Small and mid-size logistics organizations have built much of their customers through relationships, networks, and word-of-mouth. Although this strategy has proven effective for building lasting relationships, at some point, using this approach alone will end up stalling the company’s growth.

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Growth lulls often go hand-in-hand with sales problems. These can either be problems within the sales team, or the problem could be you don’t have a sales team at all.

If the company does not have a dedicated sales team or at least a semi-dedicated person who consistently does sales, its growth potential will be limited.

But if the company has sales activities (either a team or just one person) and the efforts are not gaining traction or paying off, then it’s time to look a bit deeper at what is holding back your logistics sales operations.

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    1) Unable to Generate Leads Consistently

    Lead generation. This buzzword is passed around a lot, but what is it? Well, the name speaks for itself. Lead generation is the process of getting leads for potential sales opportunities.

    In logistics sales, it’s common to associate lead generation with networking and referrals. While this is one way to do it, it’s not the only way to get leads into your business. Lead generation could also be through your website, marketing, advertising, and more.

    Lead generator cartoon.

    Source: Logistics Marketing Advisor

    A common problem among logistics sales is leads not being generated consistently, or worse, no leads. Sales growth (and business growth, for that matter) is directly proportional to the ability of the business to capture sales leads and convert those leads into customers.

    To overcome this challenge, companies must develop inbound and/or outbound strategies to generate a steady flow of leads. Once leads are generated, the next step will be to identify whether the lead is a good fit for your business and convert them into a prospect. Then, later, into customers.

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    2) Low Conversions Rates

    Another problem in sales can be seen when the company fails to convert leads into customers or is converting at very low rates. The truth is that you can generate a million leads per month, but if those leads don’t convert into customers, you’re wasting precious time and money.

    The most common causes of low lead-to-customer conversion rates include:

    1. Lack of Trust or Reputation. If leads don’t perceive the company as trustworthy, they won’t be willing to do business with it. At the same time, if the company lacks a reputation in the market where it operates, this will also impact trust. Trust and reputation are key determinants in the logistics industry and an essential part of converting leads into customers.
    2. Unfit or Unqualified Leads. Companies often buy databases of potential customers and bombard them with unrequested emails and phone calls. Not only could this practice hurt the business’s reputation, but it would also result in a huge waste of time and money. To avoid this, qualify leads before investing time and resources into communicating with them.
    3. Lack of Differentiation. Believe it or not, if a lead does not perceive an added value when doing business with a company, they will have no problem going with someone who offers a lower price. Logistics service companies must be loud and clear about how they are different from their competitors.

    3) Inability to Forecast Sales Volumes

    The inability to forecast sales volumes is probably the most important problem to pay attention to. Without knowing how many sales to expect, the business is not only unable to estimate business growth but also incapable of guaranteeing flawless service because it lacks proper planning and budgeting.

    Although forecasting sales volumes might seem impossible, it won’t be perfect, but it is fairly doable.

    Having a consistent method and proper systems to support sales and marketing efforts will yield a healthy sales pipeline that will allow the business to make fairly accurate sales predictions.

    Sales Pipeline

    The sales pipeline.

    Logistics sales is no easy task, but you need to be aware of big issues that can hold back your business growth. Inconsistent lead generation, low lead-to-customer conversion rates, and not being able to forecast sales volumes are three clear signs that your logistics sales department needs improvement.

    If your company is experiencing sales issues, it is not alone. Most small and mid-size businesses face the same challenges – and here lies an opportunity for your company. As Mark Lakeman said:

    Most problems are simply missed opportunities. The flip side of every problem is a solution.

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