There is not a lot of information around on what inconsistent pricing can do to your customer relationships, which is unusual. It makes you look bad, can cost you sales and cripple staff productivity. However there is good news. Recently a small selection of web based CRM providers have introduced software that can make even the most complicated pricing models simple and accessible to sales teams of any size.
Firstly let's deal with the negative impact of inconsistent pricing. When you start business, pricing is pretty straight forward. Usually you have a single price list covering all your products and services. But what happens when you raise prices on some products? What happens if you open a new office that charges different rates? Or you open an office in a new location with a different pricing scale for that community? What about wholesalers or special clients, do they get different rates? You might even run a time sensitive special discount, how do you manage that?
This is when your pricing gets messy and begin to affect your staff and customers. There are 3 chief problems caused by inconsistent pricing:
1. Time Squandered
Most companies manage their pricing by publishing PDF documents or excel spreadsheets for personnel to refer to. When you have a wide range of products staff may find it difficult to find the price applicable to the customer they are talking to. Or they may not even be able to locate the most up to date pricing document.
This wastes time and staff efficiency. They should be interacting with customers not searching for prices. It can also make your sales team look ignorant and amateur, clients expect them to know the correct prices– it is their job.
Assuming that your team do not have or can not find the most up to date pricing information they might quote the client a price that is incorrect.
If the customer is given a price that is too high they may decide to go with your competition instead. Costing you a sale. The customer may also engage in 'salesman shopping' where they call your company multiple times asking for the price until they find a sales person who will give them a reduced rate. This is simply unprofessional and it makes your organization look sloppy. No-one wants to rely upon a company that can not even get their own pricing right.
3. Misquoting – Price Too Low
So what happens when your sales team quotes a price that is too low? If you decide to honor the price quoted you could end up running that particular deal at a loss. If you tell the customer that the price you provided was incorrect and provide the correct price then you run the risk of losing the sale. It's a no win situation.
To avoid these pitfalls it is important to have consistent pricing information that is easily handy to all staff. The easiest way to achieve this is through Web Based CRM software.
Web Based CRM (customer relationship management) systems are hosted by your CRM provider online, meaning your staff can log in anytime, from anywhere all they need is an internet connection.
A few of the newer web based CRM providers have even created software modules designed to streamline complicated pricing models. For example these systems allow you to program different prices based on quantity breaks (if you buy 1 bowl it is $ 7.50 each but if you buy 10 + bowls they are $ 6.00 each). You can also flag customers who get special prices, your staff only need to look up the customers name in the database and they will see the prices that specific customer has been approved to receive. And if you have a time sensitive special price, no worries. You can schedule the start date and end date using your Web based CRM, meaning your staff will only see that price while it is still applicable.
However the largest benefit is simply having your up to date pricing information all in the same place. So staff can quickly confidently provide quotes to potential customers.