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Pricing Perogative: Most Companies Call Pricing a High Priority, But 85 Percent Say They Have Significant Room for Improvement | Bain & Company

Bain & Company conducted a global survey of sales leaders, vice presidents of pricing, CEOs, CMOs and other executives at over 1,700 companies, collecting their self-rating of 42 pricing capabilities and outcomes to understand which pricing capabilities matter most. The analysis showed that top performers are more likely to exceed their peers primarily in three areas:

  • Employing truly tailored pricing at the individual customer and product level;
  • Aligning incentives for front-line sales staff with the pricing strategy; and
  • Investing in ongoing development of capabilities among the sales and pricing teams, through training, best practice sharing and tools.

“Companies across industries tend to underinvest generally in pricing but, regardless of a company’s starting point, our analysis reveals that excelling across these three pricing capabilities can pay off,” said Ron Kermisch, Bain & Company’s global pricing leader.  “Among the companies that excel in all three areas, 77 percent are top performers.”

Bain & Company explains why these three areas have such a strong effect on pricing:

Pricing to the average is always wrong.  One-size-fits all pricing actually fits no one.  More advanced companies tailor their pricing carefully for each combination of customer and product, continually working to maximize total margin.

Bad incentives undercut the best pricing strategy. Incentives have a strong effect on behavior. Managers often criticize sales reps for losing a deal, but rarely for pricing a deal too low, so reps learn to concede on price until the deal closes. The antidote is to align compensation with strategic goals, and enable field sales reps to see the effect of changing price on their own compensation. Their incentives should align with those of the company. In many cases, this requires maximizing price without sacrificing volume.

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Pricing Perogative: Most Companies Call Pricing a High Priority, But 85 Percent Say They Have Significant Room for Improvement.

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