I had the privilege of speaking at Woods Creek Consulting’s Sales Executive Peer Group earlier this month, and the topic was “Price Increases”. I’m always excited to work with this group – where else can I talk with a dozen VPs of Sales for an hour and learn about their concerns? And pricing is certainly a concern right now, with rising costs concurrent with huge pressure from customers to cut prices.
I’ve included my slides from that session. After a quick introduction including a framework for approaching pricing decisions and a quick review of pricing strategies, the discussion quickly centered on the real issue in pricing, which is understanding the value you bring to the marketplace.
When you clearly and consistently communicate the value you bring to customers and your channel partners, then price changes – or simply resisting price pressure – are far easier to deal with.
Understanding all the ways your product and your company deliver value answered many of the attendees questions:
- How much competitive assessment is enough? Until you understand your value against other alternatives.
- How do you price across a product line? Vary the product so that there are clearly-defined levels of value delivered, and price accordingly.
- How to manage mid-season price increases (from several sporting goods companies)? Be transparent about your costs and how you add value to reseller’s business.
- How to deal with price pressure from procurement teams? Understand what your decision-makers value, and where you might give some lower-value and low-cost consessions to make Procurement happy.
- Can you provide ‘unique’ pricing to each channel partner? tailor product offerings to reseller’s value prop through core products plus combinations of add-on features and services.
Product Management’s job is to understand customer ( and channel partner) perception of value, and build the product so that it can fulfill those varying perceptions in a flexible way. And then help your Sales team communicate it in a powerful way. When is the last time you chatted with your sales team about their pricing concerns?