Industrial Data Labs is a Houston based operation whose platform modernizes the process of selling valves. Punchlist Zero caught up with Marty Dytrych to learn more about this revolutionary platform.
First of all, what is Industrial Data Labs?
IDL is a private search tool for distributor inside sales reps to quickly find the valves they need to fulfill RFQs from end-users. Essentially, we solve the send email or make a phone call and leave a voicemail and wait problem. For example, if an inside sales rep at a distributor receives an email from an end-user asking for particular valves…instead of shooting around emails or making phone calls trying to find who has the valves they need…they can simply login to IDL, enter the specs they need, find the manufacturer/master distributor who can fulfill the RFQ, and send the quote on over. Our purpose is to provide every inside sales rep accurate, actionable, and frictionless data so they can sell more valves in less time.
Why did you start the company?
Over the past four years, my co-founders and I interviewed quite a number of sales reps and buyers across the industrial valve supply chain. The one recurring problem everyone had is waiting. Waiting for an email. Waiting for a return phone call. Waiting for a spreadsheet to be filled out. Everyone was waiting for the information they needed to either make a sale or buy the right valve. Quite literally, reps have three to four monitors on their desk, have multiple manufacturer portals and email clients open, and 6,000 line spreadsheets open. More so, the more time it takes to get the right information back to the buyer the more sales they lose and, the more money is costs the buyer in lost production time.
Essentially, everyone up and down the supply chain said “I’d pay for accurate and real-time information so I can do my job faster and make more sales, and not e-commerce…don’t give me e-commerce…just give me information”. So, here we are.
What benefits will a valve supplier see from this platform?
So there are two sides to our platform: Distributors on one side and Manufacturers/Master Distributors on the other. End-users are not permitted on the platform.
For Distributors, they get 24/7 access to specs and real-time inventory/availability of industrial valves throughout the world so they can respond to end-user RFQ’s in seconds vs. days/weeks. This allows them to sell more valves more often.
For Manufacturers/Master Distributors, IDL securely connects their supply to real-time demand. Every day distributors are searching for the right valves to fulfill end-users RFQs. Instead of responding to email after email or phone call after phone in days/weeks they can have their supply directly on the monitors of inside sales reps as they actively search for their valves to quote. This allows their valves to be quoted more often resulting in more valves sold more often.
If I’m a valve manufacturer and want to get on the platform, how does that process work?
It’s easy as we do all the work. Simply, we connect their inventory management system to our platform, standardize their data to meet our requirements, and just like that they are live. This is one area where we’ve focused on: make it as easy as possibly for manufacturers to get their valves on our platform and in the hands of inside sales reps.
Where do you see Industrial Data Labs in 5 years?
Great question. We’re really focused on nailing down the IDL platform to best help industrial valve distributors, master distributors, and manufacturers. However, in the next 5 years we see ourselves including other equipment within the PVF industry. And, we’re working hard to standardize data throughout the industry. If we can make a few leaps, IoT + AI could get really interesting and I’ll leave it at that.
How’s the process been of starting a company? Anything you want to share with potential founders?
Like everyone else, it’s been filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Overall, it’s been an amazing journey as we’ve been able to meet some amazing people, get lucky seemingly every other month, and grown as individuals and as a cohesive great-working founder team.
To potential founders: don’t do it. Seriously, don’t do it. Stay in your job, rise in the ranks, save your money, build a family, find a hobby, have friends, and a retire at 65.
However, if it’s something you have to do, be careful of who is selling the shovels and who is digging the ditches. Have a strong support team. I’ve been lucky in having a great family who supports our team and myself in building out IDL. Get married! About two years into this journey, I was fortunate enough to have the love of my life “Say Yes.” She’s been the foundation of our family and someone who can pick me up after a failed meeting, day, week, etc. Have a baby. Not only will having a baby provide you with a greater purpose in life…it will force you to get things done, shorten up the sales cycle (need to support the family and get money in the door). And…my wife is not going to like this…but, having a baby and watching the little one grow you gain more perspective on product development and how to be more patient in that development and growth.
Lastly, go to Church. Even if you don’t believe in God or Jesus or think it’s absolutely insane…Go to Church. Attending Mass or going to Church can help in so many ways even if you don’t believe…For instance, Jesus was the greatest salesman in the world as he walked throughout the land in-person cold-calling various people and one-call closed them into dropping everything and following him (chalk this up to great-storytelling…or miracles), building a long-lasting community of faithful users, and, attending Mass can introduce you to how to or how not to properly deliver a message and get a better understanding of what people pay attention to, how they receive a message, and what they tend to take away from the message. I could go on and on…but, I’ll stop there.