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Why Great Pricing People Are T-Shaped

Do you know what shape you are?

No, we’re not talking about whether your body is more like an apple, pear, banana, hourglass, or triangle. We’re also not talking about whether your face is more like an oval, square, circle, or heart. We’re not even talking about whether you are “in shape” or not.

When we ask about your shape, we’re talking about your skills.

A lot of us who work in pricing tend to be on the nerdy side. We gravitate to the field because we have an affinity for numbers, and over time, we develop deep expertise in our chosen field.

If you were going to represent this kind of nerdiness visually, you might draw an I. An I-shaped person has really deep expertise in a fairly narrow field. This is the kind of specialization required to obtain a PhD, and it’s also the kind of specialization many corporate structures are designed to reward.

But many business consultants say that the most valuable employees are actually shaped more like a T. They have deep specialization in one particular area, but they also have a smattering of other skills in a wide range of areas. These other skills, represented by the cross-bar on top of the T allow them to collaborate successfully with other departments and work cross-functionally.

This ideas of T-shaped employees has been around since the 80s, but recently it’s been resurging in popularity among software development teams engaged in agile development practices. We think that the best pricing people are also T-shaped.

You see, pricing professionals absolutely have to rely on other departments in order to succeed at their roles. They need to have the communication and soft skills, as well as the flexibility of mind, that will allow them to interact easily with other departments.

In fact, you could argue that the skills at the top of the T are more important than the depth of knowledge about pricing. We often say, “Someone with pretty good technical skills, who can get their ideas across and get others to change their behaviors, will almost always outperform a technical wizard that no one pays attention to.”

So how do you find the right T-shaped people to add to your team? The webinar on How to Hire Great Pricing People lays it all out. It walks you through the 7 most important attributes you should be looking for and examines the pros and cons of different types of candidates.

If you or your team members are more I-shaped and could work on your T-skills, watch Cross-Functional Pricing. It highlights what leading B2B pricing teams do different that allows them to work effectively with other groups.

And if you or your team members have plenty of cross-functional skills but could stand to deepen your pricing expertise, that’s what the bulk of the resources on PricingBrew are for! Dig in, and we’ll get you into T-shape in no time.

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