Kaity Huff | Kiwi Creative
The competitive 3PL landscape combined with the increased complexity of integrated marketing has not only shifted the ways that 3PLs engage in marketing activities, it’s also made it that much more important to effectively prioritize the right marketing tools and tactics for your own 3PL.
Maybe you’ve invested in marketing campaigns before. Or, maybe you get the bulk of your business from word of mouth. You may even have a slew of sales reps, but haven’t put much into marketing because you think your audience wouldn’t respond well to it.
Regardless of where you’ve spent your marketing dollars in the past, if you were to pick one – and only one – marketing initiative for the second half of 2019, you should consider a strategic sales enablement approach. Here’s why.
Sales enablement isn’t a new concept, but it’s gained a renewed focus, especially within the most competitive industries. In short, sales enablement is a strategic partnership between sales and marketing.
It happens when marketing supports sales by providing tools, technology, and information that enables sales teams to spend less time creating their own assets – like emails and sell sheets – and more time actually answering questions that help prospective customers make informed decisions.
Today’s smart freight and logistics marketers realize that their jobs go beyond getting an avalanche of leads in the top of the sales funnel. When the sales process is truly a process – as is the case with 3PLs – marketing can help their sales reps close more deals at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Creating Your Sales Enablement Strategy
When diving into your sales enablement strategy, start by gaining a clear understanding of common sales objections. Why do your sales reps lose deals? The sales enablement tools and tactics you plan to develop should be a direct result of that question.
SALES ENABLEMENT ISN’T A NEW CONCEPT, BUT IT’S GAINED A RENEWED FOCUS, ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE MOST COMPETITIVE INDUSTRIES.
Do you lose deals because you’re perceived as too expensive? Or, maybe your prospects don’t understand the additional value they’ll get by choosing you over the competition? You may want to put together some bottom-of-funnel pieces that really highlight the value you bring.
Do you lose deals because prospects perceive the process of getting started as too complicated? Map out your process with your sales reps and figure out how you can simplify the message and make it easier for your new customers understand.
Do you get no responses from emails your sales reps send? You may want to take a look at the content they’re sending out and give your sales reps some solid email templates to work with.
The important thing to remember is that your sales enablement strategy should start with your prospective customers. While strategic sales enablement will make your sales team more effective – and in many regards, make their jobs easier – the focus of your strategy should be on your prospects, and not necessarily your sales reps.
Creating Your Tools and Tactics
There are many parallels between the types of content needed for sales enablement and those needed for successful inbound marketing. Often though, the content for sales enablement is more in-depth and addresses more of the final questions someone might ask before signing on the dotted line.
By the way, content, tools, and tactics don’t all need to be created by marketing. In fact, much of the content can and should come directly from your sales reps.
Here are a few sales enablement tools that, if you don’t have already, should be put in place today:
Introductory Slide Deck
Bring your company slide deck into 2019! Freight and logistics companies are notorious for having some of the most outdated, mundane presentation slide decks.
Often, when sales reps engage with a new prospect, the introductory slide deck is their first impression of the company. With an intro slide deck that is to-the-point and really highlights the value and difference of your 3PL, you’ll have a better chance of closing the deal. And, that beautifully-designed slide deck will demonstrate that you’re a top-notch, innovative 3PL.
“Proof” content, like testimonials and case studies, are no longer a nice-to-have items. Get these in your essentials tool belt to help demonstrate the value that you bring to your clients.
With a library of case studies, your sales reps will be able to pull relevant examples from past clients who have business operations and shipping requirements similar to their prospect’s – which can make all the difference in closing the deal.
Especially in an industry as competitive as freight and logistics, your sales reps and your prospective clients need to have a clear understanding of exactly how your 3PL stacks up against the competition. A simple customer-facing matrix should highlight your key differentiators. Are you great in the Northeast, but aren’t the most cost-effective in the Southwest? Or maybe you excel at LTL? Make it clear in your competitive matrix.
Consider having one competitive matrix for internal-use-only that not only provides your sales reps with the competitive landscape, but how they should address key competitors and common objections.
Getting Started with Sales Enablement
When getting started with strategic sales enablement, you’ll need buy-in from leadership, marketing and sales. Often, buy-in from sales requires the most work.
To avoid making sales feel like marketing is invading their space, marketing should become immersed in sales. Start attending weekly sales calls to hear first-hand where there are gaps. And, when the sales team sees that your goal is ultimately to make them more successful – and make their jobs easier – you’ll begin to gain their trust.
When taken seriously, empowering your sales team with the right sales tools not only makes your sales team more effective (they’ll close more deals, faster than ever before), but also shows your prospective customers that you have your act together.
The 3PLs that can do this best will be the most successful.
Kaity Huff is the Director of Digital Marketing at Kiwi Creative, a marketing agency specializing in software and tech. She can be reached at
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