Every logistics service business owner we are working with wants to increase sales and eventually become better than their competitors and generally stipulate yearly growth at a pace recommended by management theories, which is between 15-25+ %. Nevertheless, only some are ready to take on sacrifices that need to be made to make this a reality. Many tried building a modern sale organization, but only a few succeeded. So is it possible to create a killer sales system? The answer is yes.
This article will discuss things organizations need to build a sales system to achieve a 25-1000+% year-over-year growth rate.
What sacrifices/improvements do logistics organizations need to make to build a killer sales organization?
Before we provide the needed improvements, we would like to make a quick note. Although all the below sacrifices or modifications usually must be made, they can slightly differ depending on your service type, company size, and business model.
Moreover, the below points will sound more like advice, but companies that make those improvements usually sacrifice funds and time. Moreover, by building this system, companies, in some cases, can face slower growth for a short period, so this is quite painful in the beginning.
Please take a look at the most critical corrections below.
1. Start measuring conversions and outcomes
What gets measured gets managed.
So the first step is to start measuring sales-related operations. Without that, companies will not be able to make sound investment decisions.
We usually see that logistics organizations are afraid to invest in marketing or hiring an additional sales manager, etc., just because those organizations haven’t defined their LTV (customer lifetime value). However, when organizations start measuring it, they suddenly realize that within logistics lifetime value of a shipper is quite enormous, knowing that making future investments is becoming more accessible.
Companies should also start measuring various sales-generating activities, such as sales cycle length, sales process conversions, return on investments, client acquisition rates, etc. With those figures, leaders can draw a roadmap for future corrections and build new strategies if needed.
2. Look at all expenditures as an investment
It can only be achieved with action toward your goals. Save
Unfortunately, many logistics organizations, especially SMEs, fear investments without clear ROI. This thinking hurts an organization because every new initiative always has a vague part, and one never knows if this will work out.
However, it doesn’t mean the status quo is a better option. A far better option is to look at all initiatives as an investment, creating optimistic, realistic, and pessimistic scenarios, calculating the risk, and going for it. Always being on the safe side and taking no risks will not make your business flourish and grow.
3. Create both sales and marketing strategies
It’s not enough anymore to be an average organization; one must take many different actions to succeed in today’s crowded business environment.
Many logistics organizations have a sales strategy, but we have a different story with marketing strategy, as many logistics organizations still haven’t got one. Talking about killer sales organization, aligning marketing and sales activities is necessary, as it shortens sales cycles and often is the only way of getting shippers’ attention.
And we have good news for logistics service providers, as only a few of your competitors are investing in marketing or doing this incorrectly. Therefore, those organizations that will start doing this can reach their goals with smaller marketing budgets, which will increase when more companies realize the benefits of marketing. This has already begun to happen, so any delays will sum up to more considerable expenditures in the future.
4. Diversify your services, markets, and customers
A winning effort begins with preparation.
Top logistics sales organizations prepare for both good and bad times. Those organizations understand that being hooked to one service, one market, or having too few customers is risky because things change quickly. Therefore, winning logistics companies understand that proper diversification stipulates faster growth and serves as a hedge for possible future disruptions.
If your organization isn’t well diversified, now is the best time for doing that. Otherwise, your organization can get into problems.
5. Create a best-fitting sales process
Having no sales process concludes in to limited growth opportunities.
Working with the logistics sales community worldwide, I’ve noticed that only a few have a well-defined sales process. Usually, sales are made without any clear plan, emphasizing luck and referrals. And referrals are essential, of course, but we all know that more is needed if an organization wants to scale.
For faster scaling, organizations need a sales process that fits their business model best and ensures that any level employee can start selling and reach conversion rates most cheaply and quickly possible.
You can find more insights on how to build a sales process here.
6. Separate operations from sales
Doing everything means doing nothing.
Too often at logistics organizations, sales are mixed with operations, leaving employees no free time to generate new business. We always hear the same stories of reps that do not have time for new business development because they have too much on their shoulders. Sometimes the rumors are true, sometimes not. Either way, the growth plans usually are not met until sales aren’t separated from operations. Moreover, the bigger the organization is and the more aggressive growth plans the organization has, the more considerable separation needs to be done.
To achieve faster growth, organizations need to perform a full job functions audit and make needed adjustments so that sales reps would have enough time for new business development.
7. Stipulate proactive sales culture
Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion.
It’s not enough to ask for results; companies need a tool that motivates those results even when no one is around. For this to happen, leaders need to create a culture that self-stimulates employees to get more new revenues month after month.
This sounds relatively easy, but for this to happen, most of the time, many improvements need to happen, such as:
· Creating a motivational system prioritizing new business development over existing account management.
· New cultural habits must appear when a new customer is born, and an important customer is leaving.
· Re-imagination of office design, which allows employees to feel comfortable, decreases clutter and provides flexibility for each type of employee.
· Provide all needed tools for getting the sale (CRM, data basis, power dialers, enablement platforms, Sales navigator, etc.); these shiny things make your sales team more efficient and hook the culture towards new sales.
Moreover, consistency is vital to building a killer sales culture. So please write it down on paper, on the walls, and talk about this in meetings so that no one forgets it.
8. Train your sales team
Wisdom comes not from age but from education and learning.
Logistics services sales are challenging as the competition is harsh, and getting the sales often means building relationships with many stakeholders. For this to happen, your sales managers must build business acumen, be motivated, and understand how to sell more efficiently. The best way to achieve this is to provide your employees with sales, negotiation, general supply chain, and logistics management training and do this constantly.
When looking for training partners, look for those organizations with experience in Logistics because, in such a way, your organization will get more value.
To conclude all of the above points, building a killer logistics sales organization is difficult, as companies must invest time and money to remake the existing processes. Moreover, outside help is often needed to draw up existing sales processes, audit current functions, and provide insights about required improvements. But this pays off for any size logistics company because the by-products of this system are increased revenues, profitability, and decreased risk and workloads for leaders.
About the author:
Thomas Ananjevas is a supply chain professional with 15 years of experience purchasing and selling Logistic services and building supply chains from scratch. He founded a consulting, training, and marketing company that works exclusively with the logistics industry. Thomas is helping logistics companies implement the necessary changes to ensure business growth and continuity. You can schedule a time to talk with Thomas about possible synergies by clicking here.