HencePricing advisory in B2B: How does disruption affect jobs in pricing?

Written by Joanna Wells, Author of TeamBuilder360 and Director of Taylor Wells – specialist at building pricing team – a specialist advisory firm that has developed a specialist recruitment program for pricing, commercial and sales management.

 

B2B Pricing advisory : I have been noticing a lot more pricing transformations taking place cross-industry and in a wide variety of organisations. And, I am curious about what pricing transformation and B2B pricing advisory means for pricing teams and jobs now and in the future.

 

My observations of the market and future for pricing and B2B pricing advisory are that:

 

  1. There seems to be a correlation between the transformative times in which we live and more headcount reductions, departmental restructuring and leaner pricing teams in large corporates— whether through automation, digitization or disintermediation
  2. There is more and more pricing work (currently at the consultative/expert level) being done on a freelance or “contractor” basis than ever before.
  3. Global hiring plans for large corporates are diminishing while global hiring plans for innovative consultancies and smaller entrepreneurial businesses are actually increasing.
  4. There is almost twice the proportion of pricing jobs being created currently by external consultancies, innovative businesses (in all industries) and entrepreneurial businesses (start-up and IPOs) than by large corporates with traditional operations, control and direct power structures, siloed cultures and outmoded business, pricing and revenue models.

 

Digital Age disruption

 

The digital age is disrupting the way the professional sector does its business. The standard office hours is not applicable and old pricing strategies are being revised. More people are working at their homes instead of a four-walled cubicle. They choose the hours they want to work and how to be paid. Either through digital bank transfer or through a debit card.

 

The old established businesses are trying to catch up with the smaller start-up companies that embrace the digital age wholeheartedly and making more money. This is because today have become more tech-savvy and want the companies to follow their lead doing business in the digital world.

 

To stay relevant in the digital world, the old-time and material pricing schemes must be discarded. No longer is the hourly or product pricing considered as part of today’s pricing model. But more people are looking for outcome-based pricing models to pay for the service or materials. They moving away from the bundled schemes and pay what they need. Not the other embedded service that, in reality, they don’t need

 

The digital transformation in the business world is inevitable. This is true, especially in the service industry. They are adapting to the new business methods and according to the needs of the customers. Services like the transportation, legal and consulting sectors are embracing these changes.

 

The Transportation Sector

 

Nothing is more affected by the digital transformation than the transportation industry. Companies like Uber and Lyft have disrupted the traditional taxi services all over the world. Commuters are tired of riding on dirty and unreliable taxi cabs when riding. Plus the fact some of the cab drivers are rude and reckless when driving. Now with a touch of a button on their smartphones, they can book a ride instead of hailing one in the middle of a street. Another advantage is the cars are much cleaner and wholly owned by the driver. No more filthy cabs.

 

Another innovative change is changing the lifestyle concept of owning a car. The car rentals and ownership dealers are worried this could disrupt their business. The Zipcar provides a more convenient way to ride to work or other riding activities.

 

Instead of owning or renting a car. The cars are conveniently located all over the city. All you have to do is swipe a card and you can drive the car anywhere you want to go. After using the car, just return it to its original location. It eliminates the driver on spending on fuel, mileage and insurance. All of it is taken care by the company which the customer pays for membership. Once when the concept of owning a car is a symbol of status. It is now the convenience of not having to pay maintenance, gas and insurance for driving a car.

 

The Law Profession

 

Law firms are no longer using the traditional hourly or compensation based pricing models to bill their clients. New and high-calibre law firms are emerging and competing against the traditional law firms with their unbundling of legal services and more flexibility.

 

More clients are using social media to gauge how effective the law firms with their cases and how much the bills are. Called the “Yelpification of law”, price, flexibility and customer satisfaction are factors law firms must adapt to stay relevant to the clients.

 

An example of this is the Lawyers on Demand. They charged their clients only on what they need and not on bundled services. They can be adjusted according to the client’s needs and priced on project or outcome-based. The fees are set in advance and can be set daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the skills of the lawyer.

 

Freelance lawyers use this to attract clients online with three working models: instant on-call services managed teams for specialized projects and on-site services. This gives the client the option to hire them either on short-term or on long-term. The outcome is competitive prices, high quality consulting and complete control by the client.

 

Consulting Firms Transparency

 

Most clients have no idea how consulting firms process the projects assigned to them. Consulting firms deliver the end product. Without showing its resolution. Therefore, it is difficult to place value and evaluation of their services. It allowed the consulting firms to maintain control over the transactions and bill the client according to the result of the consulting.

 

But today, clients want the consulting firms to be more transparent and detail their processes. Such as, billed for services they do not need. Faster response, quicker outcome and greater control over the consulting service is what they are looking for.

 

Other firms like the Business Talent Group, are taking advantage of this by using smaller teams of top-notch freelancer at affordable prices. Instead of the time-based billing given to the clients, they bill the client by smaller, outcome-based results.

 

Another large firm, McKinsey Solutions, offers time tested solutions with self-service packages. It gives the client the flexibility to use the solutions without the huge costs. The pricing is either subscription or licensed based.

 

 

What does this all mean?

 

Is there a direct link between disruption and growth in B2B pricing advisory roles?

Is there a direct link between disruption and job losses in pricing?

It may be too early to tell whether there is a direct link between disruption and growth (or job losses in dinosaur businesses).  What is emerging from our era of disruption, however, is that disrupting the status quo is vital to value and wealth creation and in turn job creation.

The more inquisitive and involved you are at disrupting your sector or producing innovative pricing strategies, the more likely your business will take care of you and invest in the pricing advisory function. Why? Because people that help grow profitability (for the business and their customers) are a valuable and rare asset. People that stifled creation are not.

There are also clear warning signs to policymakers and governments to pay attention to new workforce trends and disruptions. I see clear signals for us all to think about what is happening around us. I believe that we all need to care and contribute to job creation and future employment. Your job security is not someone else’s problem.

 

Implications

 

  • Professional service sectors must embrace to the digital landscape. If they don’t, they will disappear like the dinosaurs.

 

  • Customers are becoming more tech-savvy. They want more transparency in their transactions.

 

  • Some of the companies will continue to resist but change is inevitable and must adapt.

 

  • More clients will flock to the new companies that adapts the new digital transformation.

 

Conclusions

 

  • Digital disruptions benefit businesses in the long run. More transparency and reduced pricing models is what clients want.

 

  • The traditional office hours and pricing models are obsolete. More freelancers are going online and have more flexible working hours.

 

  • Most of the pricing models in the digital age results from outcome-based pricing.  Hence, the bundled pricing is no longer applicable.

 

  • Most of the business transactions do its work in the digital world. Thus, established firms adapt or left behind.

 

 

For more insights on  pricing and B2B pricing advisory, visit taylorwells.com.au and taylorwells.com.au/taylor-wells-blog/

Joanna Wells TeamBuilder360

Joanna Wells

Director

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

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