For years, the Cranky Product Manager has been dealing with all those whiny Sales Droids.
You know, those people who moan all the time about how Sales is The. Hardest. Job. Ever., as they yap on their bluetooths while driving around in their Porche 911s? You know, those dudes/dudettes who always win deals because of their mad persistence, unequaled interpersonal aptitude, and their wicked awesome sales skills? Yet when they lose it’s always the fault of the product or the price?
Yep. Those Droids. You know who the CPM is talkin’ about.
Anyway, the Droids have been bitching for YEARS to the Cranky Product Manager about the price of her product. “It’s way too expensive.”, “I can’t sell it at that price,” “The competition is priced so much lower we can’t compete,” “We need to drop the price by at least 20%,” blah, blah, blah.
All that time the Cranky Product Manager resisted dropping the price. Yes, her product was priced higher than the competition, but it offered way more value. Plus, being a wicked big geek, the Cranky PM created this elaborate pricing model spreadsheet based on shitloads of historical pricing and sales data . It showed price was relatively inelastic.
Well, fast forward to 2009. The economy is in the shit and the Droids all miss their numbers by a mile. Their screaming about the “too high” price reaches 120 decibels. Loud enough that it catches the attention of The Man, AKA The Quasi-Playboy, AKA The Dirty Semi-Old (50-65 years old) Man Who is Always Scanning the Marketing Events Planning Staff for New Blond Mistresses. AKA The CEO.
So, the CEO calls the Cranky Product Manager into his office. After complimenting her hair and the way her jeans fit, asking her if she is still happily married, and trying to give her a George-W-style shoulder rub, The Big Boss tells her to drop the price to the one the Droids are begging for.
The Cranky Product Manager sez, “No Effing Way, Mr. CEO (and I mean that in the most respectful way). Behold my awesome spreadsheet! Dropping the price will NOT lead to more units sold and will make the product unprofitable.”
“You look hot when you’re angry,” sez the CEO, “But we’re still dropping the price. I want you to create a new forecast based on the new price. Not your lovely theoretical spreadsheet. Instead, do it bottoms-up and go ask each sales rep how much he’ll sell at the new price. Oh, and let me know when you tire of that husband of yours.”
And so the Cranky PM announces the price cut to the field. She then asks each rep, one at a time, how much product he/she was committing to sell based on the new price.
And SHOCK OF ALL SHOCKS, the Droids sandbag it. Apparently, even with a 25% price cut they can only sell about 3% more units than the numbers they had signed up for just 3 weeks earlier.
Guess price wasn’t the issue after all. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED THAT WOULD HAPPEN? Oh wait, I know this one…. Yep. The CRANKY PRODUCT MANAGER guessed it!
AS EXPECTED, the New and Improved bitching and moaning from the Droids began immediately . “The price is too low”, “You just made it 25% harder to make my number!“, “With a price like that, people will think we offer less capability than the competition”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Will. It. Never. End.
Even the 2-year-old CrankyKid changes his mind less often. And even the CrankyDog can remember past events better than Sales Droids.
There are two things you can always count on at DysfunctoSoft: 1) The Droids will never like the price, and 2) The CEO will always skeeve you out.