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Updated 24 Sep 2020

Strategic positioning 101

Increase your attractiveness in the market and boost your chances of success by providing solutions your customers want.

Ivor Jones, Entrepreneur, 17 January 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

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An essential step in defining a sales strategy for your business is to determine its strategic positioning — the essence of how it competes and serves customers in its markets. At the core is attracting, retaining and satisfying customers. That can be most successfully achieved if you give them what they want.

Profile your prospective customers so you can attract your ideal audience and deliver profitable solutions in three steps:

1. Identify your target audiences

Your primary target audience is the group that will have the highest potential for impacting sales and revenue. You may well have secondary and tertiary audiences too. Do the research, and be specific about who these audiences are. If you are not specific enough you won’t be able to identify customer wants and needs properly, nor will you have the all-important ability to position your products and solutions properly.

2. Understand prospects’ pains and aspirations

Ask yourself the following questions for each of your target audiences:

  • What is most frustrating to your primary audience?
  • Why is it a problem for them?
  • What are the implications of trying to cope with this frustration?
  • What do your customers want as a result of having to deal with these issues?

3. Create solutions that meet those wants

Once you have identified your target market and taken the time to understand their problems and desires, you can begin to tweak, and position your products and services according to what customers want.

Go back to your pain analysis and look at each top problem or frustration, and ask the following important question: “Within the scope of my business, what product or service can I create and launch that will specifically address this ‘pain’ for my customer?”

Never assume that you know all there is to know about your prospects.  Revisit and really take time to analyse your target audiences and reflect on what they want. Only when you understand that can you truly speak their language, and get them to take a serious look at your products and services.

The fundamental questions

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are you selling to?
  • Who are your contacts?
  • Who makes the buying decisions?
  • How are you going to price your product?
  • Will it be accepted by the market?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your advantages over the competition?
  • What are your sales goals?
  • How are they going to achieve those numbers and in what period of time?

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About the author

Ivor Jones, Entrepreneur

Ivor Jones is the chairman of ThinkSales Corporation. He was employed by Dun & Bradstreet from 1972 to 1981. In 1982 he launched KreditInform, building it into South Africa's largest business-to-business credit management solutions company. It was sold to Experian in 2008.

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