Logistics sales are challenging to scale since companies rely on long-term business-to-business revenue streams. However, you don’t have to have the largest market share or a legacy brand to grow your business.
Most sales funnel challenges are within your control to transform. Addressing marketing and sales misalignments, poor value propositions and processes, and a lack of resources can make a tremendous difference to your bottom line.
As a logistics consulting company, we’re here to show you how to increase sales in your logistics business
1. Specify Your Logistics Business Niche
It’s hard to compete as a generalist in the logistics market when potential customers can easily find a specialized company with more focused expertise in their vertical at a comparable price.
To position yourself firmly in the market, you must establish a clear differentiator from other logistics companies that operate in your region.
Choose a market segment that best suits your business or has led to more success in the past, such as a particular region, type of cargo, industry, or company size.
2. Analyze Other Freight and Logistics Companies
Distinguish your logistics company from its competitors by analyzing their unique selling points, advertising tactics, feedback from existing customers, and services. This will help you effectively refine your pitch and build a sales plan with greater persuasion.
Performing a SWOT Analysis within your sales plan is essential (a SWOT Analysis is a tool used for analyzing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of an organization/individual/plan.)
When attempting to outdo your competition, these inquiries to guide you:
- Which logistics company has the best reviews?
- What type of logistics services is the most in demand?
- What customer engagement strategies do your competitors use?
- Do they offer their clients any benefits?
- What is their sales approach for partnering with vendors and clients?
3. Build a Firm Sales Process
An undefined sales funnel process is the number one hindrance to successful logistics sales. In fact, Harvard Business Review found businesses with standardized sales processes achieve up to 28% revenue growth compared to those who don’t.
You can maximize every sales opportunity and hold your reps accountable if your logistics sale strategy process is repeatable, measurable, and scalable. Here’s how to generate leads in logistics:
— Lead Generation
Effective lead generation requires a well-oiled marketing machine, but outbound sales strategies like cold calling qualified leads and attending industry events or trade shows can also be helpful. To properly score, evaluate, and target your touchpoints, you must decide what information to collect and record across all lead profiles.
— Lead Scoring
Decide on a list of traits your logistics business values in a lead, and review your collected leads to evaluate how they match up with your ideal customer profile. Score them, and then pursue the top-rated leads first.
The basic framework should consider BANT (budget, authority, needs, and timeline). Does the lead have the budget to buy, the authority to decide, a need for your service, and the intent to purchase soon? If you can check all four boxes, you’ve got a hot lead.
— Needs Assessment
Have your sales representatives engage with potential customers to understand their needs and identify the best fit for your services. This is also the time to provide them with sales collateral specific to those services, which will educate them on your offerings and answer any lingering questions they may have.
— Proposal / RFP
Create a formal presentation to present your logistics sales proposal. Explain the proposal’s details, answer any questions, and negotiate terms if required to reach a final version. Don’t just email the proposal and wait for a response – be proactive in your approach.
— Close & Delivery
After the sale is finalized, customer service should be ready to take over to follow through and meet the contract’s requirements. Ensure you can deliver the promised services and that everyone clearly understands the sales team’s expectations.
— Follow Up
Following up with customers after an initial sale fosters long-term loyalty and growth. Regular contact and providing helpful information and insights can also help convince customers to remain loyal. This approach is key to sustained growth and success in the sales process.
4. Offer Turnkey Logistics Services
A specialized logistics company with experience in a market niche can offer clients a comprehensive suite of services, from transportation and inventory management to vendor management and regulatory compliance.
A logistics company that handles the process without involving any third parties simplifies matters for clients. After all, clients typically hire logistics services to avoid having to set up and manage the entire process independently
For example, a logistics company specializing in the pharmaceutical industry can offer all-in-one services, from warehousing and distribution to regulatory compliance. Turnkey services will undoubtedly supercharge your value proposition if you already specialize in a niche market.
5. Implement Lead Generation Strategies
Logistics companies need a logistics sales strategy to consistently increase their customer base, grow their business, and increase their bottom line.
Here’s how to be successful in logistics sales:
— Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing and sales strategies focus on attracting customers by creating valuable content and experiences that draw them to your brand.
To attract leads, you can implement the following tactics:
• Thought Leadership
Thought leadership content marketing involves creating content that shows industry expertise and innovative thinking to influence an audience. This type of content is typically presented in blog posts, eBooks, interviews, and podcasts.
• Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your website for search engine optimization (SEO) boosts visibility for specific search terms. It makes your website rank higher in search engine results for keywords related to your 3PL services, increasing the likelihood of potential customers visiting your web pages.
• Content Marketing
When you create valuable content, you give your target audience a reason to visit your website or subscribe to your email list. Content types include blogs, podcasts, videos, infographics, and eBooks.
• Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) is leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to promote a brand or product. It is a form of content marketing that utilizes user-generated content and content shared from other sources as well as your own to reach a larger audience and gain more visibility online.
Newsletters are powerful lead-generation and customer-relationship-building tools. You can establish solid relationships by offering a bi-monthly newsletter that helps your customers solve their problems in exchange for their contact details.
— Outbound Marketing
Instead of waiting for prospects to come to you, outbound lead generation is about actively reaching out to them.
The following are some of the tactics used for this type of lead generation:
• Cold Calls
Cold calling involves reaching out to prospective customers who may still need to be made aware of your logistics business to promote and market your services/products.
• Direct Sales
Direct sales strategy directly sells products and services to customers without intermediaries such as retail stores and manufacturers. Standard methods include door-to-door, telemarketing, direct mail campaigns, and referrals.
From attending major trade shows, conferences, and seminars to hosting your customer appreciation dinners, you can use events to demonstrate your expertise and showcase your services.
6. Get a Sales Automation Platform
Logistics companies ‘ customer relationship management (CRM) platforms offer various automated options to help streamline sales processes, enhance customer experience, and increase revenue.
CRM software makes it easier to segment customers by different criteria, such as demographics, preferences, and purchase history, allowing you to personalize your marketing messaging and target customers more effectively.
For example, automated lead nurturing campaigns and segmented workflows enable your team to send personalized emails to prospects more quickly – often resulting in a return on investment as high as $44 per $1 spent.
With detailed customer profiles, the software can provide valuable insights into your customers’ wants and needs, helping to improve your marketing, product development, and customer service efforts.
7. Track Third-party Logistics Sales
These KPI metrics provide helpful data for assessing performance and valuable insights for implementing commercial strategies toward achieving your sales goals.
— Lanes Won
This term refers to the number of route plans a logistics company has successfully secured from a shipper. It is typically used to measure the success of a logistics provider’s efforts in acquiring new business.
— Lanes Win Ratio
Generally, a lanes win ratio is defined as the number of successful deliveries divided by the total number of deliveries. The ratio may vary depending on the number of deliveries attempted and their difficulty level.
— Profit Margin
By analyzing the profit margin by lane type, you can identify the most lucrative transportation mode and strategize ways to maximize your profits from that mode.
— Shipment Frequency
This metric assists you in analyzing your clients’ shipment patterns to determine if they are consistently using your services or shifting their trade to other providers.
8. Create Customer Value
According to Zendesk, over 50% of customers will switch to a competitor after a single unsatisfactory customer experience.
Establishing yourself as a top-tier service provider in the logistics industry requires delivering on your promises and forming lasting relationships with your clients. Transparent business practices and social responsibility are essential to creating customer loyalty which can, in turn, be used to increase sales.
To create value, ensure that items are delivered on time, and delays are adequately explained. Offer an unparalleled client experience by remaining attentive to inventories and providing exclusive offers and services following the purchase.
9. Level up Your Sales Team
Most sales materials are either difficult to locate, outdated, or irrelevant to customer needs.
As a result, many sales reps don’t utilize existing resources. Put an end to wasted time, and use up-to-date sales enablement tools like print collateral, online assets, sales decks, and sell sheets to enhance reps’ abilities to close more deals quickly.
Secure social networking platforms, such as those recommended by Accenture, could also provide benefits, including integration with research databases and eliminating functional silos, thus transforming your logistics sales strategy.
10. Leverage Specialized Technology
With the complexity of supply chain networks and the requirement for real-time tracking and optimization, technological innovations are essential for ensuring operational efficiency and remaining competitive.
Enforce your operations using warehouse management systems, transportation management software, and other advanced tools to automate processes and gain critical insights to inform decision-making.
Furthermore, emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain can provide enhanced visibility, security, and traceability across the supply chain. By utilizing specialized technology, logistics businesses can unlock new levels of productivity, scalability, and customer satisfaction in the ever-evolving logistics landscape.
11. Have a Stable and Realistic Sales Prediction Strategy
Logistics firms should use a data-driven and prudent approach when planning their business operations, staffing, budgets, and supply chains to meet future demand.
Start by examining sales performance and trends over the last 2-3 years to get a baseline for growth assumptions:
- Consider economic conditions and market projections to factor into your estimates.
- Have conversations with your sales staff to get insights about their pipeline, but don’t take speculative deals into account.
- Provide a buffer to account for variability and uncertainty.
- Set goals based on regional/customer-tier performance.
- Utilize sales volatility to create upper and lower bounds.
- Revisit your forecasts monthly, and don’t be overly optimistic or pessimistic–instead, make changes as need be.
With an effective sales strategy for your logistics company, you’ll ensure your transportation routes, warehouse space, and operational capacity adequately meet market demands in the future.
Drive Sales in Logistics Business: Consult Professionals
Through improved sales processes, logistics businesses can optimize existing sales cycles and create the foundation for accelerated growth. Companies can boost logistics sales by efficiently tracking and analyzing data, prioritizing customer needs, and developing more effective marketing strategies.
If you need help identifying bottlenecks or need to leverage your logistics sales funnel better, Cultivate Advisors can help. From transport procurement to streamlined operations, let us improve your supply chain services. Request a free consultation today!