The Power of Humanizing Data

Will Salcido

by Will Salcido

January 7, 2022

Data is being generated faster than we know where to put it or what to do with it, and the information overload we have at our fingertips will only continue to increase. Acquiring the data isn’t the hard part – it’s knowing how to use it. 

For consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, getting an accurate, real-time snapshot of a product, a category, and its retailers is key. But, while data is crucial, humans are still the decision makers. People don’t connect with stats and numbers alone. They connect with the stories behind them. 

To tell that story, you must humanize the data in a digestible way so it translates into something that draws an audience in. In this case, the retail buyers. 


Dissecting the Data 

Data is technical. It’s dry and boring to those who don’t know how to interpret it. Those data points aren’t just numbers and percentages. They hold value in telling a story that helps drive better business decisions. Telling a story with data helps to convert the technical confusion of all those figures, and turn it into something tangible for the decision makers. 

Thanks to data, small CPGs are now able to take advantage of trends and grow revenue faster than ever before. With that in mind, CPGs, big and small, are in a race to gather more data, but too often lack the right tools to drive insights from them effectively. 

Collecting data just to have it is a waste of time and resources. Everything that can be processed, extracted, and mined for insights still has to be analyzed, sorted, formatted, visualized and shared. 

It’s easy to focus on what the numbers are telling you, but unless you’re invested in not only collecting the right data, but analyzing it correctly, the numbers are only telling you what is happening – not why


Humanizing Data with Storytelling

The art of storytelling isn’t just for the movies. The best sales presentations are those that tell compelling and convincing stories. When it comes to sales, storytelling takes data and puts it through the lens as a person to share their perspective on what the outcomes were and future projections. 

In a normal pitch, you may only have 30 minutes with a buyer, and only five of those minutes with their undivided attention. You don’t expect a romantic comedy when you buy a ticket to an action film. So, to tell a good story, you must tell one based on what the buyer wants to see. Sometimes, all buyers want to know is what price to promote at, and with which promoted price group. You can’t bury your lead to answer that question at the end of your presentation. The story should be summarized right out of the gate so the buyer knows exactly what they’ll get from the pitch. 

All they are trying to figure out is if you’re a reliable partner they can count on. They need your advice – your take on the data. If you’re consistent in the way you tell your story using data, it reflects your personal brand on top of the brand you’re trying to sell, and makes you the reputable advisor when retailers are looking to merchandise their shelves. 


Humanizing Data Through Visualizations

Having the insights to understand the sales and performance of a brand is half the story, but taking those data points and presenting them in a visual way makes it easier for your retail partners to connect to the true insights. Buyers consume data that’s presented in different ways. Using visuals like pictures, graphs, charts, and diagrams can help reinforce data points.

In a sales pitch, it is helpful to visualize the data you’re presenting. The goal is to paint a picture of the product and categories impacted. That picture can be strengthened by highlight data visualizations such as: 

Quad Week Comparison – to show how your brand is growing over time

Sales Decomposition – Dissects your brand’s sales growth or decline based on key metrics

Distribution Heatmaps Highlights products/markets that are above or below ACV thresholds

Opportunity Gaps Calculates the dollar opportunity gaps your items have based on growing your distribution

Promotion Evaluation Determines promotion effectiveness on a weekly basis

It helps to narrate the sales story by choosing the right visuals, and making the header and bullets play leading roles in the presentation. After all, decisions aren’t usually made when you’re in the room. The buyer will hear another 10 to 20 pitches that week. You want to leave them with something they can revisit and look at that’s just as compelling as when you pitched it. 


Humanizing Data Through Automation

Analyzing the surplus of data available to us has changed our economic landscape as we know it and presents an opportunity to understand buyers at an unprecedented level. It’s only going to get more complicated with more data sources and ecommerce channels. 

We’ve reached a point where the data is too large for humans to effectively analyze alone. CPGs must find the right tools and resources to lean on that can automate the insights humans work so hard to make sense of. Doing so will be the competitive edge they need to get their products on shelves and out a retailer’s door. 


The best story always wins. Make sure you’re in control of your own sales story with the help of Bedrock – request a demo today!