How to Scale Your Freight Forwarding Business

Royal Robinson of Gebrüder Weiss Share How to Grow Business Development Operations

King: Hey, everyone, welcome to the webinar. We're talking about sale structures that work with Royal Robinson. He's a seasoned executive, and he's here to share his knowledge with us.

Royal Robinson: Thanks, King. Thanks, Expedock. As King mentioned, I've been in the business for a little while now, 30 plus years. I have a very deep background in business development, both as a direct salesperson and as a manager, even a senior vice president. I've been up and down the chain a number of times, and I really love to, work with others in building their business development for their companies. I recently came over to Gebrüder-Weiss and the reason that I did is after being in the business for so long, I liked how they treated employees, first of all.

They're actually won an award recently called Best Places to Work 2020. It was a good fit for me because I think two things here that are really important for business development. One, obviously you got to treat your customers very well. It's customer first, but right along with that is employee first and how do you make them both first? Well, you have to, your employees are just as important as your customers. You keep your employees happy, they will keep your customers happy. You keep your employees happy by treating them well and giving them good training.

Now specifically in talking about sales reps, you treat them well, you pay them well. You compensate them well on their commission program and you train them well. I'll go back, sorry. I think we would all agree that sales is the lifeblood of any company. Without bringing in new opportunities, your business will languish, it will eventually go away. You have to create new opportunities. You hire salespeople to find those new opportunities and you need to be their cheerleader, you need to be there for them. You need to build a structure around them that helps support them bringing in new companies.

The best companies really get this right and I'm going to talk about that structure in a little bit here. I've mentioned this a couple of times, but you hire a salesperson to sell so build a structure around them to make that happen. You might be a small company, you might be a medium-sized company, but you have to start somewhere, and even if you're investing 15% or 20% of a person's time into transition or into account management, start there because I've seen the biggest companies do that very well. They've built an entire infrastructure around account management. It works and it allows good salespeople to continue to go out and sell.

Let's just go through this slide real quick. Sorry. Spend the time to agree on a solution. What I mean by that as soon as an opportunity comes in the door, make sure that it's an all-hands-on-deck type of mentality. The salesperson doesn't do it alone and bring in an account, they need a whole team. The more minds, the better in this. Don't just

allow a talk and then stop, what are action plans to bring that account forward? It's super important.

When you have that first meeting where business opportunity is on board, make sure you have that conversation, make sure there's action plans, that everyone knows what they are and we're going to move that forward. Transition of the new business and role of sales. Again, as the account transitions into your business, make sure that the sales rep is stepping out, they are involved initially in that transition but as the transition develops, they're stepping out of it. Transition manager or an operations person that's acting as a transition manager takes care of that. It's the same thing with account management, the day-to-day should not be a sales rep, the day-to-day should be some account management.

Then other support/sponsorship. Why say for real is because when you're trying to get a business, the president or the vice president might be on the call and he might say, "Yes, I'll be your sponsor" but they need to have interaction. They need to have interaction on a regular basis monthly or quarterly or whatever's agreed upon but it needs to be for real, they need to pick up the phone.

It's selling deep into the account, but it's also allowing them to be deep into our business. What is structure work? It works because that transition manager at whatever percentage they are, that account manager, whatever percentage they are frees up the sales representative who you've hired to go out and bring in the next opportunity, that sales rep should be concentrating on that. I've seen time and time again throughout my career that companies bring in salespeople, they're good, they bring in the opportunities and then all of a sudden, a year or two later, they're like, oh well they’re not bringing in anymore opportunities, but you talked to them and they're taking care of their existing business.

It's like, "Well, if I don't take care of this business, no one will." Again, the structure helps with that situation and it allows your business to grow. It allows the customer to feel supported but here's the probably the biggest key thing for any company, it's going to cost you 15 times as much to go get a new opportunity in that door than to allow for that opportunity to go away. If that sales rep has the only relationship, it's going to go away because when that sales rep leaves the company, it's likely going to go with them. Take the time to build a structure around them.

It has multiple touch points but makes it very difficult if not impossible when a salesperson leaves to take that business with them. Treat that sales rep well because you want reps that have been there for 10, 20, 30 years. Really, you do because they will continue to go and build a network of people from account to account to account so as those DPs of logistics or as those transportation managers go from one to another company, those salesperson will follow them. It's really important. Thank you very much. I appreciate the time. Thank you.

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