Marketing is becoming a more relevant role within logistics businesses, but the function is rarely a driving force for the company.
Often the responsibility for marketing is given to the top sales executive because the chief executive believes sales strategy should drive marketing activities (a subject for another blog). That structure can work well, as long as the marketing lead and the company recognize marketing as strategic and not just a “get me leads” function.
So what is the role of marketing with respect to sales?
Here a definition of marketing might help. One I like a lot comes from marketing thought leader John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing. He defines marketing as “getting someone, who has a need, to know, like and trust you.
These days, with all the information available to buyers, all this can happen, and often does, before sales involvement.
How do you identify “someone who has a need?
This is strategy – identifying your company’s unique value proposition and the prospects who align best with this value proposition. This is the most important step in the overall marketing and sales process, and it requires marketing acumen.
How do you get prospects to know you?
Lots of ways. They see an ad, find you online, hear about you from a colleague. Marketing works to make this happen through one-to-many strategies, like search engine optimization. Sales is one-to-one. It’s hard to build awareness one person at a time. And with the average sales call cost at more than $500, pretty expensive too.
How do you get prospects to like you?
By giving them valuable information and talking to them in an authentic voice. Again, all this can happen with non-personal communications, such as the writing style on your website.
How do you get prospects to trust you?
Forget it, that’ll never happen. Just kidding. The best way, of course, is to deliver value through your services. But doing it prior to sales involvement means positioning your company as a thought leader – through PR, speaking engagements, publishing – as well as testimonials and endorsements.
You want marketing working hard for you in the early stages of the buying cycle, building awareness and acceptance of your brand before prospects have even considered reaching out to potential providers. Such efforts lay the groundwork for successful sales outreach and enable your sales team to focus, instead, on building preference and choice for your product or service.
The article below talks about the role of marketing for logistics in a little more detail.
During a phone discussion on marketing with the senior executive of a large, warehouse-based logistics firm, I shared my perspective that many such companies make salespeople work too hard to unearth sales opportunities. After a brief silence, the executive said, tersely, “That’s what I pay them for.”Download the eBook