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Fireside Chat with Sam DeAlba | Growth + Profitability Summit 2023 

Morgan Short< Morgan Short October 23, 2023

In this Fireside Chat from Vendavo’s Growth + Profitability Summit 2023 in Chicago, Morgan Short, Director of Content & Web Strategy at Vendavo, talks with Sam DeAlba, Senior Business Systems Analyst at GAF, about his advice for implementing AI into pricing strategy, the importance of small steps toward success, and why automation will play a big role in the near future.  

Morgan Short: Hi everyone. It’s Morgan Short, Director of Content & Web Strategy at Vendavo, and we are here at the Growth + Profitability Summit. I’m pleased to introduce to you Sam DeAlba from GAF. Thank you, Sam, for joining us. 

Sam DeAlba: Happy to be here. 

Short: Sam, can you tell me a little bit about your role at GAF and some challenges you’re facing sure at GAF?  

DeAlba: I am a Business Systems Analyst. A lot of what I do is focused around implementation of new Vendavo platforms. It’s been a very busy two or three years implementing several platforms, and certainly the next five we’re looking to implement several more. 

Short: Awesome. Thanks for being here. It’s a really exciting time and, speaking of GPS, you’re a panelist on tomorrow’s innovation panel, so tell me a little bit about what advice you would give to somebody that is looking to kind of implement AI within their pricing?  

DeAlba: Sure. I know that’s been a big buzzword recently, but certainly something that GAF is looking into. I think it’s something that a lot of people might be a little bit hesitant about, scared about. I think it takes a lot of things that we’ve talked about at the Summit this year, and it really just is to probably start simple with it. Find an area that you’re able to implement it in. It’s certainly not something that you want to do just a broad sweeping change or try to implement it everywhere, but find those places – the small wins where you might be able to implement AI, and it might be a little back and forth between automation and AI. But if you can automate things, do it with the simple things first and then kind of grow it through your business. I think that’s going to be very similar as AI continues to grow. 

Short: Absolutely, and looking ahead, what other trends – maybe in addition to AI – are you thinking about? 

DeAlba: Yeah. I think automation is certainly the big one and just getting ahead of the impacts. I know cost and price are always big ones, but I know one big thing that GAF has really taken initiative with is being customer-first and customer service – how can we improve the customer experience? I think pricing has a lot to do with that. A lot of companies have gotten very complex with pricing, and I know one of Vendavo’s big things is to simplify things. That’s the journey that GAF has been on, and that we continue to be on. We’re hoping a lot of these platforms are going to help us with that.  

Short: Absolutely, and when you talk about customer-first, what are two to three things that you would say could lead you into that mindset as company? 

DeAlba: I think one of the big things is the customer having trust in you as a company that we’ve discussed here at the Summit. There are a lot of things where customers might not want to talk to you. They want to do things online, have that online experience. I think having that balance of allowing the customer to reach out to you as a company online – not needing to contact someone, but when they do need to reach out, that they get someone knowledgeable about your products, about your services, about your platforms. And that customer can have an experience that’s great from right when they land on your website to hopefully finally closing a deal. 

Short: Alright, and last question for you, Sam. We are about halfway through the Summit now. What have you learned or what are you hoping to learn in the next couple days? 

DeAlba: Yeah, so, I haven’t been with GAF for too long, but I’ve been in pricing for about five years now. I think just the strategies that we implement during these implementations, learning how other companies do it, and just learning the strategies that Vendavo advocates for, seeing what we’re doing right, learning about things that we can do better, and taking them back and hopefully using them in all of our projects.  

Short: Alright, you heard him. Come to GPS and you will meet with other peers and you will learn implementation best practices. Thank you, Sam, for joining us by the fire, and I hope you have a good rest of your GPS. 

DeAlba: Absolutely, thanks a lot.