How to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company - Part 3

In this post we cover the last part of how to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company. In this three part series, Justin Bailie, Co-founder of Rose Rocket, has shared tips and advice on what you need to know about your business before creating a sales team (video 1)  and the hiring process and compensation (video 2). We recommend starting at the beginning of the series, so that you get the most value from each video. 

In the third video, Justin shares advice around: 

  • Training your salesperson
  • Defining success and lead generation
  • Processes and tools 
  • Return on investment on your hire 

This video will give you tips to help you set your salesperson up for success and succeed in their role. We highly recommend that you watch the full video but we’ve also summarized what Justin talks about below. For easy access to all the information Justin shares with you, you can also download this printable one-pager here 📄

Get comfortable and let’s dive into part 3 of how to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company. 

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You’ve hired your salesperson and they’ve started working for you! Amazing! You’ve started the process of building a successful sales organization for your business. Now that the person has started working for you, your focus shifts to training them and ensuring that they’re able to succeed in their role. Let’s first dive into things to consider when training your salesperson. 

Training your salesperson

Providing training to your salesperson about what your business does, the market it serves, and what your ideal customer looks like is imperative to helping your salesperson succeed. 

One of the key things to teach your salesperson about is what your business’ niche is and what value you bring to the market — this is a throwback to the first video of the series, so be sure you’re able to articulate this well to your salesperson. Also letting them know what you don’t do is helpful. Knowing both these things will set them up for success in identifying future opportunities. 

The first 30, 60, 90 days of your salesperson’s time will also be spent learning who your ideal customer is. Looking at your salesperson’s pipeline acquisition during this time can give you a good idea if your salesperson is making progress in their role. When looking at their pipeline, you want to ask yourself: 

  • Is the salesperson understanding the right types of customers?
  • Are they moving the right type of customers into the pipeline? 
  • Are they generating leads?

To help your salesperson through the process of understanding your ideal customer, be sure that your salesperson knows key defining metrics about what makes your ideal customer. These metrics include things like: 

  • How much revenue do they do annually? Both at a minimum and at a maximum.
  • Where are they located?
  • What type of freight are they moving? 
  • What type of buyer persona are they? 

If the salesperson can define and identify your ideal customer and bring in opportunities that fit that criteria, they’ll have a reasonable way to close those opportunities because they’ll know that your services add value to them. 

As you train and work with your salesperson in the early days, you want to be mindful that you’re not too critical of how long it might take for an opportunity to move through the pipeline to close. During this training time, you’re still defining this process as a business, and until you get to know what your pipeline velocity is and how long it should take an opportunity to move along the pipeline, you want to measure and keep watch on that process. 

Overall, in the first 90 days, you’re not looking for your salesperson to be closing business but that they’re able to generate a meaningful pipeline and have meaningful conversations with customers who fit your unique value prop. 

Defining success and lead generation 

We’ve outlined a few ways to define success in your salesperson’s first 90 days but what does long term success look like? How does lead generation work in the long run? 

There are two potential ways that leads can come into the business. One way is that you outsource lead generation. The other is that the salesperson primarily hunts for leads themselves. Going back to the training about your business (your niche & value prop) and who your ideal customer is  — you want your salesperson to be able to articulate these things well, as they’ll be better prepared to bring in leads and will be more successful down the road. 

When determining what long term success looks like for your salesperson, you want to co-create this definition. To do this, allow your salesperson to share their future salary goals. If they share that they want to make x amount in two years time, you’ll then be able to reverse engineer what they have to do to achieve that. Based on the compensation arrangement they have, you would outline how much business they would have to do, and from there you’d break it down on a quarterly basis going backwards. 

This revenue number you decide on with your salesperson will then become the north star metric for your salesperson. You’ll be able to measure the salesperson’s success each quarter against this number to determine how they’re doing and if they need a bit more support. To help the salesperson achieve this, be sure that you don’t add superfluous metrics onto them like number of meetings scheduled or number of calls taken, as these actions in great quantities don’t necessarily move the revenue number. You want the salesperson to be focused on selling, and scheduling ten meetings in a day when they could have closed the deal in one phone call will make your salesperson more inefficient.  

As you start to notice your salesperson doing well in their role, it’s helpful to start capturing behaviors or activities they’re doing that make them successful, so that you can then share this information with a future salesperson you might hire. Creating a guide to what makes a salesperson successful at your company as the first one learns and succeeds, will set you up for success in bringing on additional sales people when the time comes. 

Processes and tools

As you're co-creating with your initial sales hire, you’ll also want to consider what kind of processes or tools you might want to implement to help them succeed. As your salesperson ramps up and deals start to come in, you might see areas that you can make more efficient. Streamlining the way your salesperson works will help you scale and more easily introduce a second, third, or fourth salesperson into the existing process. 

Before we jump into some more information about creating processes, you want to be cautious that you don’t over-process — especially if you’ve never built a sales team before. Trying to implement processes instead of co-creating them with your salesperson will most likely backfire, as they will probably break when put under pressure. 

So what is the best way to implement a process? It’s to build processes as you go. You want to respond and react with processes. When you start seeing something consistent and have identified that something could become more efficient, that’s when you start thinking about introducing a process. For example, if you notice your salesperson sends a lot of emails manually everyday, and those emails have been an effective way to generate leads, you might want to consider introducing an email automation tool like Mailchimp or HubSpot.  If your salesperson wants to know more data around year over year results, implementing a tool like Rose Rocket and using our analytics module can provide valuable sales insights into the business. 

Ultimately, you want to introduce a process or a tool when you and your salesperson identify a current problem and implementing a process or tool will help mitigate or solve the problem. The solution to the problem should also be scalable, so that your salesperson is set-up for long term success. 

Return on investment 

You’ve hired your salesperson, they’ve started working for you but when do you see your return on investment of hiring this person? 

The first 6 months with this person are about building pipeline and building the muscles to get you to a place where your salesperson understands what they’re talking about. If you heard your salesperson at the 6 month mark, you should be able to say that this person knows what they’re doing and that you’re comfortable buying from them. 

At 6 months, you also want their pipeline to be full and you should start seeing an “up and to the right” trend. Month 1, 2, and 3 were probably reasonably flat; 3 and four start getting a bit better; month 6 is even better; and then by month 12 you can see that they’re starting to get close to hitting quota. They don’t necessarily have to be meeting quota but should be at around 75%+ of quota and trending in the right direction. 

In addition, at month 6, take a look and see if there is enough in the pipeline to satisfy the next quarter? Depending on the business you’re in, the sales cycle should be in and around the 90 day mark. This means that anything in the quarter should be represented in the next quarter as a closed or a lost deal. You should be able to look at a quarter and see if the salesperson is going to hit their numbers the next quarter. As you start getting past the 1 year mark, you want to make sure the salesperson is still trending “up and to the right”. 

When you start approaching year 2, this is when you start looking at the payback period. If you compensated your salesperson with a base salary + commission, you should start seeing that you’re making some of that money back that you front-loaded in the early days, when there wasn’t really any revenue coming in from the rep. So if you’ve say spent “x” amount of dollars in the beginning by year 2, you should see a clear payback path for that beginning investment and now for every $1 the salesperson brings in, the business make $0.75 on that dollar. 

After succeeding with your first salesperson hire, the time period for getting your return on investment will shorten a bit with future hires, since you have a better understanding of things like your sales cycles and processes.

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

How to build a successful sales organization in a transportation company part 3

That’s a wrap

Thanks for joining us and learning how to build a successful sales organization for your transportation company! We hope you found the information helpful. 

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