Because the company primarily sells its products through distributors, Lapp Group — and its salesforce — found it difficult to understand how its end customers were using its products, impacting its ability to meet customers’ needs and identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
“Distributors are aggregators, so in most cases when we sell to them we don’t have visibility into how frequently their customers are buying or which products each customer buys,” says Marx. “And trying to bring together data from multiple sources in order to better understand the thousands of sales transactions we do every month was tedious and time-consuming because the match points across those data sources was different. Each distributor takes our products and gives them a different name, a different part number, and a different description; they have different aliases, if you will, for information we want to know.”
Continues Marx, “I would have had to hire three people who did nothing but bring together data from multiple sources and match that data to decode items. We needed a faster way to match the data and identify buying patterns.”
Before building out a solution, Lapp looked at how the marketing and sales teams would use the insights. “Working with DecisionViz, an Alteryx and Tableau partner, we constructed a storyboard and built things more as analytics stories,” says Marx. “It was very powerful to understand how Alteryx and Tableau would work together from the start to accomplish our objectives.”
With Alteryx, Lapp was able to prep, blend, and analyze data from multiple sources — distributors’ files and systems, third-party syndicated data, and Lapp’s own data — in one repeatable workflow. Then, using Tableau for data visualization, Lapp could show its sales team the exact sources of customer demand, both by geography and by industry. Lapp can then use that information to aggregate end customers by vertical market and develop insights into buying patterns that can drive new sales opportunities.
For example, a Lapp salesperson can see how a particular in-district food and beverage company compares with similar companies across the region and country. The result? If Lapp notices that a customer is purchasing less of a specific product than one from a similar company, the salesperson can put that company on its target list, thereby pursuing a high-value target — and improving sales productivity. “The Alteryx solution helps us tell our distributor that we know how to help them make more money,'” says Marx. “That just means the distributor is more likely to work with the Lapp salesperson to increase sales.”