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Don’t Expect Sales to Get Excited

So, your company just embarked on a new data-driven pricing initiative that will impact my sales team?


I’m sure you were expecting a glowing reception, after all better prices should help drive commissions up for my team. Unfortunately, these types of initiatives usually mean my team is equipped with pricing analytics reports. These reports, while a well-intentioned attempt to help my reps make better decisions, usually fall flat.

Why? Because sales people aren’t analysts. We don’t have time to read, analyze and derive actionable insights from these reports. We’re sales people, we want the right price range in hand so we can get back to doing what we do best, building relationships and closing deals.

To counteract the lack of adoption with pricing analytics reports, most companies resort to automating exception approvals or setting more rules. Neither approach actually provides better prices. And both result in a lengthy approval process and quote turnaround time. Sales teams frankly don’t have the time for this process when in a highly competitive selling situation. Rather than internal price negotiations, sales needs to take a price to market that has the best chance of winning the business while meeting revenue and margin targets.

A more effective initiative would leverage a technology to calculate optimal price guidance for every possible selling circumstance, in advance, and deliver that guidance directly to sales reps in the existing quoting tools they use today. That way you give sales the “answers” they need instead of “analysis” which they won’t use. You will have more executive support and very little push-back from sales using this approach, since you’re not introducing any new tools or processes for sales to adopt.

If the pricing initiative delivers guidance directly to reps in the tools they already use, gaining adoption from sales is easier. But change management on this pricing initiative isn’t quite done. In addition to company-wide training that follows a defined methodology, sales teams will need a more targeted training approach.

This, of course, is only one small piece of the change management puzzle when rolling out a new pricing initiative and making it successful. But it’s so important to respect the reality of sales rep behavior and ditch the analytics – you’ll go farther and gain greater support. After all, it’s sales teams who are bringing the prices to market and closing the deals.

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