Four Takeaways from #PPSCHI2022

By Zilliant

May 05, 2022

We attended and spoke on stage at the annual Professional Pricing Society Spring Conference in Chicago. Here are four items that stood out at the event dubbed "Pricing Strategy Connected." Zilliant will be on the main stage for a keynote address at the PPS 2022 Fall Conference in San Francisco.

Pricing Strategy Connected at Professional Pricing Society’s Spring Conference

For four days last week, pricing professionals and experts from around the world came together for theProfessional Pricing Society (PPS) 2022 Spring Pricing Workshops and Conferencein Chicago, IL. While this year’s event carried the tagline, “Pricing Strategy Connected,” an unspoken theme was a return to normalcy as this was the first time in nearly two years that many attendees had the opportunity to meet, learn, and network in person. The two-day conference portion of the event, which took place April 28 and 29, offered several highly insightful keynote speakers and breakout sessions all about how to move pricing forward in a world now having to face pandemic-driven challenges, such as supply chain disruption, inflationary concerns, and the dramatic rise of eCommerce and self-service. Here are four key takeaways from PPS Spring 2022 that we found truly illuminating.

Overcoming Volatility and Sustaining Price Change

In his presentation, Cornerstone Building Brands Strategic Pricing & Business Development Manager Jon Lucas shared how his organization has addressed two of the greatest challenges that pricing professionals face today: overcoming cost volatility and sustaining price change. His illuminating session dove into why, with a mandate to increase margins, Cornerstone’s pricing team needed to optimize prices across channels while settling the organizational “autonomy vs. control” debate. Through establishing a pricing center of excellence, powered by a technology catalyst that uses data to remove emotion from pricing, Cornerstone was able to “not only deal with rapidly rising steel costs but expand profit significantly.”

Digital Transformation and Offering a B2C-like Experience is Critical

In her keynote, DeAnn Hammer, global pricing operations director at 3M, spoke about the importance of how to build resilience during organizational-wide digital transformation. It’s no secret that technology is the primary driver when it comes to transforming pricing complexity, and those who remain rigid in their refusal to change are destined to fail. “You must transform. It’s not an option,” Hammer said. “If you are a large B2B company and aren't offering your customers a B2C experience, you need to realize that’s what they want."

Additionally, during the Q-and-A of Hammer’s keynote, a question was asked regarding a common barrier to organization-wide transformation: executive buy-in. “People with some of the best ideas are sometimes not able to communicate those ideas well, and when that happens, they don't get heard,” Hammer said. "Focus on skill-building to tell your story."

Find the Insights That Matter

One Friday keynote we found quite impactful was from Jeet Mukherjee, VP of pricing at Holden Advisors, who spoke all about the future of pricing. During his presentation, Mukherjee focused on the importance of finding insights that matter. He stressed not to wait for perfection and don’t waste time on reporting. “It's not always about the data or fancy analytics,” Mukherjee said. “It's about these silos of data that the pricing guy has to go in and get some kind of insight out of.”

Coincidentally, this idea of having transparency into the pricing process in order to provide valuable insights to sales is a major enhancement that went into our latest solution update,Next-Generation Price IQ®, which features new crystal box optimization that provides substantial visibility into how prices were derived. To conclude his presentation, Mukherjee continued to stress that insights are pointless if they don’t provide value for sales. “If there is no action, stop doing it,” Mukherjee said. "If your insight does not generate action, it's a waste of time."

Dynamic Pricing Made Real

In his Friday afternoon breakout session, Zilliant SVP of Products and Science Pete Eppele spoke about the importance of dynamic, real-time pricing in B2B. Companies need to improve speed and responsiveness, especially when trying to deal with the many challenges of today’s business landscape – inflation, supply disruption, accelerated move to omnichannel customer interactions, intensifying competition, the labor shortage, and more.

Eppele offered a number of real-world examples of B2B companies that did, in fact, make dynamic pricing real when it came to responding to cost changes, responding to competitors, leveraging dynamic deal guidance through legacy ERP, and automating bid response and negotiation. “Dynamic pricing at times really feels like an amorphous concept,” Eppele said. “But it’s truly about looking at the pace of change within your business and how that’s evolving. Where are the manual touchpoints in that process, and how can we make it better?”

Looking to make dynamic pricing real in your business? Contact us today to learn how.

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