A Real-Life “Positioning” Tear-Down That Will Inspire A Re-Build

A product “tear-down” helps re-design the product from group up

Sometime back, I framed this question within our NCR-SaaS group, a community of 55+ B2B SaaS startups and 140+ SaaS practitioners. I try to start conversations that will benefit everybody and the knowledge sharing will lead to useful insights, experiences and ideas that folks can apply into their businesses.

Arvind :

“All, I am trying to understand how SaaS startups think of “positioning” and if there is any opportunity to help improve the same. I have setup this very short form to study this. Can you fill and submit to help me with my analysis?

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeL0DLmxxcwmuuHE2MtUzM4M8a87BzHLgYIXdwxLh1ucIYD8w/viewform?usp=sf_link

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A few responses came in and I decided to use the idle time one Sunday (20th Sep, 2020; nice date too!) to get the group to discuss what makes good positioning and how positioning defines much of the marketing activities we do in SaaS.

“A founder has shared the positioning of his product, HumbleShit -
Enterprise Software for Medium and Large Housekeeping Companies”

What does this tell you once you read this? Does it communicate the business pain that his software will solve/address? Does it promise the would be buyer anything? Can we help him refine / define this better ? Thanks for any help”

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It took some time for the group to warm up. But right from the 1st comment, it was great value and a pointed discussion designed to help the founder improve their pitch.

I have tried to share the group conversation on this theme and the outcome collectively arrived at. Sharing this with the larger community as it can add value to your own business. The rest of the article is extracts from the conversation — Samir Dayal Singh is the founder of HumbleShit and all other comments are represented as Feedback (Ex Feedback 1, Feedback 2 etc). A huge shout out to Samir for agreeing to share his “tear-down”. It takes special strength to accept weaknesses publicly. He has grown taller in my eyes and as you will see his “positioning” has improved too !

Hope you enjoy the discussion and improve your own positioning. If you want to submit your positioning for improvement, feel free to do so at — https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeL0DLmxxcwmuuHE2MtUzM4M8a87BzHLgYIXdwxLh1ucIYD8w/viewform?usp=sf_link

TRANSCRIPT

Feedback 1
I didn’t understand what the software does from this statement. What value it provides- this should be part of the statement.

Founder —
Take 2: Enterprise Software for Housekeeping Companies that simplifies hourly hygiene inspections, conducting it remotely, hence reducing cost of manpower and operations by up to 30%

Feedback 2 : We help housekeeping companies cut their people costs by 30% or more. #Justathought

Founder —
Does this suffice ? Is it clear enough ? More thoughts, please ?

Feedback 2.1 :
I believe keeping it a bit intriguing may not be a bad idea. Stuffing in too much info may be purpose defeating. The idea is to peak their interest and not to tell them every last thing.

Feedback 3 :
It’s far from complete .. the value should be in the proposition than in the numbers .. Couple of Qs

  1. What is medium by size ? By number of staff ?
  2. How do they manage the hourly inspections without your software?

Founder -

1. I’ll ask my customer and get back on that in a minute

2. Currently, they visit each location physically, at random, and that involves a lot of operating costs. One supervisor can inspect/handle up to 5–10 sites, depending on the company’s standard of service. With our software, most of his inspections can happen over the app/calls. Hence, it also reduces the cost of manpower.

Feedback 4 :
How are you inspecting over call, via video call? Just asking as that can be done by using a video call outside of your system and can be equally cost effective without changing the system

Founder —
He can monitor the hygiene performance based on the data that comes from the ground, the inspection checklist, the photos, all these things convert into reports that they send to their clients. So he calls the guy on the ground only if there’s something wrong. Rest every relevant data is on this phone on one click.

Yes, video can solve things to quite an extent but reports can’t be made from videos.

Currently janitors do record videos and send them to their higher officials on WhatsApp groups. It’s very messy they say, as tickets (issues that were reported) cannot be backtracked.

Feedback 5:
If we can include something about the reporting process too in the statement along with cast, that should put more weight into that

Feedback 6:
How does better , faster data help the inspector / service provider serve their customer better ?

Founder — It helps them serve their customer in real-time, instantly resolving issues raised, giving them exact numbers whenever they need. In Fact the Housekeeping Companies send them bundles and bundles paper checklists at the end of month.

If their client just has the transparent data, the service becomes more trustable and a path for improvement is set. As now there’s a monitoring tool with data.

Feedback 7: Ok.. thats useful .. did you find out the size by staff? by # of sites ? some idea of the scale where physical complexity makes it painful to manage with in-person visits — both the cost and labor considered

Founder — Yes. Just asked.

Medium — 1000 janitors, Large — 5000, Top 10 → 5000

For a medium/large housekeeping company, One major pain is that all the data that’s generated on the paper checklist is rarely digitised. Hence it rarely becomes available to top management.

Moreover it’s fudged by the janitors. No timestamp. A medium size site with 30 inspection points will create 1 page each day. To evaluate the performance on a day, on the currently used paper checklist, one has to go through 900 pages of file.

So the site owner is unable to properly gauge the performance of the Housekeeping company it hired.

Founder :
Take 3: We help housekeeping companies cut their people costs by 30% or more.

It’s very messy to manage paper checklists and photos in WhatsApp groups. The software helps them serve their customer better by

- reduction in response time of issues reported

- preemptively maintaining better standards

- making the performance data available at all times as well as in the form of a detailed monthly report

Founder — Almost an essay now. But is it capturing enough, that now we can simplify it ?

Feedback 8 : Take 4

We help housekeeping service providers with large teams (500+ staff) with our software and app based site hygiene inspection, attendance and task compliance. Our SaaS based offering helps providers offer best-in-class services, response time to their customers while saving on cost of labour and in-person inspection.

Feedback 9 : While I appreciate this line of thought, I’d throw an honest opinion.

When we define positioning, it’s important to be crisp as well. If one goes on to defining why the users need the product in question, it might just become too long (this can be covered in the first meeting opportunity).

IMO, positioning should be sharp enough to make it imperative for the user as to why she needs that product.

Feedback 10 : Another point to consider might be that sometimes, customers search for solution keywords instead of problems. It’s good to talk about problem statements and pain points in copy or pitch. But in other cases, it might be better to write differently. (Ex. — in media monitoring industry, it’s preferred to write social listening instead of software for tracking updates on social media because customers are already aware of the terminology for the solution)

Feedback 11: Positioning defines everything that marketing does. Or it should. Crisp is good but don’t go for vanity .. go for being understood.

Founder — This looks much better and wholesome. I’m wondering how it can be simpler.

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Feedback 12 : The biggest factor is who’s validating the final 2 line pitch.

Whose opinion matters?

- a founder who is thinking 💭 about the $10 million ARR

- a founder who already built $10 million ARR

- a founder who existed >$10m ARR business

- a consultant with a point of view

- fellow in-struggle entrepreneurs with a point of view

- your friend / mentor / investor with a point of view

- your own view about why you started the company 😁

My Opinion:

ask your customer why are they buying it from you and not from others/Competition? for initial days of the startup — this should serve as a good pitch. More customers will help you build few variations of the same story.

Take 5

We help housekeeping companies manage and monitor their site hygiene, staff performance and task compliances. This helps them offer best-in-class services and quicker responses to their customers while saving on cost of labour and in-person inspection.

Take 6

We help Housekeeping companies reduce their operating Costs by 30% or more

Our SaaS platform helps them remotely monitor their site hygiene and staff performance more efficiently.. This helps them offer best-in-class services and quicker response time to their customers.

Take 7

Our SaaS platform helps large housekeeping service providers monitor their site hygiene and staff performance more efficiently enabling them to offer best-in-class services to their customers at up to 30% lower cost.

Take 8 (Final)

Our App Ecosystem helps housekeeping companies manage their staff performance and site hygiene more efficiently.

Thus, enabling them to offer best-in-class services to their customers, at up to 30% lower cost.

Innovator. Entrepreneur. Mentor. Investor. Learner. Love technology, sports, arts and literature. Strive to be fair. http://t.co/UFEkCAnU