The PPS Fall Conference is right around the corner, October 23-26, in Dallas. So PROS Solution Strategy Director Valerie Howard caught up with Strategic Consultant Fabio Freitas who will be presenting the pricing workshop, "From (Spread) Sheet to (C) Suite: Tips for Pricers On How to Communicate With Their Executive Team".
Valerie: So Fabio, you’ve attended and spoken at several PPS Conferences. Why are you excited about this PPS Conference?
Fabio: It’s always interesting to talk to the new generation of pricers and understand how their challenges are changing. Pricing processes have matured, but it’s questionable whether they have matured enough to keep up with the accelerated influx of data. Pricing teams are facing the challenge of condensing a tremendous amount of information into easily digestible recommendations for their executive teams.
Valerie: What will you be presenting in Dallas this October?
Fabio: We’ll be talking about how to get sponsorship approval from internal stakeholders so that you can execute on your pricing strategy. Pricers need to know how to move from that beautiful spreadsheet to making an effective case to C-level executives.
Valerie: What are some of the mistakes pricers commonly make when communicating with executives?
Fabio: Not shifting the language. What makes sense to you, the pricer and the person familiar with the data and analysis, might not make sense at all to someone who is going to focus on maybe five percent of what you present. When you are seeking executive approval, you need to consider that executive’s priorities, perspectives, and how your objective aligns to their goals.
Valerie: Why is it challenging to effectively make a case for pricing to the C-suite?
Fabio: Pricing is a relatively new culture. Many businesses struggle with determining even where in the organization pricing should sit. Senior level executives understand that pricing is important. They understand that there are significant consequences to getting it wrong, but many are not familiar with what getting the pricing discipline right entails.
Valerie: What challenges have you faced as a pricing practitioner yourself?
Fabio: In my previous professional experiences, I was leading the pricing organization at a $15b food manufacturer in South America. The company was going through a big merger, where one company had a well-established pricing culture, and from top to bottom, everyone knew that pricing was the way to achieve profitability. Yet, in the acquiring company, sales reps owned pricing; there was no pricing team or pricing culture. Price was a way to create a war in the market and win by lowering or matching price. I had a very mixed audience on the C-level, so I had to carefully consider how I delivered a message that was meaningful to all stakeholders. I needed detailed messaging for the group that was new to pricing, as well as messaging that didn’t over-simplify for the other group.
Valerie: How do you know if you prepared enough to master the C-suite communication?
Fabio: You never really know, it’s always a work in progress. You always need to work on it, and never forget to do your homework prior to a meeting. You need to make the most of every opportunity, and if you don’t bring the right data or the right message, you risk losing momentum in bringing your pricing initiative to fruition.
Valerie: Who should attend your pricing workshop at PPS?
Fabio: Anyone who has a pricing responsibility, even sales reps if they sell to high-level executives and anyone trying to understand how to be more successful with pricing communications.
Valerie: Can you tell us about your experience leading pricing organizations?
Fabio: Before joining PROS, I worked with pricing for approximately 10 years, implementing initiatives for three Fortune 500 companies in a position of leading the pricing initiative and conducting stakeholders. And that really helped me understand the best pricing models, practices, strategies, and challenges. One thing is for certain, many companies invest a lot in pricing, but they don’t succeed because they fail in communication and in change management. Communication is part of the change. You must be able to communicate to sponsors at the C-level to start emphasizing the importance of pricing in your business’s success. If you don’t find a common language to discuss pricing, your pricing initiatives will stall and you will lose ground to the competition.
Headed to the PPS Fall Conference in Dallas?
Join our breakout session, “From (Spread) Sheet to (C) Suite: Tips for Pricers On How to Communicate With Their Executive Team” on Thursday, October 25. Click here to register!