Great, you’ve done the math and your research, and have found that pricing software can add speed and accuracy to your pricing and more profit en route. However, along the way you’ve noticed you require a software partner to assist in enhancing your technology to achieve everything you want it to do for your business. For example, you may have identified that you require assistance in integrating the pricing software across all your global sectors, or you need help in developing your overall pricing strategy?
The time has arrived to consider selecting a software partner to help you reach your goals. But how to choose the right pricing software partner for you and your business?
At Pricefx, over the last decade, we’ve signed up hundreds of new customers and on many occasions, matched them with pricing industry partners that can assist them in achieving their unique set of business goals. Along the way, we’ve learned that no two businesses are identical in their scope and needs.
Those needs can vary from being able to hyper-drive your pricing software with enhanced functionality, streamline integrations or employ strategy consulting expertise. Whatever your specific requirement, a good partner can enhance your overall price optimization, price management and sales guidance solutions.
In this article, we examine the 4 distinct types of pricing industry partners available and how to choose which pricing software partner will be the right one/s for your business.
The 4 Types of Pricing Software Partners
There are many potential pricing software partners available that can help you find the right solution or service that you require to suit your business needs.
It is accepted industry-wide that pricing software industry partners are broken down into four main types;
Let’s jump right into examining which type of businesses should use specific partner types, the factors to consider when looking for each type of partner and who specific partner types may be or good fit for (or not).
1. Strategy Partners
Strategy Partners are most often consultancy companies that can advise other businesses in their pricing strategies. A Strategy Partnerwill usually introduce businesses to a specific pricing software provider to fit their specific requirementsbut will not usually become involved in the implementation of the software.
Why Use a Strategy Partner?
Providing proof that there is an exception to every rule, occasionally some of the boutique Strategy Partner (SP) firms partnering with smaller businesses will also aid in implementations and integrations to add value to customers, who may not have those skill sets. Drawing in that additional data into the pricing software of smaller firms can enable them to find optimal prices with less effort and keep track of raw material index fluctuations that otherwise may not have been possible for them.
Generally, however, the more complex your business is in terms of the number of products and diverse customer types and combinations of them, the more requirement to stay on top of your pricing strategy. Things can potentially unravel quickly if the strategy is neglected.
The level of complexity of your business simply means it is difficult to independently keep track of all the factors yourself such as all your different sales channels (Face-to-face vs Ecommerce sales, retail stores, mobile sales etc.), how they get into the marketplace and how they sell when they get there etc.
A global Strategy Partner can assist in keeping you up-to-date and informed of what you need to. If you do business in Brazil for example, a global partner can check up on the local tax laws for you, so you do not have to spend precious time and resources on it.
What Types of Companies Are a Good Fit to Use a Strategy Partner?
Any business will potentially gain value from using a Strategy Partner in their pricing journey. However, as noted above, generally the larger and more complex the business, generally the more benefit there is to be gained in terms of advanced customer and product segmentation. When you work with an SP, they can help to develop a pricing strategy that will be easily implemented in your pricing software of choice.
Who is NOT a Good Fit for a Strategy Partner?
Smaller companies that are less complex, operate in few regions and have the resources that can easily manually perform the small number of inputs that they require into Excel for example, have less to gain from the use of a Strategy Partner.
Criteria for Choosing a Strategy Partner for Your Business
As you can imagine, before moving forward with a Strategy Partner, you’ll want to make sure that they will be aligned to your organization’s strategy, business goals, processes and culture.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the criteria you may need to consider of your potential partner;
Deliver Value – If you plan on implementing pricing software after you work with an SP, then you need to know if they can deliver value with pricing solutions. Their understanding of both your strategy and the pricing software provider will make the implementation process run smoothly.
Industry Experience – Does the Strategy Partner have experience or expertise in your specific industry? If you’re a food wholesaler and distributor, a Strategy Partner with a focus on the airline industry will probably not be a great fit. Research and ask questions. What type of customers has your potential Strategy Partner worked with in the past? Are references available?
Range of Industry Expertise – Finding a Strategy Partner that has a broad pricing industry perspective built across a range of different industries. A Partner that can translate learnings across those different sectors and break them down to focus on your specific industry will go a long way towards a successful partnership.
Excel Specific Knowledge – Whilst having knowledge in migrating customers from Excel to pricing software is usually part of the Technology Partner process, a Strategy Partner with the same knowledge is a great ‘nice to have’.
2. System Integrator Partners
System Integrators (SI) have important consulting and technical skills required to implement and integrate a pricing software solution into other systems like e-commerce platforms, CRMs (Customer Relationship Management Systems), ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) and more.
Why Use a System Integrator?
In today’s pricing industry environment, when companies want to stay ahead of the pricing game, they need all their systems to work synchronously. Systems that are not integrated can potentially result in significant increases in cost and waste precious human resources. Imagine using duct tape to connect a firehose to a garden hose. Exactly. A disaster waiting to happen. An SI will provide the right tools to connect your systems and even let you know if certain systems should be connected.
System Integrators piece together all the components of your pricing technology puzzle from the pricing software itself, data science and analytics components, price optimization tools, ecommerce platforms and other digital transformations. The result for you – a pricing system where all parts of the system are functioning harmoniously across all sales channels – to enable you to achieve exactly the business objectives your company is seeking.
What Types of Companies Are a Good Fit to Use a System Integrator?
Any company that is looking for assistance in relation to the implementation of pricing software or the integration of their technology systems to formulate a modern and coordinated pricing strategy can use a good System Integrator.
Global companies usually have the most to benefit from partnering with a System Integrator. Those types of multinational organizations will be looking to harmonize their pricing systems across regions with different sets of national codes and standards. For them, system integration is critical and partnership with an experienced System Integrator can be vital to their business success.
Who is NOT a Good Fit for a System Integrator?
If you want to build additional functionality into your pricing system that does not come ‘out of the box’ from your pricing software, a System Integrator may not be the best fit as a partner for your business.
If you want to add those special additional features that you want out of your pricing software, stick with your pricing software provider to do it for you. They work with their own product 24/7/365 and they know it inside out. The chances are that your pricing software provider may have built the add-on you require for another customer previously. You should also look at potential Independent Software Vendors (See next section) who may have built the additional functionality for your specific pricing platform.
Criteria for Choosing a System Integrator Partner for Your Business
An SI can support you from pre-sales consulting to installation or managed services, personalizing the solution to fit your unique business needs. Check the following criteria off your list when choosing the right SI for you;
Relevant System Experience – You want a system integrator that has experience implementing your pricing platform of choice as well as with the systems you need to integrate. These include your existing legacy systems like ERPs, CRMs, eCommerce software and more.
Industry Expertise – Just as with Strategy Partners, you want your SI to have expertise across a range of different sectors, and most importantly, recent and relevant expertise in working with companies in your specific business sector.
Global Integration Experience – If applicable, A workforce that has prior experience in managing integrations for business at the global level. You do not want a rookie partner looking into what tax arrangements and local codes may be required to do business in regions they have no experience with.
Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and other technology partners provide businesses with pre-built connectors, functional extensions, and add-on solutions to their pricing software to tailor-make and deliver unique integrated pricing solutions to customize seamless user experiences.
Why Use an ISV/Technology Partner?
Having an ISV/Technology partner can enable your business to select additional functionality to your pricing solution by extending your platform. With increased functionality, the extended range of tools can add rigor and an additional layer of complexity to drive growth and value to your pricing software set up.
What Types of Companies Are a Good Fit to Use an ISV/Technology Partner?
Any company that is looking to extend the capability of its pricing software will be a good fit to benefit from an ISV/Technology partner.
Take a Technology partner like SAP’s Commerce Cloud for example and consider the additional abilities it can apply to your pricing software. Being a cloud-based commerce engine it’s the perfect tool to assist in customizing prices in a B2B and B2C eCommerce business.
The Commerce Cloud price personalization engine can, by way of example, consider the prices online retail clients in say Chicago, are offered for winter boots. Given those Chicago-based customers will have a greater requirement for snug, warm, waterproof winter boots, than say, your customers in Florida, then the price for those boots in Chicago will be optimized accordingly.
It’s only one example of the benefits ISV/Technology partners can add to your software. The list of possible functionality additions to your pricing software grows at an exponential rate.
Who is NOT a Good Fit for an ISV/Technology Partner?
Those companies that are only starting out on their journey with pricing software are not yet a good fit to work together with an ISV partner. Organizations just beginning to use pricing software for the first time should first familiarize themselves with the range of pricing functions that they can perform with their ‘out-of-the-box’ software versions.
Over time and increased familiarity and usage, and as specific requirements will become apparent, those organizations can then consider forming an ISV partnership once their distinct needs are identified.
On the other hand, it’s best to identify your Technology partner (Commerce, CRMs, ERPs) upfront to ensure you set up a bi-directional flow of data to optimize your prices and segmentations so that your systems are “speaking to each other” for optimal pricing.
Criteria for Choosing an Independent Software Vendor (ISV)/Technology Partner for Your Business
What’s the secret to making good technology decisions and choosing the best ISV/Technology partner for you? Consider these three important criteria in selecting the right partner.
Industry-Specific Suitability – Is the ISV/Technology partner a niche player suitable for your specific business type?
Seamless Integration – Will the solutions of the ISV/Technology partner integrate smoothly with my existing pricing platform/software? Do they have best practices and pre-built connecters? Are their solutions certified by the pricing platform company?
Fit for Purpose – Does the potential ISV/Technology partner have the functionality that will make my pricing software faster, better, and more accurate and will those changes enable my company to be more profitable and streamline my business procedures?
4. VAR (Value–Added Reseller) Partners
A value-added reseller (VAR) partner is a company that offers to add features or services to an existing pricing software solution. The VAR experts develop an end-to-end solution to fill or solve problems in existing functionality gaps or select existing services, that allow the organization and the pricing team to simply turn a key to activate it (a turn-key solution).
Why Use a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) Partner?
A VAR partner can assist a business by developing any manner of custom-made technology solutions or select services that a business can add to improve their pricing system. What’s more, the VAR partner may also act as a general consultancy ‘Mr. Fix It’ by also selecting a System Integrator or Strategy Partner that suits your business.
What Types of Companies Are a Good Fit to Use a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) Partner?
Companies that require assistance in selecting other types of partners (strategy and system integrator partners in particular) are well suited to using a VAR partner.
Additionally, those companies that want or need to use a multiple number of pricing solutions across a range of companies may also be a good fit to partner with a VAR.
If you are operating an old first-generation pricing software system, a VAR may increase your pricing functionality by building additional performance architecture on top of your old system.
As always, it will depend on the exact nature of your business and the objectives that you are trying to achieve.
Who is NOT a Good Fit for a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) Partner?
Companies that should not seek to work with a VAR are those organizations that already have their pricing system ‘ducks-in-a-row’.
If you are already working with any modern native-cloud pricing software solution, no need should exist to incorporate the services of a VAR partner.
Criteria for Choosing a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) Partner for Your Business
While choosing a VAR isn’t an exact science, do your homework and evaluate potential candidates before putting pen to paper on a partnership agreement. Here are some key criteria to consider, helping you to narrow down your choices;
Experience – Prior knowledge and understandingin developing customized solutions.
Certified Reseller of the Pricing Platform
Expertise in working with all manner of fellow partners – A wealth of first-hand knowledge working across a range of multiple pricing software partner solutions (ISV/Technology Partners, Strategy Partners and System Integrators).
Change Management Specialists – Expertise in planning a long-term strategic vision while managing daily operational demands in a fast-changing environment is key.
Can I Choose More Than Just One Pricing Software Partner?
Now you’ve got the lowdown on how to choose a pricing software partner, the naturally next we often hear is, “Can I choose more than one pricing software partner?”
Yes! Many successful companies choose to have 2, 3, 4 or more pricing software partners.
Every partner you have for your business will give you different perspectives on different elements of your pricing. They will each be able to supply a different skill set and bring their knowledge to bear to point your business in the right direction. And the decision is yours to make, giving you more flexibility to digitally transform your enterprise.
Joe Golemba has over 25 years in the consulting and technology space. He manages Pricefx’s global strategic partnerships including SAP, AWS, and more while curating the industry’s leading pricing partner program, Advantage Pricefx. In addition to his global ecosystem development experience, Joe has also held executive Product Management and Executive Consulting Practice leadership positions. Prior to joining Pricefx, Joe held various leadership positions at inRiver, Model N, Oracle, Stellent (Acquired by Oracle), IBM & PricewaterhouseCoopers (Acquired by IBM).