Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diagnosis - Poor Product Differentiation, How to Spot a Silent Killer!

So many products, product lines, and even companies suffer from poor differentiation and don't even know it. Poor differentiation is like high blood pressure, it kills silently and slowly. Products don't maintain price points, it's hard to scale sales, etc. If only we had a simple cuff to put on our arm to measure our "Product Differentiation Pressure™." Well, until then, here's a simple list of symptoms of this silent killer...

  • Selling on price not value
  • Difficult to replicate sales success across reps or channel partners
  • Win rate below achievable (as benchmarked by best reps)
  • Difficult to partner (long initial sales cycle or stuck with techies)
  • Selling lower in org than desired
  • Stagnant marketing (conversion rates, content, etc…)
  • Lack of breakthrough beyond tech evaluators/cognoscenti
  • Sub-optimal targeting
  • Feature and/or generic focused discussion
  • Product roadmap not “focused”, spread like “peanut butter”
  • Product requests accepted that don’t seem to fit with agreed priorities
  • Lack of real or perceived strategic “vision” in roadmap
Ask yourself honestly if these symptoms reflect your product or company. If you answer yes to more than a few, you've got a low Product Differentiation Pressure™ or PDP™, and unlike blood pressure, where high kills, low PDP is the killer here.

In my next blog, we will look at each of these symptoms in a bit more depth...

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