Pricing is the central hinge for a company’s profitability. Many organizations fail to fully grasp the importance of pricing in realizing their profitability targets, as their first focus, almost as a reflex, centers on cost cutting. That may not yield the desired results as it often inhibits growth as a long-term consequence.1 Profit and cash flow have become top imperatives in the current crisis period and its drivers therefore need a closer attention.
A majority of leaders underthink the pricing strategy, leaving the price setting to once in a year ritual. Managers tend to dread any increase in the pricing that they have to implement, and special discounts become a standard occurrence especially in the economic slowdown situation as at present. This however need not be the case. Done smartly managing prices can yield positive results with growing customer orders as well as enhancing your brand image.
While achieving price excellence is a separate topic where many innovative strategies can be adopted, we focus here on some of the ways (not exhaustive) to manage the pricing and increase revenues/profits in the current market situation:
In the current scenario, where customers usually show higher price sensitivity, sometimes a smart trade-off can be more beneficial. Keeping the price intact while accepting a volume reduction contributes more to the bottom line. Research has shown that an x% price change has a much larger impact on profit compared to equivalent change in sales volume or even costs. In fact, a combination of sales decline and a price decline results in the worst-case scenario.
Unlike a general belief of being the foremost customer need, price of the product in reality is but a secondary consideration. What is of primary importance is the value the customer receives when he engages with your organization versus with your competitors. The higher the value, the higher is the price premium he is willing to pay. As leaders we need to drive various levers in order to create and realize this overall value including a redefined price model.
Pricing is a strategic tool that can not only improve your topline but also add significantly to your bottom line. The key questions for leaders to reflect upon are:
As Warren Buffet once said, “If you have got the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor, you have got a very good business”. Periodically reviewing your pricing strategy options with a fresh look aided by data analytics can spark new ways to drive your profits.
1. Refer our earlier insight “Controlling the Right Costs” for more details