If data is the new gold (as touted on TV), distributors would be wise to entrust their assets to someone well-versed in the malleable but often dense nature of distribution-centric information. Vinny Maurici, vice president of data engineering at Object Edge, is that person. Jason chats with Vinny about his early days in distribution, the importance of attaching C-suite buy-in to revolutionary initiatives, and the alchemy behind turning raw distribution data into profitable long-term objectives.
“I’ve been to very large organizations, and they’re still working on spreadsheets and in extremely inefficient SOPs, and that’s okay,” Vinny confides. Rather than fearing a reckoning, he urges folks to embrace an assessment, no matter how harsh. The key is to find a knowledgeable and empathetic partner. “[The] first thing is recognizing the issue. Then we’ll solve for that issue.” The “we” in this case is Object Edge, a B2B digital consultancy with extensive experience wrangling data across many verticals at the enterprise level.
Reinventing a lagging (or wholly broken) data strategy is a complicated task, made more so by internal critics who aren’t on board with the upgrade. Vinny reminds these naysayers who they’re up against. Today’s consumers––the Millenial and Gen Z buyers quickly replacing the older reps––demand a robust online research and buying environment. They’ll “shop around” until they find it. “At the end of the day, it’s not that hard to describe to an organization why something like really good product data is important,” Vinny says, “But internal politics can sometimes stumble things that would be best for the business.”
Vinny is sympathetic to arguments against applying a B2C-style solution to B2B data management issues. He counters that a well-designed, responsive data strategy not only lends shine to long-term relationship cycles but can also unearth hidden sales opportunities. “There’s always the cynics’ point of view, especially in B2B,” he says. “I have anecdotal evidence [that] when you do create that experience, all of a sudden you get to open up the door, whether it’s upselling or cross-selling products or even as simple as expanding your assortment.”
An A-List actor can’t help you leverage all that data. Only an expert can.
“You still need that relationship factor, especially in the B2B world when there’s large consequences at stake.”
“That’s the thing about data: data affects everything.”
“Data for the sake of data means nothing.”
“I’m very prideful of the fact that I’ve been in the industry because it gives me that perspective. I can talk in the same ways and terminology and vernacular of the people I’m working with.”
“It’s all about finding that theme and then solving for that theme.”
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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.