On the Virtual Road: Sales Tales with Scott Ballenger - Positioning

A few weeks ago, we launched a series of posts here on the Zymewire blog that encapsulate some of my favorite sales parables. In a pre-COVID world, I used to tell these stories to colleagues on the road as a way to encourage us to think differently about how we approach sales and marketing.  

And while I miss those in-person trips, I’m grateful to have a place where I can connect with and share these stories with even more of you. 

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about today’s short story on the importance of positioning… 


Win or lose? It’s all about positioning. 

The story goes that during the height of the Cold War, the USSR challenged the US to a trans-Siberian automobile endurance race. 

The race and conditions were harsh and long, but the US won handily.  

However, the headlines in the newspapers in the Soviet Union read:  

USSR Places Second in International Auto-Endurance Race. USA Comes in Next to Last.” 

Consciously or unconsciously, you are positioning yourself, your company, and your products every day. After a while, we get comfortable talking about our products in a certain way. 

But in a technology-driven world, change moves quickly. Context changes. Our products change. Our consumers and customers change. Competitors emerge or fade away. 

The way you’ve always thought about and talked about your company and your product may not be the best way anymore.  

I like to check in with myself regularly about what’s working. How are my prospects and customers reacting to different ways of describing our product?  

When I’m feeling stuck, I ask myself a series of questions:  

  • What context positions us in the best light?  
  • What information have I learned that makes us look good?  
  • What happens if I change the axes? 
  • What happens if I change the denominator?  


What positioning strategies have you seen in action? What’s worked? What hasn’t? How do you know? 

Who does it well?  

What questions do you ask yourself to check your own positioning? 


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