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Answering the Most Powerful Strategic Pricing Question

Helping B2B pricing functions to become much more strategic underpins everything we do here at the PricingBrew Journal. To us, becoming a more strategic pricing function is more than just an appealing aspiration or “someday” goal; we believe it’s a personal and professional imperative.

In other words, we believe that to achieve your full potential…as a business function and as a pricing professional…you must begin to think, act, and contribute in a much more strategic way.

That said, for groups and individuals who are just getting started, becoming more strategic can seem quite daunting. After all, the strategic end-state we illustrate so often is pretty heady and grand relative to most teams’ somewhat tactical starting point. And given this huge difference or disparity, many will naturally assume that the journey must therefore be brutally challenging, if not nearly impossible.

But here’s the counterintuitive reality we’ve come to understand over the years…

As distant and out-of-reach as the destination may seem, you can make significant progress in the right direction by simply asking and answering a single question, over and over again. To be fair, this single question does happen to be the most powerful strategic pricing question ever formulated by mere mortals. But still, it’s just one question!

The most powerful strategic pricing question:

“What needs to happen for our desired outcomes to be produced naturally and as a matter of course?”

When you distill it down to its essence, strategic pricing is all about rigging the playing field in such a way that you win by default, rather than scrapping it out in overtime. Or to use another analogy, it’s about pulling together the right chefs, the right recipes, and the best ingredients to guarantee great tasting entrees, rather than fixing dishes after they’re sent back.

Or using still another analogy, it’s about improving the raw materials and optimizing every step in a manufacturing process such that all of the products coming off the assembly line are of the highest quality, rather than relying on after-the-fact testing to identify and correct defects.

Similarly, the answers to this strategic question are all the things you need to put in place and the conditions you need to create in order to generate…by default…the results you are seeking. So while it’s deceptively simple and somewhat counterintuitive, in a very real sense the answers to this one simple question are the makings of your strategic pricing roadmap.

Of course, just having the answers is not enough. While the strategic answers will help you understand what needs to happen, what needs to be put in place, what conditions need to be created, and so on, you still have to take some kind of action to convert those answers into operational reality.

But you don’t have to tackle it all at once. You can break it down into more manageable chunks, working on one answer at a time, over time. As the old cliché goes, every journey starts with a single step…and there’s nothing that says it can’t be a baby step.

The point is that too many groups and individuals are making “becoming more strategic” much harder than it really needs to be. Ask this one question. Take action based on the answers. Then do it again…and again…over time.

If you just take these simple steps, you’ll necessarily become much more strategic…naturally and as a matter of course.

See what I did there? 🙂

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