Price management: Interpersonal skills vital particularly in B2B pricing and selling environments

Written by Joanna Wells, Author of TeamBuilder360 & Director of Taylor Wells taylorwells.com.au – Experts in Pricing & Building Effective Teams

Team integration and ability to work together are probably the two most important requirements for a successful set up of commercial price management and pricing functions. We have seen numerous examples of promising new hires failing to gel with a new team or having a relationship with key stake holders become “complicated quite quickly.

Commercial and pricing professionals tend to be driven and high achieving by nature (pricing competency). Often they can find the prevailing culture at their new company not all they had hoped it would be. Note: I will cover the importance of senior advocacy for pricing in a later blog post. Many industries traditionally have valued tenure, “industry” expertise and personal contacts very highly. This has been particularly true in sales pricing strategy environments. This traditional approach can be in juxtaposition to a pricing hire, which is typically viewed as number cruncher / information gather / cost

 

Keys for hiring price management professionals

We believe the prerequisites for a successful pricing hire include:

  1. Senior advocacy from top level management in new company for pricing strategy.
  2. Clear guidelines and understanding as to what remit of new pricing manager is.
  3. Interpersonal and communicative skills of new hire
  4. Patience and ability to see long term
  5. Candidates with a strong grasp of value based pricing (analytics and philosophy), business acumen, and an excellent problem solving ability.

We also think it is important for companies to identify the next generation of pricing expertise. By this, I mean to find candidates with the rare of ability to make sense and draw pattern between markets and commerce,  and put into use, the intangible, unseen opportunities and potential in all economic and market conditions. Innovation is  constant, and unstable markets will demand expertise beyond even the most capable Value Based Pricing Specialist.

Our research shows that exceptional pricing and commercial executives are 300% more productive than average performers 1 1/2 times better than core performers and 900% more productive than poor performers.

Most commercial functions are still dominated by cost plus pricing specialist. A growing number of successful businesses are employing value based price management specialists (partly because there are very few of these in the Australian market). Only a handful are hiring what we call ‘practical innovators’ – people with the ability to adapt and  produce innovative pricing patterns and alternatives that respond to changing and unstable markets; and expertise that goes beyond the typical text book definitions of value based pricing.

Whilst “Rome was not built in a day”, neither can a market leading, best pricing, commercial approach be built very quickly. A pricing manager must be prepared to work over the medium and long term (5 years) to deliver the full benefits. Obviously, a receptive culture and management focus will speed up this process.

Interpersonal skills vital particularly in B2B pricing and selling environments is written by Joanna Wells, Author of TeamBuilder360 & Director of Taylor Wells taylorwells.com.au – Experts in building Pricing Teams

Taylor Wells is a specialist advisory firm that has developed a search, evaluation and recruitment process in the field of price management, commercial and analytics.  Our business was started after identifying weaknesses in the traditional agency recruitment model.  Our purpose is to support management and HR to eliminate the risk of a bad hire. Our workshops and diagnostics ensure pricing or commercial teams are deeply engaged with the sales and marketing teams to achieve greater levels of margin and earnings growth.  We have developed our own digital platform to identify and evaluate talent and we partner with subject matter experts to help us operate efficiently.

 

Check out our blog on applying luxury pricing strategy to a sports game.

 

Joanna Wells

Director

BA/ MA Psych. CANTAB, Msc Org. Psych, Dip.Couns Psych

TeamBuilder360

From losing good staff, changing the businesses’ commodity mindset, dealing with procurement, making sense of complex pricing arrangements and managing talent and skills gaps, you face many challenges daily. The pressure of business, work and everyday life is unprecedented. It is now more difficult than ever to choose the right path for the business.

The right pricing and commercial teams can help you generate low risk, and sustainable revenue, margin and profit growth.

Leading companies like GE, DuPont and Caterpillar have all invested in their people and pricing. Over the past 10 years, they have improved their HR initiatives to build powerful and rare pricing teams to drive revenue, margin and profit growth.

TeamBuilder360 shows you how to build teams that work together to drive revenue, margin and profit growth using a teambuilder360 canvas and a wealth of real life examples. It also gives you advice and guidance on how to build a more productive and successful career in pricing without compromising on important career choices and goals.

Check out our recent blogS on Pricing insight when recruiting pricing professionals and how smart price control can liberate you from loss making behaviour.