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Search Autoparts: Technology Newsmaker Q&A Sean Duclaux

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August 1, 2014-

By Brian Albright

PROS Holdings is a software provider that uses big data to help clients improve their sales effectiveness. Recently, the company announced that TRW Aftermarket was using its solution to provide its sales team with customer-specific information that would allow them to make tailored offerings and improve its pricing strategies.

Sean Duclaux, PROS manager of industry and solutions marketing, spoke to Aftermarket Business World about the use of big data in the aftermarket.

How can big data be used in the aftermarket?

We’ve worked with customers on the service parts supplier side, as well as companies in the distribution channel. Salespeople generally aren’t’ maximizing deals. They could be discounting too heavily, or not looking at cross-sell/upsell opportunities. Companies in the aftermarket are also concerned about the gray market and counterfeiting parts.

They are looking for a way to do analytics to measure pricing effectiveness. How do we change our pricing strategies across 400,000 parts, and have the analytics to understand where to change prices, and how to roll those changes out to into the various price lists?

There is a lot of data in the service parts industry, from where cars are going in for service, how many parts are being sold, warranty data and competitive data. That data is also in small islands. How do you bring it together?

For a company like TRW, we can help them gain optics to set a global pricing strategy, and then execute that strategy at the local level. Pricing in Germany is going to be different than pricing in California, but you still have to have global price setting strategies.

We can also provide insight into things that are impacting margins like discounting, shipping and freight. And we can provide more agility, so instead of an annual price change, you can change prices every quarter or every month.

What are the biggest challenges in getting that data?

There has to be a mindset change so that executives see data as an underutilized asset. Also, when you look at the islands of data available, do you have enough of that data to actually make a decision?

Is the data accurate? Manufacturing data on cost tends to be very accurate, Competitive data, depending on where you get it, is where we find the biggest variation in quality.

You need to have the analytics in place to show a salesperson where they should target, and be able to compare like customers in like regions. If this type of customer has bought these 15 parts, why isn’t this other opportunity buying the same amount of parts or same type of parts? Like size and like region should be buying similarly. Using analytical tools to look at transaction data and CRM data, and bringing those two islands together, can bring in new customers and provide more cross-sell/upsell opportunities.

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