CRM for Freight Brokerages That Your Team Will Love
Episode Transcript
DD Spotify DD Apple Podcast

This episode provides valuable insights for freight brokers on getting sales teams to adopt CRM. Josh Lyles, founder of Salesdash CRM, shares tips on customizing CRMs to fit freight workflows, involving managers to drive adoption, and using data to fuel marketing and sales initiatives. Listen to learn how CRM can boost broker productivity.




Are you experienced in freight sales or already an independent freight agent? Listen to our Freight Agent Trenches interview series powered by SPI Logistics to hear directly from the company’s agents on how they took the leap and found a home with SPI freight agent program.

Maximize your website’s performance and security with Digital Dispatch’s web hosting and management.



Everything is Logistics is a podcast for the thinkers in freight. Follow the podcast to never miss an episode.

Follow EIL host Blythe Brumleve on social: LinkedIn | TikTok | YouTube

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Blythe Brumleve, today. I'm happy to welcome in Josh Lyles. He is the founder of Salesdash CRM and we are going to be talking about how to get your Godforsaken sales team to use a CRM. I'm a fan of my existence when I worked at a brokerage, so I'm excited for you to shed light on how other fellow marketers can help their sales team get established with a good process. So, Josh, welcome into the show.

Josh Lyles: 0:39

Thanks, Blythe, great to be here and yeah, that's the uphill battle that I climb every single week, so just taking it step by step over here.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:46

Yes, exactly Now, before we get into the CRM part of the conversation, I wanted to talk a little bit about your background because it's actually really interesting. You used to work at Tesla before you started working at a freight brokerage and then you became a founder, but what was, I guess, sort of the experience like working at Tesla?

Josh Lyles: 1:08

Oh, it was energy-packed all the time. The one thing about their culture that's just great is that they're so mission-driven and you get really bought into that mission. A lot of people say you're drinking the Kool-Aid and whatnot, but I think if you're building any company, any culture, you want to make sure that you're doing things in a positive way that are fulfilling and that you're just going towards, I think, a greater purpose overall, and that's what you felt every single day there. The moment I walked in day one, I felt that I was around a lot of talent. I joined them back in 2016, and there was a stat out there that it was almost harder to get a job at Tesla at that time than to get into an Ivy League school. It's not the case today, but back at that time and I felt that when I first walked in, it was just like with everybody that was around me, and that's a good feeling when you come into a place where you know that you're going to be sharpened by every other team member that's on your team. So, elon, overall I mean it's just constant push for growth, problem solving. A lot of people always ask me all the time what was it like? I only got to be involved in two conversations with him, but ultimately, I think what made him such a great leader is he's just a problem solver. He cut to all the different noise and he'd always just say what's it going to take for us to deliver more cars and sell more cars? All the time. That was just the conversation, and so it made everybody get into this problem solving mindset and I think that that's really helped me throughout my career.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:28

That's awesome. Yeah, I'm not an Elon stand but I am an Elon fan, so the stand culture is a little strange to me. For any person, I guess of influence, but I always really respect the work ethic that he has and it sounds like it sort of just bleeds into everything that he does. What was so hard about getting the job there? You mentioned that it was extremely hard to get a job there. Is it like testing?

Josh Lyles: 2:54

Well, they were just smaller at that time. So, for example, at that time I think they had two locations. I was in Atlanta at that time. I'm in Nashville now, but they had two locations all in Georgia. There wasn't that many locations in the Southeast, they were primarily just larger out in California but a lot of people were applying for jobs at Tesla. At that time it was just a really popular up and coming company just in the EV space and I guess with the volume of applications and luckily and that's the reason why I tell people especially about their LinkedIn I constantly will bring this up anytime I talk about how I got to Tesla. But I got there because they found me on LinkedIn and I was one of the early ones back in the day that always had my LinkedIn profile built out, even that I didn't have the best resume at that time. But I was currently working at New Balance when they had reached out to me and I just had stuff about sales skills and marketing and all those kinds of things and luckily recruiter found me and that's what got me to go through the job interviews and did well enough in the job interviews to get a job. So that's the reason why I always stressed the people, because that changed my life a lot for the better. But having a LinkedIn profile just built out, tell a simple story, make it a little bit personable. It's to me it's the modern resume now at this point. I mean, back then it was, it was like I mean there wasn't that much adoption, but obviously now it's, it's, it's picked up big time.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:14

Yeah, definitely, well said. I mean, even if you don't publish to LinkedIn every day, you can still make your profile something that people will want to check out and just verify your existence, verify your experience. But that's really cool that they sought you out. I was wondering if the process involved like you know what kind of animal are you that you have to answer in like interview meetings or some crazy stuff like that.

Josh Lyles: 4:36

No, nothing like. There was one manager there that asked some very strange odd interview questions that I've never asked as a hiring manager and wouldn't really think to ask. But I guess that also kind of is what made the culture unique there as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:49

What, what, what were an example of one of those questions that I don't know, if you're allowed to reveal it.

Josh Lyles: 4:54

Honestly, I can't remember, but I just remember them being very outlandish to the point where I was like taking mental note of what I ever want to ask these kinds of questions in an interview to really try to figure out about somebody's personality. The answer is no. If they come to mind, I'll definitely be sure to bring them out later on.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:09

For sure. Now, going from Tesla, you decided to join the world of freight. You had any kind of experience in the world of logistics or you just dived in?

Josh Lyles: 5:21

Just like most people, they just fall into it somehow some way. So when I first moved to Nashville when I was working for Tesla, I didn't know anybody when I moved here. I moved here really fast, basically like within two weeks, when I knew that I was going to be Tesla's store manager for their location here in Nashville and my first two friends actually I knew through a friend of mine that I grew up with was a really good friend of mine and they all went to college together and so they were really the only connections that I knew that lived here and we ended up just hanging out, became pretty good friends and I knew what they were doing, but not to a full extent. You know they would try to explain what freight brokerage is. They just like label it, logistics, like everybody does. And you know how it is with family, relatives, spouses. They don't fully know what goes on. They just know like you're on the phone all the time and emails, and you know up early, sometimes staying up late and all that stuff. But they just got to a point where I was at Tesla and I wanted to look outside. I didn't really care about staying in Nashville, I didn't really care about staying. I was just really open to any and all opportunities and they were working at a company. It was a really unique opportunity at the time. There was one point logistics, who was owned by Keep Truckin, and once I got to understand a little bit more what freight brokerage was but also why that was a unique opportunity, with them being owned by an ELD company, that really stood out to me as a unique differentiator. And then, you know, just going into the office I had to go in like four or five times for onsite interviews. It took a long time for me to actually get approved for that job, but luckily I was able to and it was awesome. I got to build a team of 12 from scratch. I was a sales manager and that's really how I got my start into it.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:56

And so what was? I guess that while you were working there or did you, I guess the company also got bought out. So was that the sort of the catalyst that you were going to become a founder? How did you move from working at a freight brokerage into becoming founder led?

Josh Lyles: 7:11

Yeah, so no, they were actually. So Keep Truckin had already bought them out before I joined, but my long term goal had always just been to start my own business. Even when I was at Tesla, people would ask me like, hey, do you want to keep climbing the ladder? Because I started at the very entry level position as a product specialist for them and then got into a sales advisor role and then assistant manager and then store manager and I just I saw my Boston as a regional. I didn't didn't really want to do that, but I always wanted to just start my own business. I've always been very interested in entrepreneurship. You know, for the things that I like to read and study outside of work A lot of the times that's what it is. So I just kind of knew that that was always going to be the case. And then when OPL was shut down, that was ultimately when I was just trying to figure out, okay, what would be the thing that I want to start? Because people ask you that all the time. Right, if you do want to go down the route of entrepreneurship is, what do you want to start? And I just didn't know. But I just basically like the story is super simple. I literally just went to a coffee shop and I was like All right, what do I feel that I'm very strong at from a skill standpoint? Or what do I feel that I do better understand more than other people? And, as weird as it is, crm software was the thing.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:20

Well, I guess I could sort of get it. It makes me want to ask the next question of what was missing. I guess, from like Salesforce or HubSpot, that you felt like that you were missing, that you wanted to create a solution for.

Josh Lyles: 8:33

Simplicity is the easiest answer because everybody wants something that's simple and the tough part about that is that, you know, when it comes to being simple, a lot of people want the CRM to do so much work for them. But it's sales, right, and it's relationships and there's effort that goes into relationships. So you have to do effort when it comes to your sales outreach and, you know, when it comes to notes and stuff, obviously you have to be really good at that. But I think I just had a really good way of like. I don't I would always say I don't think I was naturally like the overall best sales person, but because my sales process was pretty strong at Tesla, I had pretty good results and that's what kind of got me to start getting promoted in a multitude of different ways there. So it was really just from process and that's what got me into management and I had some pretty good success in management there. And then also when I got into freight brokerage, when it came to onboarding new shippers, I just dove into it. Like, even though I was a manager, I first started and made my own cold calls and ran my own pipeline, closed my own customer, so I could get a good feel of what my account executive is. We're going to go through on a day and a day off basis and it's really just like the flow. It's such a good system. I know people don't like data entry. I get it Like. It's not necessarily my favorite thing either, but when you, when you see, I guess the output come back to you in terms of, okay, great, I totally forgot about this one company or this one customer and they popped up on my calendar today, september 27th, and I talked to them four, five, six months ago. Those were always things that always helped me in the sales process and, I think, helped anybody, because it's really hard when you have that many conversations, especially in freight right, with how many activities that they're driven to do on a day in and day out basis. Like 50 is a pretty extreme minimum. Most people or companies that typically wanted 75 to 150 of activities. It's hard to remember all those details and those details are what go a long way in building those relationships and so I think just finding a good mental process and model in the CRM and making it simple that way you understand it, your team understands it and there's that alignment, is really important, but a lot of the times people use it as a compliance tool to say like I'm checking the box and I got these activities done, versus this is how it's helping me in my sales process.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:41

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the freight agent trenches, sponsored by SPI logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit SPI3PLcom. And so, from what I understand, with sales dash's journey you started off as kind of like a CRM for everybody before niching down into freight. Why the niche down?

Josh Lyles: 11:41

Things weren't working. Simple enough, my go to market strategy was just bad and I'm not scared to admit that and it was just too wide. It was casting a net too wide. And I always say, like the sad part is, I've read all the entrepreneurship stories about niching down and starting very small and then eventually scaling out and how Apple and Amazon and all of them have done that in the past and how they got to success doing that. But yeah, it was just too complicated, just reaching out to a multitude of different industries. I was focused more in the SMB space and more so inside sales teams and it just wasn't working. And then I was just really getting to a point where I had to figure stuff out. But what I basically just said okay, I want to focus more in the logistics space. This is literally back in February of this year and I have my best week on the phones, reaching out to companies and getting some interest, getting them brought in, and then I just basically kept that momentum going. And then this is the real story, but like going into April, was the Capital Ideas Conference for TIA, and once I knew that that conference was coming up, I would use that as I was prospecting and reaching out to companies. They'd be like, yeah, I'm going to be there. And then I built up a list of people that I knew were going to be there and then I eventually just bought a ticket and that was kind of the solidifying moment where I was like, all right, this is full blown the pivot that we're going to do and that's where we're headed now. So everything with our product development for that we're doing in the CRM is all Freight Brokerage and 3PL focused.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:08

Now that's a really cool story that you built out your contact list, or basically like your hit list, before going to the conference, and then that was the motivation to be like, okay, yeah, I'm definitely going to make this conference worth it. Because one thing that I don't think gets talked about enough is that for a lot of like soloists I experienced this myself when you go to a conference it's very expensive, somebody has to do the work while you're gone All of the pre and the post work that is involved it. But I imagine that maybe your tool is helping you be a little bit more successful at the booking, the meetings and then the following up afterwards, which is where, frankly, I struggle with.

Josh Lyles: 13:46

Yes, it did help because I already kind of had that list. I was building that list and I had my notes for what I talked with them about, what I knew about them. The hardest part of those conferences is when you're talking to so many people, like the Capital Ideas Conference at TIA was challenging, because there's 1,900 people there and you're just talking to one person after another after another. So really, what I did was actually just build a list of notes in my phone and then eventually, from the people that I spoke with, so that way I can remember who I spoke with, because I think I ended up with 54 business cards and honestly, there was like some digital ones and then just ones that we just exchanged contact info. So you lose track of all of it. But I just kind of kept like a really small list of notes because it's actually stuff that I used to do at Tesla back in the day, because I worked at a mall when I worked for them and we used to just have an iPad. You'd be holding an iPad, almost like an Apple employee that's how they kind of built their model and I would just do abbreviated notes and if you read them it wouldn't really make sense, but it's just like a mental abbreviation of notes and everything that I understand and then I can expand upon it later, and so when I just got back to my Airbnb every single night, I would just recall okay, these are all the people, and just make sure I set my follow-ups with them.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:51

That's cool, and the notes app at conferences, I think, is undefeated.

Josh Lyles: 14:57

If you're not using the notes app, what are you doing?

Blythe Brumleve: 15:00

Yeah, exactly Now. One thing I am curious about is, I guess, a fundamental way to manage a CRM different for freight brokers versus anyone else.

Josh Lyles: 15:12

It's not that like the fundamentals, I guess, of the frameworks. It's more so just, I guess, like the language and the way that they think about them. So it's really interesting because, I mean, I still work with freight brokers that are small to medium size and sometimes it doesn't really matter the size of the company, but some of them go with like very basic sales processes and strategies and then some of them don't really have anything at all, and it's still not uncommon for me to come across somebody that's still just using spreadsheets. They don't really know what's happening. And when I talk with them about sales process, so I just posted about this and this is a small example, but and I'm sure you're very like, used to this from from your experience as well but a lot of the times in sales people just say, hey, this lead or this opportunity is cold, warm or hot and realistically, in a sales process it doesn't really make a lot of sense because what is cold to me could be hot to you or vice versa, like literally could be the case. I've coached plenty of salespeople where they'd be like hey, josh, I've got a hot one, and then it's like hey, no, there's honestly a lot more information that we need this. One's still actually cold or warm, but here's a small example of that. So, like, we have a four step simple process and this is all through customization. Like this is where customization goes a long way, but people pay thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars for this. When it comes to HubSpot, sales force and you can do it in there, but, like, you have to be good at doing it. Ours is just already basically templated. That gives you a really good foundation for sales process profiling shippers, qualifying shippers from day one. But going from like the cold, warm, hot and example would be okay. As a free broker, you're reaching out to a shipper. We have four steps Discovery, pains, needs, pricing and then set up paperwork. So you're trying to think okay, instead of like calling them and being like hey wanted to see if you're ready to follow. You know, like, gotten afraid all this kind of stuff. There's basically always certain steps that you're trying to align and make sure that they're the best fit for you as a free broker, with the services that you provide, the carrier network that you have. So discovery would be general information of equipment types, their volume, what kind of modes you know between full truckload LTL. Do they do spotter, contract, project freight, that kind of stuff, right? Align on that, does it fit within what you provide? And then, from a pains and needs standpoint, what's the reason they're going to bring you on as a carrier? They get reached out to all the time Like are you actually going to help them out when it comes to, like, mis-pickups or wrong equipment types being sent in or just pricing, whatever it may be? And then the third step would be pricing. You need to price out lanes to make sure that your pricing lines up. And the fourth step is you exchange some paperwork whether it's your credit app or they send you a contract, and then that's typically how you get lined up right. So it's not that it always goes in that flow, but that's a common flow from overseeing two different teams and brokerage that I found. So that way, instead of just thinking like, hey, what do we need to do next year? This is our process that we typically do and we want to follow this. And so when we know where each one is in each step and we click like, okay, here's the opportunities that are in pricing, we know that this is what we're striving to do right now with these specific shippers that are in that bucket.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:06

Now, with the process that you're talking about, how common is that process being established at freight brokerages? Because when I worked at a freight brokerage, it was essentially like we're going to pluck you out of the nearest college, we're going to sit you down at the phones and you're just going to make a hundred cold calls a day. That was the process. What should I guess with respect to what you're talking about? What should I guess a modern sales process look like at a freight brokerage?

Josh Lyles: 18:31

Well, I think if you talk about a college kid coming into it, this is an easier way to streamline your sales process, to say hey, instead of, like me, having to kind of coach you through it. The system is going to help guide you through it in terms of the information that you're seeing in front of you. So, if you have those specific items because a lot of all right. So, if you take a Salesforce or a HubSpot, not to like name them, but like the generic CRMs out of the box and I hear this from freight brokerages monthly but they'll say like it really feels that they're built for SaaS or software companies when you take them out of the box and for them, they just need really simple stuff. There's certain things that they want to know about each shipper, and so we want to give them the ability to just kind of customize it that way. But what I would say is and this is really the easiest way I always frame it is like take your best sales person in their process, right, what would they want to always ask a shipper to understand? And you can cook that into the CRM and it's not that it's a call script, but it's going to be in front of you every single time when you jump into each shipper and each account. That's in the system and then that information is always in front of you and then you know that, okay, I need to be asking or learning about this information every time that I'm reaching out to somebody. So I think that that's where, even if you are a college kid, it's this information is in front of you. If you don't understand what it is, then obviously they'll ask their teammates to try to understand that, but at least that's already kind of cooked into the system so that way they could be better guided, versus just like, okay, I'm just picking up the phone and I'm just giving them a shout.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:53

Yeah, I mean you raise a lot of really important truths because I think for a lot of folks, especially like when it comes to like marketing versus sales, like marketing is typically, in my experience, going to be making the decision on like what kind of software they use, what kind of CRM that they use, and maybe that is the gap between marketing and sales of like. This software doesn't really work for sales unless it's highly customized, and it's also to your point that you made earlier, husband is very expensive. You can get like the base level, you know quote unquote free CRM for you know like 30 bucks a month, but that bill will quickly tick up. If you want, you know some additional features that are kind of standard on a lot of different platforms. So I guess for a lot of brokerages out there, what does so you suggest you know learning from your best salesman, establishing those different processes and then using your tool, they're essentially able to enter in like the equipment, the lane, the commodity, things like that directly into the CRM, if I understand you correctly.

Josh Lyles: 20:53

Correct For each shipper that they're talking to, and then you know they can build it out. And then, when it comes to qualifying opportunities with, like pipeline management, that's where you can even take it a step further. When it comes to qualifying, the opportunity of kind of going back to some of those similar things, is it a project, contract, spot opportunity, mini bit, rfp, you know, maybe figuring out seasonality, documenting what those months are, so you have that for reporting and then you can, like we even have it to where we build out, especially when we do implementations with companies to really help them. You know, try to understand these opportunities Like a couple of examples would be how do they measure carrier performance? And asking them that, how many carriers are they working with for that specific opportunity? It could be a location or, you know, it could be just in general, just for their spot free, but just those kinds of different questions to understand the scope of the opportunity, competitiveness around it, those items. You can. You can basically build that into those, let's just say, like deal opportunity forms in the system and we already have a foundation of it with some like starter ones, and then they can build on it from there.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:58

And so with does your company help with, like a, you know, implementation, integration? It kind of sounds like you do. So if you're helping with that, what are maybe some of those keys to success? Not just implementing it, but using it on an ongoing basis.

Josh Lyles: 22:13

Yeah. So I think it really starts in the customizing of it, because you wanted to just show the information that you talk about on a daily basis. You want that to be in the system, right, because if it's not there and it's not it's that's not going to be something that people leverage to actually enter in. So that's the first thing, like just as simple as us having equipment types and modes and contractor spot for you already in our template inversion. There's already people that say it's just great to be able to see that stuff in there. And you know certain reports on their dashboard that are like my active shipper leads or shippers that haven't been contacted in 14 days, like people already just love the fact that it's talking their language and just in that in itself. But you know, I guess, sorry, go back to the what was the question again.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:58

It sounds like you're creating those light bulb moments for them from the jump to help them to keep using it, Because that was always the struggle that I had is like I can show them the technology and they'll say, yeah, that's great, but for them to actually continue to use it on an ongoing basis was where I struggled with the most with working with the sales team. So I would imagine that seeing those light bulb moments like what you're talking about helps them to use it more regularly. Where they're almost like getting those signals, I would imagine there's reporting and things like that that can further highlight that kind of data.

Josh Lyles: 23:28

Correct. So, for example, like with HubSpot, their custom reporting and everything is on their largest package, which gets really expensive. We already have custom reporting that's built into it. But what yes, going back to your initial question with this is a lot of it, actually, I would say, in a lot of success does is driven from sales managers and the people that are overseeing it. And again, it's not, it's not always about just like hey, we're just trying to hit a specific number. We're trying to do these things. You're trying to help your team work towards better behaviors that drive more shipper, new shipper relationships and expand the existing relationships that you have and opportunities that you have with them. And so the things that they see, you know, for example, just on their dashboard like I get really technical when it comes to this and even just the design and how we've templated this out but even from the first things that you see, from like the first part of the screen and working left to right, top, top to bottom, to me is really important, because if there's a certain metric and I always just say, like what gets measured, gets managed, but if that's not on your dashboard as a sales manager or even as a salesperson, then you're going to forget about it because you're not, you're not, you're not measuring it, it's not something that's consistently on your radar. But that's what I often found with those the other CRMs out of the box was. I would build out all those dashboards to make sure like every one of those specific things was on it. But if it's not on your radar, then it's easy for that stuff to fall by the wayside. But it's honestly, if it's just on your dashboard, it's such an easier way to basically build a lot more momentum and better behaviors. And then I just know it for a fact. But, like, once you start to see that and you start to get more success and you're starting to close more customers, you're staying in front of them, those behaviors are driving better results than at that point it honestly just becomes part of your process. You're like these are the things that I know that lead me to success.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:09

So a lot of it is approached by leadership and I would imagine so I would imagine that you're the data and the insights that you're getting from that you can actually see which kinds of customers, what kinds of equipment, lanes, that kind of thing, are closing more at a higher rate, which I would imagine would also help the marketing department be able to make some content or, you know, make some different campaigns that could complement those high success rates. Is that fair to say?

Josh Lyles: 25:34

I think it's, of course, yeah, because, like so, I only worked with the marketing department and it was smaller at my first brokerage and then I helped with some of that at the last one that I was at over at Silo. But it can, like marketing can take a lot of things that they're seeing from notes because, for example, like talking about marketing and like I'll even just talk about how I use marketing when it comes to Sales dash, but I look at all the notes, like, for example, I run a quick report. So anytime that somebody shows up to one of my meetings and my demos, I mark that as a meeting show in my CRM and so what I know is that I can pull a report of all those activities and these are all the demos that I've had with people. And I am a crazy note taker because for me, like, attention to detail is important and I want to make sure that if they're really interested in the CRM, I can actively progress the sale. But even just the small pieces of that I will use what they tell me to fuel a lot of my marketing for Sales dash, for example, right. And then same thing as a free broker, if a shipper is telling you specific things are like either challenges or things that they care about. Those are really good questions. Then, to ask other shippers, because if they care about it, chances are the other shippers care about it, or if they don't know, it's a really good thing to put on their radar. So, yes, when it comes to marketing and messaging and what you specialize in, I think that's important. But also, even just like the smallest thing, for example, of your close customers, like what are the characteristics, what industry, what's their employee size, what's their approximated annual revenue, you can pull those things from having the list of them, seeing that reporting, and then you can find out to help you further refine your ICP for the kinds of shippers that you're going after, because you may think that, hey, we specialize with these kinds of companies, but then sometimes when you look at it, you're like, oh wait, these are the ones that are actually bringing in the most revenue for us right now, the most profit.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:16

Yeah, absolutely. Data tells a lot more stories than just going off of affirmations or feelings or gut feelings or things like that. Exactly, it's important to have that data to back it up as well. Now, I'm surprised that we made it almost 30 minutes in this conversation and the topic of AI has not been brought up yet, so I'm going to use this as an opportunity to bring it up now. How do you think about AI? Is it plans to incorporate these kinds of, I guess, technology, large language models, things like that into the CRM? I mean not to bring up HubSpot again, but I know that they have their chat platform that they're fine-tuning, still very much in its infancy phase. Based on the tests that I've run, any thoughts on how you can incorporate AI into your sales process?

Josh Lyles: 28:01

Yeah. So I think it's inevitable that AI is going to be incorporated no matter what, and I think there will be a multitude of different ways. We're going to start to explore it more next year because we're finishing out some new product development right now, that we just really want to become one of the strongest CRM platforms really the strongest CRM platform for freight brokerages and 3PLs to manage our shipper and carrier relationships. But I think a multitude of different ways. I think the way that a lot of people are using it is for email copy. I think that's huge right now and it makes a lot of sense and people can always write better emails, but it's really good for that. I think it can be really good when it does come to some just creative ideas, when it does come to marketing or even just like your emails and your sales outreach or let's just say, if you're building a one pager for those things, I think it's going to become really important for reporting personally in CRM in terms of, hey, I want to see all my shippers that are out of this specific city, this specific state in this industry and just like a really quick text chat so that way they don't have to do typical filters in the CRM. I think that that's going to be a big opportunity. Notes, obviously, will be really important in terms of scraping what's already in the system. And then I think there can be some further things on the analytical side, when it comes to observing your deals that are in the system, what's been won, what's been lost, to try to pull some specific insights out of those. So there's more on top of it, but I think, specifically, if you talk about the use cases for CRM, those will be a good amount of them. And then I'm just seeing other things like cold calling. I'm seeing AI cold callers right now, which is really interesting. I don't know about that. I'm so much bigger on the personalization side than automation. I don't know how you feel about it, but it's freight too. Freight is a relationship driven business and I just don't think you can automate relationships fully, like there's always got to be that human element, but at the same time, there's still things that AI can help to knock out some of the tedious, you know, manual tasks.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:02

If a company used an AI voice calling whatever function to cold called me, I would instantly block them. There you go. I wouldn't even think about it, I would never even look at their company name. It was just instant block, move on. That's how I feel about that. But I'm right there with you. I think that AI can be used in increasing administrative things, administrative processes, and helping to kind of shine a light on areas that you might miss yourself. Hopefully it will evolve into something it looks like it's getting there to be able to look at your website analytics or look at CRM analytics and be able to decipher and create some takeaways for you. So I think that that's the logical sort of next step that I've been using ChatGPT for. So I haven't used any other tool because I want to use my own data in order to extrapolate that feedback. But I'm right there with you it has to, I think, fuel your processes in order to have better conversations that are built on the back of those in-person relationships, but also those personal touches too, which is, I think, where the CRM just really plays a vital role in being able to just keep track of all of those nodes. Now you mentioned a product roadmap. What does that, whatever you can share with us? What does sort of the product roadmap or releases look like for Sales dash for the rest of the year?

Josh Lyles: 31:24

Yeah, so most CRMs really just focus on shippers and just shipper management and shipper relationship management, and so really right now what we're working on and we plan on demoing at Technovations when we present Shark.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:36

Tank. That's right, that's right.

Josh Lyles: 31:39

What we plan on presenting is really our carrier side. So you're going to be able to capture, import your carriers. We have found brokerages. We'll store them in spreadsheets as well Good old spreadsheets will never, ever go away in our lifetime probably but we're going to be showing basically that functionality, how it's going to be complimenting the shipper information that's already in our system. And then lane capturing as well. So some Google integration that comes into that with the lane capturing, but capturing lanes for shippers, capturing lanes for carriers, to really try to make it a really strong sales engine for freight brokerages outside of just the shippers that are. Typically they'll see in their CRM. We want to give them fuel essentially to be reengaging with their shippers in a way that's a little bit more unique, but also to deepen carrier relationships, not make them so transactional. We hear this commonly, it's what a lot of people promote, but honestly, most people do just or I would say most brokerages a lot of those times do just have transactional relationships with their carriers and we want to have the CRM to where not only like it depends on the model that you are between, cradle to grave, split model, that kind of stuff. So there's some considerations that go into it when it does come to that. But we want to make it a really easy place that you can access, run really quick reports. But our reporting is also feeding really good insights to the shippers sales team, also back to the carrier sales team to help deepen the relationships that live in the system.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:04

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense because if you're spending all this time and energy trying to get shippers and then you have a crappy carrier on that first load, then you probably all that hard work was for nothing. So that's really interesting. About the Shark Tank at TIA what was sort of the process that made you want to apply for something like that? I mean obviously exposure, but Right.

Josh Lyles: 33:26

Yeah, I mean definitely exposure, because we're just trying to get our name out there. I mean a lot of what I do when it comes to marketing and all that stuff is that if CRM gets brought up in conversation and meetings and the people are evaluating CRMs for their brokerage, we just want to be considered, we want to have a conversation. We're not going to win them all. I do feel that we have really good conversations with people, but we're actively building in the space. Everything that we build from here on out is going to be specifically in the space. I think when it came to that, I was actually not going to do it. And then, when I knew that we were going to be in a decent spot for building the product development that we're working on right now in the carrier and lane side that's ultimately when I made the decision I was like let's just get up there and go do it and honestly to me, I look at it as an opportunity that there's a bunch of decision makers that are in the room. Why not get in front of them? Obviously not going to close all of them, and it's okay, but just even establish that relationship. And it's the same thing If CRM gets brought up. That's really the biggest thing is just. We just want to be in consideration. That's what it comes down to.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:27

Yeah, heck. Yeah, I'm an avid Shark Tank watcher. I just watched the marathon that comes on every Tuesday. I watched it yesterday. So I'm wondering who's going to be the Mr Wonderful of the group. That's going to be kind of the not the mean one, maybe more the more realistic one. So that'll be interesting to watch, and so we'll have to definitely keep the audience updated on the performance there and how it all turned out. But as we sort of round out the conversation, I like to come to one of my favorite segments now, and it's these recurring questions I call it the relatable eight that I ask, or I'm starting to ask, each interview guest on the show. So I think you are about the fifth or sixth person that we've asked these questions to. So let's get started. We kind of already talked a little bit about this, but how do you think about marketing when it comes to you versus your brand? Is it kind of collaborative or is it kind of you keep them independent?

Josh Lyles: 35:21

No, I think it's fully collaborative because, at the end of the day, people make up your company and your brand. So I think that's really important. I think there's a lot of opportunity, too, for more people in logistics. I think you're seeing more activity, for example, on LinkedIn, on Twitter or X, even on TikTok and whatnot, but you're seeing a lot more activity where they're starting to speak up and that does go a long way because so much of it is just people knowing who you are. That's a lot of the objective of marketing is getting attention and people knowing who you are. And if they don't, then when it comes to just recruiting or other kinds of partnerships, potentially even customers where people can refer you in the right direction, that's not going to be had. So it's honestly kind of just a simple thing of, instead of consuming content I'd rather be a creator and people also, I guess just watching and consuming my content. It's free distribution. I mean the fact that you can just build a post for free and thousands of people can see it. Why would you not do that? That's just sure. Some of it may come off as cringe at times, some of it may flop, but at the end of the day, just another touch point where your face and your name is out there can go a long way if you can stay consistent with it. So it's not the easiest thing to do, but I just think staying out in front is really important. And then for me, when it comes to the marketing mentioned it earlier but really utilizing what customers tell me, whether it's feedback or things that they like or don't like, even if it comes to our product roadmap and they can help build that out, but really using customers to help fuel. That is really the stage that we're in when it comes to our messaging and our positioning and what I know. That again, just like we're talking about, but if they care about it, there's a very good chance that other brokerages are going to care about it as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:01

Yeah, preach, I am always just baffled by the companies that don't pursue some kind of founder-driven marketing that they should have. You have their founder on camera, whether it's Long Form Video or Short Form Video, talking about the solutions that they have for their target audience. And speaking of Short Form Video, this isn't actually related to the relatable eight set of questions, but you do a lot of Short Form Video marketing over on YouTube Shorts. Was that a conscious effort or did you just see the opportunity there to get brand awareness?

Josh Lyles: 37:34

Yeah, so, funny enough, I actually do more of it on TikTok. The YouTube Shorts is probably like a fraction of what I have, but yeah, I just saw a big opportunity in it I wanted to leverage. A lot of people think it's just young kids dancing on TikTok and whatnot, but TikTok is realistic. It's a really great area to be. There's actually more people in trucking that are on TikTok than you would probably be aware of. But the thing I love about Short Form in general is that the fact that it's Short Form it's really hard to get your messaging right in a, let's just say, 15 to 30 second clip. It's hard For anybody that's tried it. It's really tough because you can just go on for minutes and minutes. So honestly, I do it as almost like practice for myself to try to figure out how can I try to capture somebody's attention or provide a really good message in the shortest period of time, just because all of our attention spans are going down year by year.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:29

Yeah, it's definitely. I hated it when Twitter slash ex removed the. They bumped it up from 140 characters like 240, which was okay, but now you can write like 1000, yes, like 1000 word blog articles on Twitter. I'm like this is not what this was for. I liked the conciseness and the impact that you could have with saying something with less words. But I'm right there with you, it's very challenging, which is why I use interviews like this to be able to cut it down into digestible clips. That's much more easier to go back in the editing process or to just use AI like Opus and be able to plug a video like this right into Opus and have the software pick a good clip for you and do a lot of like 80% of the legwork. So great tips on that. But I guess I kind of know the answer to this next question what's your favorite social media platform and why it is going to be?

Josh Lyles: 39:23

it is going to be. I know it's so weird. It's going to be a TikTok, and the main reason it's going to be TikTok is because I can just learn things the fastest there. It's really as simple as that. If for you to be able to build a video that's actually effective, you have to be able to teach something super fast, super simple, and that's the reason why I love it. It's going to be a Tik Tok or YouTube, because if I need to get really deep, then I'm obviously going to YouTube, but if I need something super quick, I'm not even going to TikTok, but I use it all the time to learn things as fast as I can.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:51

Yeah, for sure, it's definitely on that platform. I either laugh or I learn. With every other platform it feels like there's I mean, tiktok has a lot of drama too, but it feels like every other platform just has too much drama of like the people I don't want to or the people that I regularly see with TikTok. I don't know any of these people that show up on my feed, which is great.

Josh Lyles: 40:09


Blythe Brumleve: 40:10

So it's just a totally different experience. Okay, next question what's your favorite SaaS tool that you use every day and can't live without, but it's not your own.

Josh Lyles: 40:19

Google workspace super basic fundamental answer that I can't.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:23

I can't, I can't live without it.

Josh Lyles: 40:25

It's super boring, I know. If I was to say a backup or like, let's just say, alright, that's gonna be one a, but if I had to say 1v1c, canva is super important when it comes to marketing. It can make anybody a marketer. That's, that's what's so awesome about it. It's such a simple tool and just getting the practice with it helps. And then this one's probably unique, but clean shot X. So clean shot X is like helps with screenshots and with recording, like screen grabs and all that kind of stuff. So a lot of times, if you see, you know any specific screen grabs of like our software or even just like little things that I do Most of the time. That's actually what I use. It is the easiest thing. I use it. It's firm, I think it's. I don't know if it's just for Mac, but you know, I know there's like snipping tool, but it's. I use it like loom or something.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:09

Is it exactly I?

Josh Lyles: 41:10

can I, instead of using loom, I could just use that and record a specific spot, spot of the screen and it can take all the audio video, everything from it. Or I can like be in my CRM and, you know, have myself just like loom, have myself as a little circle in it.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:22

So oh, that's cool. Yeah, it probably makes for great like product demos, quick product demos. Okay, next question is a favorite freight business that is in your own?

Josh Lyles: 41:33

Oh, Any freight brokers that use the Sales dash is easily my favorite. I love talking to them and sometimes I get a lot of questions, but honestly I love it. But that Is my answer.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:46

That's a little. That's kind of cheating.

Josh Lyles: 41:48

I'll come back to that one. I'll come back to that one.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:50

Okay, next one. What's one task in your current job that you can't stand doing?

Josh Lyles: 41:55

editing content.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:57


Josh Lyles: 41:57

I need. I need a. I heard you saying AI tool. I'm taking a note. I need. I need a. Yeah, opus.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:02

I'm gonna look at opus clips is a God said, because they just released a button not to. They don't pay me for any of this, but they just released a major update in the month of August where it like auto frames and you can select, you know, highlight key words. So if you're only looking for like, maybe like AI, in one conversation, it will just isolate that part of the conversation that you talked about AI it's. I mean, I cannot speak enough high. You know better things about that platform. Okay, next one if you didn't have to worry about money, what would you want to do for the rest of your life?

Josh Lyles: 42:31

I would want to be a GM for an NBA team. I would love it. I would love it. I love basketball, I love sports, but basketball and NBA has always been my favorite. Leadership is one of the biggest things I've always just kind of studied and you know, assembling a team and all that kind of stuff. I just think it would be a lot of fun. That's yeah, so that that's probably I would. I would enjoy that. I know it'd be stressful, for sure. I know this. I know the stress does that come into it. But that's, that's what I would sign up for, for sure. But what's the organization that you're?

Blythe Brumleve: 42:58

gonna pick? I guess I'll pick the Atlanta Hawks, just because.

Josh Lyles: 43:01

I'm from Atlanta. You know they probably did. They still have a lot of work to do. They have a lot of work to do.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:06

And, honestly, I would want to take a project. I would, I would, I would not want to go to one of the established.

Josh Lyles: 43:09

Like I wouldn't want to put you know, be at the Lakers or for the Celtics, or you know one of the historic teams like the Bulls, I, I want to take a full-blown project. Yeah, yeah, I'm not small market teams deserve love too.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:23

Yeah, you know like I know a lot of people be like.

Josh Lyles: 43:26

Oh, I just kicked my feet up at the beach and like that would be fun if I didn't have. But like that I have to be doing something. Like I enjoy work. And even that other question you asked about like what tasks I Honestly enjoy them, like even editing content. I don't necessarily like love it, but I'm still gonna do it Because I know how much, how important it is. Like I I'm Thankfully like out of spot where I really enjoy what I do. And you know, like work is, you can make work fun.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:49

Yeah, it's, it's definitely like the 80 20 rule if you enjoy 80% of your job, then you can do it. You enjoy 80% of your job, then the other 20% is worth dealing with In order to enjoy that. The rest of that 80%, okay, next one what is something you believe in that most people don't?

Josh Lyles: 44:07

Sales can be fun. I Believe that I literally think it's as simple as this and this is like. This is my easy flip of it, because Growing up I was a big introvert, didn't talk that much, I was just like a big listener, observer, all that stuff. But to me it's like flipping your mindset that you're not selling that and you're just helping. You're helping others.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:26

Yeah, 100%. I struggle with Because we're both part of an eight shoots founder group and within logistics, and so that's one thing that I have confessed is that I am terrible without bound sales, but it is something that I want to get better at, so actively trying to improve that process. Inbound sales is great. Outbound sales is what terrifies me.

Josh Lyles: 44:47

But even in that, like I think about it, for what you do, you have a huge reach. You know you have one of the most established podcasts in the logistics space, right like thank you. Just in that in itself, anybody that has a product or has you know needs to get in touch with the logistics community and the logistics network. It makes so much sense for them to look at a sponsorship for the podcast. You know so. It does it makes a ton of sense. So that's reason why I'm saying it's like you would be helping somebody out, because the ROI Should be there for them, that this is where their audience is and they're listening, and for those that are really interested in it, they're listening to this. Somebody that's in the. You know, a random industry like this is logistics focus. It's in the name.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:27

Well, I'm gonna cut that clip and that's gonna be up on a sale. Thank you for that. All right and last one what is your favorite supply chain or logistics fact?

Josh Lyles: 45:38

I Think it's really interesting. But if you consider the amount of miles that an average like just truck driver, heavy truck driver, drives every single day, I think the average is around like 500 miles. And if you take basically all the truck drivers globally, they basically do they basically drive about a fifth of a light year. Or if you were to actually do the amount of trips to the sun, it's about 6,000 times To the Sun and back is that every day, or is that? Every like over their lifetime, yearly oh.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:09

Wow, yeah, that's crazy nice fact. Yeah, all right.

Josh Lyles: 46:13

I was like, wow, that's, and you don't realize. Like I mean obviously, like everything has to be moved. Typically, you know, most stuff is moved via over the road truckload and all that kind of stuff, but and I know there's a lot of ocean air freight and all that but when you consider, like how many miles are driven just to Get stuff from point A to point B, like yeah, you don't think about it globally because, like for us, for us, you know, canada, mexico, but just that's, it's a lot. I thought it was impressive.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:39

Yeah, for sure. There's a former podcast guest. He's actually gonna be another recurring guest in the future Brian Glick. He said that it is absolutely, with all the crap we talk about with you know, logistics and supply chain crisis and things like that it is remarkable that we can get something shipped from one part of the globe to the other part of the globe a lot of times within a week.

Josh Lyles: 47:01

I would rather less than that.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:02

That's incredible.

Josh Lyles: 47:04

It's fun space that we live in.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:07

Yeah, it definitely is. It's filled with problems. It's filled with people who are willing to get creative and solve those problems. So, josh, we appreciate your time and insight on this topic. Where can folks follow more of your work? Get signed up for a demo over at Salesd ash all that good stuff.

Josh Lyles: 47:24

Yeah, so easy way to get connected with me is on LinkedIn. You can find me at Josh Lyles, l-y-l-e-s. And then our website for our CRM for Salesd ash crm. com. Dash is spelled out D-A-S-H, but you can always schedule a demo. If you schedule a demo, I'll be the one to host it and talk with you. It's a pretty short demo for the most part because it is a fairly simple system, but that's always going to be the easiest way. And then you can always start a 14-day free trial. If you're somebody that just likes to get your hands dirty, and just take it for a test run.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:55

Heck. Yes, so we will make sure to include all of those links in the show notes just to make it easy for folks. But, Josh, this was an awesome discussion. We'll have to have you back on in the future in order to talk about how the Shark Tank episode went. But again, thank you for sharing your insight and hopefully some marketers and sales reps out there got a little bit better today after listening.

Josh Lyles: 48:14

Hopefully. Thanks for having me on Blimey, I really enjoyed it.

Blythe Brumleve: 48:21

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go. Jags MUSIC.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.