What Got You Here Wont Get You There
What got you here,
won’t get you there is the message that we are increasingly delivering to
At TranStrategy Partners, our executive clients are very
successful people, typically the owners and senior leadership of freight
brokerage businesses. They have grown their companies through brains and hustle
– lots and lots of hustle. Definitely a battle-hardened group of entrepreneurs.
These guys and gals are masters of the freight management
universe and experts at cold calling, carrier network development, load
tendering, customer service, problem solving and everything else needed to run
a successful freight brokerage.
They come to us because they want to get to the next level,
which means something different for every one of our client. Our engagements
typically begin with a 360-degree business assessment to understand the current
state of the organization. From the assessment, we make recommendations and
partner with companies to develop:
· Strategy and implementation
· Training and people development
· Improved organizational structure and accountability
· Sales and marketing muscle
Our recommendations are changing somewhat, because doing the
same things more effectively and
more efficiently isn’t enough in the rapidly changing transportation market. To
win in the new competitive environment, freight brokerage companies will need
to do different things.
Do These 4 Things to Get There
1. Be an Industry
Shippers are looking for a company who can solve their
problems – ideally a company that specializes in solving problems for people
just like them. If you are the shipping manager for an ecommerce company,
wouldn’t you rather work with a company that specializes in ecommerce shipping?
Stop generalizing and start specializing.
2. Become a Total Solution Provider
Freight brokers have a narrow niche – they match great
carriers with great shippers and manage every step of the process. But shippers
often have other transportation needs like LTL, courier service, freight
forwarding, etc. It might make sense to expand your service offerings. The
fast-growing ecommerce company you serve no doubt has LTL and home delivery
shipments and your competition who moves those loads, will be pushing hard to
take over the shipments you currently manage.
3. Provide Insights
Business intelligence, big data and analytics seem to be all
the rage these days even though most people have only a vague idea what they
mean. I like to keep things simple. I think all those fancy terms refer to
collecting data, analyzing it and providing actionable insights. Your company’s
transportation management system (TMS) collects and stores all sorts of useful information.
Talk with your ecommerce customer and determine if data in your system can be
used to help them make better decisions. Perhaps, shipment data from the last 6
months holds the key to a solving a big problem that your customer has. Put
your data to work.
4. Focus on Marketing
The freight brokerage business has historically relied on
cold calling, which isn’t working as well as it once did. Savvy transportation
companies are using marketing, usually digital marketing to fill the top of
their sales funnel. A focus on marketing and lead generation is a big shift for
many companies that have lived and died by “smiling and dialing.” To be found
online via digital marketing takes just as much hard work and dedication as
cold calling. The good news about the web is customers find you and if you do
it right, they will reach out to you. When customers reach out to you, they
know they have a problem and they think you can fix it, which is a much better
way to begin a business relationship.