How to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company - Part 1

We know that growing your transportation business is a large undertaking and if you’re hiring for the first time, can also be quite an intimidating process. When hiring for specific roles, different considerations need to be taken into account. In the next three blog posts (and videos), our Co-founder, Justin Bailie, is going to share his learnings around hiring and creating successful sales teams. 

Justin has been in the transportation industry for many years, and grew up in the industry as a salesperson. From selling to leading freight broker sales teams, he has a lot of experience and shares his learnings with us. Besides being knowledgeable in creating a successful transportation management team, here are some of our favorite facts about Justin:

  • He eats most of his meals out bowls
  • Believes spoons are the ideal utensil
  • Is a father to 4 wonderful kids
  • Hosts Rose Rocket’s Freight Famous podcast 

In Part 1 of this three part series, Justin takes us through two key pillars that we need to have in place in our business before we should hire a salesperson. We highly recommend watching the video but we took some notes for you, which you can read below. We’ve also put all the information into a handy, printable one-pager, which you can access here 📄.

In a mood to watch & learn? Here’s the video.

In a read & learn mood? Let’s get started! 

Ok, so you’ve decided you’re at the point where you want/need to hire a salesperson for your transportation business. Before you start posting job ads and trying to find people, there are two things you should know about your business. Knowing these two things will not only help you hire a salesperson but will also help said salesperson thrive in the role once they start.

Pillar 1: Squeeze the niche

The first thing you want to determine and know about your business is what is your niche? What are you really amazing at and what’s unique to you and your business?

When squeezing the niche, you want to determine the ways you bring value to the market. If you’re able to discover an area that you’re exceptional at, then you can identify the types of customers you want to bring into your business. As you figure this out, be cautious about not choosing service as your value — service is not a sales function but something you do after the sale — it’s a retention function.  

Here are a few tips to help you through the process of squeezing the niche: 

  • Look at your existing customer base and identify the customers you offer the most value to. Then ask yourself — where/why are you instrumental in their business? 
  • After identifying the customers you offer the most value to, try to find patterns amongst them. What do they have in common? 
  • When thinking about your niche, you also want to look towards the future. You’re in this for the long-run, so you want to think about what the future looks like. What areas of the business do you see potential growth in? Are there areas you’re really passionate about? 

Answering the above questions will hopefully help guide you to figuring out what your niche is and the ways your company adds value to the market. Knowing your niche and then communicating it to your salesperson will help set them up for success once they start. 

Pillar 2: Value-based selling 

Pillar number two really builds off pillar one of squeezing the niche. If you haven’t squeezed the niche and identified who your perfect customer and market is, it’s going to be really difficult to have your salesperson, once hired, sell on value. 

So why do you want to sell on value? Because you don’t want to sell on price. You want to enable your salesperson to lead with value when selling because it’ll help them find and sell to customers that align with your business and the value it brings to the market. To enable your salesperson to lead with value comes down to understanding where you fit into the value chain of your customer. 

To help you determine this, here a few things to consider:

  • What is your customer’s objective?
  • What is their growth plan?
  • What are their bottlenecks in the business?

Once you’ve done that, how do you then deliver value? Well you’ll:

  • Need to understand who your customers are (squeezing the niche)
  • Then deliver the value by understanding what your customers' pain points are and where their bottlenecks are. From there, you then want to insert yourself and your services into that process, so that you add value to your customers. 

Ultimately, you want to squeeze the niche, understand the value, and then articulate the value. 

Should you hire a salesperson now? 

After determining those two things, you might be wondering if now is the right time to hire a salesperson for your business. This really comes down to your ability to afford it from a time and money perspective. Hiring this person is a long game. 

You’ll want to interview multiple people to ensure you’re bringing the right person onto your team, and you’ll have to commit to a pay structure (covered in part 2), and you need to make sure you can ride this commitment for the better part of 6 months. That’s not to say you’ll be paid back in 6 months, but it takes time for a new hire to ramp up and learn your business. Results won’t be instant. 

To help with this decision, here are a few questions to consider: 

  • Can you afford the commitment to bringing a salesperson onto your team who may not generate an ROI immediately?
  • Can you afford to have the patience to wait for this person to ramp up for about 6 months?
  • Do you have the time to lead and train this person?

No need to take notes! Download our printable one-pager.

How to build a successful sales org in a trucking company part 1

That’s a wrap

That concludes the first part of our three part series on how to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company. 

In part 2, Justin will go over the process of hiring the salesperson — from whether you should hire someone in transportation to potential compensation packages you can pay this person. In part 3, he provides advice on training your salesperson, defining success, lead generation and ROI.

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