How do you do pricing?

B2B, Marketing, pricing, Product Management, single target market

Pricing is one of those concepts, that whenever a sales guy will lose a deal, they will blame it on price – our price was too high. For customers, the easiest way to push you away, is to say that your price is too high. In both the situations, the easiest people to blame is the product/marketing folks – “they don’t understand the reality of the market place, they just sit in the office and tell us what to do without understanding what the customer wants”. Pricing is one of the key reasons – marketing and sales don’t see eye to eye.

Just to clarify – its not that I don’t lose cases on price.

My agenda from this post is to help you not waste time with a customer who does not have the ability to value what you offer in return for the price that you charge. Its both marketing and sales’ responsibility to showcase the value to the customer.

That was a loaded statement – so let me break it down – what is the customer’s perception of what you provide and what she should pay for it. The other is, how do you do your pricing.

As a product manager or marketing manager, when you build a pricing for something, you generally take into account the costs involved at your end. Then you add a margin and give that as the price to be charged. This is the easiest way – Cost+Markup

On the other hand, if you were to look at the value / result / outcome, that the customer will get , by using your product or service and then work backwards, you will be able to come to a better argument. If you don’t know the result that you can get for your customer and there are others who can provide almost similar value at a lower price, then the customer will go with your competition.

I have lost a lot of deals where initially the customer didn’t appreciate the value of the kind of trainings we give our people and how they impact the execution of the project and the reason for us being almost double of someone else. But then we had them come back to us, at a much bigger value when they failed to get the project executed and the cost of penalties and reputation, was even bigger for them. Obviously there were also a lot of them where they got the project executed with someone else at a lower price.

The agenda for showing value has to be ours – not the customer’s. You can verify with the customer, during your meetings, if they value what you sell. Don’t ask this question to operational people. I have made that mistake many times. They have no view of what is going on in the mind of the leadership team. Ask it to people in finance or leadership. Those people look at it from the return of investment perspective. If what they value is what you give, then you have an easy task.

On the other hand, if what you have can enhance the value of what they think, they want, then you have to show them, what else is possible and they agree then you can move forward. Generally if you have chosen your Single Target Market well, then this task becomes comparatively easy because most people in that niche will value similar things.

If what you are selling can get them 10 times of the price you are charging, then you have an argument. If you are charging a price of $1500/- and you can show them how the value (reduction in cost or increase in revenue) will be 10 time or worth $15000/- then you can have a good discussion. But if the return on the investment Is only equal or couple of times more than the investment, it is not worth.

Remember the inertia is so high in B2B setups, that they don’t want to go through the whole process of identifying something where the return is minimal.

But you can use this same inertia to your advantage. If the customer has experienced you before and you have delivered on your promise or commitments, then if you are slightly more expensive then the competitors, they will prefer to deal with you because they know you can deliver.

So coming back to the main topic – how can you then do pricing. You can do it better when your argument of value is clearly identified – whether with your case studies or testimonials etc., in case they have not worked with you before. When the customer knows that you CAN deliver , what you promise and she Values what you deliver, then the pricing argument reduces. Doing pricing on a cost plus basis is generally a losing proposition in a highly competitive environment.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Testing for your lead generation engine – 4

B2B, campaign, Marketing, media, medium, single target market

In the last post couple of days back, I had shared how I had created advertising for YouTube for the video production company that I aim advising. Today I worked on adding one more medium- Linkedin.

Since we are B2B focused in this business, Linkedin is a good medium to directly target the kind of businesses we want. The segregation and segmentation possibilities are also good. The challenge that I have observed with Linkedin is that unlike Google, YouTube, they charge a considerably high price even for putting the impressions in front of your audience.

On the other hand, since you have the ability to tightly control the market to whom your advertisement is shown, you can manage the costs involved.

I would also like to put a caveat here. You should not look at the cost of a lead as the primary cost. This can be very misleading. You may get a lot of clicks at very low cost to come to your website. But if they didn’t stay on your page and give you their email id, then they are of no use. Getting this low cost traffic has no significance. On the other hand, getting more expensive traffic, which is closest to your single target market can help because they may resonate with your content and share their email id. This is what you are looking for. Once you have someone’s email id, you can nurture the leads over a period of time.

If you have the capability, you should go one step further and monitor from which source, which email id was obtained and then when you get an order you can track back to the medium which was used. This will actually showcase which is the most effective medium for you.

Till next time then

Carpe Diem!!!

Sometimes losing a sale is good, in B2B

B2B, Customer Delight, Customers, losing, Sales

As a business leader, there are a lot of times when you have to take a decision on pricing which results in losing a deal.

I have had to take many such decisions and the sales persons involved in the deal get really upset since they misses their target because of that decision.

See, its very easy to discount to win a deal, but if after winning the deal you’re not able to execute because it’s way out of budget then you get a terrible name. In B2B, if you fail to deliver or deliver badly, then you can be sure that you will not get business from that company again and if the manager involved in the decision , goes to some other company, she will ensure that you do not get business from there also.

I have had a couple of instances where we lost the order, then the vendor who was awarded, did not deliver and after one year of struggling, the customer called us back and gave the order without any negotiation.

And since we did a good job there, they gave us multiple more cases.

The advantage of B2B is that once you do a good job, then generally, the managers want to keep working with you. The inertia and the political situation in the organizations mean that a manager doesn’t want to try a new vendor if she can.

So even if you have to lose a deal, its okay because you will get many opportunities to win. But if you do a bad job, because you don’t have the money in the deal, then you will lose the client forever.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Single Target Market – by pain points

B2B, Marketing, segmentation, single target market

I have written about identifying different niches in the market based on the usage. Today’s post will be a little longer than the usual posts because I will showcase two clear applications with examples.

For example maybe your product or service can be targeted at the replacement market or it could be targeted at the OEM market. if you are a tyre manufacturer you can get specialised by cars, two wheelers, trucks, off road etc.Then you can device another niching strategy based on going to the OEMs who manufacture these products. These manufacturers would buy in bulk. Here you don’t need to advertise in the mass market. You need to be closely aligned with the OEM so that when they design new products, they consider your tyres. This is a B2B play.

On the other hand another strategy could be targeting the replacement market. Now you could have a B2C strategy where you are targeting individuals who need to replace their tyres in their old vehicles. To be able to get mind share you will need to advertise rigorously to ensure that you stay top of the mind when someone needs to replace their tyres. On the other hand you could target fleet owners who have to maintain a large fleet. These would be B2B buyers and the method of targeting them would be completely different.

Today I came across another way to look at the idea of a single target market. Its by identifying the pain and retooling the product slightly or retooling the packaging. A very common example of this is the concept of sachets for shampoos which got pioneered in India by the FMCG companies. About 20 years back there was a company in south India, which made shampoos, which did not have a brand as well known as the Uniilevers or the P&G. They recognised the fact that poor ladies in India wanted to wash their hair (typically long hair) but did not have the budget to buy a big bottle of shampoo. Other than the budget they did not have the place to keep the bottle after taking bath because they would take bath in public washrooms.

They came out with a plastic sachet of the shampoo at a cost of Rupee 1/- (about 2 cents at that time) with just enough shampoo for one wash for the ladies. This suddenly became a rage and the volumes of this company grew dramatically. Soon all the MNCs had to copy the idea and come out with equivalent sachets for their shampoos.

Now while the original plan was for the single target as ladies who could not afford the full bottle, another segment which had pain was travelling salesmen who could not carry a bottle of shampoo with them while they were on tours. A lot of the hotels they stayed in did not provide for shampoos. So this became another market that these companies started targeting.

So you could even see the resistance points to the consumption of your product and find the pain in the market to penetrate another segment.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!