Delivering the right products and prices, for every sales engagement, at lightning speed, requires the power of proven AI technology. But how do you get your sales team to get on board with prescriptive pricing recommendations when they’ve been doing it their way for so long?
13 Key Tips for Driving Adoption of the AI Driven Pricing Recommendations:
- Communicate the “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) message to sales. It is essential the sales team know how this helps them. This should be communicated and revalidated many times to ensure they remember and understand it.
- Communicate the WIIFM message (and a vision for the end goal) for the company. Sales people want to know how it helps them, but it’s also important they understand how it helps the overall company. They need to understand how following the guidelines drives the company’s overall business success.
- Make sure executive leadership is actively involved, visible and heard. Are they actively communicating that pricing recommendations must be followed and why this is critical for the success of the business? If the answer is no, then fix this.
- Get sales management involved. Salespeople will pay very little attention to a corporate message if their direct line sales managers are paying very little attention to it. You may need to explain and revalidate the “What’s In It For Sales Management” message. They need to act as your front-line coaching team.
- Empower sales managers to track adoption. Also, try to get them using this information to manage their salespeople on a daily, weekly, monthly schedule e.g. using adoption and opportunity analytics as part of regular sales meetings.
- Target some of the most skeptical and influential salespeople and sales managers. Take the time to walk them through how the prices are generated and show them examples of “old approach” prices set by a salesperson versus better recommendations generated from the solution. Ideally, highlight examples of where using the price recommendations has (or would have) made more money for the business and in commission for the salesperson. If you can get these skeptical and influential salespeople and sales managers on board then others will follow.
- Explain the high-level logic for how pricing guidelines are generated. Salespeople do not need to understand how every price is calculated, especially if data science is being used, but they do need to have confidence that the pricing is logical and be able to answer the customer when asked, “Where did this price come from?”
- Incorporate sales incentives. What is the commission scheme? Does it encourage salespeople to price low and sell volume? Can it be changed to be more aligned to corporate business goals i.e. when the company gets more money, the salesperson also gets more money? Are there other competitions and awards/prizes that can be given out to recognize salespeople for good behavior (other than simply commission)?
- Encourage sales person competitiveness. Salespeople are naturally more competitive than most average employees. How can you use that to drive adoption? Can you share a leader board of salesperson price adoption?
- Share success stories. Measure the success and additional monetary value achieved by salespeople who have shown better adoption to the guidelines versus those who have not changed their behavior. Use this as a powerful success story to drive change.
- Include a price approval process to control exceptional pricing. There will always be a percent of pricing that should go through an approval process (20% is a good level to aim for). And even if the process does not block the exceptional pricing, it is very important that salespeople know it is being monitored (“big brother is watching”).
- Make the process harder to not follow the pricing guidelines. If the approval process is no additional effort and always comes back with a “Yes -Approved” then it does not encourage adoption. All other things being equal, if salespeople are required to do extra work to get an exceptional price sent out then it will discourage them.
- Incorporate key messaging into the name of the project. For example, if you are communicating to sales that the pricing is based on “What is the price one of your peer salespeople has achieved with a similar customer, for a similar product in a similar situation?” then why not call the project the Peer Pricing project (rather than a corporate orientated name). And perhaps call the main price you want sales to hit the “Typical” price rather than the “Target” price (i.e. use the psychology that this is the Typical price other salespeople have achieved so why can’t you).
Follow these tips to help ensure your sales team follows your customer deal pricing recommendations. Once they see how AI-powered pricing shortens approval cycles, enables them to price quickly and accurately, and helps identify new opportunities, they’ll be hooked.