Just as January is a come-down for all of us from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so it is for the logistics and transportation industry as well. Once the hectic fourth quarter is complete and there are no more truckloads of holiday hams to be shipped, there seems to be a pressure lifted from your day. However, January can be one of the most productive months of the entire year if you decide to spend your time evaluating your business and sales team.
This year, part of your Quarter 1 should be spent analyzing your current CRM system (or lack thereof) and understanding what value it is bringing to your business. Look back on your year: how many customers came and went from your portfolio? How would your bottom line have looked had you kept all that business? How would your growth forecast look for 2017? Let’s look at three different ways the right CRM could help make your next question “how can we handle all this new business?”
Logistics may seem transactional, but relationships are essential
In a world where you are responsible for moving 100s, possibly 1000s of shipments of freight in multiple ways every single day, it is easy to forget that your customers have other options when it comes to providers. If your service isn’t consistent and you don’t focus daily on continuing to build those relationships, one or two mistakes may see you out the door.
Where are you tracking these connections to make sure you are staying in touch with the proper contacts? How will one of your reps know that another may already be working with that customer? What exactly did they say their long-term goal was? By implementing a CRM, you will be able to centralize your data and give your team a collaborative workspace to effectively work with their customers.
Forecasting is essential to keeping your team on track
Before October of 2016, there had been 20 straight months of year-over-year decline in shipping across the United States. When looking at 2017 knowing this fact, forecasting can seem a bit daunting. However, by utilizing the right tool with the right data, this can be done accurately.
To understand what 2017 will look like, you must look at 2016 first. For example, where were your most profitable leads from? On average, how many calls did it take to bring in one of these opportunities? Use this type of data to ensure that your reps are spending their time calling the right prospects at the right cadence in order to keep bringing in strong customers.
This data-driven approach to forecasting helps you to go beyond predicting your team’s future performance and actively drive toward it. For more tips on how this can be done, check out this free eBook: How to Eliminate Sales Forecasting Fallacies with a Data-driven Approach.
Focus on quality, not just quantity, when it comes to cold calling
When it comes to the day-to-day processes of an account executive in the logistics industry, cold calling can take up the lion’s share of his or her time. Day after day, those calls can become monotonous and their quality can go down. Having a CRM in place that can track these calls and their outcomes easily, while also recording these interactions for coaching opportunities, is essential to combat this.
By having a deeper look into the outcomes of your cold calls using a report like the one shown below, you’re able to determine if you’re spending your time efficiently prospecting. If your calls continue to come back as unqualified leads, switch up the way you are prospecting. If it’s not the leads and conveying value is the issue, take the time to sit down, listen to the calls, and determine what changes can be made to be more effective on the phone. Taking the time to work with your reps by listening to calls, discussing different strategies, and making an effort to improve every day will keep the creativity flowing across your team and improve your outreach.
In an unpredictable industry like logistics and transportation, it is difficult to know what the next day, much less the next year, will bring. However, finding a tool that will allow you to leverage your sales data and outreach in positive ways will help you better prepare your team for the future. To learn about some of the sales trends changing and enabling businesses this year, download our eBook, Five Major Sales Trends Shaping Business in 2017.