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Getting (and Keeping) the Top Job in B2B Pricing

Many of the most popular educational resources in the PricingBrew Journal are related to career development. While that may seem surprising at first blush, it makes perfect sense when you take a couple of factors into consideration…

First off, Journal subscribers clearly have a natural bias toward “getting ahead.” After all, you have to have more than just a passing interest in enhancing your skills, broadening your knowledge, and becoming more effective at what you do, to want to subscribe to a publication like the Journal in the first place.

But another factor behind the popularity of the career development topic is the relative nascency of pricing as a practice in B2B. Relative to other areas like accounting, sales, operations, or product management, pricing is a fairly new business focus and organizational function in B2B. And as such, there aren’t yet well-established career paths for pricing people to follow or emulate.

That’s why I love being able to interview people like Dick Braun…

In the B2B pricing community, Dick is a bit of a rock star—the most humble, unassuming, and personable rock star you’ll likely ever meet, but a rock star nevertheless. As the VP of Strategic Pricing at Parker Hannifin, a $13 billion manufacturer operating in 50 countries around the world, Dick has not only achieved the stature and influence that many others aspire to, he epitomizes what executive leadership in pricing is all about.

Throughout Getting the Top Job in Pricing, Dick graciously shares the secrets to his own success, while also providing a lot of great advice for people looking to get ahead in their pricing careers—some of which may seem a bit counterintuitive at first.

For example, it’s easy to assume that to get the top job, you need to specialize in pricing and learn all you can about pricing strategy, analytics, value-estimation, and so on. That’s all good, to be sure. But according to Dick, it’s not enough:

“If you like pricing and aspire to my job, you’re going to do more than one thing to get there. Don’t be afraid of that. I don’t think it hurts at all to have had a sales job. It doesn’t hurt at all to be in marketing for a while. It doesn’t hurt at all to run a factory floor. Building expertise in pricing is a great thing, but you also need some breadth of experience for senior management jobs.”

So…by focusing exclusively on developing expertise in pricing…to the exclusion of knowing anything about the broader context that pricing needs to operate within…you actually run the risk of become too one-dimensional for the top pricing job!

“Parker hired me because I had a lot of background in pricing, too. But I think they keep me because I’m more than just pricing.”

I have to say, when I was starting out in pricing, I would’ve given my left…kidney…to have had Dick as a mentor or coach. So this interview was a real treat for me. And it should be very beneficial to anyone else who aspires to get…and keep…the top job in pricing.

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