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Transforming Data into Action: Using Analytics for Better Distributor Sales Decisions

Tony Pericle

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Analytics is one of the four major trends covered in the future trends report, Facing the Forces of Change®: Decisive Actions for an Uncertain Economy. Because the Analytics trend is so important to wholesale distribution today, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence has published an entire book on this topic.

Transforming Data into Action: Using Analytics for Better Distributor Sales Decisions, by Tony Pericle, shows you how to assimilate information to optimize decisions. You will become proficient in your use of the information your company produces. It shows you step-by-step how to organize your company's data and reports so you can arm your sales force to sell more productively and more efficiently. No single activity to improve sales or margin can be done without solid analytics.

Read Extended Description »

What Readers Have to Say

"Transforming Data into Action does a great job of detailing the value of analytics in a practical way. Its structure provides an understanding of how to apply the principals of analytics to effectively address real challenges within any function of distribution. I have found that when people want to start on the journey of sharpening their analytical capabilities, there are hurdles they must overcome, including the ability to know what you are trying to accomplish and which methods will get you there. This book presents workable concepts on how to transform data into action, concepts that can be used as a foundation for developing a long-term analytical strategy to support growth and revenue maximization."
— Tom Seath, Senior Vice President of Operations, Stag-Parkway, Inc.
"Transforming Data into Action is a ‘how-to’ book for distributor managers looking to use the same data in different ways to improve the bottom line. One of my favorite takeaways is using data to not just identify, but to pinpoint trends. In our business, margin erosion is something we constantly inquire about, and this book focuses on new ways to identify specific areas of margin erosion and then what to do about it. If you’re looking for a best-practices book on reading and interpreting data, and then doing something about it, this book is for you."
— Ted Lansing, Vice President of Sales, Lansing Building Products
"Transforming Data into Action is a nice mix of personal experience and sound advice that will benefit all distributors no matter what line of trade. Tony Pericle imparts great insights on how to manage data and deliver targeted business intelligence. He keeps sight of how the ‘analytical distributor’ must engage and partner with its sales team. He approaches some complex topics in a simple, easy-to-understand style. And, at all times, he remains focused on optimizing sales and margin."
— Kieran McCabe, Vice President of Pricing, Staples Advantage
"Transforming Data into Action is incredibly useful, especially for organizations that are looking to apply analytical methods around common distribution business problems. It’s a clear, persuasive discussion of how to establish a broad analytical capability within a distribution company, and some benefits that might accrue from having that capability. It shows that there is a correlation between being analytical, and being successful from a financial standpoint. This is a ‘must-read’ for analysts on your team who are charged with providing actionable intelligence that is relevant to your business."
— Kevin Ryan, Director, North American Business Intelligence, Henry Schein, Inc.
"The book is PACKED with information and detail. It easily moves from a conceptual idea to an actionable reference guide that every distributor can use every day. Tony Pericle uses an analogy of a football coach with a headset relying on scouts high in a stadium with clear lines of sight as a clever way to help readers quickly grasp his core concept. We can relate to how many of us try to manage our businesses via data from the bottom of the pyramid—data that is often just aggregated totals. Pericle makes an excellent case for investing the effort to move up the data pyramid, so that you can work off more refined and accurate information. This data allows you to be much more proactive in identifying trends. He teaches systems that help you employ alarms, alerts, and flags with which to track these trends and take action when necessary. He gives you all the information you need to understand, strategize, and implement analytics in your company. High-level distributor executives who are willing to commit the time and energy to growing their sales and profitability using the analytical strategies in this book will be rewarded!"
— Kevin McClamroch, Vice President of Sales, Adams-Burch Inc.
"Tony Pericle is a seasoned sales professional who brings his real-world analytical experience to his book, Transforming Data into Action. Most successful leaders in distribution know that they need to use analytics successfully to compete, but they often don’t know how or where to begin. Pericle breaks it down into manageable steps so that leaders can move their teams to a more sophisticated approach to the business that will lead to a competitive advantage and higher profits."
— Wilbur Reid, Director of Strategic Pricing, SP Richards Company
"In Transforming Data into Action, Tony Pericle explains that a distributor needs both Sales and Pricing to deliver the formula for success. The concepts in this book are integral for any distributor that wants to grow sales profitably!"
— Daniel Lee, Director of Pricing and Contract Management, Acklands-Grainger Inc.
"Tony Pericle’s presentation on analysis from the sales perspective is a must for members of Finance and IT staffs. I appreciate his focus away from the flash of analytical tools to the importance of data accuracy and the absolute need for qualified individuals who can analyze, interpret, and report the data in meaningful and actionable ways. This book has provided our company with a roadmap on how to become more of an analytical distributor."
— Stephen Holt, Controller, Reid Entities

Extended Description

Analytical distributors are investing resources to enable their people to ask better questions through the use of better information. A goal of information is to provide answers. Better questions lead to better answers. Better answers lead to competitive advantage, and competitive advantage leads to higher sales revenue and profitability! 

You will learn the reasons for investing in resources that will provide better information for your sales team and your sales support team. This book will give you plenty of ideas, discussions, and detailed step-by-step examples for how you can take your raw data and transform it into more useful reporting for your entire sales operation. Armed with these insights, you will be equipped to make smarter decisions to protect your customer base and increase your sales revenue. When you can trust reliable information and have more effective tools to use to manipulate that information, you are where we want and need to be — in a position of power to effect better decision making about your sales operations.

Specifically, this book will help you

  • understand what role the “sales analyst” plays within your company and how this position could deliver 1%–2% of additional gross margin for your business
  • navigate the dangerous traps of bad information that come from lack of data integrity and incomplete context when using the data 
  • take a data-centric approach to identify which activities enhance value and which activities erode profit
  • apply to your operations the same reporting and analytics best practices used by leading wholesaler-distributors
  • increase shareholder value by showing you how to become an “analytical” distributor!

After you read this book, you will better understand how to implement analytics within your company so you can make smarter sales decisions!

About the Author

Tony Pericle

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Tony has worked in distribution since the early 1990s. He started his career with General Medical as a sales rep and worked his way from being ranked 204 (out of 207) to the top 25 within 3 years. He was promoted several times and held positions within sales administration, information technology, and margin management. As a consultant over the past 10 years, he has worked with more than 40 large and small distributors representing various lines of trade. His solutions have enabled his clients to achieve $350 million in bottom-line profits with the use of better information.

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NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence conducts research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. Our research is conducted with best practice wholesaler-distributors, and we publish leading-edge research studies with practical application for wholesale distribution firms of all sizes and across all lines of trade.

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