Why You Shouldn’t Hire Pricing Managers That Say They’re Price Experts 🍈
Real price experts are very hard to find. They are not ten a penny. They’re actually an extremely rare group within the Australian and global talent market. When I say price expert, I mean world-class price experts with over 10+ years’ dedicated pricing experience and individual pricing capability that surpasses 95% of the global pricing community – including top tier 1 consultancy firms.
In fact, it takes special methods and domain-specific criteria to find and hire a price expert. Interviews, CVs and poorly written job ads just don’t cut the mustard. Why? When a pricing manager says they are a price expert during an interview, this doesn’t mean that actually is one. You need to have proof to back up their claims.
Pricing managers’ view of their own pricing capability is their subjective opinion. They’ve never really compared themselves objectively against real price experts before so how would they really know how good they are?
So, in this article, we’ll take you through the error of trusting pricing managers who say they are a price expert. Life is filled with important decisions. Often we make those decisions based on our gut instinct. Intuition has been with us since we came out of the caves. So you need to have methods, tools that give you the proof you need.
At Taylor Wells Advisory, we strongly believe that it is really important to protect yourself against managers they say that know everything you need them to know about pricing when they don’t.
Trusting what people tell probably works out well most of the time, but sometimes it’s not the best way to make a decision. And it’s definitely not the best time when you are hiring a pricing manager. Here’s why…
Table of Contents:
Why You Shouldn’t Hire Pricing Managers That Say They’re Price Experts
Don’t trust your gut instinct when you want to hire real price experts
Trusting your gut is a very real thing, but it can often lead you to make bad choices, especially when it comes to hiring a real price expert. Hiring is a complicated and time-consuming process. Whoever you choose to hire will be a part of your pricing team for a long time. Firing them can prove to be difficult. It’s best if you can avoid following your instincts when it comes to making a hiring decision. Stick to the facts and figures and trust the hiring process.
The most critical consequence of trusting one’s gut is that it can have an enormous effect on diversity and inclusion. Decisions based on a feeling of comfort with a candidate rather than thoughtful analysis or comparison based on quality inherently include a confirmation bias. That is when the interviewer judges the pricing manager based on their first impression. This can be avoided using objective, proven assessment tools designed for pricing managers.
Look for pricing managers who are emotionally intelligent – not just technical price experts
Companies want their pricing managers to work well with other stakeholders – not just a number cruncher. They do not want pricing managers that create employee conflicts and disruptions in the workplace. For this reason, hiring a price expert for their emotional intelligence is fast becoming a top priority for Australian businesses.
Emotional intelligence is unlike technical pricing skills; they cannot be learned through prior work experience. Moreover, emotional intelligence for pricing managers concerns their ability to manage their feelings and reactions during tense price rises; understand their limitations and strengths as a team lead; bringing people together to achieve more complex pricing outcomes.
Emotional intelligence skills (EQ) is very important for price experts who need to manage personal emotions while analysing and understanding the emotions of other people. In other words, it helps a price expert to link up with others in a highly successful manner both professionally as well as personally across a wide range of roles and contexts.
Assessing price experts using online testing and assessment platforms
Emotional intelligence can be hard to screen for during pricing manager recruitment processes. If you want to learn how to develop emotional intelligence skills you’ll need to find a price expert who is self-aware and not too precious to learn new things or take feedback.
There are plenty of methods and distance-friendly solutions to measure the capability and potential of your pricing manager applicants too. Certain industries, in particular Energy, Fuels, Telcos and Retail, are using online testing and assessments now – they are also proving quite useful during social distancing.
Businesses are now using new tests and methods that go way beyond standard SHL testing to understand the impact a pricing manager will have on the business if they were hired and the ROI they will deliver the business when they start work.
Understanding someone’s individual price reasoning skills and emotional intelligence skills are the main things computers can’t do very well. These new tests and methods are must-haves for businesses like you in the next 3-5 years. Especially for a business that wants to improve their B2B and/or retail pricing decisions.
When it comes to hiring price experts, don’t always trust your gut. You have to look at things without bias by following the tips below:
- Have several team members involved in the hiring decision
- Make use of available data, facts, figures, and lists to make decisions
- Evaluate the candidate’s capability to do the job
- Check previous work samples
- Believe in the tried and tested hiring process that has worked for many years
Pricing organisations can transition to a more rigorous hiring process for their pricing team by implementing the following four measures:
- Promote an environment where everyone’s in HR: The human resources department is usually the first place to evaluate a candidate. However, it’s the hiring manager who usually leads the recruitment process by choosing colleagues to do the interviews. Therefore, business leaders should encourage an environment where all shareholders in the company are observing how to better assess pricing talent.
- Train like a star player: Companies need to develop a regimented system by prioritising how to interview and screen pricing professionals using better and more specific guidance and evaluations, highlighting what works and doesn’t work in the entire hiring process.
- Be prepared for the interview process: It’s common for employees to interview a candidate in an unscheduled, impromptu meeting. Without preparation, such a meeting may end up being a waste of time for both parties. For a better outcome, prepare the interview process in advance. To help assess cultural fit, use behavioural interview questions, and evaluate skills through a strategically designed assessment structure.
- Evaluate your success rate: Companies should keep comprehensive data and assess the success rate of HR and hiring manager, not only over the short term. Who did HR recommend, and what was the success rate of those individuals? Where are they after three years? Interviewers must have a good scorecard. Interviewers without a good scorecard should be thoroughly trained or else taken out of the hiring process.
- Don’t always trust your gut when hiring as it leads to about a 50% hiring failure rate. That only shows that trusting your gut will mean more work for your company in the future. In addition, it will cost your business lots of money. Certainly, nobody wants that.
- Changes in the workplace are inevitable and necessary for growth. But feared by employees for a range of reasons.
- Humans find comfort in the safety and predictability of everyday routine. It’s normal to feel unsettled in the face of such changes, however, resilient people are more likely to adapt, think positively and overcome challenges.
- If your gut instinct is dictating you that you felt this is the person for the job, take a big step back and look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of parameters in the hiring process to take into consideration aside from your gut instinct.
- The combination of testing, behavioural interviews and subject matter evaluation provides a strong prediction of candidates’ on-the-job performance, without the risks associated with face-to-face interviews and assessment centres.
Price Expert Talent: Why Employers Are Not Attracting The Best!
Most job ads do a terrible job of selling the role and marketing the business to prospective candidates. In fact, most job ads drive talent (and especially high demand price expert talent that often knows its value) away.
Jobs ads should be a great marketing opportunity, yet very often they talk right past the candidates they want to attract.
Most job ads are written in the third person, which is just weird and self-defeating. And, very often the tone and style of ads make people feel like they are unworthy of applying.
Equally bad, are job ads that go to the other extreme where everything is PC, techy and hipster.
Techy hype may fit with the start-up tech business culture. It doesn’t fit with established and large B2B corporations which often require price expert talent as much if not more so. What’s more, it’s disingenuous and inconsistent to piggyback off another industries mission statement to attract high calibre candidates. It also doesn’t work because good candidates can see straight through it.
Finding the right candidate can mean accepting diversity.
Both types of job ads almost always use exaggerated expressions and self-serving claims or promotional videos telling candidates how smart they are, how great the culture is and how lucky candidates should feel for joining such a great company.
In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to effectively choose the right pricing expert. We will share with you the qualities and skills that you should be looking for when hiring a price expert talent. By the end of this article, you’ll learn the techniques on how to look for a price expert talent that really delivers.
Skills and Qualities of a Price Expert Talent
There are a lot of reasons to hire a pricing specialist to support you on your pricing journey. These may involve evaluating the suitability of your present pricing strategy, determining particular pricing changes for profit improvements, moulding the business impact of an alternative pricing method, and a lot more.
Whatever your requirements may be, it’s vital to choose the right price experts for your organisation. Here are the top 5 skills and qualities to look for in a price expert:
1. A winner in pricing strategy initiatives
A pricing expert should have a sense of urgency for pricing initiatives, without directly having authority over pricing decisions. He should also be part sheriff and part diplomat and more of an influencer than a dictator. He should possess excellent leadership and communication skills so as to influence the decision-making process with no benefit of a reporting hierarchy.
2. An inquisitive character
The main responsibility for driving pricing strategy needs an analytical or inquisitive nature, the same as working with a team of pricing experts on a daily basis.
3. A technical expert
The best pricing expert should have a good technical background. For instance, in math, economics, engineering, or business finance.
4. Trained and certified in pricing
It is an advantage to have specialized training in pricing optimisation and strategy. Consider getting pricing professional training. They offer courses from fundamental classes to price setting and price variance management topics, also from corporate strategy to behavioural and psychological factors. This type of training prepares the pricing specialist as an influencer and thought leader in your company.
5. Cross-functional problem-solver
The best pricing experts are born problem-solvers and they like to work in groups. Pricing leaders do well in a cross-functional environment. Aside from their own teams, pricing experts should collaborate with other groups and teams/departments, creating the case for pricing strategy to the pricing team and other business leaders.
These top five skills and qualities will give you a starting point in recognising outstanding pricing experts, either within your company or in an external hiring situation.
Having a cross-functional pricing expert may help encourage positive debate and exchange of ideas, lowering discounting and improving pricing strategy. Also, helping to share best practices and insights in the organisation with consideration for workplace culture and the needs of various shareholders within it.
Three basic skill patterns of a price expert talent
Pricing experts are the solution to driving differentiation and success in companies. Below are 3 basic skill patterns of a price expert talent:
Strategist – One that works with the C suite on how to implement the pricing lever to attain organisational objectives.
Analyst – The one that processes a large amount of data, and looks for patterns. This role was famous in the B2C and distribution industries. However, with new technologies, it is becoming more sought-after at B2B companies.
Coach – The one that works with other tasks to enlighten, mould and help deploy pricing strategy. There are sub-patterns included that depends on whether the focus is on sales, product development, product marketing, or sales operations.
Pricing experts will tell you if they have the skills and qualities, tools and relationships needed to provide resolutions to your problems. Poor pricing consultants will tell you that they can do everything. Mind you, even big firms can’t do everything. Scale is not equal to capability.
How to find price expert talent that really delivers!
Candidates read ads, watch your promotional videos, go to your website, read social media and look for congruence. They also ask their friends, peers, networks and read reviews to get the real low down on the culture.
Social media has opened businesses up to public scrutiny. Your job ads are not marketing you or your brand very well.
Take a look at some of the job ads your business has posted on LinkedIn: Would you want to work for you after reading them?
In fact, our research shows that listing strict job requirements in job ads actually reduces the number of applications businesses receive (including for price expert talent roles).
Pricing experts are great at assisting business transformation because they can bring a wealth of understanding inside your market. Also, adopt ideas from similar markets.
To have an exceptional pricing leader means making a real difference in the growth of your company’s pricing strategy. Being the business’ chief pricing strategist, one should have a combination of technical, analytical skills with a sharp understanding of how to build and shape workplace culture.
It takes a little more than a job ad on LinkedIn to convince smart people that business culture is changing for the better. Especially when a business has a damaged reputation, poor brand image, a toxic culture and/or operates in the disrupted business industry.
Bad job ads create artificial barriers to entry for applicants. They also lead to a larger-than-usual number of jobs going unfilled.
If you want to hire sharp people for price expert talent in your organisations, then you need to market and sell the role to them.
A job description and promotional video are not enough to convince someone you’re a great company to work for – neither is an award.
When I say marketing and selling the role, I do not mean posting a job on LinkedIn. And paying the premium to get top of page visibility.
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