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2 Reasons Why Pricing Is So Difficult

It’s a natural human inclination to think that we have things harder than other people do. Most of the time, those feelings are nothing more than self-pity.

But when it comes to the pricing function, we believe that those feelings might be somewhat justified.

Pricing is just different than other business functions. If you are in sales or marketing or finance or human resources or product development or accounting or IT or any group other than pricing, you can easily find information about how to become better at your job. You have loads of industry events, websites, newsletters, magazines and networking opportunities. Companies are fairly eager to share their successes, and that leads to the development of commonly accepted best practices.

But pricing doesn’t have those same sort of resources. Other than PricingBrew, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the same sort of support and resources that the other business functions enjoy.

Why? We think it comes down to two basic reasons:

  1. Companies don’t want their customers to know how they set prices.
  2. Companies don’t want their competitors to know how they set prices.

As a result, the pricing profession remains veiled in secrecy. Employers won’t let their pricing folks share what they are doing with other pricing people out of fear that they’ll lose competitive advantage or suffer a backlash from disgruntled customers.

While this secretive approach is entirely understandable — and in some cases, extremely appropriate — it can come back around to bite B2B firms on the posterior. Because no one is sharing their successes and failures with other pricing professionals, no one really knows if they are doing a good job or not. It’s hard to know whether you’re clearing the bar — or even where the bar is.

It also means that it’s nearly impossible for B2B firms to find out about innovative new techniques or approaches that could help them improve their pricing. They keep doing things the way they’ve always done them simply because they don’t know that other ways — better ways — exist.

The desire to pierce that veil of secrecy is a big part of the reason why we started PricingBrew. We wanted to give pricing practitioners the ability to learn from one another without exposing all their secrets to the world. It’s why we talk with professionals working in the field and anonymously share their insights with our members.

Two of our resources are particularly good at meeting these needs that pricing professionals have for more information about what is working — and what isn’t — in B2B pricing. The first is our New Benchmarks for Pricing Excellence in B2B. Drawn from extensive research, it highlights ten capabilities and practices that we have learned are necessary for pricing excellence. We encourage you to use the report as a self-assessment to see how your team currently stacks up against the best in the business and where you have room for improvement.

The second is the webinar Avoiding the Top 10 Pricing Mistakes. In the past, most pricing groups have had to learn through trial and error. But that approach can be costly, not to mention extremely inefficient. This webinar draws on lessons learned that other pricing pros have shared with us so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes.

It’s unlikely that companies are going to abandon their secretive approaches to pricing any time soon. The stakes are just too high. But that doesn’t mean pricing practitioners can’t learn from each other through PricingBrew.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share their knowledge with us. We truly believe that your participation is advancing pricing understanding across the wide spectrum of B2B companies. And that’s good for everyone.

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