Latest Event Updates

Industry Leaders SPA and Tour de Force Announce Partnership

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Strategic Pricing Associates and Tour de Force to deliver a joint solution.

Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA) Inc. and Tour de Force Inc., two market-leading, respected providers of technology and training solutions to the distribution and manufacturing industries, have announced a Partnership to deliver an integrated pricing/quoting solution based on their respective platforms.

Tour de Force, a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) software and SPA, a leading provider of pricing analytics, negotiation training and LMS to complex companies of all types have announced their intent to jointly develop and deliver a new solution offering called Tour de Force Quote to Order (QTO) Optimization powered by SPA Pricing Analytics.

“By integrating what we have developed with our Tour de Force QTO functionality and what SPA has built with their pricing analytics, the integrated solution will create tremendous shareholder value by improving our mutual clients’ work flow efficiencies and profitability by streamlining quoting, providing SPA optimized pricing recommendations and conversion to order process”, said Matt Hartman founder and CEO of Tour de Force.

Founder, President and CEO of Strategic Pricing Associates, Inc. David Bauders added, “We are extremely excited about this offering. The ability to bring pricing analytics directly into our clients’ workflow process will enable sales reps to deliver profit gains of 2-4 percent of affected sales, or $1-2 million per $50 million of affected revenue. These tools also integrate nicely with SPASIGMA’s negotiation training and other LMS offerings.”

Tour de Force and SPA Inc. will be combining the core strengths of their respected platforms to create this new offering. Through the integration to an ERP system, Tour de Force and SPA will be able to analyze and provide a SPA Pricing Cube™ pro forma that will offer customers the ability to see where they can improve profitability in their specific market. In addition to the SPA Pricing Cube™, Tour de Force and SPA will provide a QTO – SPA integration utilizing the Tour de Force Quote Manager. The SPA Pricing Bands™ from SPA will be accessible from the Tour de Force Quote Manager, allowing customers access to real-time pricing based on the SPA pricing capabilities.

The timeline for this offering is expected to hit the market in Q2 2017 and will be showcased in a joint product release by both companies.

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About Tour de Force Inc.

Tour de Force, Inc. develops, sells, implements, and supports enterprise software solutions with a focus on customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI). Tour de Force was developed for the distribution and manufacturing industries and is currently being used in a variety of B2B industries, while distributors and manufacturers continue to make up 90% of the current user base. To learn more about Tour de Force, including our cloud and on-premise solutions, visit http://www.TourdeForceInc.com.

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About Strategic Pricing Associates Inc. (SPA)

SPA is the leading provider of pricing analytics, negotiation training, and LMS systems to complex companies of all types in manufacturing, distribution, equipment, services, software and technology products. Since 1993, SPA Inc. has built a strong platform of proprietary analytics to quickly and efficiently help companies convert their own invoice data into pricing architectures that maximize their pricing performance and competitive position. To learn more about SPA Inc., visit http://www.strategicpricing.com. To learn more about SPASIGMA, SPA’s training business, visit http://www.spasigma.com.

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Contact:

Ken Ledyard
Director of Marketing
Tour de Force, Inc.
419-425-4800 ext. 2017
Ken.Ledyard@tourdeforceinc.com

10 Buyer Negotiation Tactics to Lower Price Points

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spasigma-blog-10-buyer-neg

Negotiation is a dance. To have it go smoothly, you must be ultra-attentive to your own actions and the actions of your partner. Even the slightest, unexpected move can create a better – or worse – outcome. That’s why we’ve built negotiation tactics around the smartest actions. Here are 10:

1. Anchor them. State your very best price. When you establish your price point, you influence expectation. We tend to expect the first position we hear.

2. Throw junk. Point out negatives about whatever it is they’re trying to sell. You want to make your negotiation partner questions his or her price point.  Before beginning negotiations, collect junk by asking internal stakeholders about their overall satisfaction with the vendor. Did they deliver on time? Was their customer service acceptable? Did they honor the fine print?

3. Woo them. With every bit of junk you throw, be sure to give them a positive statement, such as “We really want to make this work,” or “We really want to do business with you.”

You want to minimize conflict and open the party up to new ideas like a lower price.

Click here to access the full list and to learn more about SPASigma’s negotiation training.

 

SPA Events

Click here for upcoming SPA event dates such as our next Battle for Margin June 8-9 in Las Vegas, NV and dates/times for our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can subscribe to our Strategic Pricing Pays blog or follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.

 

Six Sigma Pricing > Control: Set and Enforce Pricing Authority Levels and Repeat Previous Steps

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This is the final article in our six part blog series on how manufacturers and distributors can apply Six Sigma methodology to the pricing function to generate repeatable margin gains. This blog covers the importance of setting and enforcing pricing authority levels and repeat previous steps as continuous improvement never stops.

spa-6-sigma-pricing-ppt-slide-image

As a quick review, here is the Six Sigma Process as described by Wikipedia:

“Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality output of process by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Champions”, “Black Belts”, “Green Belts”, “Yellow Belts”, etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified value targets, for example: reduce process cycle time, reduce pollution, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase profits.”

As we covered in our last article on this topic, it is crucial that you build processes, systems and tools to assist teams and create reporting tools to track improvements and implement real-time visibility into business processes defects to ensure you are focusing your improvement efforts in the right areas.

In the Control phase, our job is to make sure the improvements we have put in place – stay in place. To achieve this you want to chart performance against upper and lower control limits. Run charts show single values plotted over time and indicate trends of process & shifts in process performance.

The key to success it to continuously monitor performance and measure against the control limits via Control Charts which allows you to:

  1. Study process variation over time
  2. Monitor and improve process performance
  3. Maintain “In-Control” processes

Additional benefits of The Six Sigma Pricing Control phase include:

  • Developing an effective “Control Plan Audit Process”
  • Identifying opportunities for improvement in processes, tools, and or behavior
  • Establish a “Pricing Authority Matrix”
  • Develop “Profitability Improvement Plans” for every customer
  • Developing Change Management strategies and plans

The following are the five areas we covered in this blog series that will helped demonstrate a proven pa to Six Sigma Pricing Excellence and links to additional blogs and other content.

  1. Define: set roles, responsibilities, and goals for the team in alignment within the business
  2. Measure: build correct measurements and incentives for each person
  3. Analyze: use reporting tools to find opportunities to grow or challenges to fix
  4. Improve: build processes, systems and tools to assist teams and create reporting tools to track improvements
  5. Control: set and enforce pricing authority levels and repeat previous steps as continuous improvement never stops

Six Sigma Pricing related articles:

Six Sigma Program Overview

Six Sigma Master Blackbelt Greg Preuer, of SPA has created the first course designed to apply time tested Six Sigma methodology to pricing.  Those who study with Greg will learn not only how to drive the pricing process but how to sustain the gains and automate the process.  They will become Six Sigma experts (Blackbelt) in business process with a focus placed squarely on price management.

“Over time we discovered the most critical part of moving the pricing process forward came in helping people deal with change. Establishing a plan for the human reaction to all change is incredibly important.”

– Greg Preuer

Graduates from this course will learn to chart a clear path to pricing improvement.  They will learn each of the following steps:

  • How to design and design goals which are consistent with their company’s pricing strategy.
  • How to measure and identify characteristics critical for pricing success.
  • How to analyze the current situation and steps along the way.
  • How to design an improved alternative which moves closer to the desired result.
  • How to verify that actions taken create the right results.

A Pricing Process founded on SPA’s Six Sigma Program includes the following:

  • Negotiating strategy and tactics
  • Value-based pricing
  • Automated decision making tools
  • Customer Profitability improvement plans
  • Sales team selling value
  • Pricing strategy and leadership
  • Consistent and fair pricing architecture
  • 2 to 4% growth in GM%
  • Pricing based on customer sensitivity
  • Continuous improvement focus

To learn how you can realize the benefits of SixSigma Pricing, contact SPA today at info@strategicpricing.com or 216.455.1545.

 

SPA Events

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.

8 Critical Negotiation Insights You’ll Get at Battle for Margin

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You owe it to yourself and your team to attend a SPASIGMA Battle for Margin negotiation intensive training seminar. These are two-day deep-dives into proven deal-winning strategies you’ll find nowhere else.

The following are just a few of the critical negotiation insights that are shared at Battle for Margin:

  1. Surprising negotiation planning strategies that sharpen the competitive edge
  2. When and how to clarify the financial impact of not moving forward
  3. Tactics to avoid and embrace by situation and personality type

Click here to access the full list and to learn more about SPASigma.

 

Other SPA Events

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can subscribe to our Strategic Pricing Pays blog or follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.

 

SPASigma Featured in The Distributor Channel article “The Dog Ate My Customer List (and other Excuses from the Sales Department)”

Posted on Updated on

SPASigma was featured in a recent The Distributor Channel article, “The Dog Ate My Customer List (and other Excuses from the Sales Department)”, which discusses how many organizations’ sales people – “Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel”.

Excerpts of the article follow.

I Know the Market and This Won’t Work- Pricing Process

During in-depth interviews with dozens of distributors who have instituted successful pricing processes, the story always comes back the same. They experience very little, if any push-back from customers, but they get plenty of push-back from their team.

The excuses are so predicable, I can almost mouth the words. “This pricing stuff works in big cities/small towns/west coast/east coast/ anywhere but here. Our customers will react negatively. They will immediately recognize we are gouging them. And the competition will have a field day.” When all else fails, the sales guy will look their boss in the eye and say, “I’m paid on gross margin, I’m doing everything in my power to maximize that gross margin. Don’t you trust me?”

Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel

David Bauders’ team at Strategic Pricing Associates has developed some powerful tools to analyze price data. In an interview with him sometime ago, David produced dozens of analytical graphs showing market price, order size and product discounts. Amazingly, they all looked the same. Customers making very small purchases are getting price levels well below the natural market. Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel.

a simple test to determine if a distributor’s team actually understands market pricing

David recommends a simple test to determine if a distributor’s team actually understands market pricing. He takes the top 20 SKUs from a company and asks the sales team to provide a best estimate of the market price. Fewer than 25 percent of the sales team gets anywhere near a passing grade. The guys who claim to be maximizing your margin can’t.

There are some root causes to this whole issue with pricing. First, most distributor salespeople really do believe they understand the market. The question becomes, where do they get their information?

 “in our world, customers have been trained to mislead us on pricing.”

Let’s face it, in our world, customers have been trained to mislead us on pricing. When was the last time somebody said, “Wait a minute, Jim, your price is too low?”  Purchasing departments see their role as trimming just a few percentage points off of the buy price. Their goal is the best service at the lowest price. Secondly, most customers really are nice folks. Rather than tell us our service is rotten or we lack the follow through required to earn their business, they let us down gently with a well-placed, “It looks like your price didn’t line up this time.”

What’s a mother to do? We believe that using a scientifically driven analytic tool will begin to give you an idea of your company’s pricing in the market. On top of that, pricing process metrics allow the manager to measure, coach and enforce a process that adds significantly to the overall bottom line.

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Upcoming SPA Events

Set You and Your Team Up to Win Better Agreements at Battle For Margin

spasigma-blog-footer-800-by-300-pixels

Your organization’s profits depend on the individual and collective negotiation skill of your employees – from sales to purchasing. The Battle for Margin negotiation intensive is a rare opportunity to dive deeper into negotiation strategy that will immediately drive for more profitable agreements. Don’t you and your team deserve to be set up for success? Don’t miss the Battle for Margin.

It will be held in Miami at February 9-10 at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside.

Get negotiation intelligence you’ll find nowhere else:

Revolutionize how you and your team view negotiation. Give your organization the tools and knowledge to drive more profit than ever before with compelling and eye-opening case studies, critiques, and group exercises. Instill knowledge fast. The day will fly by because our seminars are purposefully entertaining and educational; people learn more when they’re having fun.

Attendee Testimonials

Here what our clients have to say about the power of strategic pricing tools from SPASigma Negotiation Training Seminars.

“SPASIGMA breaks the standard mold of slow pace seminars. It’s engaging, fun, and interactive in a setting that feels warm and comfortable.”

     — Mitch Koepp, Marketing Manager, All World Machinery

Other SPA Events

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.

Six Sigma Pricing > Improve: Build Processes, Systems and Tools to Assist Teams & Create Reporting Tools to Track Improvements

Posted on

This is the fifth in a six part blog series on how manufacturers and distributors can apply Six Sigma methodology to the pricing function to generate repeatable margin gains. This blog covers the importance of driving incremental improvements through building processes, systems and tools to assist teams and create reporting tools to track improvements.

All pricing practice leaders know a disciplined process is needed to create and maintain Pricing Excellence – to effectively drive incremental improvements your team must focus on these four areas:

  1. Build process, systems & tools to assist team in exceeding their goals. (Automate at all cost)
  2. Hire based on foundational skills versus experience
  3. Train teams on key foundational skills that they will need to exceed their goals.
  4. Create reporting tools to track improvements

Processes, Systems, and Tools

As we covered in our last article on this topic, it is crucial that you implement real-time visibility into business processes defects in the Analyze phase to ensure you are focusing your improvement efforts in the right areas.

Other key elements of this phase include:

  • Base lining your current pricing performance helps to understand what the potential improvement can be.
  • Benchmark your goals and objectives based on the leader in your industry to drive toward World-class performance.
  • Creating playbooks allows you to go from identifying to rectifying deficiencies in your pricing process.
  • Implement automated deal tools so you can play offense or defense when appropriate by being able to make dynamic pricing decisions.

Hiring and Training

The real key to long-term success and to achieve Pricing Excellence – people. Always choose character over experience. Pricing is hard and you will train them to make excellent pricing decisions but they must have some core traits. Leadership, communications skills, and an analytical mind are the three most important traits. Quantitative, numbers driven decision makers such as former military academy grads, quantitative undergrad (Finance, Accounting, Physics, etc.) majors who also participated in a team sport, and yes even select sales people in your own company make great pricers.

To achieve long-term success, an effective and robust training program must be developed. It must include everything pricers will need to be successful and must be geared towards developing a proactive approach to identifying improvement opportunities in margin, market share, etc.  They must be constantly driving change – the ability to make decisions faster and more accurately is a major competitive advantage.

Reporting

Reporting tools to track performance in all areas are a must to drive profitable growth in your business and to drive discipline in the revenue side of your business.

Automated tools are needed to make effective decisions based on analytical scorecards. Answers to 95% of the questions about a deal should be at hand in near real-time and in a clear and concise format.

Creating Standard Operating Procedures are also key and must detail who does what in each step of each process and how decisions are made to eliminate confusion over price setting and approval authority, etc.

Six Sigma Program Overview

Six Sigma Master Blackbelt Greg Preuer, of SPA has created the first course designed to apply time tested Six Sigma methodology to pricing.  Those who study with Greg will learn not only how to drive the pricing process but how to sustain the gains and automate the process.  They will become Six Sigma experts (Blackbelt) in business process with a focus placed squarely on price management.

Graduates from this course will learn to chart a clear path to pricing improvement.  They will learn each of the following steps:

  • How to design and design goals which are consistent with their company’s pricing strategy.
  • How to measure and identify characteristics critical for pricing success.
  • How to analyze the current situation and steps along the way.
  • How to design an improved alternative which moves closer to the desired result.
  • How to verify that actions taken create the right results.

A Pricing Process founded on SPA’s Six Sigma Program includes the following:

  • Negotiating strategy and tactics
  • Value-based pricing
  • Automated decision making tools
  • Customer Profitability improvement plans
  • Sales team selling value
  • Pricing strategy and leadership
  • Consistent and fair pricing architecture
  • 2 to 4% growth in GM%
  • Pricing based on customer sensitivity
  • Continuous improvement focus

To learn how you can realize the benefits of SixSigma Pricing, contact SPA today at info@strategicpricing.com or 216.455.1545.

The following is the remaining area we will dive into in a future article in this blog series that will help illuminate the path to Six Sigma Pricing Excellence.

  1. Control: set and enforce pricing authority levels and repeat previous steps as continuous improvement never stops

Upcoming SPA Events

Set You and Your Team Up to Win Better Agreements at Battle For Margin

spasigma-blog-footer-800-by-300-pixels

Your organization’s profits depend on the individual and collective negotiation skill of your employees – from sales to purchasing. The Battle for Margin negotiation intensive is a rare opportunity to dive deeper into negotiation strategy that will immediately drive for more profitable agreements. Don’t you and your team deserve to be set up for success? Don’t miss the Battle for Margin.

It will be held in Miami at February 9-10 at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside.

Get negotiation intelligence you’ll find nowhere else:

Revolutionize how you and your team view negotiation. Give your organization the tools and knowledge to drive more profit than ever before with compelling and eye-opening case studies, critiques, and group exercises. Instill knowledge fast. The day will fly by because our seminars are purposefully entertaining and educational; people learn more when they’re having fun.

Attendee Testimonials

Here what our clients have to say about the power of strategic pricing tools from SPASigma Negotiation Training Seminars.

“SPASIGMA breaks the standard mold of slow pace seminars. It’s engaging, fun, and interactive in a setting that feels warm and comfortable.”

     — Mitch Koepp, Marketing Manager, All World Machinery

Other SPA Events

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.

Webinar: Pricing Effectiveness – You Get What You Can Negotiate | 12-Jan

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What would happen if every deal that came across your desk suddenly had a one percent higher margin?

When: Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 2:00 PM Eastern

are-you-leaving-money-on-the-table

What if, in a few months you were seeing 3-5 percent higher margins on most of your deals?

These aren’t pie-in-the-sky questions – this is reality for SPASIGMA clients.

You and your team can become master negotiators. That sounds far-fetched, I know, which is why we’re offering this overview of how we make it happen.

It’s simple: just register for the SPASigma webinar on a new approach to negotiation training.

Click here to register

Why Negotiation Training

What does success mean to you? Higher margins and profits? Higher customer satisfaction? Stronger business relationships? More money? A successful career? Whatever your version of success, negotiation is a critical key to achieve it. We believe negotiation is like a sport. It requires deep knowledge of the subject, specific skills, training, coaching, equipment and continuous practice. SPASIGMA offers the systematic, holistic, long-term approach that professional business people need in order to achieve true mastery of this critical skill-set.

Optimal success requires negotiation training. Typically, salespeople are trained to sell, buyers are trained to buy. Buying and selling skills provide one component, but the subject of negotiation is vast and complex. Once exposed to formal negotiation training, experienced professionals are often amazed to learn of the vital areas of opportunity only visible through the lens of negotiation.

Click here for the SPASigma Negotiation Resource Center

SPASIGMA addresses one more important point in their training offering. “Salespeople go to great training, get enthused and return back to 150 other things we ask them to do,” Smith says. “If they don’t immediately start using the skills covered in the course, a couple weeks later most of the valuable tools are forgotten or at least not top of mind.”

Find out: How a One Day Seminar Leads to Negotiation Mastery

To ensure distributors realize a long-term ROI from their negotiation training investment, SPASIGMA offers a series of interactive online exercises which extend for months following the training, thus addressing this important component of adult learning.

Would you like your distributorship to realize the same benefits as the team at Granite City Electric Supply?

Check out our on-demand webinar to learn more: Introduction to Negotiation Mastery

 

Set You and Your Team Up to Win Better Agreements at Battle For Margin

spasigma-blog-footer-800-by-300-pixels

Your organization’s profits depend on the individual and collective negotiation skill of your employees – from sales to purchasing. The Battle for Margin negotiation intensive is a rare opportunity to dive deeper into negotiation strategy that will immediately drive for more profitable agreements. Don’t you and your team deserve to be set up for success? Don’t miss the Battle for Margin.

It will be held in Miami at February 9-10 at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside.

Get negotiation intelligence you’ll find nowhere else:

Revolutionize how you and your team view negotiation. Give your organization the tools and knowledge to drive more profit than ever before with compelling and eye-opening case studies, critiques, and group exercises. Instill knowledge fast. The day will fly by because our seminars are purposefully entertaining and educational; people learn more when they’re having fun.

Attendee Testimonials

Here what our clients have to say about the power of strategic pricing tools from SPASigma Negotiation Training Seminars.

“SPASIGMA breaks the standard mold of slow pace seminars. It’s engaging, fun, and interactive in a setting that feels warm and comfortable.”

     — Mitch Koepp, Marketing Manager, All World Machinery

 

Other SPA Events

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.

 

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can subscribe to our Strategic Pricing Pays blog or follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.