Let me tell you about two meetings with two separate logistics companies.
The agenda of both was exactly the same: a broad 3-hour discussion about market trends, company and competitor strengths, and potential logistics sales and marketing strategy options to support company growth.
When I arrived for the first meeting, I was surprised that the only people attending were the owner and an administrative assistant who handles some marketing tasks. I had suggested that key department heads attend, as well. The owner’s rationale for not involving others: “They are really not involved in sales and marketing.”
When I arrived for the second meeting (a much smaller company than the first), I was surprised to find 8 people sitting around the table and another on the phone from the West Coast. Probably double what I expected. The owner’s rationale: “These are the people who best understand the market and how we compete. Also, growth is a priority here and I need everyone’s consensus on the direction our marketing will take.”
Any guess as to which marketing program gained more traction through the planning and implementation phase?
Don’t treat logistics sales and marketing as silo functions
Logistics businesses miss the mark, and lose a great opportunity, when they manage logistics sales and marketing as silo functions, where other departments have little knowledge or involvement in company growth strategies.
Your key leaders care about company growth. Why? Because growth supports company success and job stability. Growth creates expanded opportunities and career success. Growth leads to new and interesting customers and challenges.
They not only want to know about the company’s growth strategies, they are in a prime position to help. They bring:
- Market insights. Your best prospects are probably a lot like your existing customers. Staff members who have daily customer interaction bring real-time knowledge of logistics executives’ biggest pain points – the launching point for any good marketing strategy.
- Perspective. While it’s true that operators, engineers and customer service staff aren’t marketers, they know the company and its strengths very well. And, because they don’t think about logistics sales strategy every day, they can bring fresh thinking to the challenge.
- Leads. Staff members who work with customers daily are regularly exposed to new opportunities – if they are paying attention. They should understand that a key part of their job is to recognize and report on such opportunities.
What’s your job?
Many years ago, I worked at a logistics company whose owner would walk the halls and check in with folks at all levels of the company. If he met you in the hallway, one of the questions he was known to ask was “What’s your job?” Those of us in the know had the right answer. But newer staff would cite a job title or describe their specific role – “I’m the new supply chain engineer” or “I answer customer calls in the call center.”
The owner’s response: “No. You’re in sales. I’m in sales, too. We’re all in sales.”
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