Shippers Don’t Want Your Old Marketing & Sales Tactics

Shippers Don’t Want Your Old Marketing & Sales Tactics

Read the top pet peeves and tips from the shippers’ panel discussion at TMSA’s conference

The Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA) recently held their annual conference covering a variety of key topics for logistics professionals. One of the leading sessions was a panel of transportation and supply chain decision-makers discussing Shipper Perspectives: “Aligning Your Value with the Needs of Your Customer.” This session was packed full of helpful insights for those of us trying to position our services to this audience and their peers.

 

SHIPPERS SESSION HIGHLIGHTS:

Top Pet Peeves

  1. Not doing your research ahead of time.
    Make sure you know the specifics of our network and be clear on how you would be able to better our supply chain. This way you will be able to speak to topics such as speed of deployment or sustainable solutions if these are a priority for the shipper.
  2. Old school sales pitches.
    Before you dive into your 20-minute sales pitch, share key data about your company. What are your capacity limitations, safety standards, and analytics? A real-world case study is the best way to show how you have grown with your current customers. Show us what the problems were, how you solved their challenges, and include enough detail for it to be meaningful. Many shippers will not even look at your information if a detailed case study isn’t included.
  3. Emails without substance.
    If you are going to send an email, make sure it includes the information listed above about what should be included in a sales pitch. A current customer list of references is also appreciated so we can verify your services and ask about your culture
  4. Being notified of a problem last minute.
    If there is an issue, notify us right away so we have time to consider our options. Do not wait until the last minute because you thought you would be able to fix it before we know about the problem. Honest communication is key to being a good transportation partner.

 

Top Tips

  1. Be transparent. Think long term.
    If you want us to be transparent with information, we expect the same from you. Reliability is important but so is collaboration and creative problem solving. Give us data visibility and specifics on how you can meet our unique needs. We are looking for someone with a long-term strategy and need to verify our partners are profitable and stable.
  2. Be easy to work with.
    Being easy to work with means being available and reliable. If you can take care of our curveballs, are honest, and proactively working for us, you are on your way to becoming a preferred partner.
  3. Be an information partner.
    A high-level overview of trends, manufacturing news, logistics technologies, etc. can be a helpful way to position yourself. Include an update on how the shipper can prepare for any changes coming and how it could impact their upcoming budget.

 

Hopefully our recap gave you some ideas on how to improve your communications to potential and current customers. Reimagining your communication strategy and how you position yourself could give your sales and marketing teams a higher success rate with their outreach. So, pack up those old tactics and let us know how your new approach performs.

 

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ABOUT US

TranStrategy Partners is the premier partner for freight brokerage firms looking to maximize their business and accelerate their performance.

Erika DeBlasi is TranStrategy’s Marketing Coach and has worked as a marketing executive in freight brokerage and financial services industries. She drives the marketing, branding, advertising and communication activities for a variety of companies in addition to providing a broad spectrum of marketing and communication training. We are the marketing partner for logistics companies who need a dependable and consistent way to increase market share and enhance customer experience.

>> Learn more about our Logistics Marketing Service

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Customercialism

Customercialism

At the recent annual TMSA Conference, Align4Growth, the idea of consistent messaging across all dimensions of customer contact reigned supreme. The purpose of that contact is to build trust with existing and prospective customers. The credibility of an organization, particularly in the early stages of the relationship, is developed through the crystalline focus on the customer: what they need, how they engage and what they are trying to accomplish.

The First 50 – The Story Projects

Research across industries (B2B and B2C) shows that somewhere between 50% and 75% of the customer journey is made prior to the first true engagement with the business. Potential buyers are exploring, learning and comparing possible solutions. Digital presence and past performance are key indicators for these buyers to take next steps in the decision process.

Clear product definition, particularly in a service industry, is instrumental in providing useful information to those buyers. Explanation of the features, benefits and success outline how solutions are positioned and create a more holistic approach to your communication model.

First Contact – Building Credibility by Placing the Customer First

Sales rarely happen during the first contact – or second or fifth. Too often, the sales team disregards the process and message that brought the prospect to the table in the first place. They are focused on the close, getting a lane to quote or other misaligned metrics that drive compensation instead of driving the relationship.

The process needs to be focused on trust building which can be accomplished through the continuation of the messaging aligned to the digital experiences already experienced by the prospect. Sales should ask questions designed to elicit information and needs.

There is power in establishing both what the company can do for the customer and what it cannot do. By establishing such parameters, it shows the prospect the recognition of your own capabilities and intentional limitations and, ultimately, honesty and respect.

At The Close – Aligning Solutions to Needs

Once Trust is achieved, the relationship accelerates. In developing trust with customers and prospects, they become more attracted to the company and the people within it. This attraction builds a desire to spend more time – through a business relationship that endures.

In many cases, once trust is established, the business relationship becomes a foregone conclusion. The focus becomes imagining of how the solutions will be executed to meet the customer needs and help them accomplish their goals.

Industry Associations are Good for your Business

Industry Associations are Good for your Business

You can always come up with reasons to not bother being involved with industry associations. However, we have found that companies are generally better because of such involvement; and time spent bettering your company is time well spent.

Whether your company is a small mom and pop shop or a large enterprise, industry associations offer benefits for everyone.

The key to successful association membership is networking with your peers. Not only does it provide the opportunity to meet individuals who share a common interest, it can also spark the beginning of new friendships and solid business relationships. After all, you can never have too many contacts in this industry.

Most associations provide a newsletter or publication, whether it is weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Contained in these publications is priceless information touching on all the topics that affect the industry–driver shortages, freight trends, and government, environmental, legal and financial issues.

You can find breaking news on legislative decisions; upcoming seminars, conventions or meetings; new industry standards and best practices; employment opportunities; and industry trends. Plus newsletters keep you abreast of the latest developments among your fellow association members.

Being listed in an association directory is also beneficial to your firm, in more ways than one. Not only does an association directory promote the services of fellow members, in many cases it is distributed widely outside of the membership, increasing chances for work both inside and outside of the association.

Many associations have frequent meetings and webinars to discuss topics of concern to members. Meetings are but one of the many events held. Most have annual conventions, award ceremonies, workshops, management seminars and dinners, and even golf outings. A massive amount of information, company promotion and networking takes place in each of these outlets.

Don’t get me wrong, membership in an industry association will not guarantee your organization’s success, but active membership could be a step in the right direction. Plus, many of your competitors are already reaping the benefits.

Don’t be left out of the loop. Join us, along with hundreds of others in getting involved in this industry through the many associations that serve the transportation marketplace.

Beyond Carrots and Sticks

Beyond Carrots and Sticks

Motivation is not simply about carrots (compliance) and sticks (non-compliance). It is about context and relevance to goals. It is about the flow from here to there and the achievement of success. It is about communication of expectations and the appreciation for reaching the goals. It is about removing obstacles and creating pathways to success. Motivation of the people on your team and of yourself is critical to growth and leading through change (both expected and unexpected).

Recognizing what drives you (and others) is vitally important to the overall success of your endeavor. Your energy reserves are depleted by activity that doesn’t align to your drive, while it amplifies when you are focused on activity that matches your passion. Activities that sap your energy are often done poorly – either rushed or mistake-laden due to inattention. Activities that energize you are given full attention and commitment to produce strong results. Assess your drivers and the tasks you perform to map out what you do well and what may suffer.

By reviewing the activity and responsibilities within your organization, you can assign the tasks that best utilize the energy of the team. List out each activity that occurs within your daily workflow and the people who are available to complete each. Delegating tasks based on drive/energy versus simply role/responsibility can provide a greater level of productivity and velocity in completing each task.

Historical structures and roles provide accountability, but they do not always provide the necessary flexibility to handle changes within the market or industry stressors. Mapping out your activities provides you with a framework of action, but also helps to identify gaps (both in role/responsibility and in energy/drive). This map can provide a blueprint for personnel needs – for both hiring and re-organization – to best serve company objectives.