25 Apr How the Sales Process has Changed in the 3PL Industry
This is the second part of Mactrans 10 for 10 Series where we will be discussing 10 major changes in the Freight Brokerage industry over the past 10 years. As we look to the modern consumer, globalization and technological advances, we see a rapid evolution unfolding across the transportation and logistics sector in recent years – changes which have directly impacted the sales process.
Any business can attest to the whirlwind of behind-the-scenes work, countless hours and the much-needed support of a strong team, that paves the way long-term success. In simpler terms, it takes a village, and oftentimes the product offering itself is only one, a small piece of the puzzle. From ideation to production, it is the responsibility of any business to curate a cohesive ecosystem of technology, processes and partners to effectively sell and distribute goods to eager customers. This is where logistics comes into play – sure, the product is ready to go and customers have sent in their order(s), but what happens next? How does that product get from point A to point B, ideally with no delays, mistakes or company-wide headaches?
It is this precise dilemma across industries that have created the demand for third-party transportation expertise, better known as third party logistic services (3PL) to help create effective supply chains for businesses. From expert rate negotiation to transportation planning and execution, capacity and consolidation management, route optimization and so much more, we take the guesswork out of logistics so business owners can focus on running their business. We like to think of this as transportation re-invented – an improved operational model for businesses looking to maximize efficiency and scalability for optimal success. And while this third-party service model isn’t a new concept, the transportation and logistics industry has drastically changed over the last few years to benefit businesses in a big way.
With the help of educated logistic professionals, new-age technology and social platforms for enhanced transparency and a relationship-focused business approach, our industry has never been in a better position from a sales perspective.
1. Shippers Are More Educated
Fortunately for businesses and third party service vendors alike, logistics is rarely just a ‘small’ part of a job description anymore – it’s a profession in itself. With dedicated logistic and transport professionals who are trained to see the broader picture, businesses are finally able to establish integral partnerships with carriers and freight brokers. Once they have analyzed a company’s supply chain, they can create savvy day-to-day shipping procedures that suit that company’s exact requirements.
In layman’s terms, logistics sales professionals are experts within the industry and are specifically qualified to help clients find the most cost-effective solution. This is when shipping becomes a more intelligent process, with companies adhering to more flexible shipping patterns according to the trusted insight of those logistics professionals. Essentially, this breeds a ‘work smarter, not harder’ culture that implores companies to schedule shipments on days that are more cost-efficient, and less busy. With the adoption of a more collaborative, insight-driven approach, companies can drastically enhance the efficiency of their shipping process.
2. Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Transparency
New-age technology is reinventing processes and standards across every industry, and transportation is no exception. Finally, communication streams are not limited to email chains and phone calls, allowing for enhanced transparency and flexibility throughout the entire transportation process. Logistic professionals can utilize countless platforms and mediums (document imaging, automatic email status updates and alerts, EDI status updates etc.) to effectively communicate with company shippers (and their customers) to ensure each transport goes smoothly. Further, LinkedIn has become an incredibly integral platform within our industry, allowing members of the sales team to discover leads, identify talent and valuable resources, and build value-driven relationships. Once again, this lends itself to a more transparent logistics process, that benefits clients every step of the way.
With credit to modern training protocols, made accessible by improved industry technology and policies, more members of the transport process are educated in best practices, and able to truly empower the supply chain at every touch-point. Every member of the supply chain is informed, engaged and updated in real time, which allows us to better manage everyone’s expectations and navigate tight deadlines. Now, as any shipping professional knows, transport is rarely a perfect process, so building an environment of trust and transparency is absolutely integral. If anything does happen during the transport of goods, the business will always be in the loop and we will always be on top of it.
3. Forging a Stronger Relationship with Customers
Over the last decade, it’s become increasingly apparent within our industry that aligning with the right logistics professionals requires a focus on a genuine partnership, not just the delivery of a one-off service. Recognizing that people are the most important assets, 3PLs realize that shipping – much like any other department of a business – needs to adhere to a positive, collaborative culture. Rather than focussing selectively on the sale (and then moving on), logistics sales personnel today work to build long-standing relationships, acting as a valued ally to each client.
By taking the time to get to know customers and understand accounts, recognize where they stand in their respective industry and what their offering is, we are able to position ourselves as a vital partner/consultant to each company.
Customer compatibility is everything, and businesses should (and absolutely do) have the confidence to vet 3PLs based not only on the expertise they provide and their corresponding track record but also on the personalized partnership they offer and prioritize. Fortunately, non-asset based 3PLs are free from any pressure to fill their own trucks/carriers, but instead find the most appropriate carrier, mode and shipping method to best suit each company’s needs. This ensures the company’s needs are always prioritized above all else, and a genuine relationship can be forged that is mutually rewarding and long-lasting. With this in mind, our customers aren’t just customers – they become partners – and their success, is our success.
Is your business in need of a logistics make-over? We can help, click here for more information.