The Essential Guide to Salesforce Product Price Books

Product Price Books get a bad rap.

Too often they’re seen as the problem children of Opportunity Products. A bit fiddly and a little complicated. And no-one really understands what they do.

Close your eyes, and with any luck, the need for Product Price Books might just disappear.

But I say, stare them in the face. Because Product Price Books are darling angels that help your sales people add the right products to the right opportunities at the right price.

And we all know what that means. Increased conversion rates and more revenue.

So get to grips with Product Price Books.  Start by using our step-by-step guide to understand how Products and Price Books work together. Learn to love these well-mannered neighbours.


Salesforce Price Books Defined

Think of a Price Book as a catalogue of products and services that your company sells.

You might have only one catalogue. In which case, everyone receives an identical copy.

Or, your business may have different catalogues, each one tailored to a different customer or prospect segment.

Perhaps not every product or service appears in every catalogue. You might also adjust the price for each product from one catalogue to another.

It’s the same with Price Books. Your business may, for example, have a Strategic Customer Price Book, a Not-for-Profit Price Book and a European Price Book.  Each Price Book enables the sales team to tailor Opportunity Products based on customer segment.  But you don’t need to stick to these examples. Price Books can exist for any group of customers and prospects that you care to define.


Standard Price Book

The Standard Price Book is the full list (i.e. the master list) of all the products and services your company sells. It contains each Product at its ‘standard price’. The standard price is the baseline price your company charges for a unit of this product or service.

Whenever you create a new Product, it gets added to the Standard Price Book at its standard price.

Some companies need only ever use the Standard Price Book. ‘One size fits all’, in other words. But other businesses need a more tailored approach. And that’s where Custom Price Books come in.


Custom Price Books

Custom Price Books allow businesses to create additional Price Books that potentially exclude selected products contained in the Standard Price Book.

Also, the price for each Product in the Custom Price Book may be different to the price in the Standard Price Books.

And what’s more, the price for the Product in each Custom Price Books does not need to be the same. It can vary from one Custom Price Book to another.

The diagram below shows how Products can be contained in one or more Price Books.


Each product in a custom Price Book can use either the standard price, or a different price that you chose to assign for that particular Price Book.

Here are three examples:

  • Strategic Customer Price Book. This contains all of the Products listed in the Standard Price Book, but at preferential prices for these high value customers.
  • Not-for-Profit Price Book. contains only a subset of the Products from the Standard Price Book. Some Products may be listed at a discounted rate compared to the Standard Price Books. But other Products, those on which there is little or no margin, may be listed at their Standard Prices. Products not listed in the Not-for-Profit Price Book can’t be sold to Not-for-Profit organisations.
  • European Price Book. Let’s say your corporate currency is GBP or US Dollars. The European Price Book contains all Products that can be sold in mainland Europe, with their prices listed in Euros. The Euro price isn’t simply a conversion of the GBP or Dollar value. It’s the price your business wants to charge in Euros. And perhaps the Euro Price Book excludes those products that for regulatory or commercial reasons, you don’t sell in mainland Europe.

In summary, a Custom Price Book contains all, or a subset, of the products contained in the Standard Price Book.

How Product Price Books help salespeople

Each Opportunity is associated with a single Price Book. The salesperson creates the associated between the Opportunity and the Price Book when the opportunity is created. This can be done manually or automatically using our Auto Price Book app.


When the salesperson adds Products to the Opportunity, she’s automatically presented with the list of Products and associated prices from the selected Price Book.

This means:

  • The salesperson only chooses Products that are appropriate to that customer segment.
  • The relevant Price is applied to the Products based on the price contained in the selected Price Book.

Price Books don’t stop salespeople applying further discounts to Opportunity Products (although you can control that through permission settings). You can also avoid salespeople referencing spreadsheets or ring binders to calculate volume based pricing.

They do, however, ensure that the correct starting point is used i.e. products are added to the opportunity using the price from the selected Price Book. The sales person can also see the List Price from the Standard Price Book before applying any discount.


Automatically select the right Price Book

OK, there’s still scope for human error. The salesperson can select the wrong Price Book on the Opportunity. This can be particularly an issue on framework agreements, when a dedicated Price Book as been created for all companies within a specific hierarchy.

Fortunately there’s a way round this. the GSP Price Book Auto Selector can automatically assign Price Books to Opportunities.

Price Book Auto Selector App – full details.

Here’s how it works. The app installs a custom picklist field on the Account called Default Price Book. You customize the picklist values to match the name of your Price Books. Then you select the relevant picklist value for each Account. You can do this in bulk using either List Views or the Data Loader.


From this point on, the Price Book Auto Selector will automatically assign the relevant Price Book to each Opportunity on the Account.

Salesforce Price Books and multi-currency

Price Books are not essential when using multi-currency.

A product can have prices in multiple currencies in a single Price Book (Custom or Standard). These additional prices are not automatically based on the currency conversion rate you’ve set up in Salesforce. Rather, they are the price you chose to enter when creating or editing the Price Book.

In other words, a product can have a Euro price, GBP price and US Dollar price, all in the same Price Book.

Sometimes it’s a little more complicated. Let’s say you sell a product in the United States and Dubai. In both cases, the product is sold in US Dollars. However you may want the two Dollar amounts to be different. To do this, you need separate Price Books.


Modifying Standard and Custom Price Books

Prices in both the Standard Price Book and all Custom Price Books can be modified in two ways.

The first option is manual. Simply change the Price via the Salesforce user interface (you’ll need the relevant system administrator permissions).


The second option is the Apex Data Loader. Export your existing Price Book Entries into a spreadsheet. Make the changes. Upload the new prices.

Either way the effect is the same. The prices that will be applied to any Product that is added to an Opportunity or Quote going forward will reflect the new price. The price of Products already attached to an existing Quote or Opportunity, will remain unchanged.


Controlling Access to Salesforce Price Books

Not every salesperson should always be able to access every Price Book.

In Enterprise and Unlimited (but not Professional) you can control that. Set the Organization-wide sharing rule on Price Books to View Only or No Access. Then on the relevant Price Books, use the Share button to allow access to the Price Book based on Role, Public Groups or specific Users.

So there you have it. The Ultimate Guide to Product Price Books in Salesforce! Learn to love these little critters and your sales people will find it easier to attach the right products to the right opportunity at the right price. And that means they convert more deals, increase revenue and boost business profitability.

Good luck!

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