A pricing guide for emerging companies

Business Development, Uncategorized

Pack light. Check map. Move briskly. In traveling the landscape of emerging companies, I’ve noticed pricing often needs a “health check.” At least three out of four companies have prices below the customer’s perception of value.

Why companies are pricing below value.

The reasons may vary. Lack of precision around why customers buy. A “feeling” the market won’t support a higher price point. A low “introductory” price will increase transaction volume. The perception that the topic may not have enough upside to justify digging deeper.

Since countless books and articles exist on the topic of pricing, here are three practical steps to help you capture more value.

1. Use hasty research.

Too often this option gets overlooked. For emerging companies, interviews with a few customers can reality check key assumptions, and produce useful insights for pricing.

Several of my favorite go-to questions are:

  • What is the primary benefit you receive from us?
  • Why did you decide to buy when you did?
  • How would you feel if you could no longer use us?
  • What would you likely use as an alternative if our product were no longer available?

These along with a few open-ended questions can help you discover the value that current pricing may not capture.

The process works equally well for interviews with former customers or qualified prospects who chose a competitor instead.

2. Unpack margin stack.

Another area of pricing often shortchanged is channel margins and pricing.

Much comes down to the question of channel power. For example, a unique product in demand means you as the “supplier” has the power to outline commercial terms. If not, your channel will.

Failure to apportion “margin stack” to the value each player provides can instantly stall an otherwise promising initiative. Done right, this exercise forces you to tackle big questions immediately:

  • Is go-to-market strategy right?
  • Is this business truly sustainable?
  • Are we “giving away” too much margin?

Tip: Margin is not based on cost, but percent markup on selling price at each step in the supply chain.

3. Stare down complexity.

Whether refining a pricing model or adding a new offering, keep it simple. Unnecessary complexity adds friction to the selling process.

For example, a common issue is too many offerings, or SKUs, with insufficient differentiation from the customer’s point of view. This means more time gets spent explaining differences and figuring out “fit.”

Another offender is pricing models that struggle to scale efficiently as the pace of adding customers quickens, or that break as the business pushes into adjacent markets. Constant one-off adjustments consume valuable management and seller time better spent elsewhere.

…see complexity explode if adding resellers to the mix.

Always keep pricing top of mind.

Left unattended, pricing corrections can be costly and time-consuming to fix. Great resources on pricing can be found at For Entrepreneurs and  OpenviewLabs.

RaaStr runs custom-built sales operations so you can add customers fast without having to deal with the complexity.

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