We have all been through it. Someone we don’t know calls us and tries to sell us something irrespective of whether we are looking to buy. It happens in our personal lives and also in our professional lives.
Introducing the cold call
Over the past decade, developing revenue and marketing strategies with 3PL, Freight Forwarding and Transport companies I have noticed how much cold calling has decreased in its effectiveness as a lead source.
In the past, when the internet was less a part of our daily lives and COVID-19 did not exist, cold calling worked like a treat. Prospects were interested in learning more about the market and the Business Development Manager or Sales Representative had valuable insights to share. But things have changed and now much of that information is freely available online at the convenience of the prospect. Market and rate updates are provided from freight aggregators on a monthly basis free of charge and industry updates are provided by Associations. With this free sharing of insights, much of the informational power Business Development Managers had is now gone.
So what is a Head of Commercial or Head of Sales to do to help their team reach their budgets?
Introducing Lead Generation
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a lead? A lead is a person who has indicated an interest in your company’s products and services in some way, shape or form. They may have downloaded an eBook from your website, registered to receive your monthly market update or shared their email so they could read a ‘How To’ article.
As a lead, you would expect to hear from a business or organisation with which you’ve already opened communication instead of getting a random cold call from someone who found your details in their database or who followed a container being delivered to your premises.
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated an interest in your company’s products or services. Some examples of lead generators include blog posts, webinars, eBooks and other online content that is available on your company’s website.
Your Website - the Hub of Lead Generation
Your website is your core content asset and supports all lead generation tactics. Websites have evolved from a simple online version of a brochure, your shop window, to become your front door - the main entrance to your business.
Modern websites should be magnets for your target buyers. In the case of 3PL, Freight Forwarding and Transport companies, new prospects are searching online every day for new providers and your website is your pitch for being considered. Logistics and Supply Chain decision-makers are looking for websites that help them learn:
- about the latest thinking in the industry,
- more about how to solve the challenge they face,
- that you understand and can solve their challenges, and
- to see evidence of how you have solved this challenge for others.
Lead Source Diversification
While sometimes an effective cold call will still work, more times than not it won’t. And quite possibly the person you reach will get a price from you and use it to drive down their rates with their current provider. Don’t get me wrong, an effective cold calling strategy can and should likely still be one of your lead sources. The keyword though is “effective”. But that is a topic for another day.
With an increasing number of 3PL, Freight Forwarding and Transport buyers going to Google first when they experience a service failure or are looking for a new provider, lead generation is now more important than ever. Lead generation driven from online sources takes time but will help you reduce your reliance on your Business Development team to provide their own leads. In my experience, lead generation tactics can grow to comprise approximately 50% of all new leads in your sales pipeline for 3PL, Freight Forwarding and Transport companies. Diversifying how you generate leads is a key strategy for building a sustainable revenue generation machine.
About the Author:
Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Scott moved to Australia in 2004. He is a results-focused, sales and marketing executive with a 20+ year track record across a wide range of industries, including freight forwarding, 3PL, transport, media, technology, advertising, and pharmaceuticals.
As the General Manager at g2m Solutions, he is passionate about learning about his clients’ businesses and building sustainable revenue generation engines that deliver new clients and business growth.