Having an excellent pricing leader makes a real difference in the success of your organization’s pricing strategy. As your company’s chief pricing strategist, he or she needs to combine technical, analytical skills with a keen understanding of how to create and shape workplace culture. How do you find someone like this?
When your organization is selecting pricing leaders, here are five top skills and qualities to look for.
- The ability to champion pricing strategy initiatives: The pricing leader needs to create a sense of urgency for pricing initiatives, without necessarily having direct authority over pricing decisions. As Jacqueline Davis writes in a previous blog post:“Therefore, to accomplish the company’s pricing objectives, a good pricing leader must be part diplomat and part sheriff, more influencer than dictator. He must have exceptional leadership and communication skills in order to influence decisions without the benefit of a reporting hierarchy.”
- An analytical nature: While pricing leaders work in a variety of settings, their primary responsibility for driving pricing strategy requires an analytical nature, as does working with a team of pricing analysts on a day-to-day basis.
- Technical expertise: The best pricing leaders tend to have a technical background, for example, in engineering, math, economics or business finance.
- Pricing training and certification: Specialized training in pricing optimization and strategy are also a great advantage in a leader, providing a resource to the rest of the pricing team.One option to consider is the Professional Pricing Society, which offers Certified Pricing Professional training. The courses offered by the PPS range from fundamental classes to price setting and price variance management topics, and from corporate strategy to behavioral and psychological factors. This kind of training helps set up the pricing leader as an influencer and thought leader in your organization.
- Cross-functional problem-solving skills: Top pricing leaders are born problem-solvers and they love to work in teams. While the pricing analysts they work with tend to be equally or more analytical and often more introverted, pricing leaders themselves thrive in a cross-functional environment. In addition to their own teams, pricing leaders need to collaborate with other teams and departments, making the case for pricing strategy to the sales team and other business leaders.
These five skills and qualities should give you a starting point for identifying excellent pricing leaders, either within your organization or in an external recruiting situation.
Having such a cross-functional leader as your company’s chief pricing strategist may help inspire constructive debate and exchange of ideas around reducing discounting and improving pricing strategy, and help spread best practices and insights across the company with sensitivity for workplace culture and the needs of different stakeholders within it.