Pod Spotlight: Modern Startup Marketing interview with April Dunford
February 23, 2024

I knew very little about product marketing when I accepted my first product role.

I was transitioning from Customer Success and knew the customer and product well, but when it came to the fundamentals of product marketing, I knew very little. 

I was eager to learn. And frankly, being part of a high-growth SaaS company, I had to learn. .

Think: frameworks, strategy, methodologies.

April Dunford quickly became my go-to resource for Positioning and I consumed basically everything she published.

To this day I look to April’s content when positioning and marketing my business, so when I saw a clip of April from the Modern Startup Podcast in my LinkedIn feed recently, I immediately added it to my queue. 

These are my personal highlights from her conversation with Anna Furmanov:

1) A great sales pitch starts with a point of view.

Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Most buyers have never bought a product like yours before. They don’t know what they don’t know.

But most sales pitches answer “Why us”, but not “why us versus everybody else”.

What prospects really want is to confidently feel like they’re making a good choice. To do that, start with your perspective on the market, and the pros and cons of different approaches to the problem.

Get all of the options on the table.

Then you can ask, “Given whatwe know, can we agree that a perfect solution checks all these boxes.”


Now you pitch your product.

Sharing your point of view and finding alignment with your prospect earns their trust and gives them peace of mind.

“The goal of a great sales pitch is to help customers understand all their choices, the trade offs between each and when to pick your solution.”

2) Avoid naming a bunch of competitors when discussing alternatives.

You’ll likely just overwhelm your prospect. Instead, bucket alternatives into different approaches to the problem.

It doesn’t matter which competitor they look at, you’ll easily be able to put them into one of the buckets that is different than your approach.

“If you name a company that the prospect hasn't looked at, you're just freaking them out. They’ll say, Stop the presses. We are no longer in buy mode. I have to go back and do my research again because you just freaked me out. And the whole thing is, you’re trying to make them feel confident about making choices.”

3) Your goal is to make them feel confident in their choice.

40% to 60% of B2B purchase processes end in no decision. Why? Not because the status quo is better.

It’s because they couldn’t confidently make decisions that they knew would be successful.

The best way to counteract that is to help customers think about the whole market, not just you, because that's what they need to understand in order to make a confident choice.

4) Don’t confuse strategic narrative with the sales pitch.

Lots of companies start their pitch with the “Big Change” happening in the world. There will be winners and losers, and you don’t want to be a loser.

That’s a strategic narrative. Great for fundraising decks, not as great for sales pitches. Your prospect likely knows about the change. That’s why they’re talking to you. All of your competitors are also talking about it, so this leaves very little room for differentiation.

Research in the book The Jolt Effect showed that using “FOMO” with a customer that is indecisive drives close rates DOWN.

Once they’re aware of the “big change”, focus on why they should choose you. 

TLDR: Your goal is to make buyers feel confident in their choice. You get there by aligning with them on a perspective of the market and the different approaches to their problem. 

I’m certainly guilt of #4 and this interview has me rethinking my approach to a few things.

By the way, April launched her own podcast, “Positioning with April Dunford”, and became a top 2% podcast in six months. I think it's fair to say she nailed the positioning and product market fit.

Listen to the full episode here: 186 - Why Your Sales Calls End In No Decision And What To Do About It (April Dunford, Positioning Master)

This post was made using wysper.ai


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