Zilliant General Manager of Commercial Excellence Barrett Thompson appeared as a guest on the Professional Pricing Society (PPS) Pricing Podcast to share his thoughts on new B2B buyer expectations, why omnichannel is particularly challenging for B2B, and a systemic approach to delivering a modern pricing experience. Listen to the episode here.
Talking Omnichannel Pricing on the PPS Pricing Podcast
Omnichannel pricing has arrived in most B2B sectors and delivering a tailored, consistent experience will soon be table stakes. The modern corporate buyer simply expects a consumer-like experience when dealing with vendors. A key driver of said experience is the right price, delivered quickly, in all channels where customer interactions take place. Zilliant General Manager of Commercial Excellence Barrett Thompson appeared on the PPS Pricing Podcast this week, where he shared the following omnichannel pricing expectations that B2B companies must deliver:
- Buyers want to use the channel of their choice – either completing the transaction entirely within that channel or switching between channels at their discretion
- Buyers expect the right price that fits their relationship and specific scenario
- Buyers crave speed – they don’t want to wait for you to get back to them with an offer
- Buyers want consistency in the prices they receive regardless of channel
These expectations create a serious dilemma that makes omnichannel pricing much harder for B2B companies to pull off than their B2C brethren.
The Omnichannel Dilemma
Customers in the B2B world don’t pay the same price for the same goods or services, generally. Often these customer-specific prices are contractually determined. This dynamic is at the heart of the omnichannel dilemma that Barrett describes in the episode and in a keynote he is delivering at the PPS Fall Conference in San Francisco on October 21.
There is a systems problem that contributes to the challenge as well. Most B2B companies are still using manual tools like spreadsheets to manage prices and leaning on legacy systems of record (think ERP) to store, calculate and deliver prices to their growing number of commercial channels.
This status quo is far too slow and leads to pricing inconsistencies that undermine omnichannel pricing ambitions. Host Terrence Eggleston asked Barrett how, considering this, is it possible for companies to overcome these roadblocks? Barrett’s response drew on a breakthrough approach that more and more pricing teams are adopting to gain the necessary control over data, tools and processes:
Companies will find that localized pricing logic is unsustainable. There’s no effective way to make localized logic aware of all the things it needs to be aware of. But the good news is that that logic can be externalized into a central pricing engine and then you let all of these channel systems just call to that pricing engine to get the price when they need it. Almost by definition, the prices are then consistent because they’re coming from the same place.