Part of our Customer Spotlight series, featuring brands on the Crisp platform and their growth stories.
A better way to PB&J
A sports nutritionist and a chef-cyclist sit down to dinner...it’s not the beginning of a joke, it’s how the idea for Split Nutrition began. Longtime friends Phil Goglia, an elite sports nutritionist, and Jeff Mahin, an accomplished restaurateur and cycling enthusiast, were discussing better ways to fuel up during daily activities. The idea for Split started to emerge, sketched out on a napkin in a dimly lit restaurant. Designed as a delicious, wholesome alternative to on-the-go energy products, Split’s patented packs contain pure nut butter and fresh fruit preserves for a portable PB&J. After spending a year developing a high-quality product free of preservatives and additives, Split Nutrition was ready to hit retail shelves in late 2018.
Big wins call for better data
It was at this point that Split’s Sales Director Bruce Weyman, an industry veteran, joined the team. His early plan, based on years of experience, was to launch regionally in Southern California, build brand awareness, and steadily build a case for future expansion. This is just what they did, using this time to test promotional strategies and optimize SKU mixes. But to Bruce’s delight, Split Nutrition was signed nationally to Whole Foods just months later. While he had seen his share of trends take off in retail, Split’s big break was on another level. “I never saw acceptance this quickly from an emerging brand,” he remembers. Suddenly, Split’s presence went from just one distribution center to 16 all over the country.
If you don’t have the data, you’re just going off of experience and feel. You don’t build a $50-100 million company that way.”-- Bruce Weyman, Sales Director, Split Nutrition
With this overnight growth, it became clear that keeping track of distribution and sales couldn’t be done by manually pulling vendor reports, downloading spreadsheet after spreadsheet, and aggregating them together every week. Split was becoming a major brand, and Bruce needed a serious solution. And with a lean team, he also needed to focus valuable staff time on areas that had the greatest impact. As Bruce reflects, “I was adamant from the get go that we won't be able to make the smartest business decisions if we don't have the data. If you don’t have the data, you’re just going off of experience and feel. You don’t build a $50-100 million company that way.” So he turned to Crisp.
Split satisfies their appetite for scale
Bruce is now managing Split’s presence at over 3,000 stores nationwide, including Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway, and natural foods stores in addition to Whole Foods. With this scale, he relies on Crisp dashboards to monitor high-level trends and prioritize areas that need his attention. “Crisp is one of the first things I open up on the computer each morning,” Bruce says. “It’s our mission control.” He uses Crisp’s dashboards to evaluate the results of trade spend, drilling down to the DC level to see how each product is moving during a promotion. Quickly getting to the details is especially important when top-line sales numbers are growing and spiking as new stores and DCs come online. This helps justify future spend and focus marketing attention where it counts. “With scale, you have to go from shotgun blast to something much more methodical," Bruce explains.
“Crisp is one of the first things I open up on the computer each morning. It’s our mission control.” -- Bruce Weyman, Sales Director, Split Nutrition
As a retail pro, Bruce also keeps an eye on one all-important metric: velocity. For each retailer or distributor, Bruce needs to know the region, store, and product combinations that drive their business forward. From there, his team can ensure they hit velocity targets to exceed buyer requirements and retain stores. This is especially important for brands that leverage distributor partnerships -- without reliable access to data, it can be hard to know where your product ends up in the distribution chain.
Split may have grown rapidly, but there are still new opportunities to uncover. Bruce uses Crisp’s distribution map to understand Split’s coverage in the retail landscape and find “opportunity zones” where they can direct further attention from brokers. By finding signals in the noise, Bruce says Crisp has helped Split thrive in the big leagues: “There’s so much data available, but the key is to find what’s meaningful. I have a lot more useful information at my fingertips than other brands.”