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5 Key Takeaways from Vendavo’s 2023 Growth + Profitability Summit in Chicago 

Emily Magyar< Emily Magyar September 22, 2023

What do informative sessions and panels, breathtaking Lake Michigan views, an adventurer who summited Mt. Everest, and the best minds in pricing have in common? They all converged at Vendavo’s 2023 Growth + Profitability Summit in Chicago. This recap takes a look at key insights from the event.  

We just wrapped up two days of great sessions and discussions at our Growth + Profitability Summit 2023 in Chicago, addressing how to achieve business success by leaning into challenges, economic boom and bust, market disruption, political upheaval, and volatility. Our conference theme was Step Ahead, and we spent September 12-14 digging into the power of the incremental progress that leads to big growth, change, and positive disruption – all while taking in sweeping views of Lake Michigan. 

Attendees enjoyed dynamic sessions, keynote speakers, panels, networking opportunities, product roadmap highlights, and a sunset dinner cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  

Our sessions covered a range of topics, including: 

  •  The impact of data siloes 
  • How to make your pricing strategy profitable across your organization 
  • Why pricing transformation is crucial for success 
  • The ways internal alignment sets the stage for growth 
  • The art of accelerating value 
  • How consistency leads to lasting, tangible business impacts and change 
  • And more! 

If you missed the event this year, here are a few key takeaways: 

1. Tearing down data siloes is the first step toward achieving better pricing results 

Digital transformation took a quantum leap from 2020 onward. Consumers moved dramatically toward online channels and businesses and industries followed suit. Businesses can save data from anywhere, but it’s easy for that data to become siloed. This makes it difficult for software programs to pull the data they need to price accurately and efficiently, resulting in a lack of pricing alignment.  

In a panel moderated by Vendavo’s Chief Revenue Officer, Gina Bates, panelists Frederick Waithe, Director of Strategic Planning at Dentsply Sirona, Ryan Wallace, Director of Pharmaceutical Product Pricing at Cardinal Health, and Reid Garrett, Vice President of Merchandising at TruckPro, discussed the siloechallenges they’ve navigated in their organizations.  

“Siloes are created when you have two people viewing success differently,” Garrett noted. 

Creating a culture of collaboration, making data-driven decisions, and identifying siloes lessens any negative impacts on profitability, growth, and margin. When people, processes, and technologies are aligned, it creates a more unified pricing strategy.  

2. Transforming your pricing strategy is key to staying competitive 

You need to transform your pricing strategy if you want to stay competitive, but it can be difficult to justify the costs and consistently demonstrate the value of doing so.  

Vendavo Profit Evangelist, Mitch Lee moderated a panel that covered strategies for gaining buy-in, measuring success, and communicating the impact of pricing transformation. Panelists Matt Altimari, Vice President of Finance at Genpak, Anne Lewis, Senior Manager of Pricing at Afton Chemical, and Chris Sorrow, Managing Director at Blue Ridge Partners, discussed the importance of getting C-suite buy-in for major strategy shifts, and that it’s crucial to ensure all stakeholders – including naysayers – have an opportunity to weigh in on transformation so they’re invested in moving the needle.  

“Success looks like everyone chipping in to divide up the work and pushing past obstacles that come up along the way,” Altimiri explained. “Transformation within an organization is challenging, but when the team is aligned and helping each other along the way, it is possible to move the organization in a new direction.” 

3. Your people, processes, and technology need to be aligned to maximize growth and efficiency  

Alignment is key to achieving better results, and a few practical strategies can help ensure your people, process, and technology are aligned to thrive in the face of macroeconomic trends.  

Dave Clement, Partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners, explained how to assess your company’s position, adapt with agility, and seize opportunities while mitigating risks by optimizing your workforce, streamlining processes, and leveraging the right tools for success. 

“Strategy is ever-evolving, and I want to be clear that technology is also ever-evolving,” Clement noted. “You should not go into any technology implementation phase and assume you’ll never hear about it again. You need to make sure any implementation is strategy-led.” 

Start by asking these questions: 

  • Are you thinking that a new technology is going to be a silver bullet to fix your process problems? 
  • What behaviors need to change within your organization to see success? 
  • Do you have buy-in from the C-suite and decision-makers as well as the rest of your team? 
  • Do you have the right people involved to get the buy-in you need to see success? 
  • Do you have a purpose that is aligned with a vision and mission? 
  • How can you tie the purpose and vision of these changes to your personal values? 

Successful transformation requires a few key roles, including a C-level champion from the top, a cheerleader to get people motivated, a skeptic or challenger to question your processes, and a customer advocate. This blend creates a balanced view of transformation and success.  

4. Providing targeted guidance is key to winning more profitable deals 

Sales organizations are under increasing pressure to meet revenue targets and drive growth, but success in those areas requires the right approach.  

As Janice Shih, Principal Consultant at Vendavo, explained, we need targeted guidance to negotiate customer-specific pricing, access the right cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and easily configure powerful quoting with the prices that maximize revenue. We need to get the right products, at the right price, to the right people, at the right time – every time. She explained how Vendavo’s solutions can help companies do just that (so reach out if you’re interested in learning more).  

5. Innovation is key to pricing 

Technologies like AI and large language models are rapidly transforming our world, and pricing professionals are being faced with new possibilities and challenges. The current climate involves constantly keeping your pulse the latest technologies. There are various ways to handle the AI advancements and map your strategy for utilization or implementation. Perhaps you need to make enhancements to pricing software, maybe you need to implement additional solutions to fill gaps, or you may need to update internal guidelines.  Each change needs to be made with careful consideration strategy in mind.  

In a panel moderated by Corey Schroeder, Vice President of Product Management at Vendavo, panelists Mike Smith, Pricing Senior Director at Zimmer Biomet, Sam DeAlba, Senior Business Systems Analyst at GAF, and Kevin Mitchell, President of the Professional Pricing Society, dove deep into questions such as: 

  • How can I be innovative and still enhance pricing strategies?  
  • What risks and benefits should we be thinking about?  
  • What is the future of pricing for B2B eCommerce and with AI?  
  • How does optimized guidance work for our organization? 

“When planning a project, often harmonizing the data is the biggest challenge,” noted Smith. “Getting your data house in order is so important. The better data you can feed into the system, the better your results will be.” 

Mitchell also made a great point that we can’t let the myriad changes that have been occurring over the last few years lead to stagnation.  

“We don’t want ‘perfect’ to be the enemy of ‘good enough for now,’” he said. He later shared that “self-preservation [in the face of transformative technologies] is a human initiative, and everything we do is not about reducing head counts. We need to be about growth, and the people who are willing to take that next step [to use new solutions] need to be about growth. We need to get over that initial fear.” 

Organizational teamwork, discipline, and consistent execution lead to huge results. Having a strategy in mind and side-by-side with your teammates can help eliminate obstacles and inefficiencies to help everyone take a Step Ahead toward a more profitable future.  

If you missed out on GPS you can view session decks here. In less than one month, we’re off to Stockholm to do it all again. Hope to see you there.