There’s a strange dichotomy in the realm of pricing technology. On the one hand, we have these amazingly sophisticated technologies that can help us maximize margins, improve close-rates, speed-up quote turnarounds, reduce manual reviews, bump the top-line, boost the bottom-line, and so on. Many of these technologies have been around for more than decade, so they’re mature and robust. And, most of these technologies have dozens of real, live users—“early adopters” who can attest to their efficacy.
But on the other hand, the vast majority of B2B companies have yet to adopt or implement these pricing technologies. So, what gives? Why isn’t pricing technology as ubiquitous as CRM or ERP? Given the relative ROI profiles of these technologies, it just doesn’t seem to make sense from a business perspective.
Now, some people argue that pricing technology is much more disruptive than other technologies. Of course, these are often people who’ve never lived through a CRM or ERP implementation, complete with sales teams out for blood because they have to change their processes, or a CEO looking to roll some heads because the quarterly close was three weeks late. So that explanation doesn’t really wash.
Others will say that it’s because you rarely hear about companies using pricing technology. In other words, while some companies have been using it successfully for years, they don’t talk about it because it provides them such an advantage. And to some extent, this may be true— companies that have no problem talking about their CRM implementation do tend to get awfully shy when it comes to talking about the pricing system they’ve been using.
But maybe the real answer is a bit more fundamental than that. Maybe the real reason more B2B companies haven’t adopted pricing technology is that they’re simply afraid of what they don’t understand.
Most B2B management teams understand sales. They understand manufacturing. They can get their heads around marketing and accounting, and they even know enough about IT to be dangerous. But pricing? Come on. Even today, many decision-makers in B2B companies view pricing as some kind of intuitive art form— not the rigorous science that it really is.
While this lack of understanding and fear doesn’t bode well for the companies that suffer from it, it does create an even greater competitive advantage for those companies that actually embrace pricing technology. After all, even if their competitors knew what they were doing, odds are they wouldn’t be able to comprehend it.