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What Makes a “Powerhouse” Pricing Team?

In one of our training webinars called Powerhouse Pricing Teams, we talked about our research into the characteristics of above-average pricing groups. Our focus wasn’t on the specific tactics that very successful pricing teams use; rather, we concentrated on the attitudes, principles and behaviors that top-tier teams have in common. And we encouraged younger, less well-established pricing teams to emulate the mindset of the powerhouse teams.

During and after the webinar, we’ve had a few questions about what constitutes a “powerhouse” team. Some people have asked whether a certain head count or a certain experience level should automatically qualify a team as a powerhouse.

Certainly, we were looking for teams that had a substantial level of experience when we did the research for this webinar. But we found that head count wasn’t really that indicative of how successful a team has been overall. In fact, some of the pricing teams that wield the most influence within their organizations are fairly small. Instead, we looked at the following five criteria:

  1. They’ve produced demonstrable results for their company. Pricing is a very numbers-driven discipline, so it should be relatively easy for a pricing team to be able to put a quantifiable figure on how they’ve improved profitability. But you’d be surprised how few pricing teams can put a dollar figure or percentage on the results they’ve achieved for their organizations.
  2. They’re established and no longer have to “prove” themselves. Could you imagine firing your entire sales team? Or the entire accounting team? At some organizations it would be just as unthinkable to fire the entire pricing team. While we encourage practitioners to be constantly evangelizing the importance of pricing, powerhouse teams have graduated to the level where management recognizes their value to the organization.
  3. Their practices and capabilities are ahead of the curve. Powerhouse teams are the innovators, the early adopters who are always trying new things first. Not all of their experiments succeed, but enough of them do to put these organizations well ahead of their competitors.
  4. They’re involved in high-level decisions and discussions. Sometimes, we refer to this characteristic as “having a seat at the big table.” Powerhouse teams may not have anything as official as a VP of pricing or a C-level pricing executive, but company leaders solicit their input on important business decisions. They’re regularly invited to strategic meetings to discuss the future direction of the company.
  5. They’d be successful in nearly any setting. The best pricing teams aren’t defined by their industry. They’re intent on creating scalable, replicable systems that could be carried over to other companies or other markets with ease. They understand the processes and strategies that have made them successful, and they could repeat them somewhere else.

If your team doesn’t yet meet the criteria of a powerhouse, but you would like to, check out the Powerhouse Pricing Teams webinar. No matter how new—or mature—your pricing team is, emulating the mindset of powerhouse teams could help you take your pricing performance up a notch.

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