In the modern marketplace, price drives everything we do.
The cost of a new car can determine if a consumer will splurge on the latest features or look at a previous model. Supply chain issues and labor shortages influence a restaurant’s menu prices, which may convince us to stay in or eat out that week. Even selecting chicken in the supermarket is impacted by price: Putting back the $8.90 package to pick up a different brand for $8.06 convinces us we’re getting a deal.
But how exactly are those prices determined? And how can businesses working within a complex, fluctuating market keep up with changing costs for their consumers while still turning a profit?
As a global cloud-based price management platform, Pricefx is on a mission to innovate configure-price-quote (CPQ) software to help B2B and B2C companies maximize their margins. By combining a remote-first hiring approach with a data-driven internal culture in order to harness unique perspectives, teams like the customer solutions branch are reshaping what’s possible for both their clients and the organization.
“We received some very valuable information during our most recent all-hands meeting in thinking about different ways we can impact our customer,” said Senior Project Manager Rhonda Humes. “We had presentations covering how to implement user data readiness and how our pricing scientists are simplifying complex analytic processes. These types of things set us apart from other vendors in the pricing spaces because we’re continually thinking about how do we not only improve the capabilities of our product, but how do we improve our customers’ experience?”
This drive toward continuous innovation is partly a result of Pricefx’s dedication to frequent retrospectives by addressing challenges and solutions head-on, but it also stems from leadership’s belief in the power of transparent communication to build authentic trust and camaraderie. These values have allowed internal teams to not only rely on each other while working remotely across the globe, but forge an autonomous culture that allows individuals to grow by taking pride in every project they tackle.
ESTABLISHING A CULTURE OF GIVING BACK
“Pricefx is extremely caring, coming all the way from the top,” said Solution Architect Cory Clark. “It’s clear the company was started with employees in mind, there’s a culture of ‘everybody listens’ and there’s always room to bring up new ideas. You definitely feel heard when you talk about trying something new and leadership actually takes action on it.
To learn more about their operations, tight-knit team culture and plans for expansion into the future, Built In sat down with Humes, Clark and Senior Project Manager Mahadev Hoolikeri.
What is the company culture like at Pricefx, especially with remote and hybrid employees? What opportunities are available to shape that culture?
Humes: The first thing that jumped out at me at Pricefx was the sense that everyone is a family. It’s a happy culture, even though some of the work is very intense and challenging. Even if we have an escalation or issue arise, we discuss it, strategize a solution and are supported by our management team and leadership.
Hoolikeri: When they say it’s a family, there is a trust associated between us even though we are working remotely from various locations. When we’re meeting about deliverables for the customer, there is trust between us. We use a tool called Jira to create a story, assign the story and the team delivers it wherever they are working from. We’re cohesive in accomplishing our goals, and that’s the best part of it.
How does Pricefx bring internal teams together, regardless of location?
Hoolikeri: Last week, we were all together in Chicago for our Solution Team All Hands meeting. People came in from South America, Europe and vast parts of the United States. We were together for three days going over a lot of topics, team building and working together to create that connectivity.
They truly focus on employees — everything’s not about the bottom dollar.
Humes: I saw the pivot from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic, but I think the people team did an incredible job pivoting from in-person team outings or Christmas parties to virtual events. We now have a Strava challenge where you can log your hours for biking and walking, and we donate money to different initiatives. We have things like online Zoom happy hours and personal celebrations, so we were still trying to keep the spirit of family alive even though we were displaced. We also do a bi-weekly U.S. team meeting where we all come together and welcome new people, celebrate milestones and talk about challenges with potential solutions.
How do you foster an environment of work-life balance for employees?
Humes: I’m a transplant to the Chicago area, and my family is all in Louisiana. During the pandemic shutdown, I was able to drive to Louisiana a few times and work from home. It meant a lot to be able to spend time with my family and not go two or three years without being together. Throughout all of that, I was still able to still stay in touch with my teammates and little check-ins with people like our team of project managers continue to go a long way.
Clark: I think something that we benefit from is that when Pricefx is hiring new people, they’re not constrained to the borders of wherever the office is, so you can get people from all over the world. I think it allows us to get not just better, but more diverse quality as well.
What initiatives have been introduced by leadership to support and encourage professional career growth?
Hoolikeri: I came from a company where somebody used to set goals for me that I had to accomplish within the next six months, and it was never fully part of my own choice. But at Pricefx, you can set your own goals to advance your career. For example, if I need to accelerate on some of the pricing domains, there are so many learning forums that I can access and learn to get certified. So if I wanted to be an expert in pricing in the next six months, I have the tools at my own availability to accomplish what's most important to me.
Humes: We have a very detailed goals and objectives document that you can update annually with your 5-10 year plan, what you want to accomplish each year, and what can help you get there. I’ve seen a few cases where people may want to move to a different area within the company to gain new skills, and the leadership team helps them work through those hurdles as they put them in their goals plan.
Paint me a detailed picture of the everyday experience being on the customer solutions team.
Humes: Mahadev and I are both in the same space as project managers — I know the first thing I look up in the morning is my Jira boards to see if there’s any critical issues or blocking items that I need to help the team with. We’re essentially servant leaders for the projects, so we help the team remove roadblocks but we also keep the team focused so that they can meet their goals. If there’s extra noise coming from different places that are causing us delays, then we’re all trying to make sure we remove that. If there’s technology that we don’t understand and we need help with, we’re pulling other experts together to make sure that we’re able to keep moving forward while implementing user stories.
I like to joke that you’ll be surprised how a well-placed meme can lighten the mood with different folks.
Hoolikeri: We’re prepping for our daily standup calls since we work in a hybrid agile environment. We check with the team to see if they’re stuck on any of the stories and try to resolve those roadblocks. We don’t just do project management for one project — we support multiple customers during the day like we might have like two or three stand-ups, two or three team meetings, two or three technical setups, and so on. We’re senior project managers, but we are also playing the role of a scrum master as well.
Clark: As a solution architect, I have the cross between managing the solution team and the configuration engineers and also working on the project, the design and architecture. I have to prioritize the roadblocks and check in with all the configuration engineers that are working on the stories, and make sure that they’re still able to get it done on the expected time.
MAKING A CUSTOMER DIFFERENCE, EVERY DAY
What attracted you to Pricefx, and why should other job seekers be paying attention?
Hoolikeri: I’m not stuck to one domain — for example, right now I’m working with three customers from various domains like the supply chain aftermarket, from the high-tech industry and more. The amount of experience and the exposure we get by working with other customers and helping them benefit from Pricefx is amazing.
Clark: I think Pricefx is growing quickly, so there’s opportunities everywhere to expand your skills. It’s incredible to see how they’ve promoted a lot of people from within who have been here a long time and are leading the projects now. You can lean on them for things, because they have that seasoned experience here. A lot of times when bigger companies hire from outside, they bring strangers into upper level roles and that person doesn’t know anything about the company or how to do things. Here, that’s not the case. You don’t feel like just a number at Pricefx — practically everybody knows your name.