Marketing Logistics: what buyers of logistics services say about getting, and keeping, their attention

Jim Bierfeldt

Jim Bierfeldt is the founder and chief strategist at Logistics Marketing Advisors, a marketing firm that helps logistics businesses define and communicate their value, and then translate that value into revenue.

There is stiff competition for the attention of buyers of logistics services and products.  These folks get a steady stream of emails, phone calls, in-mails, and direct mailers, all vying to occupy a little bit of their brains, even if it’s just for a few seconds.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the other end of these sales advances?

Me too.  So I did some research to find out.  About 200 logistics professionals who purchase or influence the purchase of logistics products and services took the time to answer a series of questions about how to best get, and keep, their attention when trying to build a relationship and gain new business.  To see a summary of the research, read the eBook.

Some highlights from the research:

  • Do your homework first.  This was the dominant theme in the responses.  Buyers are turned off by suppliers that want to sell them a service without knowing anything about their industry and business.  Representative comments:
    • “If you are not doing business with customers like me, I don’t want to be your training ground.”
    • You would be amazed at how many 3PL representatives just walk in the door and brag about what their teams can do.”
    • “Generic sales pitches from rookies are a turn-off.”

Respondents want to feel they are more than just a name on a call list and that the salesperson or marketer has taken the time to research the company in order to propose an idea that makes sense for their company.

  • Be honest.  Feedback clearly indicated a penchant, among some logistics suppliers, to overstate capabilities when selling logistics services.  This does not sit well with buyers.  Representative comments:
    • “Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear.”
    • “The ‘all things to all people’ sales approach is poison to me.”
    • “Don’t show me vaporware.  I need to see the real thing.”

Historically, 3PL and other LSPs have tended to “lean forward” a bit on marketing and sales claims.  In fact, it’s one of the things that helped the logistics outsourcing industry grow – a willingness to take on challenging projects and figure it out.  But the market has changed and shippers indicate a strong preference for proven solutions.  If you can’t do it or have not yet implemented the proposed solution, they want to know.

  • Offer a better price.  The corporate pressure to reduce costs rolls right down to suppliers.  Representative comments:
    • “The providers I work with are very similar.   Show me a cost differentiator.”
    • Want to get my attention?  Do it cheaper than the other guy.”


Free eBook: Marketing Logistics Services

survey_ebook_cover200 buyers of logistics services weigh in on how to get - and keep - their attention.

Download the eBook




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