The customer is king except in B2B software marketing

There is no disputing that we are living in an era where the customer is king except when it comes to B2B software marketing. Chest beating; i.e., “We’re No. 1,” and a focus on the wonders of the product are so prevalent in B2B software marketing that it seems that the customers’ needs have but been forgotten.

For example, Netsuite claims it is “The #1 Cloud Business Software Suite.”  NetSuite goes on to substantiate its inwardly-focused claim: “One unified business management suite, encompassing ERP, financials, CRM and eCommerce for approximately 24,000 organizations.”

Here are other examples of a failure to focus on what customers care about – solving their real business problems:

  • “Meet Velocify Pulse – The Fastest Growing Salesforce Sale Solution.” When you hit the learn-more button, you find out that: “Velocify Pulse is a new kind of sales acceleration platform in the Salesforce ecosystem.”
  • “Enterprise Software has evolved,” is the headline on the product page of Lexmark’s web site. This product focus continues with “Our Evolution platform’s hybrid cloud foundation means game-changing features, security and flexibility.”
  • “Team Results is the world leader in team productivity improvement.”
  • Pitney Bowes powers “billions of transactions across the world of commerce.”
  • Vertafore is “The Leader in Modern Insurance Technology.”
  • “JIVE IS THE LEADING PROVIDER OF MODERN COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION SOLUTIONS FOR BUSINESS”

Ironically, an inward focus on company, product or services works against claiming a compelling position in your market. That’s because there is nothing that contributes more to effective positioning than stating a benefit that address one of the target audience’s most pressing problems.

What is positioning?

I define positioning as the mental space in your target audience’s mind that you can own with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient. It’s in this mental space where the target audience’s problem and your solution meet, and hopefully form a meaningful relationship.

If my definition of positioning is correct, then a lot of the marketing that goes on in B2B software is nothing but noise with no meaning to the target audience. It’s a problem that is easy to avoid.

How to test your positioning statement

Simply test your positioning statement by asking whether it is important; does it state a benefit that solves an important problem as perceived by the target buyer? (Read my blog about using three other criteria to test your positioning statement.)

Once you have come up with a statement that addresses a real business problem, test it again by asking “So what?” For each answer, keep asking “So what?” until you reach one of only three ultimate promises a B2B software product can deliver: 1) volume (sell more); 2) market share; 3) profit. Because these stripped-to-the-bone benefits might not pass the believability test, you may need to go back to the previous level (the last answer to “so what”) and use that statement. (Read my blog for more detail about the “So What?” test.)

One of many reasons B2B software companies beat their chest is because they don’t have a way to judge whether their chest-beating statement should be used. You can avoid this deadly positioning mistake by testing for importance and then asking “So What?”

Want to learn more about how to do positioning right? Download my eBook or sign up for my on-line workshop.