Balancing Art & Science: Examining How Pricing Functions EvolveAn Interview With Prakash Bhatia
Prakash Bhatia is Pricing Director, Global Neuromodulation and North America Cardiac Surgery with LivaNova, and is presenting at the upcoming Medical Device Strategic Pricing Workshop Intensive on February 5. Learn more about his presentation below!
Can you give a brief overview of what your role at LivaNova entails?
At LivaNova, I am the head of the North America Pricing Strategy in terms of keeping margins at a desired level, creating price guidelines and giving sales the tools they need when working with customers. We also develop innovative ideas including new strategies and ways to leverage existing strategies to expand the revenue stream. Also, influencing the sales organization regarding value selling.
What is the most important piece of advice you have for pricing professionals as they navigate the shift in the way devices are purchased, paid for and reimbursed?
- Understand what is happening within the market and with their competitors
- Work internally with stakeholders including finance, marketing, and sales teams to be on the same page from a margin and growth perspective
- Understand customer tactics including buying purchases and behavior
It is crucial for pricing professionals to have those types of data points in order to guide the sales teams.
How do you see the pricing industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?
The pricing function has evolved a lot—in the past; there was a science-based approach which looked at data and had a data-driven approach to pricing. Now though, this has evolved. There is now an art to pricing that includes negotiation skills, which means that pricing professionals must balance the art and science of pricing. You definitely still need the science aspect, including data, but there is also importance in the art, including negotiation skills and change management across all levels, of the process.
Additionally, new concepts like machine learning and predictive analytics can be leveraged in the pricing function. It’s no longer simply about average selling price and volume; we need to begin looking at performance and risk-sharing which is much more complex and evolves. The more innovation that we can think about—that’s the future of the pricing function. Additionally, being able to find ways to ensure sales teams have up-to-date information at their fingertips will be important. Transparency, Simplicity, and Flexibility will be a large driver.
What is something you believe is most important for attendees to walk away from the workshop knowing?
I hope that attendees walk away learning from their peers. There will be attendees from a variety of companies, including GPOs and other stakeholders, it’s good to learn from them. I think that while we all have different pain points, they are all similar in nature, so it’s beneficial to learn how others have solved their own pain points and what are the solutions. Being open-minded and hearing what the others have to say, and taking that in, is a great way to learn from others at the conference. There are always things to learn, and no one has all of the answers, so I encourage attendees to keep an open mind.
As an industry leader, why do you think people should attend this workshop?
We don’t all have the answers, but there’s always room to learn and see what other colleagues are going through and how they’re solving issues within the pricing and sales functions. There’s always room to learn and evolve as individuals, as a function, so I believe it’s valuable to see what other colleagues are going through and share ideas. Perhaps an idea you have will resonate with someone; sometimes hearing an outside perspective can give you valuable insight that you may not have thought of before.
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