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Survey Says Sales Controls Pricing. Get Over It.

In our latest PricingPulse™ study, nearly 55% of the respondents reported that their sales group has the most influence and control over pricing in their companies. When you consider that the PricingBrew audience is largely comprised of pricing people—90% of whom carry at least a Manager or Director title—this is a disturbing statistic.

Or is it?

Some would argue that the only way to generate significant results from active pricing management is to eliminate discretion in the field. These advocates of centralized pricing say that salespeople are just too close to the heat of battle to make good decisions. They say that individual salespeople will always put their own pocketbook ahead of what’s good for the company. And to them, this statistic simply underscores the core problem.

Others, however, take the position that centralized pricing is an outdated concept. They say that while “command and control” structures may have had their place in simpler times, when companies had less competition and more pricing power, discretion in the field provides flexibility and speed in today’s hyper-competitive environment. And to these people, technological enablement and influence is where it’s at.

Is sales being in control of pricing a problem, or not?

Maybe that’s the wrong question to ask entirely. Maybe it doesn’t matter whether it’s wrong or right, in theory. Maybe all that matters is whether it’s reality or not, in practice.

One can sit around and ruminate about how nice it would be to have total control. But what good does it do? If it hasn’t happened already, the odds are stacked against it happening in the future. And to a keen strategist, there are lots of paths to success no matter what the organizational reality may be.

So, let’s get over it already. And then, let’s get on with it. Let’s stop making excuses and figure-out ways to make a significant difference, whether we’re in total control, or not.

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