What Skills Do I Need to Use Pricing Software?
Is your business looking to invest in pricing software, but you’re not certain if your current staff have the skill set that’s up to the task? Nothing could be worse than spending a bundle on the latest pricing software option, only to discover that no-one in your team has the appropriate skills set to use it. The result? A delay in having your pricing software driving you to increased profit and a longer Return on Investment (ROI) Time than you bargained for. Read on to ensure you know what skills you need to use pricing software in your business to have the technology driving you to greater profits and business efficiencies ASAP.
At Pricefx, we have worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade and assisted them in the implementation of their pricing software solutions. As just one small part of that process, we ensure that businesses get the training they need to run the software at its optimum level to produce the best results and advise skills updates where required.
First up, let’s investigate exactly what pricing analysts and pricing teams do, before we dive deep into the skill sets (both the everyday and the more strategic) you’ll need in your organization’s team to use pricing software.
What Do Pricing Analysts & Pricing Teams Do?
You probably already know what a pricing manager, pricing analyst or pricing team member does but by taking stock of the skills needed you can start to see where you might have gaps or opportunities for growth with pricing software. So, it’s worthwhile to jog our collective memories with a refresh.
Many larger scale organizations employ full-time pricing analysts to form a pricing team, while other smaller companies might hire an analyst or a strategic partner as a consultant to assist in developing and implementing their pricing strategy.
Whatever the size of your pricing team or if it is internal or externally outsourced, pricing professionals pay close attention to the pricing strategies of their competitors.
In addition, they use mathematical analysis (informed by data residing in their pricing software or manual Excel spreadsheets) to track pricing trends in the marketplace. They consider customer behavior to determine how much people are willing to pay for their company’s products and attempt to track patterns in customer spending.
Pricing professionals will of course, be interested in the cost of production that their company produces, the amount of profit that their business wants to make, and other associated costs distribution, transport, marketing etc.
They may also be involved with the quoting procedure and/or bundling of their company’s products, which can directly influence how much their customers are willing to pay. Usually, pricing professionals will liaise across several different departments, including sales, product management, marketing, and accounting, to ensure that they are aligned with company business strategy and are looking to maximize profitability.
Also falling under the auspices of pricing professionals, may include maintaining price lists, developing the company’s overall business objectives through pricing, reviewing price quotes, generating pricing reports, preparing revenue forecasts and budgets for the company management team plus any number of ad hoc requests.
The Skills Required to Use Pricing Software
Looking at the table above, it’s no surprise to learn that the skills set required to use pricing software are divided up into the soft and hard skills sets groups.
Given you have read about soft skills sets a hundred times before every time you update your resume,’ we are not going to bore you by going through them all again.
Of course, the soft skills listed above are important and they provide the foundation for any pricing professional to thrive.
However, we’re going to pick the teeth out of the hard skills listed above and list the Top 5 skills you’ll need in your pricing software skill set toolbox. They are the skills that will specifically not only help you thrive in your use of pricing software but assist both you and your company in becoming as successful and as ‘next level’ as possible.
The Top 3 Pricing Software ‘Hard Skills’
Any professional involved in the pricing industry knows that pricing involves much more than simply knowing your organization’s costs and critical price points. Let’s examine the Top 5 Hard Skills that together with pricing software can deliver meaningful pricing transformations to any organization.
1. Software Aptitude and Ability to Not Only ‘Use’ But ‘Apply’ Technology
It is important to keep in mind companies or individuals who are searching for the positive outcomes of increased profitability and business efficiencies of pricing software will all be looking at it from their own unique perspective. Business requirements will alter between companies and various individuals at contrasting stages of the pricing process will be using different functions of the software. Having generic software skills in general will be great, but different users will have particular purposes in using the pricing software.
For example, one member of your sales team using the pricing software for quotes may need a separate set of skills or understandings than one of your pricing analysts doing price setting and price optimization. Similarly, one of your rebates team who administers promotions and discounts, will need a more advanced software skill set than a manager for example, who may simply require a dashboard ‘overall’ snapshot. All your staff will have certain sets of requirements they need, and different sets of skills to solve the tasks they are facing.
While in most cases, skills can be taught, aptitude for the hard software skills required for pricing software will also be vital to your team’s success with pricing software.
2. Strategic Planning & Analytics – Understanding What Your Business Is Aiming For
Knowing what your company wants through your use of pricing software is arguably the most important skill of all to get the most out of the power of your pricing software.
Through strategic planning and analytics what your company’s pricing strategy is (is it to increase volume? Is it price optimization? or managing quotes and/or rebates? etc.) will be critical to getting the most benefit from your pricing software. No two pricing projects are the same. The better you know your required business outcomes and awareness of want your organization is trying to achieve as its goals, the better you can tweak your pricing software to articulate and achieve those objectives.
Closely related to organizational awareness will also be industry knowledge. For example, while pricing skills do crossover between industries, having a Chemical Industry Pricing Expert will be best for your chemical company rather than hiring an expert with experience in another industry. Sure, all industries that can benefit hugely from the positive outcomes generated by pricing. However, a specialized Chemical Industry pricing wizard who tracks raw material price fluctuations in production costs has a different hard skill set to a Retail or Ecommerce pricing expert more exposed to inventory control in their pricing.
Of course, you can learn what buttons A, B, C & D of your pricing software can do, but if you have no idea what your organization will be using the data to achieve, to be perfectly honest, you would possibly be better off without it.
Successfully using pricing software will be about having the right expectation management and having your end users in the best position to clearly articulate their demands, their desires, their desired outcome, and the steps to go there.
3. Data Geeks Wanted – Work Smarter, Not Harder and More Profitably
It’s all about the data baby.
Whether your pricing software needs are for innovative price optimization capabilities, the latest in pricing management platforms, or even dashboard tools (or combinations of those tools and more), it is important for pricing teams to keep abreast of top of the newest pricing software trends. The biggest trend of all is data – and there is more of it available at your fingertips than ever before.
You no longer need an enormous data input team doing tens of thousands of lines of entries per day in Excel. Over the last few years, companies have made large investments in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools and data architecture improvements.
Now is the time for pricing professionals to take the time to improve their own data capabilities and ‘empower’ that data with pricing software and price optimization segmentation analytics.
Doing nothing at all in the adoption of modern pricing software could cost your company more than you realize in terms of profit, customer satisfaction and time saving.
Leading pricing experts have been indicating for a while now that something as seemingly insignificant as a 1% price increase can result in meaningful profit increases. It underscores that pricing needs to be approached in a strategic and data-informed fashion to positively impact operational margin as much as possible.
Technology, in the form of pricing software, makes it possible to track, target and realize the proft increases more effectively.
You might have heard it before – the Geeks shall inherit the earth.
Other ‘Nice to Have’ Pricing Software Skills
1. Know When to Ask for Help – Training & Partners
Of course, we all want to be self-sufficient, but there is no better skill to have in your pricing software skill set than to ask for help when you need it. Most pricing software vendors will offer the opportunity to improve your team’s pricing knowledge by offering either free or paid modules of training, depending on your vendor and the level of assistance you may have pre-purchased. If there is some functionality that your pricing software has, and you don’t know how to use it – ask. Most pricing software vendors will be more than happy to let you know how their technology works, whether it’s a purpose-built software specifically designed for you company’s pricing needs or an ‘out-of-the-box’ generic pricing software solution.
On the flip side, you may have all the IT skills and pricing software aptitude available in-house, but no clue as to setting a pricing strategy nor how to implement the software across your system. Most pricing software companies work with strategy and implementation partners to help new or existing clients with their pricing needs.
Those needs can vary from powering your pricing software with enhanced functionality, streamlining integrations, or utilizing strategy consulting expertise. Whatever your company’s pricing needs, a good partner can enhance your overall price optimization, price management, and assist you to be more profitable.
2. Embrace Change Management & Welcome It!
We live in a world that is changing more rapidly than at any other point in human history. Recent responses to CoVID-19, rampant inflation and supply chain disruption are just some examples of a rate of change reflected by the speed of technological development in general. In becoming a proficient pricing software user, not only will you need to embrace change management to simply be comfortable. To succeed, you will need to think of rapid change as the new normal. What was your pricing strategy yesterday, may not be what it will be tomorrow.
For example, right now, imagine your electronics retail company sells Samsung, Dell, Apple and Microsoft computer screens and you do very well doing it, selling at good margins that are supplemented by kickbacks from the manufacturers. Do you have a plan in place for pricing when those incentives dry up? In the future, you may even need to manufacture your own company-branded computer screen, but have you even considered what price something like that might need to be sold at so you can compete?
When they pop up, those ‘what if’ questions are easier answered with pricing software. Implementing a new data analytics and pricing tool to drive profitability means unraveling previous ways of thinking about pricing, product innovation, selling and value. You will be required to learn the latest skills, innovative approaches, and new strategies, and challenged to think and behave differently to what ‘was.’
Unlearning the past is a unique and important skill set in and of itself when you set yourself for a pricing software powered career.
That’s Great – But How Do I Get Started?
Now you know what kind of skills are the most advantageous to have across your pricing team as you begin on your company’s pricing software journey.
At Pricefx, we have assisted hundreds of organizations over the years in laying the both the technological and workforce groundwork required to make pricing software a reality for them, both directly and through our experienced ecosystem partners.
If you have found this article interesting and you would like to learn more about the type of support you’ll receive from our team both before and after an implementation project, check out our latest blog article:
Or if you already know that our pricing software is what you want: