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“But How Hard Can Pricing Be?”

If you’re looking at a task from the outside, it often seems easier than it really is — especially if you’ve seen other people completing it successfully. At some point in your life, you might have thought, “How hard can it be to get a toddler to go to bed?” Or maybe, “How hard can it be to back the RV into the parking spot?” Or even, “How hard can it be to lose ten pounds?”

And of course, if you’ve ever actually tried to do any of these things, you know that the answer is, “A lot harder than it looks.”

Something similar often happens to pricing teams. Because very few people actually have experience setting prices, other people in the company might not appreciate how difficult effective pricing actually is.

They might even wonder what you do all day. I mean, all you have to do is look at the cost for your products and add 10%, right?

They probably wouldn’t say it out loud, but they might even whisper among themselves that pricing isn’t really all that important. It’s not like sales, where you have to convince people to actually buy something. Or like product development, where you have to actually make things that people want. Or like marketing, where you have to somehow attract people’s attention when everyone else is also trying to attract their attention. After all, the price is really just a suggestion that the salespeople are going to ignore during the negotiation process any way.

If these attitudes are prevalent in your organization — or even if you just have one or two people who don’t get why pricing is all about, we recommend being proactive. In talking with very successful B2B pricing teams, we’ve learned that they tend to do three important things that bolster their reputation within the company:

  1. Developing soft skills. Of course, technical skills are very important for pricing professionals. You do need to be able to understand the data and analytics. But in some ways, soft skills are even more important. Being able to communicate what that data means, persuade other people to your point of view, and drive change are invaluable, whether you are trying to implement a new initiative or convince other people of the importance of pricing as a function.
  2. Focusing on winning rather than not losing. Less effective pricing teams tend to play defense. They are all about fixing other people’s mistakes. But very effective pricing teams help the rest of the business win. They look for ways to play offensive. The think like businesspeople, which in turn, bolsters their reputation within the business.
  3. Evangelizing. In general, people who work in pricing have a hard time tooting their own horn. We get it. We feel that way too. But pricing professionals are generally pretty good about explaining why pricing as a discipline is very important. Take the opportunities that come your way to wax eloquent on the benefits of excellent pricing in general, and that will boost your team’s reputation and your personal reputation by association.

If you need some help spreading the word about the value of pricing in your company, we have four resources that can help:

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to install a new dishwasher. How hard can it be?

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