The importance of the Value Exploration Workshop

Posted by Alex on January 22, 2019

Value Exploration Workshop evaluating dynamic pricing software to see if there's a business fit

Buying Dynamic Pricing software, or software that takes enterprise data and turns it directly into real-time pricing actions, is necessarily involved. Frequently, the biggest challenge is change management–after all, you are fundamentally changing how your organization makes critical decisions. The Value Exploration Workshop (or VEW) is a crucial step in the decision process. It is so essential in fact, that we as a company will not move forward with a prospective customer until we have flown in and run through a VEW in-person. 

What is a Value Exploration Workshop?

A VEW is a face-to-face meeting of key stakeholders with our team from Perfect Price, where we facilitate an in-depth discussion of the decision process that needs to be rethought with AI, or Dynamic Pricing software, and dig in on all of the areas that software will touch.

A typical agenda looks as follows:

Screen Shot 2019-01-11 at 4.26.29 PM

Stakeholders include business owners, for example, CFO, COO or CEO, pricing management (VP Pricing, etc.), technical people (CIO/CTO, Director of IT), CMO, sales (if applicable), and in-house data science or analyst leadership if such a function exists.

Why is a Value Exploration Workshop necessary?

The purpose of the VEW is to dig deeply into the problem the organization is looking to solve with Dynamic Pricing software–and understand if it is a mutual fit. Even if it is technically feasible, if sales, marketing, or operations, reject the new pricing scheme the project will turn into a waste of resources.

Here is a list of things we are looking for to ensure fit:

  • Alignment and buy-in from leadership
  • Access to the necessary types of data, usually from a data warehouse
  • Ability to implement changes (actions) based on the software's outputs
  • Openness and willingness to change
  • The indication that your end-customers will accept changes
  • Realistic timelines and expectations
  • An obviously strong business case, which can be refined further (but doesn't require squinting to see it)

By far the most important component is buy-in. Software is software–people can find the data if the CEO or CFO says it's necessary, but if the CEO is apathetic, or is focused on some other important project which he/she believes to be far higher ROI–then it will be an uphill slog.

Where does a VEW fit in the process?

You are just as likely to dedicate half a day of your executives' time without doing the right homework first, as we are to fly people around the world to meet with you without understanding your needs.

For that reason, you can expect to have a Discovery Call prior to scheduling a VEW. On this call, a small team (usually, CFO or CMO) will give an overview of their business and the challenges or opportunities they see, and our team will give an honest assessment on whether it seems like a fit. Sometimes this may require bringing a sample data set back to our data science team (but not always).

In preparation for a VEW, we need to understand the business so that our solutions consultants can prepare an effective, customized demonstration of the software and guide the discussion in a way that maximizes the use of time.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to do a bunch of remote conference calls?

Many prospects ask if we can have a few calls with different experts on issues that come up as they think through their needs. We almost always decline–because this is actually far more expensive for everyone than simply organizing a VEW.

Without everyone having all of the information, bad decisions become highly likely. For example, the IT department wonders how prices get integrated with the CRM system, oblivious to the fact that the COO has decided as part of the transformation to move to a new CRM.

Or, as is the case for a prospective customer, our software proves to make $215 million per year in increased margin–what is the opportunity cost of scheduling one call a week, for a month? That's $586,000 per day profit lost–at least $73,250 during that 3-hour VEW alone.

We're willing to invest in the airfare if you're willing to invest the time. We find that for executives championing transformation, having a face to face meeting reinforces the importance to their organization–and gets everyone's concerns on the table so that they can be addressed. With all the information, everyone usually reaches the right conclusion–which may be "it's not a fit," and that's fine!

Next steps

A VEW leads to a backtest, but only if it's a fit. This is a mutual decision; you are assessing us, as much as we are assessing you. We're brutally honest (though, when we can be, with a British accent, so it comes off as being quite polite). If the data isn't well organized or the executive team is in conflict, we can't afford to do a backtest (we lose money on them).

If this process seems like a fit for your enterprise, I invite you to get in touch to set up a Discovery Call.

Topics: Dynamic Pricing, Pricing Strategy, Software Purchasing, Value Exploration Workshop