Ask the Experts: Who Should Own Pricing?

More important than who should own pricing is knowing that someone owns it.This ensures that there will always be someone to follow up with and hold accountable.

More important than who should own pricing is knowing that someone owns it.This ensures that there will always be someone to follow up with and hold accountable. 

Having a single owner, however, is aspirational at best. Setting price is just one part of the process: it’s not the finish line. Pricing is about setting a strategy based on understanding the market and your competitors and developing policies and processes to govern and monitor pricing. Product teams, executive teams and operational groups must all participate if your pricing strategy is to be successful.

There are probably as many approaches to pricing as there are companies. A lot of it has to do with an organization’s size, maturity and strategic approach. But in all cases, one of the first steps is to map out pricing methodologies and models. This typically begins in the business plan: What packaging, pricing and business models will be used to achieve the forecasted results and support corporate goals?

Equally important is understanding the buyers’ problems we’re solving. Delivering a market-viable price point and approach requires insight and confirmation from the market. This is something often best provided by product team members. They can provide input through market validation and iterative interactions. However, that product team may not actually determine the price. It may be determined by a committee, by finance or even by sales. 

Pricing is a team sport. It requires involving executives in strategy, product teams in business planning and opportunity analysis, development in problem solving, and sales in engaging buyers. Although the product team should be centrally involved in mapping the first steps—and perhaps own one or more steps in the process—the continuum from strategy to execution creates a level of complexity that can only be managed from a team approach.

And remember, no matter who owns pricing, systems, processes and metrics are needed to monitor and gauge effectiveness. Your product’s perceived value can change based on where the market is in adoption, the influence of competitors and the dynamics of an evolving product. Monitoring helps you understand the value you deliver to the market, and everyone must own that.

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