Home Grown Talent vs Free Agency: Hiring Well in the Transportation Industry

Home Grown Talent vs Free Agency: Hiring Well in the Transportation Industry

Finding the right talent to accelerate your brokerage growth can be a challenging exercise – sometimes there are diamonds in the rough and other times the diamonds are too rough. The goal of any recruiting program is to find the best fit for your strategy and your culture. Too often, management is focused on the immediate revenue return potential instead of a longer view on consistent, predictable revenue growth model. However, a newer salesforce can be slow to gain traction and can become discouraged before it can make noticeable gains. Managing expectations in finding and developing the team becomes the primary role of the organizational leadership. Both talent pools can offer strong results, but careful attention must be paid to adherence to the organization’s strategic plan and culture.

Free Agent Pros

Successful salespeople can inject energy and momentum into a company that may have become stagnant and they can accelerate existing growth. Managed and compensated properly, sales success is contagious. Bringing on a proven sales professional can set the right tone for the team with a focus on growth through investment. Sales professionals bring valuable practices and processes to targeting prospects, lead development and nurturing skills.

Free Agent Cons

In a world of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, finding the all-star sales rep that can bring an immediate push to revenue is very difficult. Hiring companies are banking not only on the historical book of business, but on the track record of success. It is important to understand the sales methodology and process of an experienced transportation sales professional to see if they can align to your existing process.

Be aware that, if a sales rep is looking for other opportunities, he/she may carry some baggage related to their previous company.

New Hire Pros

By enlisting new and fresh people into a transportation sales role, you have a clean canvas available to create the perfect salesperson. It is important to find the talent that embodies and exhibits, through past action and previous responsibility, the behavioral components of future success in the transportation industry.

New Hire Cons

Ramp up time and consistent progression are often the largest hurdles to overcome when brining on a new and untested salesperson. Folks who are new to sales don’t often understand that rejection and disappointment are part of the process and that failure comes before success. Attention must be paid to the process – with regular communication and feedback to reduce burnout.

Align for Success

By hiring for cultural, behavioral and organizational fit of salesforce members, the company can build a team from a strong foundation. As with any hire, you want to find alignment to your organizational vision and goals. The faces, voices, hearts and brains that make hundreds (and thousands) of contacts every day must be fully invested in the company’s plans for success.

Train and Develop Skills to Maximize Results

Invest in your people and give them the tools and skills to achieve. Create a comprehensive and sustainable training and development program that, in turn, creates a winning team that will drive your growth and success.

To learn more about hiring and training programs designed for brokerage success, visit our website – www.gotranstrategy.com – or reach out to me directly – andrew@transtrategypartners.com

Differentiate Your Business from Its Competitors

Differentiate Your Business from Its Competitors

There are three basic ways to position or differentiate your business from its competitors:

1. Be a market leader. Choose a particular market and focus on being the leader in that market.
2. Be unique. Offer something no one else or just a few shippers do.
3. Be a price leader. Focus on providing low cost services. Wal-Mart is a good example of a successful business built on this strategy.

Warning: Trying to be all things to all people will inhibit your growth. Instead, be the very best at something. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes what he calls the hedgehog concept. A hedgehog is an animal that protects itself by rolling into a ball that cannot be penetrated. Your marketing strategy should protect your business in exactly the same way.

Whatever direction you choose, commit to it and do everything you can to be the very best at what you do.

Next identify your company’s unique selling proposition. What makes your company different? Is it the way you communicate with your customers, your unique transportation services, the technology you use, or something else? Figure out what makes you “the purple cow” that stands out from everyone else. Even if your uniqueness is not 100% unique, treat it like it is. Make it work to your advantage.

Tip: Your unique selling point should be about more than your equipment or what you haul.

Once you are clear on what your unique selling proposition is, design everything about your business around it, and make sure that your employees fully understand it and know what they need must do to underscore it and deliver on it. Then, go after customers that are seeking that uniqueness, making sure that you clearly convey to them what distinguishes your business from the competition.

Tip: When you offer something unique, you can usually charge a bit more than firms that don’t offer what you do and/or you will be able to minimize your price competition.

Yet to Come……

Yet to Come……

Over the weekend, I watched Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri with my family. When it ended, my 15 year-old daughter was left unfulfilled because she didn’t know what was going to happen next. I told her that the ambiguity of ‘what’s next’ adds to the drama and texture of the story.

This conversation got me thinking about our collective need to know what happens next in our lives (and in the lives of others). We are overstimulated with bites of abject predictability. Our online platforms are directed by algorithmic certainty and similarity so there is little need to explore or challenge beyond our comfort zone. Unfortunately, reality is never quite so certain or so perfectly resolute.

While there are occurring factors that compound the uncertainty (universal entropy), the vector of our future is dictated by the choices that we make and the choices we do not make. Are the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously made, directed towards your desired outcome – or are they consistent with the present pathway of ‘good enough’?

By gaining clarity in your goal definition, you can see the structure of the decisions laid out before you. Through the lens of your goal(s), you can focus on the changes that need to be made from your current position along the path. The speed at which you reach the goal is also determined through choices – often requiring multiple interconnected choices from all members of your team/network/family.

The collaboration of focused decisions purposefully moves you towards your defined goal.

Use your choices to build the texture of your own story in its movement towards the ending you desire.

How effective is your team?  Identify and root out dysfunctional areas threatening your business.

How effective is your team? Identify and root out dysfunctional areas threatening your business.

In his leadership fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni defines the dysfunctions that hinder the development of a cohesive, effective team as Lack of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability and Inattention to Results. While each of these dysfunctions can damage your organization, when combined, they truly threaten its foundation and can lead to the dissolution of the organization.

Working with your team to overcome these dysfunctions will help reorganize and reenergize your business to fulfill the vision of growth and achievement.

TRUST

Trust is built on a foundation of respect, vulnerability and experiential behaviors. Alignment to organizational goals, instead of contradictory self-interest based goals, sets the stage for greater collaboration. Make sure everyone understands the roles and expectations for each team member and how they impact the overall strategic plan helps to clarify the parts of the whole and the applicable responsibility.

CONFLICT

Within any group of individuals, there is bound to be conflict of some kind. Too often, the conflict is not directly addressed or shared and remains hidden under the surface of conversations and meetings. Disagreements on direction and tactics are natural and should be communicated as they develop. The team should recognize that the opinions are tied to a desire to improve the organization and are not the ideological representation of the person. Disagreements and conflict should not be personal, but professional. Tying the opinion or idea to the persona of an individual can be detrimental for current and future projects.

COMMITMENT

Individual and collective commitment to the overarching vision and strategic plan for an organization is imperative to the achievement of its goals. Clarity in that vision and the regular communication of expectations are key components to building that commitment. Focus on the objectives, intrinsically energized by the commitment, drives and accelerates your team forward.

ACCOUNTABLILITY

Accountability is the insurance for organizational risk. It also acts as the integrator for the other areas. Accountability begets trust from other team members by taking responsibility for activity and tactics, outlined in the strategic plan. Conflict can arise when productivity and results are not met. Use accountability as a focal point to discuss the how and why failure may occur and a champion for improving those areas toward achievement.

RESULTS

Results matter. Results are defined by the productivity against the metrics. If those results are not reviewed or addressed appropriately (either positively or negatively), the entire team loses their trust in both the measurements and in the culture that did not value the goals. If 90% of the financial goal is acceptable, neither the goal nor the effort to reach it have true value in the organization. Set the right goals and the right processes to achieve them.

When reviewing your team, in times of growth and in times of change, look for the potential roadblocks caused by these dysfunctions. Address these challenges before they rot the foundation of your organization and limit your ability to create a healthy and sustainable company.