A new CPG brand pops up every week, putting its own spin on everyday food and beverage products. Barnana, which sells dried plantains, is one that’s grown steadily over the last decade.
At Vividly, we partnered with Barnana to help develop forecasting models so their team can accurately predict revenue and growth. The top priority of Nick Kaufman, Barnana’s Director of Sales Operations, is to ensure his sales team’s revenue forecasting is both aggressive and predictable.
We sat down with Nick to learn how Vividly supports Barnana, diving deep on:
"My job is to digest volumes of data and synthesize it into a revenue roadmap that’s accurate and predictable for our business. This process of progressive digestion and synthesis wouldn’t be possible without Vividly's forecasting.”
Before Vividly, Nick manually built revenue models in Excel spreadsheets that grew to the point that they became difficult to share with team members. In his words, Excel was cumbersome, outdated, and often failed to help him effectively forecast spend.
That changed when he discovered Vividly. He was initially drawn to the tool because its revenue forecasting features were essentially identical to Nick’s spreadsheets, but far easier and faster to use. Critically, it enabled clear visibility and tracking for Nick’s team.
"Where other forecasting software left us to our own devices, Vividly helps us get out of the weeds and abstracts away the tedious part of the process. As a result, we’ve been able to move past spreadsheets and take control of our data.”
Accurate revenue forecasting is critical for any business to get right, especially for CPG brands; it allows operations teams to know how much or little product they should buy.
Diving deeper, predictable forecasting also helps merchants properly buy in bulk and save money on their long-term obligations with specialty retail and big box wholesalers.
When Barnana implemented Vividly to their system, they immediately set up KPI dashboards to measure qualitative metrics associated with forecasting, allowing Barnana to monitor how those forecasts measure against actual data.
Over the years, Barnana has learned a thing or two about forecasting, often the hard way.
Nick points out a few tips that he’s picked up over time:
1. Downstream, Then Upstream
First, understand your brand’s revenue path by selling downstream, then push it upstream. Nick’s team used to launch promotions thinking they’d crush it, only to be disappointed by low revenue.
2. Leverage Promotion Lift
Utilize the promotion lift within the forecasting process, in this case by leveraging Vividly's built-in tooling, to ensure the team has the means to implement specific calculations.
3. Streamline Data Roadmaps
Organize revenue and growth data as soon as possible with easily accessible outlines and roadmaps to seamlessly share critical information with executives and team members.
From Nick’s perspective, the biggest obstacle to improving the forecasting process is managing the numerous data streams without overlaps. This involves manual counting, so coming up with ways to simplify this process will be an ongoing challenge.
"Forecasting operations are an integral part of our business. Everyone needs to know what’s happening on a day-to-day basis, whether that’s a junior team member, high-level board member, or other C-suite executives at Barnana.”
Nick firmly believes that reliable data informs a strong sales strategy for every CPG business.
From his experience, actionable data is helpful in three ways:
1. Data Visibility
When all team members have access to the same data, it opens the door for concerted efforts on more profitable opportunities.
2. Data Accuracy
For Barnana, data is only as accurate as the narrative surrounding it, and this requires combing through raw data and developing a common denominator.
3. Data Aggregation
Nick admits that aggregation is the last priority with so many data sources, but having a central hub through Vividly certainly helps.
“Before Vividly, we relied on the sales team to manually interpret our scan data. Using Vividly, we can circumvent that process and distill it into one system.”