What makes a strategic pricing management group a virtuoso pricing team? Is it their special talents or their egos?


In nearly any area of outstanding achievements—business, the arts, science, athletics, politics—you can find teams that produce innovative and amazing results. The same is true for pricing teams; the virtuoso pricing team is fundamentally different from the ordinary groups that most organisations form to pursue more complex pricing outcomes. 


Virtuoso pricing teams comprise the elite experts in their particular fields and are specially qualified for ambitious pricing projects where millions of dollars are either at risk or there to be captured. 


Unlike traditional strategic pricing groups—which are typically made up of whoever’s available, regardless of talent—virtuoso pricing teams consist of star performers who are handpicked to play specific, key roles. These teams are intense and intimate, and they work best when members are forced together in ‘think tank’ conditions under strict time constraints. They assume that their customers are every bit as smart and sophisticated as they are, so they don’t cater to a stereotypical “average.” Leaders of virtuoso pricing teams put a premium on great collaboration—and they’re not afraid to encourage creative confrontation to get it.

Strategic pricing management group


Building up group ego


Imagine these high-stakes scenarios: Your company must enter an untested new market and set prices for new products.


Reorganise its pricing to take advantage of a new IT platform, channel or market. Or, even avert a customer relations crisis brought on by poor price rise implementation. 


To manage such feats, you need a virtuoso pricing team, not just an average pricing team. You need to bring together top experts in their fields and get them thinking about how they are going to generate value for you and your customers.


But, instead of concentrating on the collective, emphasise individual egos by creating opportunities for solo performances. Then, build up group ego by encouraging a single-minded focus on the goal. And foster impassioned, direct dialogue that doesn’t spare feelings.


But superstars are notorious for being temperamental and egocentric. You worry that forcing a group of them to work together will ignite a fatal explosion. So you’re tempted to settle for an ordinary price advisor instead.


Don’t do it. Ordinary teams may play nice, but they produce results as unremarkable as themselves.


Assemble your strategic pricing management group—and manage it with counter-intuitive strategies.




Use these principles for leading a virtuoso strategic pricing management group instead: 


Assemble the stars. Hire only members with the best skills, even if they have little experience with the problem at hand. 


For example, Team leader Kjell Sunde assembled a virtuoso team to avert an investor relations crisis. The team included the best technical people from across the company. Its goal is to analyze reams of data, pinpoint what went wrong, and convince stakeholders such an outcome wouldn’t occur again.


Build the group ego. As your team’s project progresses, help stars break through their egocentrism and morph into a powerful, unified team with a shared identity.


Make work a contact sport. Use face-to-face conversations in designated spaces to foster impassioned dialogue. 


In virtuoso teams, thinking is more important than action. Individual members are hired for their skills and their eagerness to dive into big challenges. Instead of assembling a variety of individuals and averaging their talents down to a mean, virtuoso pricing team leaders push each member to the limit to reach his or her potential within the overall context of the team objective. 





If you want great pricing strategies, you have to start with great people. “Electricity and challenge” fills the tension among the team members;  another description for this kind of dynamics are: “competition” and “collaboration.”


Team assignments, therefore, fall to people who seem to be able to get the work done. A less conventional approach, however, is more likely to produce exceptional results.


Virtuoso team members are not shy; they typically want to take on a risky venture that can take them away from the mundane tasks. They love daunting challenges, and they know the risk of exposure and career damage if their projects fail. The risk increases pressure on the team to deliver; accordingly, the individual members give their best to assure that radical innovation happens.




When virtuoso pricing teams begin their work, individuals are in and group harmony is out. As the project progresses, however, the individual star players push themselves to the product of the group. Sooner or later, the members break through their own egos and become a plurality with a single-minded focus on the goal. In short, they morph into a powerful team with a shared identity.


Drill into them the belief that your customers want more just simple pricing solutions. You’ll encourage them to deliver pricing solutions that are consistent with this higher vision.




Each team member must understand that if the team fails, so will they. This will keep any member of the virtuoso team from developing an entrenched sense of idea ownership. You want a pricing team that can transform itself from a collection of egocentric individuals into one great pricing team.


When virtuoso strategic pricing management group are in action, impassioned dialogue becomes the critical driver of performance, not the work itself. The immediate physical proximity of team members ensures that the right messages get to the right people very quickly. As a result, virtuoso pricing teams operate at a pace that is many times the speed of a normal pricing strategy advisor.


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