Great – you spent a bundle on the latest pricing software to help drive your business efficiencies and unearth new optimized pathways to profit for your organization. It sounds great, but BAM!, you have hit a snag and it feels like a major one. Jim, who has been a key figure in your pricing department for 25 years and an influential thought leader for your pricing team, is resistant to the change and does not want to give up his manual pricing methods and Excel spreadsheets without a fight. What’s more, it is also affecting the uptake of your new automated pricing software among the rest of your team too. Sound familiar? We feel your pain and that is precisely why we have decided to put this article together on ‘How Do I Get User Adoption of Pricing Software?’
At Pricefx, we’ve spent the last 10+ years assisting companies across several industries in becoming more pricing agile and more efficient. In a perfect world, the resulting pricing dexterity helps businesses to adapt quickly but we all know that the world is far from being perfect. On many occasions, we have encountered people not being ready and willing to work with their new pricing solution, so it can get ridiculously hard to get the most out of implementing the software. In our experience, making your people aware that there’s personal value for them in addition to your company’s value is critical in driving user adoption of your new pricing software.
In this article, we will discuss exactly what User Adoption is and why it is important in the pricing software environment, what can happen if you do (and don’t) have it plus consider some essential strategies to get your staff engaged with using your pricing software solution.
What is User Adoption? – The Definition – And Why Is It Important?
User adoption, sometimes called onboarding, is the process by which unpracticed users become accustomed to a new product or service and decide to keep using it.
In the workplace, users usually adopt a system that works to fill a specific need. They are transferring from an old system and in general, adopting a system that is newer, better, faster, more comprehensive, and altogether more efficient. When you put it like that, it sounds like a slam-dunk decision, right? Why would anyone resist user adoption of a tool like pricing software that is going to make their working lives easier, better, happier, and more efficient? But the answer is more complex than you might think.
Whenever you transfer from an old system to a new one in your organization it is always a battle of wills against human nature. Resistance to change is nothing new. It is deeply embedded in the human psyche. Changes like powering your pricing with the ultimate automated tool in price optimization for example may be positive, however, getting everyone to buy into that change is not always easy.
User adoption strategies within a company can be crucial to the new pricing software’s success. Without a good strategy, you will not achieve the seamless transition you are hoping for. There will be dissatisfaction, frustration, technical problems, and general chaos, instead of steaming your way to a record ROI (Return on Investment) time for your pricing software project.
What Can Happen to Your Pricing Process WITH Great User Adoption
User adoption is key to your pricing software initiatives’ success and change management is critical to support user adoption. Employing some of the strategies and most importantly, training (we mention both in greater detail below) will have lasting positive impacts on your business and on your staff;
Impacts of Great Pricing Software User Adoption on Your Business – Getting your entire pricing team converted to the use of your modern, easy-to-use pricing software can help you simulate the impact of changes even before making them live. These Next Gen pricing systems can also optimize your prices and facilitate increases of 1-11% of pure profit using big data. Using the combination of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning), algorithms and constraints like percentage increase caps and profit margin floors, accurate, realistic, and competitive prices result all the while protecting profit margins and tracking competitors’ pricing. The sooner everyone is using it, the faster you head to ROI.
Impacts of Great Pricing Software User Adoption on Your Staff – Working with pricing software is just easier. Imprint that on your pricing team as you look for user adoption and illustrate with examples how the software makes their daily life easier and how it’s less manual and boring work than data input into Excel spreadsheets.
Double down with demonstrations to your team how your new pricing improves not only the quality of your company’s pricing, but also increases the value of the improved pricing strategy component of their career development and professional lives. Who does not want to be a subject matter expert in their chosen field?
What’s more, who do you think is going to get the promotion to the new Pricing Strategist position in your company? Will it be the guy still using Excel, or will it go to your team member who has done all your pricing software’s user adoption courses and is now using your new system every day?
At the end of the day, unlike your executive-level managers who are looking at bottom line results, your pricing team and salespeople are far more likely to be moved to support the technology implementation project by ‘the emotion of the change.’
The right pricing software can help reduce labor times by minimizing manual calculations and inputs. What’s more, the automation of tasks can reduce requirements for overtime, simultaneously boosting the productivity and overall work-life balance of the team using your new pricing software. Rather than staying in the office until 8 PM manually updating spreadsheets, you and your team can leave the office by 5 PM and arrive back in office tomorrow mentally refreshed, and ready to think strategically.
What Can Happen to YOUR Pricing Process WITHOUT Great User Adoption
Without great user adoption of your pricing software, you run the risk of becoming static in your pricing. Same-old. Same-old. Siloed pricing procedures. Mediocre pricing and substandard business outcomes. Unmotivated staff without the time nor energy to think strategically who are sick to death of manual inputs and error-prone Excel spreadsheets. With the rapid and unprecedented rates of changes going on in the world constantly, if your business and pricing procedures are standing still, they are going backwards in relation to what is going on in the pricing industry around you.
7 Essential Strategies for User Adoption of Your Pricing Software
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of user adoption to your business and staff and what can go wrong if you don’t have, let’s dive into the 7 best strategies that help you successfully secure user adoption of your pricing software, and your team can easily start using it comfortably from day one;
Specific: Specific user case goals for effective planning and pricing strategy and price management.
Measurable: Define goals that can be measured and re-evaluated when required.
Achievable: Don’t set the bar too high, start small and grow from there. Set reasonable timeframes to accomplish your goals.
Realistic: Your long-term unique business objectives you want from your pricing software and goals should align.
Timely: Stay motivated by setting a realistic end date and prioritizing ongoing tasks.
2. Have a User Adoption Plan
Onboarding your team with a User Adoption Plan is an essential step in the journey. Providing support from the get-go from initial sign-ups and logins, continuous open and honest assessment and evaluation, and collating and acting on your staff’s feedback in training and first few days of product use. Early success is important success and can be critical in the development of long-term and successful user adoption of pricing software.
Optimizing a continuous team onboarding experience will make it easier for your team to learn the product’s system and find business value in your new software.
3. Emphasize the Personal & Career Development Opportunities of Pricing Software
If we’ve learnt nothing else as a collective industry recently, nothing is certain in the pricing industry, except change. The ‘next normal’ for business and therefore, the pricing industry, is already upon us. Some underlying factors in the way we have changed have been related to the impact of the pandemic and may be temporary. However, deeper structural shifts are beginning to occur, and it’s not all doom-and-gloom.
The lesson to learn is – you never know where the next boost for your customers might be coming. Keeping proactively and prescriptively abreast of price/market changes and identifying the trends in real time with modern pricing software will be critical for your clients and the careers of your people.
The person who has adapted fastest to your organization’s new pricing software will be more likely to be retained if or when times turn sour. What’s more, identifying opportunities to think strategically with pricing software rather than inputting data manually with Excel will be much more attractive to most of your pricing team members.
4. Provide Pricing Software Training & Product Education
A pricing software training and product education program is critical to achieving user adoption in your company. Learning anything new takes time. Unfortunately, if barriers exist that make learning the new software difficult, users may abandon it in favor of doing things the same old way. Increased adoption and acceptance of innovative technology is related to understanding how it works and experiencing hands-on, the increased efficiencies possible.
Most pricing software companies will offer some adoption training or an adoption module for unaccustomed users. A discovery session with the key stakeholders in your company is often conducted to understand where your organization’s current gaps are and challenges in using your pricing software and how training can assist in overcoming them.
A training plan coming out of such a discovery session may include:
General training on the high-level pricing capabilities (analytics, optimization, quoting, rebates, price setting etc.) of your software system.
Customized training with hands-on practice and deep dives into real-world examples that affect your organization.
Developing learning and training materials for your pricing software end-users to have at hand as required in-house.
You will need to influence the strongest leadership sector (individual or group) in the Executive Arm or C-Level of your company to help drive user adoption in your organization.
For example, if your pricing team is onboard (that’s great!), but the sales team is yet to be convinced to adopt the use of your brand new CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software, having a strong leader that can break down any existing user adoption barriers before the issues begin to fester and become worse can be a great advantage.
6. Reduce Pricing Software Adoption Friction
The best way to move your people through the user adoption and onboarding process is to have as little friction as possible from day one. The more friction and difficulties your team encounters, the more likely they will be to abandon using the software and go back to their spreadsheets.
One great idea is to start small and try to stick to the usual accepted design elements as provided by your pricing software vendor for the onboarding user experience. You can always customize and add your company’s required ‘bells-and-whistles’ later.
The more standardized the pricing software interface appears to your team; you will gain user adoption far easier. If it seems and feels like something too complicated or ‘too foreign,’ it will require more learning on their part, opening and leaving the ‘user adoption friction door’ slightly ajar.
Continuous monitoring, measurement, and optimization can help you make sure you’re providing the absolute best user journey possible for your people, while simultaneously tracking, defining, and refining the pricing insights that made you want to buy pricing software to begin with.
Monitoring and measuring can also reveal use patterns, time spent on the platform, or identify bottlenecks so you can adjust your pricing solution if necessary. You’ll also be able to track the positive impact of the pricing culture changes you’re making, which in turn can guide any future pricing actions you decide to implement.
Optimize Your Pricing Software User Adoption Strategies to Win Big
Getting your team to adopt new pricing software technology can be a significant challenge if you don’t have a systematic plan, especially as it’s a particularly innovative and niche type of technology.
However, the remarkable thing is that the results are well worth your effort. Whatever the unique set of business objectives that you are looking to achieve with pricing software, at Pricefx we know through our experience that it will be more effective, easier, and more insightful than going through tens-of-thousands of lines of data on an Excel spreadsheet.
If you don’t have the internal resources in your company for getting pricing software user adoption done, (or even implementation or setting a pricing strategy for that matter) then it sounds like working with pricing software partner might be exactly what you need. Check out the article below for all the things a pricing software partner may be able to help you with and how to ‘bring home’ your pricing software project:
About the Author
As a pricing professional, Sara-Marie Gansert has been supporting companies across various industries to improve their margins by finding and realizing the right pricing strategies.
Now working as a Solution Strategist for Pricefx she introduces businesses to pricing software tailored to master their individual challenges in pricing.
On the weekends you will find her hiking in the Black Forest, exploring the cities of Europe, or enjoying a good book.
As a pricing professional, Sara-Marie Gansert has been supporting companies across various industries to improve their margins by finding and realizing the right pricing strategies. Now working as a Solution Strategist for Pricefx she introduces businesses to pricing software tailored to master their individual challenges in pricing. On the weekends you will find her hiking in the Black Forest, exploring the cities of Europe, or enjoying a good book.