members will come and go, products will change, and the direction you want to take the business will alter. So as you do shapeshift, your strengths will be either solidified or shunted onwards. That should be reflected in the proposition.
Are your team still on board?
Perhaps one of the more overlooked facets of positioning is team alignment. As we’ve just alluded to, team members will come and go. That’s just the nature of the world we live in. Hopefully, they’ll be leaving for all the right reasons and you’ve aided them in furthering their careers.
However, leave they will and hiring must take place. New employees bring different strengths to the table, and alter the cultural makeup of the business. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you’ll have to bear this in mind when you’re revisiting your positioning.
Bring your team into the process at various stages. Test the new copy on them, sense check critical pillars and enablers, and align the process with your sales and marketing teams. It’s a team game, so you should act accordingly.
However, be wary of precisely when you bring the team into the process. It’s true that too many cooks can spoil the broth, and no one likes copy or strategy by committee. Ultimately sign off comes from the leadership team, having leant on the team around them.
I guess all we’re saying here is that your team is your biggest asset – make sure they’re on board with the vision and where the business is going.
Is your proposition still relevant to your audience?
If team alignment is often overlooked, then your audience is arguably the most important facet of the positioning process.
As you do scale and outgrow your old positioning, you’ll inevitably leave some of your audience behind. This is why it’s absolutely critical to sense check your ICP and existing audience base to see if they’re still relevant.
There’s no point selling to an audience that aren’t engaged, or don’t want to even consider buying from you.
Stress testing your positioning is a vital step in the process, and involves surveying past, present, and ideal customers to gather data. Conduct tests on various versions of your positioning to see if specific aspects are working.
Sadly, the market never stays still long enough for us to get settled and begin to understand it. Instead, you should keep a finger on the pulse and continuously analyse and review the market challenges you and your customers face.
Firstly, the market challenges you face will shift meaning you’ll have to adapt your strategy and stay one step ahead. Secondly, the market challenges your customers face will also change meaning that your offering has to be on point and answering their pain points at the right time.
Market research is widely available for the right price, but, equally, talking to your customers and sales teams is free.
Talk to them to understand what they’re currently up against, what you can do to help, and what would cut through the market and differentiate you from your competitors.
Evolution not revolution
Now, here’s something we’ve not said: your value proposition might actually already be okay.
No one is saying that you’ll have developed into a totally different beast in twelve months…but equally you might have done. All we’re saying is that you should be sense checking regularly and stacking it up against your mission, vision, and values.
But as you do scale throughout the years, or niche down and focus on one specific area of the market, it’ll be a case of tweaks, repairs, and refinements throughout the years.
At various stages you might choose to conduct an overhaul as you pivot, but on the whole it’s very much a case of evolution, not revolution.
Thats’ a wrap
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to positioning and revisiting it. However, if you approach it in a calm and logical way, with the team on board and see it as a process of development rather than an inconvenience, you’ll be fine.
However, as we’re bound to say, please don’t forget to connect it all to your sales process. We’ve covered critical pillars, enablers, and market challenges so that’s half the battle. But there’s your sales ladder to consider as well, which should be intrinsically linked to your proposition.
Further, as you evolve your positioning, your sales ladder will, too. Don’t forget to keep them aligned as you go through a process of evolution, not revolution.
Ultimately, though, you should be focused on cutting through the noise and making sure your offer rings true. As we hit the new year, you need to be on the front foot and ready to take on all-comers. Goodness knows everyone else is, so it’s time to go toe to toe.
If you need a hand connecting your positioning to sales, revisiting your proposition, or understanding your critical pillars, drop us a line. We’d love to help.