SWOT analysis is far from a new concept, especially for individual products. In B2B though, assessing your product portfolio’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats should be an annual ritual. Why? It offers a macro view of your portfolio’s performance and provides valuable insights that drive your go-to-market strategy and ultimately your product, marketing and sales investment priorities.
What is a Product Portfolio SWOT Analysis?
In its most basic form, a product portfolio SWOT analysis is a matrix of products and market segments where the cross-section illustrates the relevance of each product to each market segment and the financial performance of your company (total revenue for all products) in each market segment.
Why Do It?
The primary goal of performing a SWOT analysis isn’t so much about how your products are performing, but how your company is performing in each of its chosen market segments. Look at the sales of the most popular products in each segment, i.e., what customers are buying, and it might reveal how those customers define their business solutions. Key takeaways that guide your portfolio strategy include:
- Identifying market segments where you’re strongest (by revenue and number of customers) and understanding how much runway remains for growth.
- Identifying market segments where you’re weakest – and understanding if it’s more of a sales and marketing deficiency or product deficiency.
- Identifying market segments that are most opportunistic. In many cases your weakest market segments are the most opportunistic because your products have high relevance. It’s simply a matter of exerting more marketing and sales effort to seize the opportunities. In other cases, it may be new markets where emerging needs play to your strengths.
- Identifying the biggest threats in your product/service category. These can be new competitive threats, disruptive technologies, shifting business models, etc. that threaten to make your company less relevant in the eyes of prospective buyers and investors.
Who Owns SWOT Analysis?
In smaller organizations, the ownership usually falls on product management. In larger organizations, industry marketing or strategy teams typically own it.
When Should You S.W.O.T?
Once a year should be sufficient for most B2B companies. Ideally, it would be completed or refreshed as a precursor to your annual strategic planning cycle.
Making Your Portfolio SWOT Analysis Actionable
Your portfolio S.W.O.T. analysis is one of several data points that are key to aligning your products and services with market segments most conducive to reaching your company’s goals. Make it actionable by comparing your S.W.O.T. results to the dynamics in each of your target markets and the biggest obstacles those organizations are facing.
You’ll quickly see where your portfolio is strong, where it’s at risk and where your biggest opportunities are in the short and longer term. Product, marketing and sales priorities will quickly come into focus. Build a portfolio strategy around those priorities and then, as usual, focus on relentless execution of the details. You’ll love the results!
If your product teams are working in silos and priorities are constantly changing, enroll your team in our 501 Advanced Portfolio Management course and learn how to create portfolio priorities that eliminate silos and constantly changing priorities.
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by John Mansour on August 19, 2021.