Bob Jordan and Donnie Williamson - Better Data Analytics
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Better Data Analytics for Distributors of Any Size, Any Vertical With Bob Jordan and Donnie Williamson of Modern Distribution Management

Episode: 136

Your high-potential targets and most valuable accounts are hiding in plain sight. Bob Jordan and Donnie Williamson, vice president of analytics and analytics manager, respectively, at Modern Distribution Management (MDM), have the tools and expertise to help you locate them. Jason chats with the pair about MDM’s methodology and how it transforms reams of product, sales, and customer intel into valuable data, ultimately reducing costs and improving market share. The best part? MDM plays well with any distribution vertical, no matter the size.

“Technology has really changed distribution,” says Bob. He should know. With over 30 years in the business, starting in the electrical industry, Bob has witnessed the gradual shift from gut-feeling moves to data-informed decision-making and credits a younger, more diverse workforce for shaking up distribution’s “male, pale, and stale” image. 

Next-gen leaders are much more comfortable consulting tech to drive improvements, and MDM’s analytics fits their approach to assessing wallet share and prospecting. The methodology, as Bob explains, uses 14 major product groups that service all the major verticals. MDM’s model integrates that information with details from public and private sources. “Then, we do some simple math [to] figure out the product demand.”

MDM’s “simple math” is actually a finely calibrated algorithm that also provides distributors with an astonishingly fresh read on their customer base. “We’ll ingest a client’s customer list and, oftentimes, what we find is that our clients (large and small) don’t really have a great handle on who their customers are,” says Donnie. MDM cleans and appends that intel, making it a reliable source for strategic insight and long-range planning advice.  

Diving into analytics can feel daunting, but MDM’s strategy is simple: offer clients a menu of options to fit the size and scope of their business and offer a library’s worth of information for free. For those ready to level up, MDM hosts SHIFT, an annual conference to improve analytical acumen and sharpen distributors’ competitive edge.

“Adding up the numbers over the years, we’ve identified $500 million in new business for distribution,” Bob says. “Donnie and I work every day to get quick wins with our clients.” As for long-term successes, MDM has 30-plus years of case studies to prove its mettle and methodology.


SHIFT 2023: The Future Of Distribution



“That’s one of the beauties of the industry we’re in: you could do anything you want in wholesale distribution. You can be in sales, you can be in finance, you could really go wherever you want to go.”

“It’s really refreshing to see there’s a lot more youth, and a lot more diversity, a lot more women in leadership positions, and wholesale distribution. It’s great to see. And a lot of that’s been driven, really, by the technology.”

“The old sales guy in me always says it’s a lot easier to get more business out of a current customer than it is to go after a new customer. I think it’s important to have a combination of the two, but yeah, you gotta squeeze that fruit to get as much juice as you can out of that current customer for sure.”


“It’s a really good thing for distribution in general that we have these younger folks really putting some critical thought into how to better the industry.”

“One of the things I typically like to say is you got to know where you’re at right now to know where you want to go.”

“I typically look at our data set as a Swiss Army knife tool, right? And it’s not just linear in how it can be used. We do a lot of solutioning and bouncing around ideas with our clients, really trying to understand what they’re trying to accomplish and giving those parameters. Then we can figure out how to employ the data to help do that.”

“It is very critical to figure out the best way, the right people to kind of drive anything, any of the initiatives being led by analytics.” 

“All the leaders out there in the distribution world are doing analytics. They are consuming market data; they’re triangulating data, and figuring out their markets the best they can.”








Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   

This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios. 
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Connected Peers, connecting key employees in distribution’s leading organizations.

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