Mary DeBoni joined Zilliant in February 2018 in the role of Customer Success Manager (CSM). She is a Certified Pricing Professional and has experience as a pricing consultant with Wiglaf Pricing and as a pricing analyst at MillerCoors. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics. Mary recently presented a Professional Pricing Society workshop on quant methods of value-based pricing.
- How did your background prepare you for your role as a CSM? Most of my career has been spent in pricing-specific roles so I can relate to my customers and I understand what a challenging role pricing can be! As a consultant, I worked in various industries setting prices, conducting market research, analyzing historical sales data, and recommending strategies. This experience prepared me for the project management and consultative role of the CSM.
- What’s the biggest misconception about price setting or sales effectiveness you encounter? I think all too often it is assumed that the pricing team just wants to raise all the prices. As a consultant and as an internal pricing team member I found that sales teams tend to be extra cautious around pricing; sometimes even avoiding contact for fear that if they let the pricing team in their prices will go up and result in lost volume. Pricing is siloed in many organizations which I believe helps perpetuate the misconceptions that can lead to a distrust of the pricing team and their recommendations. I think organizations need to find a way to give more exposure to the work and goals of the pricing team to eliminate the misconceptions.
- What’s the No. 1 question you hear most frequently related to change management or adoption? How do we keep the momentum going once the project phase is over and the solution goes live? Change management can be the toughest part of successfully implementing a new solution. Hold regular status updates, a quick stand-up to ask “How is everyone using the tool? Is anyone experiencing any challenges? What results have been observed?” Having these regular updates helps to keep the team engaged and increase adoption rates. Update incentives, include a metric from the tool on your reviews, do whatever you can to emphasize that the new tool is an important part of how you do business moving forward.
- If you could send one message to company leaders that are considering deploying prescriptive sales and pricing guidance in their business, what would it be? Consider your strategic goals prior to signing off on a tech solution. Assign a cross-functional pricing board to assess your current situation, align on goals, create a realistic and executable path forward and then decide which tools/solutions will help you achieve those strategic goals. A tool is powerful only when it gets used and the users have a clear direction in which to apply the knowledge they extract from the pricing tool.
- What industry do you have the most experience in, and what are some common pricing or sales challenges in that industry? I spent the most time pricing in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry and would say the largest challenge that I encountered was getting pricing and sales on the same page. The pricing team is often a sales support function and if the two aren’t aligned it causes tension and can be very problematic. I found that pricing people who spent some time in the field built better relationships with the sales team and were able to establish the role of a trusted advisor.
- What part of your work with customers is the most rewarding? I love being able to make someone else’s day. As a CSM I help people cross things off their checklist or work towards meeting their goals and I find that super rewarding. I also genuinely enjoy getting to know people so having those quick convos while waiting for people to join a Webex is always enjoyable for me too!