Pricing Manager Recruitment: Hiring the Right Pricing Teams 👨💼
Pricing manager recruitment should be about finding the right people for the right team. But very often we see HR’s pricing manager recruitment process going awry, yielding less than suitable candidates for the team.
Many businesses including Fortune 500 and ASX businesses spend millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars on recruiting commercial teams using unreliable interview methods. Results are not always the best.
So, in this article, we will be answering the following key questions about pricing manager recruitment:
1. What makes a great pricing team?
2. Do companies hire for talent or personality?
3. What are the interview methods used to find that one gem?
Table of contents:
Pricing Manager Recruitment: Hiring the Right Pricing teams
According to our latest research on hiring pricing talent, most interviews are completely ineffective methods of identifying price and revenue management teams.
In fact, the time spent on interviews almost doubled since;2009 and the cost to hire is the highest it’s ever been.
Interviews are arguably the most difficult technique to get right because interviewers should be asking relevant questions that predict good pricing and revenues hires. Unfortunately, most questions just don’t hit the mark—mainly because they focus on past behaviour and experience – failing in turn to identify core traits, competencies and capability for new pricing teams and positions.
And getting a product pricing manager to run the interview for you doesn’t seem to be making the problem better either. In fact, our research shows that, even though pricing managers may have some great capabilities, they are not necessarily great at interviewing. Their focus is on finding people that can do the job now – not people who can adapt to the needs of the business now and in the future.
Very often pricing manager recruitment leads interviews by focusing on their own needs, rather than on the needs of the business or the candidate. Interviews can go off on tangents and questions do not explore personal traits and attributes enough. Much of the notes produced are often unhelpful to final decision making.
The problem with interviewing people like this is that it’s a big waste of time. It’s a terrible indicator of predicting personality traits and job performance. Interviewers are commonly swayed by their biases as they evaluate the candidate. This further reduces the predictive accuracy of job interviewers. And you don’t get the people you really need in your pricing team.
So which pricing manager recruitment method is the best one?
Proponents of informal job interview questions say these are effective at ensuring you hire the right fit for the business. Sure, they may yield some interesting conversations, but what’s more important to you: Someone who can get on with everyone OR someone who can get the job done and make you money?
It’s time to leave interviews behind and use new and more scientific methods instead. And sure, you may be thinking, I want to get to know the kind of person I’m hiring. However, there’s no evidence that interviews will help you to do this. And, even if it were true, the scenario of missing out on great hires because of unreliable and biased interview methods only makes sense if the company isn’t concerned about finding the best pricing talent for the business.
Alternative approaches for pricing manager recruitment
So, what’s a better way of doing a pricing manager recruitment?
Pre-employment assessment answers – such as work samples, cognitive ability tests, behavioural tests and domain capability assessments – are all good predictors of job performance for pricing team.
Our research shows that domain pricing assessments using a multi-trait assessment model, including General Mental Ability (GMA) Tests is the best way to find people for niche, specialist roles like pricing.
How do we know? We’ve been building pricing, finance and data analytics teams for leading businesses in Australia, EU, US and UK for over 15 years using scientific methods and research.
We are pricing industry experts and psychometricians, we do not ignore the finding that GMA is critical. No, we incorporate this into our assessment model, but we go one if not two or three steps further. We also measure and assess other important capabilities and competencies related to helping executives build world-class commercial pricing and revenue management.
If you’re thinking of building or re-structuring your pricing team, we recommend that you hire for individual pricing capability, not just experience. Here’s why:
You need a mix of experiences and capability to accelerate profit results. These experiences don’t have to be the same as your business, but some experience of pricing is good. Too much is not good, as it’s difficult to unlearn bad habits. Strong domain knowledge and strategic thinking are also critical to pricing – otherwise, the team won’t be able to solve new problems when they arrive.
The right mix of traits and abilities for pricing manager recruitment
CV star power isn’t everything, you need the right mix of traits and abilities to get a pricing team performing well. And of course, the right team structure, tools, strategy and support from executive management. Culture is the no 1 factor here, you can get a great team, but if they’re set up for failure, they will fail in their mission to drive profitability for the business.
In fact, it’s hard to identify who’s really got what it takes to do the job of a pricing manager or analyst when you haven’t got research, analytics or benchmarks to compare applicants against. How did they acquire their domain expertise? Can they apply and synthesise their knowledge and experience to produce results and make money? Can they solve your problems?
A domain pricing expert is someone who is not related to the technological aspect of your business, but has deep knowledge about the particular industry and discipline: i.e, they understand causal relationships and are great analytical thinkers.
Our domain pricing manager recruitment and commercial testing and evaluation system assesses candidates across many dimensions to ensure you get someone who can drive your strategy and culture while driving EBIT growth safely along the way.
There is no scientific proof that interviews are effective. It has been long regarded as wasteful and costly exercise. Replacing it with a new and more scientific process designed for pricing teams can help you. To keep up with the rapid change in your market; as well as the evolving pricing discipline and talent market.
General problem-solving skills are important in predicting job success. However, the traditional interview has played out its role in identifying these skills in the pricing team.
It’s true some form of an interview can find some of the best there are; but it’s such an enormous waste of money, time, energy and very much down to chance and luck.
Companies have become more specific about the pricing skills they want in pricing roles. Now they’ve almost overlooked the very traits, capabilities and behaviours that really drive high-performance pricing and profitable revenue growth.
Pricing Manager Recruitment: How to Build a Perfect Pricing Team
Recently, a finance manager of one of our customers asked me an interesting question; “Is it really that important to engage the organisation with pricing before we build our pricing team or couldn’t I just get people in there and work it out from there with pricing recruiters?
To build a perfect pricing team you need 3 things: the right pricing strategy, key stakeholders aligned to the strategy, and the right mix of skills. For so many reasons only a handful of companies complete these steps before building their teams. It is far more common to see companies getting people into the roles and functions first and then working the rest out as they go along.
Neither approach is right or wrong, companies face many competing challenges. However, if your mission is to find cash quickly and effectively then there is no substitute for setting up your pricing team properly (and before hiring people you are not sure are going to be successful in high profile pricing and commercial roles and functions).
How to build the perfect pricing team for maximum result by the pricing manager recruitment
If you want significant EBIT results, visible behavioural change in the organisation and happy customers, then it might be wise to do a little more planning in the early stages. So that you have a cash-generating commercial and pricing function helping you grow the business now and in the future.
This article discusses how to build the perfect pricing team for maximum results. However, we will also explain how to build a perfect pricing team when you have a limited budget for pricing recruiters, organisational support and strategy in our next article.
After analyzing the pricing capability of over 100 FT500, ASX 500 and Privately owned businesses in Australia; and the individual pricing competency of over 300 senior pricing and commercial executives, there are a few necessary steps to build a perfect pricing team along the journey to a value pricing culture. These steps include:
Senior management engagement
- A clear understanding of the pricing situation now and where the organisation wants to be in 6- 18 months
- Analysis of cross-business unit performance
- Awareness as to what a pricing function can do
- Business re-organisation to enable the proposed pricing function i.e. reporting lines, controls, work with marketing etc
- Estimation of Cost / Benefit analysis or Return on Investment (ROI) of a pricing team
- Recruiting a team with the right mix of skills, capabilities, attitudes and potential
- Recruiting key personnel incorrect order and enabling/empowering them throughout the organisation
- Providing analytical support required for optimum benefit – i.e. data, IT etc
- How high-quality pricing recruiters would set about helping you reach your objectives
As you can see – this is a pretty long list of necessary steps. However, they can be done quickly and effectively with the right systems, frameworks and processes in place. None of them will happen by themselves, but they will generally flow from 1-9 as listed below.
Senior management engagement
Creating real change is not easy to a corporate structure and will require effort and drive from senior stakeholders, usually from the CEO and the leadership team. The major changes required need executive championing otherwise internal rivalry, laziness and the status quo (“this is how we do things”) as well as protecting turf (“this is a marketing role”) will stifle any proposed changes.
Recognition of weakness in corporate go to market approach
Is management commercially focused enough to realise a change is required or is even possible? Is sales a “black box” that is left to the sales team? Often finance only looks at the numbers and does not help drive market strategy. A rough awareness of pricing is needed. Often this can be a “lightbulb” moment.
Analysis of cross-business unit failings
Who will perform the analysis needed? Will external consultants are required to analyse failings or can it be done in the house? Can an under-performing team analyse itself and suggest improvements? Often strong voices can be found internally but have not been listened to. Senior management must enable someone to perform a thorough analysis.
Awareness of what a pricing function can do
Most consultants do not really understand what a pricing function can do as they have not worked in a commercial business. Pricing remains a niche area in Australia and has not made the cross over as yet that it has in the US and Germany.
I have seen thorough studies of sales departments that have not mentioned pricing in the conclusions, as the consultants are not aware of the power of pricing. A key element of success is engaging someone with pricing expertise and awareness to explain and interpret the potential available.
Business reorganisation to enable the proposed pricing function i.e. reporting lines, controls, work with marketing etc.
Pricing is by its nature a multi-disciplinary function. It does not sit in finance, sales, marketing or strategy but requires input from all and buy in to be successful. Often reorganising reporting lines and business set-up is required to create “space” for the pricing team. Issues will clearly arise as managers may not be happy with the proposed changes.
Estimation of Cost / Benefit analysis or Return on Investment (ROI) of a pricing team
Prior to scoping roles, an estimate of the expected benefits available is required. Whether this is a margin enhancement strategy, a price optimisation to secure business or a refocus on key accounts, an understanding of pricing is required to estimate the benefits available.
Recruiting a team
For specialist roles, in house HR is often not capable of finding, training and supporting the hires as required. External agency recruiters also struggle in this regard. Envisaging the team that is required and roles performed by different personnel will also require consideration and potentially specialist pricing recruiters.
Recruiting key personnel in correct order and enabling or empowering them throughout the organisation ensures new staff will hit the ground running and do not get lost in the initial period. It is vital to place a number of key staff first. Additional staff is added to the team once it has the required base.
Providing analytical support required for optimum benefit – i.e. data, IT etc
A pricing team will look at data in ways that the company is not using before. Industry studies show that pricing analysts can spend up to 60% of their time merely cleansing data to enable meaningful analysis. Give early consideration to processing the data requirements and capabilities of the organisation and attempts made to fill any gaps. Ensuring that data capabilities grow prior to the team implementation will fast track benefits obtained.
Pricing Manager Career: How To Manage A Diverse Pricing Team
Have you been asked to run a culturally diverse pricing function as part of the next step in your pricing manager career? By this I mean, pricing teams from different parts of the world – some of whom work remotely – with significant cultural differences, personalities and outlooks. Have team members found a way to harness their differences and work well together or are they struggling to gel as a team?
If the latter situation is the case, don’t worry. Often, when you inherit a culturally diverse pricing team, there are going to be teething issues and language barriers. Some team members may not have total fluency in the English language. Then, there are cultural norms and nuances influencing and/or suppressing preferred behaviours, communication styles, outlooks and beliefs. Such differences, of course, may impact any pricing function, but in this case, they can emerge from a clash of diverse cultural outlooks.
So, in this article, we will be discussing how to manage a diverse pricing team in the best way possible. We argue that when cultural differences and tensions are not managed correctly; pricing team performance and communication break down. We believe that when tensions mount without being resolved by the head of pricing or pricing manager, conflicts on feedback and deadlines to complete projects can very often be interpreted on a very personal level; stiffing, in turn, creativity and problem solving and even damaging team morale.
The solution to managing multicultural pricing teams effectively is to acknowledge the underlying cultural roots of conflict and address underlying negativity quickly.
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<a href="https://taylorwells.com.au/pricing-manager-career"><img class="size-full wp-image-35339" src="https://taylorwells.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Mapping-Teamwork-6-1.jpg" alt="Mapping Framework For Pricing Teams" width="800" height="5834" /></a>
There are four categories that can create barriers to a pricing team’s ultimate success and your pricing manager career:
- Direct versus indirect communication – communicating in Western cultures is typically direct and explicit. In cross-cultural communication, members from non-Western countries may find the “say as it is” way of talking rude, brash and confronting. While other members of the pricing team may find the “going around the bush” method of the non-Westerner frustrating slow and off point
- The trouble with accents and fluency – members who aren’t fluent in the team’s dominant language may have difficulty conveying their pricing knowledge. This can prevent the strategic pricing management group from using their pricing expertise and create frustration or perceptions of incompetence.
- Differing attitudes toward hierarchy and authority – team members from hierarchical cultures expect treatment according to their status in the organisation. Members from egalitarian cultures often do not. Failure of some members to honour those expectations can cause humiliation or loss of face
- Conflicting norms for decision making – each team member uses different ways of making decisions, including how much analysis is required beforehand to make that decision. Some prefer making decisions quickly and may grow frustrated with those who need more analyses and time. Careful planning is essential to finding the right pricing strategy, there is no reset button if a mistake occurs
To ensure a smooth pricing manager career transition, these four strategies deal with cultural differences in your new team:
- Adaptation is the ideal strategy because the team works effectively to solve its own problem with minimal input from management and learns to adapt. It works when team members are willing to acknowledge their cultural differences and to assume responsibility for figuring out how to live with them. Hence, full cooperation is required to make an effective pricing team
- Structural intervention is a deliberate reshuffling reducing interpersonal friction or removing a source of conflict for one or more team members. This approach can be extremely effective, especially when some team members are proud, defensive, threatened; or clinging to negative stereotypes of one another. Therefore, managerial intervention sets the ground rules early in a pricing team’s life.So that they can establish positive norms right from the outset. The manager, in turn, confronts the problem directly; telling the members that they have been chosen for their task expertise, not their fluency in English. The team has a unique team-working framework for working out language barriers in a productive way
- Exit is removing certain members from the team, project or even the business. Thus, leaving the team is the last resort for managing cultural problems. In short-term situations, unhappy team members often just wait out the project or wait until a problematic boss leaves. Utilised when conflicts get out of hand. Too much face was lost on both sides to salvage the situation.
Here’s how you can work through diverse cultural differences as part of your pricing manager recruitment
Although cultural differences do not directly contribute to the challenges of the pricing teams. It brings out other issues already embedded like a clash of personalities and whose expertise is better. These should be rectified by the pricing leader.
The remedy would be pricing leaders who intervene early and set clear and positive norms. This means, teams and managers who can structure social interaction and work to involve everyone on the team; and teams that can see problems as stemming from culture, not personality; approaching the issues with good humour and creativity.
Your team’s unique circumstances can help you determine how to respond to multicultural conflicts. Have a meeting with the members and bring out the problems that are stalling them. We’re not talking here about respecting different ways of doing business. We’re referring to day-to-day working problems among team members. Thus, it is important to keep diverse pricing teams realising the very gains they set up to harvest. Such as knowledge of different product markets, insight into different customer groups, new ideas and healthy debate.
Pricing professionals often bemoan the unwillingness of even major businesses. To invest in strategic commercial and pricing teams that could deliver clear benefits to the corporation. However, there’s an issue of putting the cart before the horse as a corporation’s journey to travel before implementing an optimum pricing team; just as a business’ journey to move from cost-plus (or worse) to true value-based pricing.
As you can see from the brief key point list above; implementing a pricing function is a detailed and demanding process that requires multiple functions working together and assistance from pricing experts. However, every journey starts somewhere, and from my experience that is usually senior management engagement.
Product Pricing Manager Recruitment: 6 Types Of Information To Attract Great Pricing Managers 👨🏻💼
More and more new pricing manager hires are regretting their decision to take on their current role. It’s now very common for pricing managers to ‘job hop’ every 12-18 months – just when you’re at a key stage of the pricing project, and you need them the most. This includes the product pricing manager job description for:
With all the millions of job ads and descriptions on the net right now, many pricing managers are choosing not to stay with businesses for a full two years. Some even more because they believe they can get a better offer elsewhere.
At Taylor Wells, our research shows that hiring managers and HR can get a handle on this growing talent churn problem by taking a new, proactive approach to recruitment. Starting with a product pricing manager job description that focuses on what pricing managers themselves value.
Today, I’ll share with you six new types of information you should be using in your product pricing manager job description. This will help you ‘stand out from the crowd’ and keep talented pricing professionals in your business.
The problem with the product pricing manager job description recruitment
Since 2008, the percentage of new hires that now regret their decision to accept their current position has risen by nearly 50%.
This means that roughly 46% of new hires in the last 12 months wouldn’t make the same decision again. About 1 in 3 of them considers leaving the business at any one time.
By no means, a small problem.
So, to get more insight into this talent churn problem, we asked our network of pricing executives what they thought was behind the new ‘job-hopping’ trend in Australia.
And, they gave us three great insights into the problem. They told us:
- They can’t help thinking that they’re going to get a better offer around the corner
- That they are somewhat disappointed in how their current pricing manager role was progressing and had hoped to take on more strategic pricing work by now
- That they often feel overworked and underappreciated by their business; and face ongoing resourcing issues that slow them down
This got me thinking, what is driving this theme of loss and regret? Are job descriptions perpetuating a dysfunctional hiring cycle and leading to serious talent churn issues? So, my team and I investigated.
>>> Read about: Why Private Equity Should Hire More Pricing Managers.
Analysing pricing manager recruitment
After analysing 524 pricing manager job descriptions based in Australia over the past two years, this is what we have found so far:
- Product pricing manager job descriptions and titles are still too narrowly defined with a tight focus on technical skills and technical, functional tasks
- Information on business culture and management styles tends to be vague and overly rose-tinted
- Most pricing manager job ads reference outdated competencies – more suited to static management accounting roles
- Many product pricing manager job descriptions ask way too much and often confuse analyst tasks with managerial tasks
The solution for pricing manager recruitment
When I went over these results, it was clear that job description had a big influence on the candidate decision making process. Not only was the job description the first point of contact with candidates, but it was also kind of like the first date…
When I thought about the product pricing manager job description like this, it became apparent that businesses really shouldn’t be using job descriptions to promote their brand. They also should not offer or offload all the tasks they needed to get done into one confusing mess. But, rather provide valuable information that candidates themselves find important.
Tips on attracting the best pricing management talent for your business
After ten years of recruiting pricing teams in Australia, I find that what people on both sides of the market want is information that they can trust to make an intentional, regret-free decision.
This information includes:
- A clear and objective description of what type of pricing work the position manages and oversees and its connection to the overall business strategy
- An objective / genuine insight into key aspects of the company culture
- An awareness of the management style of managers
- An indication of the role and positioning of the team within the business
- An understanding of the discipline and the price maturity of the business
- An objective and relevant way to measure and characterises success for the role and function
Interestingly, during our analysis of product pricing manager job descriptions, we found that only 3% of organisations use most of this information today. However, we also found that sharing all six increases the chances that a pricing manager found the job desirable by 23%.
A product pricing manager job description that provides this valuable information is much more likely to create satisfied employees and ultimately reduce your hiring costs.
A growing number of pricing managers are ‘job-hopping’ because they are primarily dissatisfied with their current roles. They believe a better job opportunity exists just around the corner – when it probably doesn’t.
The certainty of supply (getting the right candidate in the right roles) is not simply a numbers game. To get the people you want to accept your roles (and stay in their roles for longer than 18 months), you’ve got to know:
- Why you are looking for a pricing manager? (ROI and what would happen if you didn’t hire them or had a part-time resource managing pricing instead? i.e., would you lose unnecessary volume, miss out on revenue opportunities, lose money on every cost change and price change?)
- What you are looking for? (skills and characteristics)
- Where to find them?
- Who’s got the right mix of skills, styles, and capabilities to do the job?
- And, how to support and manage them when they are in the business, so they don’t leave.
I’ve shared with you six types of knowledge, proven to attract and retain highly sought-after candidates for your pricing roles. I’ve argued that when job descriptions have all six types of information, high-calibre candidates are more likely to find the roles interesting enough to apply.
We’ve shown how pricing manager job descriptions are still often wasted opportunities. This is because they focused too much on the business rather than the needs of pricing managers.
However, based on the evidence, keeping hold of a talented pricing manager is not a problem. That a job description or a healthy paycheque can fix. For this, you also need a new approach to recruiting your pricing team. Underpinned by robust talent management designed around the needs of world-class pricing teams.
Pricing Manager Recruitment: An Underperforming Pricing Manager Career 📉📈
In any business, there’s always going to be someone who’s not performing to the level or grade you hoped they would. This is just working life. But, at some point, you may find that this someone is your pricing manager. And, if this is the case, you’ll probably want to have some options from HR. That is, to guide you on what’s best to do in this situation.
The problem is that it can be quite difficult to give pricing managers the feedback and support they really need. Pricing is one of those lesser-known functions in a business. The ROI for most training programmes is negligible. And, yearly appraisals and employee assessments often struggle to pick up on specific performance issues in pricing teams.
What do the experts say about an underperforming pricing manager career?
So, what HR options do you have to help your pricing manager with their performance? Is there something productive you can do to help correct their behaviour or address their skills gaps? Is firing them or moving them to another team the only option you have?
The answer is no. There are other more productive options to choose from. If you have an issue with your pricing manager or team, take steps toward solving them as soon as possible. It can be very destructive to a pricing manager’s career, pricing project and business to do nothing about performance issues. These situations often do not resolve themselves. They often just get worse.
Some companies can be straightforward. They simply let go of the underperformer but most of the time it’s not very useful. Thus, you’ll be spending more resources to replace and train the new pricing manager.
In this article, we’ll explore steps to help an underperforming pricing manager career. We’ll argue firing the manager isn’t the only way to solve the problem. It is our belief that we can improve the pricing manager’s career. In addition, we’ll show a step by step approach on how to stage a productive intervention.
How do you help turn around an underperforming pricing manager’s career?
Jean-François Manzoni, coauthor of The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail, said: ”When you talk to senior executives, they’ll usually acknowledge that those don’t work,” Thus, it’s up to you as the manager to find ways on what to do.
Below listed are some ways how to carry out a productive intervention:
Pay attention to the problem
Too often we ignore problems. More often, instead of taking action, the manager will transfer the person somewhere else. If not, let him out of the loop and stay put without doing anything.”
This is not the solution. Don’t allow underperformance to ruin your pricing team. It’s not always that issues resolve themselves and may only get worse. You will become more frustrated and that’s going to show. It will also make the people uncomfortable. If there are problems, find ways to solve them as soon as possible.
Find out the reason for the problem
Find out the person’s qualifications and the necessary skills. Also, determine whether he has misunderstood the expectations. Sometimes, it’s also possible that you might be playing a role in the problem. After all, it’s not always that it’s the pricing manager’s fault just as it’s rare that it’s the senior management’s. Don’t always focus on what the underperformer needs to do to rectify the situation. Therefore, think about what changes you can do as well.
Look at the problem objectively
Make sure to look at the problem without bias. Consider talking to the person’s former boss or previous colleagues, or better yet, conduct a 360 review. Also, when talking to other people, do it confidentially.
Talk directly to the person involved
After checking or talking with other people, talk directly to the employee involved. Explain your observation and let him know how it’s affecting the team’s work. Also, make things clear that you’re there to help.
Verify if the employee is coachable
It’s crucial that the person acknowledges the problem. Take note, you can’t coach a person that doesn’t acknowledge that he needs help.
Make a concrete action plan
Create an action plan for both of you and the employee. Indicate what both of you are going to do differently. Of course, agreeing on quantifiable actions so that you can mark the development or progress. Also, ask what the employee needs in order to accomplish those goals. Then, give her a time frame.
Track the progress regularly
Monitor the improvement on a regular basis. Tell the employee to check in with you frequently. Furthermore, set up a specific date and time to check progress in the future. Also, you can ask if he has a close colleague that he wants you to enlist in the effort.
Keep the problem confidential
While working on it, make sure to keep what’s happening confidential. However, let others know that you’re dealing with or working on the “underperformance problem”. No need to discuss the specific details.
Take action if there’s no improvement
If you think there’s no progress, be clear on the consequences. You can say something like, ‘I want to be very clear with you. That this is not the first or the second time this has happened but the third time. Now, since I see no improvement and your behaviour hasn’t changed, I need to discuss the consequences…’ Though it’s hard and painful to fire someone, sometimes it’s the best option for your team.
Reward and praise significant improvement
Let the person know of the positive changes he made. In addition, let him know that you’ve observed the progress and reward him accordingly.
Dealing with performance issues:
- Intervene as soon as possible
- Take into account how you might be playing a role in performance issues
- Create a concrete, quantifiable action plan for improvement
- Forget to make follow up — regularly monitor their progress
- Waste your time and effort in coaching someone who doesn’t acknowledge that there’s a problem
- Discuss with others on the team about specific performance problems
Pricing Manager Recruitment
Instead of letting go of an underperforming pricing manager, find the problems plaguing the manager. It takes considerable resources to replace and train a new pricing manager. Once you find the problem, set aside some time to talk to the pricing manager. Discuss what ways he/she can do to improve his/her performance. Give him/her some leeway to admit that he/she has a problem. And it’s affecting not only him/her but also the pricing team.
How the Global Pandemic Covid-19 Changed Pricing Manager Recruitment Overnight
Does a crisis like a pandemic entail laying off pricing staff and teams? How should pricing professionals navigate their careers in times of crisis? What are senior pricing managers doing differently as a result of the pandemic?
We have seen definite changes in pricing director job descriptions and activities over the recent weeks. With major B2B pricing tenders halted and ongoing price increases for food, health, and ‘essential’ items have now become pricing priorities. Regardless of the industry that we work in, we are all primed and expecting increasing uncertainty and changes in our teams.
Many commercial executives, however, are reluctant to admit that their companies are facing turbulent times. Chief executives, in particular, do not want to scare employees and disrupt business operations in the new normal. If you’re in a senior pricing role. where does this pandemic lead you to? Will your position be safe in the coming months? And what impact will global disruption place on your work and future pricing director job descriptions?
The assumption that many executives have made since the COVID-19 outbreak is that employees will worry less if they just keep their cards close to their chest. But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead of forcing employees to second-guess what’s in store for them, Taylor Wells advisory strongly believes that in times of crisis, it is imperative to be absolutely crystal clear with the pricing department about their changing roles and the financial health of the business.
Now, let’s see some of the significant market-led pricing activities you’ll now be prioritising as a result of global restrictions.
9 recent changes to pricing manager recruitment since the COVID-19 crisis
1. Demand for online pricing skills
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the Australian hiring landscape. Not only are there significantly fewer companies hiring pricing director jobs since the outbreak. But those who hire are now focusing on building pricing director job descriptions that improve online pricing strategies, systems, and analytics.
The majority of people are working from home since the lockdown. And global populations are doing their daily groceries online. Millions of retail and B2B purchases are being made online to abide by social distancing practices and no-contact cash transactions.
In response, many Australian businesses are now creating pricing director job descriptions that emphasise online pricing experience and skills. This is to align with the sudden change in global consumer consumption and channel strategy.
Businesses without essential pricing talent and technical knowledge will suffer both during and even long after the crisis is over. It is expected that most pricing director job descriptions will continue to emphasise essential pricing skills. Especially in the area of online pricing strategy, subscription model design, value-based price setting and data interpretation skills.
2. Decentralised price decision-making authority on pricing manager job descriptions
As more pricing teams work from home, senior pricing managers and pricing director job descriptions are emphasising superior strategic price planning and decision making skills. Hiring companies will post pricing director job descriptions that describe price experts who can make unilateral pricing decisions and challenge judgement calls independently. Remote working, mass lay-offs and social distancing rules have disrupted standard business operations and many decision-making processes have become defunct.
Key changes to business planning have occurred most notably in discount sign off procedures and B2B tenders processes. Uninformed decision making is immensely impacting bottom-line profitability. Commercial activities have either come to a halt or become increasingly chaotic, as commercial teams rely on discounts to secure and win precious sales in very uncertain times.
Other essential tasks that drive business planning and cost initiatives will include:
- product rationalisation
- product life cycle reviews
- customer lifetime management
- trade spend funding reinvestment
3. Customer-focused pricing & partnership
Too many Australian businesses are fighting to survive as a result of the level 3 lockdown restrictions. They are struggling through the coronavirus outbreak and can’t pay their bills. New pricing director job descriptions are being designed to explore new or ‘special’ pricing and revenue models for their customer base.
The key responsibility for the more socially conscious businesses is to help customers stay solvent with financial packages and crisis-friendly pricing. The government has also issued a relief package for small businesses and residential customers.
Australia is hoping that businesses take a compassionate position and forego price gouging during times of need. There have been mixed responses from businesses which will reflect in the new pricing director job descriptions moving forward.
Australian energy providers, for instance, will scrap the power bills of some firms’ for a couple of months. New payment schedules and pricing arrangements are set to help the majority of the customer base during these tough times.
4. Price rises & gouging
Price gouging during the coronavirus crisis has been rampant in some industries since the outbreak. Pricing director job experience and descriptions include substantial changes as more businesses are increasing prices on essential items across B2Bs and e-commerce. Even fuel pricing has experienced its biggest gap between the cheapest and most expensive providers in Sydney’s history.
Fresh fruit like bananas sells at a high price of $4.90 per kilo. On the other hand, iceberg lettuce at Woolworths went as high as $5.50 while $10 at Brisbane Foodworks. Even Aldi, the supermarket known for offering the best prices, has sold truss tomatoes priced at $8.99 a kilogram and iceberg lettuce just 90 cents lower than its competitors at $4.99.
Choice, the consumer advocacy group, slammed retailers for price gouging on essential items during the coronavirus crisis, declaring that it should be against the law to do this.
The Bernstein reports that the short term boost in sales will likely benefit major food companies such as Campbell Soup, Conagra Brands for frozen food, General Mills and Kellogg for the cereal market, Mondelez International for crackers, J.M. Smucker for peanut butter, jams and jelly industry, and Kraft Heinz for macaroni and cheese.
Most pricing director job descriptions have been focusing heavily on price rise strategies and implementation during the crisis. But overall, it is unlikely that these price rise activities will continue indefinitely. This is because price gouging is only a short term play and has repeatedly shown to have limited to no impact on annual sales growth.
5. Restrictions on goods sold
For the first time since the Second World War, we have seen restrictions imposed on goods sold through supermarkets. Pricing director job descriptions now include reviewing price lists on an SKU level and changing existing price architecture to reflect food restrictions, for instance.
Over the past few months, Woolworths has oscillated between announcements of new restrictions, such as a two-limit rule on almost all items. This is in a bid to curb panic buying during the coronavirus outbreak and regulate supply in peaks. The heightened restrictions came on the 13th of March when Coles’ introduced a two-per-customer limit on items including pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues, and hand sanitisers.
Expect price architecture re-design pack pricing, single item purchase, and promotions to be a regular occurrence in daily pricing director duties moving forward.
6. Excessive discounts and daily promotions
Discounts and promotions have been a hot topic during the pandemic as retailers fight to survive. Westfields, for example, is now struggling financially because people do not visit the malls anymore because of lockdowns and government-ordered restrictions.
Pricing director job descriptions are now heavily involved in tactical pricing – excessive 70% + discounting on single line items and packs were common at the peak of the crisis. Now, 30%-50% off sales and promos appear to be the new normal for weekly promotions and giveaways for both everyday purchases and non-routine purchases.
Wide-scale and excessive promotions in retail, grocery, and B2B sales indicate that there’s a huge urgency across the board to get pricing directors to lock in as much cashflow as possible before stores are either forced to ‘hibernate’ once again (like Melbourne cafes, restaurants etc.) or become insolvent.
It is likely, therefore, that most pricing director job descriptions will soon be mentioning price rise management skills. There’s no doubt that there will be plenty more businesses that will explore price increases to recoup losses from months of excessive discounting and promotions.
Pricing manager recruitment is now heavily focused on short term tactics. Here’s how to maintain cash flow:
- Daily promotional pricing – there have been up to 80% discounts daily, rather than monthly, particularly in Australian fashion retailers since COVID-19. That included promotions across the industries such as FMCG, fashion, entertainment, tourism etc.
- Changes to price-setting processes to develop more dynamic online prices and discounts.
- Price repositioning – Potentially increasing prices for essential items (airline tickets, shelf grocery items, vitamins, masks, and other health and beauty products) – and decreasing prices for non-essential items.
An example of price repositioning is the demand for face masks and personal protection equipment, both at an all-time high demand. Hospitals and private sectors are paying a lot for these items and some suppliers are hoarding them to sell them at a higher price.
Another example is the basic, everyday necessities like toilet paper and alcohol. Due to panic-buying, all of these items have become hard to come by. In effect, the hoarders are upping the price. A pricing director’s job experience descriptions will include skills that deal with price spikes in demand and supply constraint issues. But simply restricting food and health products does not seem to be working for the more hoarders out there.
7. New business & revenue opportunities
COVID -19 has essentially accelerated the need for a fully functioning online pricing strategy and operations for both B2C and B2B businesses. In the next 2 – 3 years, the division between B2B and B2C will merge as leaders now plan to capture new growth opportunities. That includes going direct to market with their own distribution or online portals.
Businesses are working out how to cut out freight costs, streamline distribution and enter new segments. For example, WooliesX is currently hiring a whole new pricing team to help create and capture value in a $1B online grocery service market for B2B businesses.
8. More systematic and number crunching
Another major change to pricing director job descriptions since the COVID-19 pandemic has been the increase in administrative, systems, and analytical tasks. It is likely that we’ll see the pricing director job description become more systems-oriented over the next few years. This is a result of more supporting staff being laid off.
If you are a senior pricing professional, make sure you brush up on your analytical skills. As we look ahead, there will be more demand for systems, analytical, and even coding skills to improve online pricing operations.
9. Difficult team and talent management decisions
The way we work together and independently has changed dramatically since COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown restrictions. Pricing director job descriptions are now heavily focused on updating workflows. This is to ensure team productivity does not drop as teams work remotely and self-isolate.
On top of this, new team management responsibilities involve important decisions to self-isolate; restrict business travel and recommend that certain employees reconsider personal travel; and even cancelling conferences, meetings, and work events.
One of the most difficult new tasks added to the pricing director job descriptions, however, is the task of restructuring teams. Even though lay-offs are difficult and often a guilt-ridden process, they can and should be handled well.
In many ways, a crisis creates an opportunity for pricing directors to think and reflect. Take a good look at the things that you and your pricing team are excelling in and where there should be improvements – in terms of pricing, teamwork, communication, and productivity. Read What Hiring Managers Should Know for Pricing Roles.
Pricing manager recruitment should emphasise and explain the economic impacts of a pandemic
The lockdown has changed how we buy and do business. To respond to this; businesses now require pricing manager job descriptions that have online pricing experience and skills to align the business to customer needs.
In times of crisis and panic, it’s incredibly important as a senior pricing director to explain to your team that you care and think about what’s best for them. You also have to clearly explain the economic impacts of this pandemic on their jobs and on the organisation.
In most pricing director job descriptions before the crisis, it was common to see a long list of technical pricing skills and requirements. However, since the crisis, we expect to see softer skills emphasised. And this is a great thing because too often, human elements are missing in most pricing job descriptions.
Leading with compassion as part of the pricing manager recruitment
A key competency to reinforce during a crisis is ‘leading with compassion’. That means doing what’s best for the most vulnerable members of your company, trailblazing, and risk management. More importantly, do what’s right for the business and the community.
One common trap we all need to avoid during a crisis is simply looking out for number one. This is a zero-sum game and it’s always disappointing. We like to believe that individuals prefer to make sacrifices for the greater good. A crisis can prove this to be true. But the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown us that people are selfish and businesses can get greedy.
Going through a downturn and making tough decisions to keep our jobs is very hard. However, if you lead with compassion, you will build loyalty, trust, and respect from your employees and customers. Our common goal is to come out of this major slowdown stronger than ever before; enhancing the shared values of the staff and customers. And this is a legacy anyone can be proud of.
Downturns are not all bad news. Great companies and better pricing can be built during these times, too. Since the pandemic has completely rewritten the Australian hiring and business landscape, companies are now hiring pricing manager job descriptions with skills that improve online pricing strategies, systems, and analytics. They have also brought to light the need for new and improved price-setting processes and positions.
The Coronavirus and our response to it, have led to huge losses in employment across all industries. A pricing manager’s job description now includes carefully explaining the economic impacts of this pandemic on an organisational level. There is also a need to emphasise the role of pricing in times of crisis to get the best outcomes for the business and the community.
- Getting into the heart of the problem of underperformance needs patience and understanding. So, use drastic measures as the only last option.
- The earlier you detect the problem, the better you can resolve it in the soonest time possible. Also, use disciplinary actions if no improvements are made.
- Remember pricing managers are humans, too and they also have personal problems. They may need to open up to what is bothering them. At the same time, confidentiality is key between the senior management and the pricing manager. Don’t share unnecessary or private details.
- Praise the pricing manager for marked improvements in his/her performance. Everyone likes recognition for their efforts and it is a morale booster.
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