Steven Forth is a Co-Founder of TeamFit. See his Skill Profile.

 

For the past four months, TeamFit has been working with the pricing consulting firm Ibbaka to understand the skills needed by pricing experts and to understand how these skills are changing. This work is an example of our Skill Insight Research. We undertake a number of research projects each year to deepen our understanding of the skills used in a specific industry, role or profession. We do this for several reasons.

  1. We are passionate about understanding skills, how they are changing and the wider economic impact.
  2. Our goal is to build the widest and deepest possible Skill Graph and the results of the Skill Insight Research are integrated with the TeamFit Skill Graph.
  3. Partnering with other firms gives us insights into specific industries and professions that we can use to help all of our clients and all TeamFit users.

What is the TeamFit Skill Graph? It is the underlying data model we use, plus the data it contains, that we use to power our skill inference, skill recommendation and expertise assessment engines. The Skill Graph defines the relationships between skills and between a skill and a role (in this case pricing expert), person (who performs a role and demonstrates a skill) and the projects within which skills are used.

How do we undertake Skill Insight Research? We seek out information from many different sources.

  • Surveys – You can take the Skills for Pricing Experts survey here.
  • LinkedIn – We examine the skills and roles of pricing experts on LinkedIn, looking at both groups and individuals.
  • Interviews – Nothing substitutes for conversations. We try to get a wide range of views from inside and outside an industry on the changing skills required for success. The interview data is also parsed using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and tagged for skill concepts. This is then added to the Skill Graph and used in the pattern recognition software.
  • Job Offers – One place to find information on the skills needed for roles is by collecting and parsing data from job offers.

All of this information is gathered together. It is used to deepen and connect the Skill Graph and passed through our proprietary clustering and pattern analysis software.

  • Analysis of the Skill Graph – Here we are looking for patterns of parent and child skills, associated skills (skills often used together by the same person) and complementary skills (skills used together by different people on the same project).
  • Skill Clustering and Pattern Recognition – In most cases, we find two to five patterns of closely associated skills that define different approaches to the role.

We will be reporting on the results of this research at the Professional Pricing Society Spring Conference in Chicago today (May 3) and publishing the results later this May. The interviews themselves make interesting reading.

Chris Herbert from SV Pricing gives a recruiter’s perspective.

Tim Smith is the thought leader at Wiglaf pricing and describes how he trains new consultants.

Tom Nagle is the senior statesman of value-based pricing.

Reg Nordman looks at pricing as a sales coach.

Alan Albert is a product management guru who has thought deeply about value creation and value perception (critical to value-based pricing).

Sometimes Skill Insight Research uncovers gaps in the how an industry is thinking about skills. I think this has happened in this work. At this point, we see three basic skill patterns among pricing experts.

The strategist – works with the C suite on how to use the pricing lever to achieve organizational goals.

The analyst – crunches data, lots of data, and finds patterns. This role was prominent in the B2C and distribution industries, but with new technologies like deep learning, it is becoming more in demand at B2B companies.

The coach – works with other functions to clarify, shape and help implement pricing strategy. There are sub-patterns depending on whether the focus is sales, sales operations, product development or product marketing.

Are these the only patterns? We think there may be a fourth–The designer, though that is not yet apparent in the data. The designer combines pricing skills with skills from design thinking and customer service design. This is the approach that Ibbaka is taking and may be an important part of their differentiation. See for example Don’t set prices, design pricing and Where does pricing fit in the customer journey.

TeamFit’s next piece of Skill Insight Research will be on the changing role of product managers. We are also planning research into the skills that financial institutions will need for the adoption of Fintech technologies such as distributed ledgers.

Do you need to understand what skills you have in your company and how they are being applied?
Are you planning to adopt a new technology, process or business model?

Contact us to discuss how Skill Insight Research can tilt the table in your favour and increase the odds of success.