5 Steps to Successful Sales in Transportation and Logistics

In the 2017 TMSA Sales & Marketing Metrics Study, outside sales employees with transportation- and logistics-related companies contributed on average about 51% of the revenue for respondent companies that had outside sales teams. 

In contrast, it’s interesting to note that Inside Sales contributed an average of 41% of revenue for those companies that had inside sales, a slight decrease from 2015.

 

So what can successful sales reps do to maximize their performance?

Effectively Manage Your Time

The biggest differentiating factor between good and great sales reps is simply time management. Part of this requires establishing a consistent process that works for you – and stick with this process. 

It also requires using the right tools efficiently – in particular your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Interestingly, the transportation and logistics industry continues to lag in adoption of CRM use. In fact, according to the most recent TMSA Sales & Marketing Metrics Study, 60% of respondents indicated that they used a CRM system of some type – although there’s every indication that this will be higher in the updated 2019 version of the study. About 25% said they were considering deploying a new CRM system in the next 12 months. 

Salesforce.com continues to be the named CRM system leader among survey respondents at 31%, followed by homegrown systems at 32% of the total. Other solutions mentioned by the respondents include Hubspot, Sage, and Lanetix. Transportation Management systems such as TMW, McLeod, and MercuryGate – all of which are TMSA Affiliate members - were also mentioned. In addition, solutions that are specific to the transportation and logistics industry, such as Winmore and SalesDrip, also were mentioned. 

Ask Effective and Challenging Questions

The best sales executives don’t just talk – in fact, they usually listen more actively than just talk. Great sales execs ask the right questions at the right time and ultimately draw out prospects by gaining their trust and finding out the information and intelligence needed to close the deal. 

“Effective sales execs know the right sequence of questions to ask to connect the value proposition to the prospect’s specific pain points,” says one TMSA member who’s a successful sales executive with a mid-sized 3PL. “Know the right questions to ask – which ultimately helps you to get to the root of a buyer’s struggles. Then you can step in and offer your product as a way to solve the buyer’s problems.”

Understand Common Buying Processes in Transportation 

Ask the right questions and you’ll have better knowledge of every prospect and their personal buying process. Successful sales execs know their company’s sales process, but they really think about the sale from the buyer’s perspective. 

The most successful sales pros oftentimes simply follow the buyer’s lead and guide them unobtrusively to the point that they’re ready to buy. Some prospects need more time to evaluate a demo, while others will buy very quickly. Top reps do follow a set sales process, but this focus on a buyer’s needs will help move the deal along faster.

Compare and Contrast vs. Competitors

The most successful in sales don’t play the competitive comparison game during a call with a prospect. Rather, they are intensely familiar with their own product and they’re also very knowledgeable with their competition’s products. They read every article in trade magazines, thoroughly research their competitors, and look out for new product developments and/or emerging competitors. This helps successful sales execs beat out the competition because they can easily point out flaws and weaknesses in a competitor’s value proposition compared with their own. Extensive competitive knowledge allows you to outsell at every turn and ultimately win more deals.

Never Stop Learning

Successful sales execs always are reading self-improvement or business books, learning new skills, asking for mentoring or coaching, and improving their own sales abilities. They also constantly stay on top of industry challenges for their customers – whether it involves the shortage of capacity in specific lanes, the driver shortage, or challenging regulations including hours of service or ELD logs. 

Successful sales execs constantly strive to push themselves for continuous improvement, skill-building and learning. Clearly, this work ethic pays off and results in sharper sales skills and improved win ratios. The best sales execs are never content with their current skills, knowledge and capabilities – and are constantly learning more to push their limits.

Take these lessons from the best in the business and push yourself to improve. Manage your time wisely, ask the right questions, learn the right skills, and with the right mindset you’ll reach the top of your game.

 

The TMSA Metrics Study is open! Complete the study and TMSA will send you a complimentary copy of Executive Summary when it is published, along with the complete set of metrics and analysis. Learn More

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