The CPG industry faces an unusual challenge in 2020. While the nation is experiencing a recession overall, retail grocery sales are on the rise — a trend driven by the record number of customers staying at home during COVID-19. These contradictory trends mean manufacturers must limit budgets and reduce risk, even as retail opportunities expand.
The show must go on — despite the inherent uncertainty, the work of CPG professionals must continue. We still have to attend daily meetings, generate sales reports, and facilitate deals in highly competitive environments. To do so effectively we must approach these challenges efficiently, find answers quickly, and focus on the highest-performing opportunities without data bottlenecks in our way.
Creating Sales Decks
As any CPG analyst will tell you, the process of creating a single sales deck is time-consuming. The industry’s most common analytical reports can take hours or days to complete, each assembled from scratch using the latest data refresh. Meanwhile, category managers and retail buyers need this information yesterday to make informed product-related decisions.
When inefficiencies exist — either in terms of accessing or analyzing data — it creates organizational bottlenecks until each report is ready. That places a great deal of pressure on teams that need to react quickly to ever changing market trends.
Account Management and Travel
Finding data insights quickly was a challenging task even before the COVID-19 outbreak when brands halted non-essential travel and industry trade shows were cancelled. Last minute buyer meeting openings and cancellations could create havoc within an organization — I’ve been an analyst, I’ve seen it first hand. Sometimes it’s not until the salesperson is boarding a plane to Austin, or Boise, or Minneapolis that they tell you they need something. The fire drill of stopping what you’re doing to create an updated Target report, or find an answer about a new competitor in the space, as all too common.
When manufacturers operate across multiple regions, it’s easy for inefficiencies to appear as a result of siloed data or communications. Teams in the HQ city might manage the sales data, or have the data provider login, which means the latest insights are only accessible during local business hours. Having a platform to access this information on the fly — whether you’re in an airport, your home office, or the lobby five minutes before your buyer meeting is a game changer.
Sometimes the greatest inefficiency is that team members aren’t equally knowledgeable in analyzing data. CPG analysis is a highly-specialized skill that requires time and expert training. Many startups and companies with lean organizational structures either struggle to fill these gaps, and even at larger CPGs there aren’t enough Category Managers or Analysts to go around. Chances are the Category Manager or Analyst was hired to find insights to help drive the business, not to spend hours building pivot tables and formatting PPT presentations.
Automating the task of report building, presentation making, and the data pulling itself with a tool like Bedrock can give you hours back in your day, and days back in your week so you can get back to doing what you’re there to do — grow the business!
One of Bedrock’s goals is to make CPG data analysis simpler and more efficient for teams of any size. Thanks to our team’s industry experience, we’ve been able to craft and refine tools that meet the precise needs of CPG manufacturers, including:
- Quick Report Generation: Bedrock’s platform takes data from almost any source and generates detailed visualizations that highlight performance — with no data expertise required.
- Saved Visualizations and Instant Data Refreshes: Analysts shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they obtain new data. Bedrock saves visualizations that automatically update after data refresh or can be easily revised to highlight different accounts or markets. Visualizations and reports can be organized by Account, Product Group, Sales Rep’s Last Name, anything you want!
- Data Accessibility: Bedrock’s cloud-based platform is accessible from anywhere in the world with internet access. If you’re in LA — on the go at LAX or in a home office — and need data from your Chicago HQ, you can access it instantly.
- Internal Collaboration Forum: One of Bedrock’s latest features is an internal channel where employees within an organization can collaborate on a project. It’s like using a business chat messenger with fully integrated CPG data access!
- Decomposition Tree: In the Bedrock Analytics Sales Decomposition tree, the data can be presented from two distinct angles: Dollar or Unit volumes, which are then dissected into Base and Incremental volumes. Each descending branch of the Sales Decomposition tree digs deeper into the why of the branch above it, deconstructing the key drivers that contribute to growth or decline in a straightforward, easy to read format — growth metrics appear in green boxes, decay in red boxes.
The CPG industry is constantly evolving, but it’s still possible to identify and act on trends that drive sales. With Bedrock, lean teams are well-equipped to create insightful reports, coordinate with team members, and make competitive decisions for 2020 and beyond. Book a demo or check out our free trial to find out more.