With the import tariffs announcement, there is concern of inflation in sectors that use steel and aluminum. In addition, several of our clients have seen cost increases in other commodities. Talk of inflation typically translates into panic. Here’s how we suggest you prepare for what’s coming...
Annual budgeting is the roadmap for strategic planning, and analyzing results is how you track progress toward these goals. When results differ from plan, you find yourself asking why. Month after month you may equate these discrepancies to the hearsay you get from the field — or as market-based — and move on, never truly knowing the why. Then the cycle starts again: new year, new plan, new expectations.
But for every business there is a concrete reason for the gap, and there is a way to remove it: companies need more detailed plans they can accurately measure against.
So, how do you get there?
It’s a common knee-jerk reaction for salespeople to focus on increasing volume by offering discounts on every sale – even if it means sacrificing margins. One way to mitigate the risk of excessive discounting is to establish a pricing system that manages pricing exceptions and balances volume incentives with well-defined boundaries that sales staff must operate within.
Ideally, in an effective pricing system, the framework should provide guidance for as many as 80 percent of sales. This guidance should consider a comprehensive range of factors, including the type and size of the customer, the market and the nature of the opportunity. The direction should be clear and unequivocal, providing sales staff with “guardrails” that establish minimum and maximum prices or margins. Sales staff can bounce between these guardrails as appropriate, but they should not be allowed to go above or below the established boundaries.
You’ve most likely seen the commercials asking consumers, “What’s in your wallet?” Yet, from a business perspective, finding out what you have in your wallet isn’t nearly as important as finding out what you’re missing. That missing link is known as wallet share; and understanding what’s NOT in your wallet can lead to tremendous opportunities in terms of your business’ ability to generate profitable growth.
As mentioned in a recent blog post, getting your organization ready for raw material inflation includes preparing your sales team for price increase conversations with customers. It’s a skill that needs practice and developing backup strategies in case of pushback is a key component to your sales training plan.
Need help? You can use our Negotiation Tactics Infographic as a starting point.
Getting to the "right" price for your customer can be difficult and time consuming. How do you know you are pricing correctly? How do you create consistency across your organization? And more importantly, how do you maximize your profitability without losing business?
Navigating your way through these challenges usually requires taking a step back to level-set your current processes. So, where do you start?
Striking the right balance between effective pricing strategies and company performance is often an issue because there are so many factors involved. With price being the most important lever impacting your bottom line, one major pricing mistake could risk your company’s profit potential.
Several years ago, an Ohio-based specialty metal business made the decision not to charge for freight costs, even though their products were extremely heavy. The rationale? None of their competitors were charging, so they couldn’t either.
Achieving significant pricing gains can feel like a long, hard-fought battle. This makes it all the more satisfying when the numbers start to roll in, validating your efforts and proving without a doubt that profitability is attainable.
The thought of losing those gains may keep you up at night. What safeguards can you put in place to protect the gains you’ve achieved and prevent your company from sliding back into past poor pricing habits?
It all starts with building a confident sales force.