Below is a typical call between a carrier’s Customer Service Department and a Sales Rep., usually minutes before the rep heads to a customer visit.
Customer Service Rep. Clark: “Hello Top Gun Trucking, this is Clark.”
Sales Rep Sally: “Hey Clark, this is Sally in sales. I need to know the total amount of freight, charge per shipment, and any discounts Acme Manufacturing had last month. Can you send me that data ASAP; I have a meeting with them in 1 hour.”
Clark must now drop what he is doing and pull together the data for Sally. There is the possibility that he doesn’t have access to this data or is unsure how to get it from the system. He may even have to pull in GM Dave to help. Hopefully once they get the data, they can properly format it and send it off in an email before Sally’s meeting (see our other post about trucking's most influential dept.). This extremely inefficient use of time is then repeated again and again on a regular basis.
Sales reps are invaluable as they find new customers, build relationships, and help solve problems. However, with the rise of the digital economy, they must also now add data analysis to their skill set. You can’t rely on your rep’s personality, promise and a firm handshake to drive new business. Customers want to see data, want to know how you are going to save them money, and deliver their freight faster and better. They want to be shown, not told, why they should select your company as their carrier of choice.
This post, from noted transportation expert Dan Goodwin, stated that to be a successful Sales Rep. you must “Acquire a CRM tool and use it faithfully every day.” (This was from 2013!)
Trucking software traditionally has focused on the nuts and bolts of operations - dispatch, billing, accounting etc. Most TMS solutions have been great at getting freight from point A to point B, but the data these solutions collected was never easily accessible to people outside the company (i.e. customers or sales reps). This is why carriers need to be investing in technologies (CRM) that can deliver real-time data to their salespeople to drive more business. Carriers need a sales solution, one that integrates with their backend trucking software to allow for things such as:
- Creating appointments, tasks, notes and reminders
- Managing contacts and address books
- Reviewing tariffs, pricing plans and accessorial
- Tracking shipments and quotes
- Monitoring invoices, statement of accounts and aged trial balances
- Running reports with export and/or email capabilities
In addition, the software needs to be cloud-based so that your reps can access this information from anywhere at any time without having to log in to remote servers.
Roadvision Sales Connect is a great example of this type of technology. Sales Connect is a web-based solution that has user defined roles for Sales Managers and Sales Reps, giving salespeople access to the most relevant “live” data. To learn more about Roadvision Sales Connect contact us today.