Why Do Pricing Software Discovery? Can’t I Just See a Demo?
We get you. Time is critical and it might feel like you just don’t have time for an hour-long discovery call, and you feel like you want to skip straight to the demo for your new potential pricing software solution.
But know this; A demo without a discovery process is a waste of time.
A robust discovery process is about understanding the needs, motivations, issues, problems and challenges of your situation, looking at what your business is trying to achieve to identify and fix the problems that may make you lose sleep at night. A great pricing software discovery can establish the foundation for crafting a customized, targeted demo that allows you to see how your pricing solution will fit into your organization and how it will solve your unique business issues and needs.
At Pricefx, we’ve spent the last 10+ years assisting companies across several industries in becoming more pricing agile and more efficient. Rather than bore the pants off our customers by showing them a 3-hour demo presentation of what our pricing software can do, we’ve discovered that there is a more efficient way. We find that companies generally get the most out of their pricing software and fastest possible pathway to Return-On-Investment (ROI) by sharing a one-hour discovery call straight off the bat rather than jump straight into a demo.
In this article, we will discuss exactly what a pricing software discovery call is, how it is different from a demo, why discovery is the best method to share/address your unique business issues or challenges that you’ve got and ultimately, decide if the pricing software you’re interested in is the right partner for you or not.
What is Discovery? – The Definition – And Why Is It Important?
For you as a pricing software customer, the better and more comprehensive your initial discovery call with your pricing software vendor, the faster you’ll have the software working towards solving your organization’s unique challenges and needs.
To summarize – the purpose of a discovery call is to ensure you have a conversation about what you want – your needs, challenges and problems – rather than a conversation about your pricing software vendor.
A discovery call is the first conversation you have with your pricing software vendor after showing your initial interest. This call serves as an opportunity to uncover your company’s unique pain points, priorities, and goals and begin building rapport and developing a relationship with your prospective pricing software vendor.
The goal of this call is not to see what the pricing software does and does not do, but for the vendor to get to know you, learn what you’re struggling with at the moment with your pricing and to determine the fit and suitability of the software to solve your company’s pricing issues. If the vendor knows that information from you straight out of the gates, it may ultimately save you a bundle of time in the demo and finally implementation phases of your pricing software project.
A great pricing software discovery call will:
- Help you understand what our business objectives are and the results you want from your pricing software project.
- Help you make the right software decision, and;
- Save you time implementing your software and have you on the path to ROI sooner.
If you’ve never purchased pricing software before, the chances are you’re not completely aware of what you don’t know about pricing software.
Your discovery call/s with your potential pricing software partner will help you learn and bring into the light what you do and don’t know about pricing software and help the vendor learn about why you need their assistance.
Think about a discovery call like taking measurements when buying a custom-made suit. Sure, you can purchase a ready-made business suit that is okay but doesn’t quite fit you like a glove as you might have hoped.
On the other hand, you can go to a tailor and be measured for a suit that fits you exactly and it will be made from precisely the fabric you want and tailored by a craftsperson. What’s more, the tailor will ask how many vests you want with that and if they can tailor your shirts and trousers to go with your suit.
Just like being measured for a suit by an expert, your discovery call with your pricing software vendor is like ‘taking your organization’s precise measurements’ and finding out what other extras such as rebate management or CPQ (Configure – Price – Quote) functionality you may not have realized that you require as part of your custom software package.
Demos Without Discovery Are Simply Guessing
Ahead of your discovery call with your pricing software vendor you may have made a list of as many as 100 things you want to solve by adopting pricing software.
Your discovery call will usually drill that down into 5 or 6 major pain points that you’d like your pricing solution to deal with successfully. That will make your demo a far more enjoyable and less tedious experience.
While not all of the pain points may apply to your organization, check out the list of example problems/challenges below that many of our customers are looking to solve with a pricing software solution.
Your discovery call will ‘drill-down’ the amount of information into only what you need to know or need solved for your demo.
Without a discovery call, you might potentially be sitting through a 3-hour demo with a pricing software vendor only to find 45 minutes’ worth of value in what is important to your business.
A discovery call filters down what the people in your organization need to know about your potential new pricing software into a consumable block of information rather than reams of useless material.
How Long Should a Pricing Software Discovery Call Be?
In our experience at Pricefx, the best and most meaningful results from a discovery call are unearthed in 45 minutes plus 15 minutes set aside for Q & A in closing.
Additional discovery calls can also be set a later date when and as required.
But remember, in a way, discovery never ends. Your business will continue to evolve as will the pricing software technology, not to mention ever-changing market conditions. But setting yourself up with an immediate dialogue with your pricing software provider that acknowledges the potential for change will assist you in responding to new challenges ASAP.
What to Focus on in a Discovery Call?
Don’t sweat the small stuff – forget the details. To begin with, the aesthetics of the color of the log-in button or screen font are simply unimportant.
Focus on your company’s strategy and what led your organization to consider a pricing software solution in the first place and how you expect the software to solve your business needs.
The more targeted you can be in your discovery call, the more specific and relevant your eventual demo will be to your company’s requirements.
Which Internal Stakeholders Should You Invite to Your Discovery Calls?
For a first-up pricing software discovery call, your organization’s Project Manager should be the sole attendee.
Generally you’ll have internal stakeholders from mixed levels of your company join in for later discovery calls.
Naturally, every business organization is arranged a little differently, but depending on your internal organization structure, you might want to consider involving the following staff members across a few discovery calls:
- Ultimate Decision – Maker (e.g., Pricing Manager, Manager of Account Executives, Head of Marketing and/or Sales etc.)
- Buying/Procurement Manager – (For participation in your later discovery calls)
- IT Manager or IT Program Manager – To supply not only the technical architecture of your existing programs, but other information like what CRM system you use, if you use SAP or another Business Information System (BIS) and any other critical information. Perhaps most important is an IT member who knows the state of your data, where it currently sits and how and where to access it. (For example, if you have different data sets in different countries or jurisdictions? etc.)
- Sales Operation Staff/End-Users/Other Ancillary Staff – (For involvement after the initial call. without managers present may produce the best results) To highlight any current workarounds and hacks that only your salespeople may be aware of. Learning these workarounds can help point to a major pain in the current tool / process.
- Operations Manager – To check if there are other potential use case possibilities for the pricing software such as rebate management or quoting (CPQ) etc. that also may be covered off under the same technology package.
Don’t Try to Combine Discovery and the Demo into One Call
Finally, a word of warning.
For your own benefit, do NOT try to attempt to do the discovery at the same time as the demo. Trying to conduct a ‘mini-discovery’ for 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of the demo can only lead to disappointment. Not only does it steal away valuable demo time, but it’s almost impossible to customize your pricing software demo on the fly. It’s a messy approach. You simply can’t supply enough specific information to the pricing software vendor about your business, for them to supply adequate answers that apply to your unique use case/s.
Above all, set up the discovery process to take place before the demo and consult the timing between the two events with your pricing software vendor
In our experience here at Pricefx, we have learnt as a pricing software vendor if you provide us with good discovery answers and the adequate time to evaluate the information you provide, we can create a killer, customized demo from the information you provide.
The result: beginning your pathway to a fast, flexible, friendly pricing software solution fully customized to meet your unique business challenges ASAP.
To learn more about choosing the right pricing software to meet your requirements, check out the article below:
About the Authors
Jochen Schmidt has over a decade of experience in strategy consultancy and advisory in addition to pricing and software. At Pricefx, he currently leads the solution strategy team in EMEA and based on prior experience, spearheads the retail industry team as a subject matter expert. Before working for Pricefx, he has held various positions at specialized consulting companies, providing value to clients by advising on pricing strategies and implementing pricing software. In his free time, he is a passionate cook, beach volleyball and volleyball player, spending most of his vacations travelling and hiking.
Iain Lewis has worked in pricing as a practitioner for over 10 years working at Automotive, industrial goods, business services and distribution companies. Iain brings his unique perspective to each engagement to guide companies through complex buying decisions and has helped companies throughout Europe and South East Asia continue to improve their pricing approach.