How To Improve Financial Performance – Hindrances and Tips To Remember 🧠
Are you struggling to improve financial performance? To let you in on a little secret, financial performance is largely influenced by your pricing capabilities. Your pricing team is key to improving your financial performance and increasing profitability.
The crazy thing is though; many CEOs view their team’s pricing skills and capability as secondary to strategy or systems implementations. In this article, we’re going to share some insights from major ASX price improvement projects. This will help you improve financial performance and make you aware of problems you should address along the way.
Improving Financial Performance is Difficult Without Pricing Teams
Over the past ten years, many major ASX businesses have tried to improve financial performance without a dedicated pricing team. As a result, most have become stalled or blown off course. CEOs bought themselves expensive price software solutions, however, they found themselves plagued with very complicated and financial performance issues.
Training average employees were also one of the most common issues. For example, many people didn’t know how to use the pricing system or the technology that went along with it. Some people wouldn’t use the new price software system because the system was generating ridiculous prices. ( i.e., low or high ball prices wholly misaligned to the customer base)
Nearly all CEOs that embarked on price improvement programs have said they massively underappreciated the role of their teams, culture, and capability to drive their new pricing system. Furthermore, our research shows that it takes businesses 3-5 years to transition from an old to a new price operating model. Many companies thought they would see instant progress and improvement.
Issues That Prevent Business From Improving Financial Performance
To give you some insight so you can work to avoid the same problems, we’ve listed seven of the most common issues businesses encounter while trying to improve financial performance.
1. Lack of cognitive diversity
There is a lack of cognitive diversity impacting lateral thinking/problem-solving skills in many teams and organisations across Australia. In simple terms, there are too many people with the same perspective on pricing, knowledge base, skills, and information processing style. Many businesses don’t have or don’t give priority to specialised pricing teams, who would have better capability to address pricing.
When leaders and teams deploy a formulaic problem-solving style, learning and financial performance in the face of new situations slows down considerably. Price execution suffers because teams take too long to make decisions and solve problems.
2. Lack of understanding about the discipline
As a result of business-wide transformations, it’s not uncommon to find executives from other functional divisions inheriting price leadership or management responsibilities. A large number of executives have excellent knowledge and technical skills in other areas, but limited experience in pricing. Hence, it can be difficult for executives to develop the right approach to drive financial performance due to the limited understanding of the pricing skill gaps across their teams.
3. Outdated talent management practices
Hiring or promoting people based on personal preferences, tenure, or perceived time and resource constraints rarely turn out well. Many leaders have been putting staff forward for pricing roles while they are utterly unsuitable for the position or team.
Read our 8 step guide on building a competent pricing team.
4. Limited talent identification process
The selection process for pricing leadership roles is often set up to fail before it even begins. Our research shows that over 70% of HR managers rely on a generic Lominger (Korn Ferry) framework to understand the characteristics of price leadership. Also, refusing to use a proven framework will create role ambiguity. Hence confusion amongst teams about how they should access and feed into the pricing function arises.
5. Human bias
A surprisingly large number of managers are unable to judge how they can understand, manage and set prices. Almost all managers who need to improve their skills and pricing practices often don’t take the initiative. It seems like they have false belief that they’re doing just fine. It takes 2-3 years to break an entrenched commodity mindset and unlearn bad habits.
6. Organisation design/team integration issues
The wrong team structure will defeat high performing pricing teams every time. Legacy team structures are often misaligned to strategy or execution, creating confusion amongst teams and roles. Also, price decision making bottlenecks within power structures and slows implementation all around.
7. Changing market dynamics
Managing prices to balance profit objectives against staying competitive is increasingly complicated. More customers, more products and higher revenues under management yet lower gross margins and declining EBIT margins.
The movement from cost-plus pricing skills to more advanced pricing strategies and analytics has been a positive move for many businesses. It drives more revenue and margin, but consequently, it’s creating new skills gaps across many Australian organisations. Over 80% of applicants lack the insight into advanced pricing practices.
Finding and identifying talented people with the capability, lateral thinking, and pricing skills to improve financial performance is not easy:
- 80% of staff assigned to pricing roles fail to perform more complex pricing duties, especially relevant at very senior levels.
- 90% of businesses still believe they can “make do” with what they’ve got while improving financial performance without a dedicated pricing team (i.e., get existing people from sales, financial or marketing to run pricing).
- Many HR functions continue to post specialist pricing roles on LinkedIn and select all the wrong types of people for their pricing function.
No other financial, sales or marketing function can set and manage prices to improve financial performance like a dedicated pricing team that knows what they are doing. In conclusion, the real value of a pricing team is the objectivity, focus, and expertise they apply to solve commercial problems within shorter time frames.
Not everyone is good at pricing or has the potential to be good at pricing. Most of all, assuming people will be good at pricing simply because they have an accounting or financial background is seriously flawed.
If you would like to learn how to improve your pricing capability – read this guide. This will provide insights into key performance issues, plus tips on how to assign the right people to new price duties and roles.
Don’t lose another dollar with the wrong team – check out the guide here.
For a comprehensive view on driving pricing strategies to maximise growth,
Are you a business in needs of help to align your pricing strategy, people and operations to deliver an immediate impact on profit?
If so, please call (+61) 2 9000 1115.
You can also email us at email@example.com if you have any further questions.
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