The role of a pricing analyst varies between companies although there are a couple of fairly common “archetypes” that a job applicant can use to understand what they are getting into. While these are all technically “pricing jobs”, the specific requirements of the role can vary notably and may require a candidate to gain additional experience outside the pricing team.
“Analyst In Name Only” – System Price Administration
Various forms of data administration jobs, ranging from being responsible for manual data entry to managing automated price increase campaigns and workbooks. Often requires some basic knowledge of Excel and fundamental computer literacy.
The primary responsibility at this level of the organization is ensuring control and pricing discipline. You’ll be handed a standard process for entering and updating system prices and managing any exceptions. Please stick with it. There is some potential for ad-hoc analysis and presentations.
Career progression to higher pricing positions can be tricky, since you don’t always get to display higher level skills. Volunteer for special assignments where possible.
Pricing Desk / Deal Desk / Sales Support
Supports the pricing process for strategic accounts. Responsible for assembling the costs and target prices for a proposed deal. Generally involves a fair amount of financial modeling and often crosses into sales support and presentation development. Lots of ad-hoc analysis of customers.
Generally a good job and lots of fun. There’s some pressure, of course, when deal deadlines approach but you get to bond with the sales team and are included in business development. Higher level versions of this role may wind up participating in contract negotiations (often in a support role), which is another excellent source of career development.
Can easily transition from this role into a junior sales position or pricing strategy manager.
Pricing Strategy Analyst / Manager
Heavily quantitative role focused on guiding management through developing pricing policies. Can often cross into other commercial disciplines. Regular use of Excel (financial modeling) and often requires at least basic computer programming (SQL / Python / R) for data analysis.
On the business side of things, you will be regularly presenting your conclusions to executives. Invest in learning how to assemble a good PowerPoint presentation.
Elevation to the “manager track” version of a pricing strategy analyst adds project leadership and change management to your job description. Get ready to do a lot of coaching with the business to guide people through implementing pricing programs.
Salaries are decent. A typical strategic pricing analyst salary ranges from $75,000 up to perhaps $125,000 (MBA with some consulting experience). Managers can get 20% to 50% above this, depending on the industry and few other things (travel, seniority, scope of role).
Excellent career progression options. You’ll be well prepared for most commercial roles, including advancement to a director level position over multiple areas within a few years.
Data Scientist / Statistician
A highly technical niche. Manages statistical analysis, database design, and model building. Generally requires a Master’s in Statistics / Applied Mathematics and programming expertise.
You often get a pass on presentations and sales team coaching due to your technical role. However, this can be a career limiting factor in many traditional companies, since they draw a sharp line between strategy and technical talent. If you want to move up, seek to get exposure to the strategic and project leadership / change management aspects of the other pricing roles.
Recap: What Does A Pricing Analyst Do?
As you can see, there are a number of different paths. If you are serious about making pricing a long term career and potentially advancing to the executive ranks, aim for a position as a strategy analyst or deal desk manager. These have the best odds of execution promotion.