Hunters, Farmers, and CRMs: Evolving the Logistics Sales Role
Episode Transcript
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In this episode of Everything is Logistics, Blythe speaks with Holly LaBoda from Logistics Luminaries Live! They explore the challenges of implementing CRM systems in logistics companies and strategies for encouraging adoption among seasoned salespeople.

Holly offers advice on creating a balanced sales team with both “hunters” and “farmers,” and discusses the importance of aligning commercial strategy with team structure. She also shares tips on crafting effective cold calls and the underutilized power of phone communication in modern sales.


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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Holly, we're here at TMSA. We've got Bourbon Street off in the background here. It's a little bit um, a little quiet today versus the the previous two days. We're here for TMSA's Elevate Conference Transportation, marketing and Sales Associate. For folks who don't know, tell everybody about you, about your role, how you got into. You're the co-founder and partner over at Luminaries and you provide sales training to logistics companies. Did I get that right?

Holly Laboda: 0:32

Yeah, that's a perfect summary. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we've uh, Luminaries has been up and running for about seven years, but my partner and I both come from logistics, so that's kind of why we weren't intending to specialize in logistics. But we know logistics, we love logistics and there aren't a lot of people who know what we know and also know this dynamic and challenging industry. So we do sales development and strategy development, process improvement all within the sales space for logistics companies.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:03

That's interesting. I definitely want to touch on the process side of things because I'm such a process nerd. But you spent I think I saw on your LinkedIn profile nine years or close to 10 years at CH Robinson.

Holly Laboda: 1:15

Yeah, I think I was like a month or two, shy of 10 years, but yeah, a strong decade there.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:20

Yeah, so what did you have? A sales role at CH Robinson, is that I? I mean, obviously that's where you got your feet wet as far as the industry is concerned, or did you start in logistics prior to that? No, that was my first logistics experience.

Holly Laboda: 1:31

I never intended to work in logistics like many, many people in our industry like in my happenstance, um but I had a bunch of different roles there.

Holly Laboda: 1:39

I was started in like uh in learning and development for actually the global forwarding part of the organization I. I worked at the sourcing produce side for a while. I went into more of like a general HR talent development kind of space. In my last couple of years I was supporting the commercial strategy development and execution. So lots of different roles but in all of them I always had like a sales angle to it. I led the sales curriculum there for a couple of years. So everything that they did from a sales learning standpoint I was a part of. So I love salespeople, I connect to salespeople, I identify as a salesperson. So that was why we really kind of went down that angle and it's just such an important part of organizational success that we really wanted to lean into like the commercial growth area.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:26

So what was the light bulb moment for you to say that you wanted to start your own company?

Holly Laboda: 2:31

You know I don't know if I have one I remember being like a young 20, something like barely in my career, and I knew I wanted to be a consultant because I have, like entrepreneurial parents. You know I wanted to like own my own business and have that kind of challenge in front of me. But I'm the kind of person that likes lots of different challenges. I get bored painfully quickly, you know, kind of a thing. So doing lots of different things and helping lots of different companies meet lots of different challenges was very appealing to me, so I think I picked the name luminaries consulting, like 15 years before we started the company.

Holly Laboda: 3:09

We own the domain name my partner and I for nine years before we opened our doors. So it was a long time coming and we were really excited to get up and running.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:17

It's been really fun ever since. And so when, when you start luminaries, what was sort of the first education? Did you start off with training or did you start off with creating educational materials, what, what was sort of that, that, that first thing that you did?

Holly Laboda: 3:31

Yeah, we I mean we spent a lot of time doing like the, the groundwork of like getting your business up and running probably more than we actually needed to, you know, like the website and the incorporation materials and like all of those kind of things. But we definitely started with like the talent development side. So let's build some sales curriculum, let's build some learning that we can then bring to customers. So we're ready. We did most of our stuff custom for folks like right out of the gate, because everybody's needs are pretty unique. And then we learned really quickly that like there's a lot of consistent needs out there and people want to like get something deployed really quick. They want to come to somebody who has the answers rather than coming up with them themselves. So we kind of flipped our model a couple of times in that process. But yeah, talent development is kind of where we start with people.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:20

Where would you say that? For? I mean, obviously sales has evolved just in general over the last decade, but especially since COVID with these sort of hybrid models of work from home, you know, work in the office. So what does sort of the I guess the modern sales team look like inside of a logistics company? It?

Holly Laboda: 4:41

looks like so many different things and it kind of depends on the company what their commercial strategy is like, how much new customer acquisition versus current customer growth and what that balance looks like, which industries you're selling into or specializing in. It all looks different but there are some trends that have evolved for sure I think there's. Over the last maybe decade plus, people have kind of been more delineating between sales and account management, which is typically recommended, I think. But then you know, over the last five years then the rise of the SDR kind of came and then there's kind of different marketing engagement. That's been happening over the last couple of years. So all of those things tend to evolve. That's been happening over the last couple of years. So all of those things tend to evolve. But logistics is, I find, like in most things, a lot of things in terms of adoption usually not like the forefront of innovation.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:33

For all of these, things.

Holly Laboda: 5:34

So you'll see kind of sales practices evolve in like SaaS, selling, you know, for example, or something like that, and then a couple of years later it gets into logistics.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:48

But there's just been a lot of kind of changes like that over the last couple of years that I've noticed. So when you, when a company decides that they want to work with you, what is sort of the first things that you help them look at, help them achieve? Is it gathering data? Is it meeting with different, you know sort of team members? What does that look like?

Holly Laboda: 6:04

Yeah, it depends on in which way we're working with them, because we do sometimes little projects for people. Sometimes we have like really big partnerships. But usually if we're trying to tackle big stuff, we start with really kind of getting our arms around their current state, so figuring out kind of all of the different things that are a part of their commercial strategy that are working or maybe not working and what that

Holly Laboda: 6:26

strategy. Looks like like where they want to go long-term that might be different than there is today, and then kind of building a plan to bridge the gap.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:33

So I want to get into a little bit because we just got done with the shippers panel and they were really like nailing home some great ideas for sales and marketing teams and one of the things that really stood out to me was the statement of hunters versus gatherers. And that is the second time or actually what you just mentioned is the third time that I've heard this role of you want to have the head hunters and then you want to have the account management side of things. Do you find that most logistics companies, or a lot of logistics companies that you work with, do they have that sort of framework, or is it still very much like pound the phones? Here's a bunch of cold leads and good luck yeah it's all over the board, right?

Holly Laboda: 7:17

I think that it's. Personally, I think it's a healthy practice to have some delineation between your true salespeople, like your hunters, and your farmers, the ones that are cultivating and growing, the existing customers, depending on what your commercial strategy is, what kind of customers you're going after, that might look different.

Holly Laboda: 7:34

If you're trying to sell transactional business if that's where you're winning you might have more of a hybrid role. That's selling small deals and keeping those because they're small and you need to grow them. If you're selling bigger kind of contractual business, if you're looking for partnerships, it is I haven't seen it done successfully yet. I don't think where someone can truly go and like, hunt and build those big relationships and still have time to cultivate and grow. It's just a little bit of an unfair expectation to put on one person. So it depends. There's not one answer to it, but I would say in general, where you run into problems is where your commercial strategy does not match the structure that you have. Those things just need to be synced up?

Blythe Brumleve: 8:15

Yeah, definitely. It sounds like two totally different skill sets, where someone is actively going out there trying to get new business versus, you know, keeping the customers happy or expanding the business, and that's more of, I guess, where the account manager the gatherers and farmers, as you say would really fit in.

Holly Laboda: 8:31

Yeah, it's a lot of different skill sets, but it's also even different kind of expectations that those rules have. I mean, think about doing something like this we're at Elevate for a couple of days. If you're a salesperson, if you're a big outside salesperson, you're probably going to some industry conferences for your customer. You're gone for three days choosing, lining and dining your prospects. If you are managing accounts at that same time, stuff's falling apart during those three days. One of those balls is going to get dropped and you don't want either of them to. So it's just going to help here for everyone if you can get a little bit of a different delineation there.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:06

Yeah, especially with like delegation. I think that's what I struggle with the most when it comes to my own sales is that it's very much inbound, but then if you're not ready to sign on sort of the, it's probably a really good segue into the follow up, because the follow up for the most challenging um, just from a time perspective. So I'm curious as to how you're you're helping some of these companies uh, handle the follow-up process, cause that is probably my biggest struggle. It's like either you're ready to sign or I'm moving on without you, and I know that's not the right mindset to have. Like, they need, you know, a little bit of coaxing, they need a little bit of reassurance that they're making the right decision. So how do you, how do you, I guess, develop a strong follow-up process in your sales?

Holly Laboda: 9:52

Yeah, well, we're entrepreneurs, so it's different, because we're wearing like a hundred hats, like you're a business owner, you're selling deals.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:58

You're managing those customers right.

Holly Laboda: 10:00

So it's a different kind of deal usually. If you have a little bit more role, clarity, like inside of an organization, when you're just a salesperson or you know something like that, then that's like a lot of the process work that will work with people.

Holly Laboda: 10:13

so if you have a really clear sales process, that's first step right. If you have your crm integrated to your sales process, that's another good step. If you're using CRM, like actually leveraging it to remind you to follow up with prospects, maybe even to automate some of those things, that's another great step. So it just kind of depends on where people are. But if you know all the sales processes I think need to be accustomed to the organization fit to your strategy, and then you know you have some of those disciplines or those rigors created in general. But then I also think you need to think about what does that customer need in terms of follow-up? If you're having a conversation and you're like, no, we're not ready right now, but maybe at the end of next quarter let's have another conversation, so that's just not going to be the same follow-up process that you have with somebody else that's like eh, call me next week.

Holly Laboda: 11:02

You know. So you just have to kind of customize those and then have the internal discipline to remember to follow up on that. Even things like Google Tasks are super helpful for reminders there.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:11

I think that that was when I worked in-house in marketing for an asset-based brokerage. It was the biggest hurdle to try to get the sales guys to use a damn CRM. They just are used to just flying by the seat of their pants. I mean, I will say maybe to strawman it a little bit, on their side of things, this was kind of like newer technology. This was like 15 years ago, so it was newer technology. They didn't care, they didn't want to work inside any of this kind of stuff. And so I guess, from that lens from the people who have been in the game for a long time versus the people who are just entering the game, what are some of those? I guess, dynamics of how?

Holly Laboda: 11:51

maybe you?

Blythe Brumleve: 11:52

help the older generation, who doesn't want to adopt tech, versus the newer generation, who's maybe a little bit more gung-ho about adopting that tech.

Holly Laboda: 12:00

Right, right, I mean there are drawbacks to both of those like ends of that spectrum, right? A lot of times we'll work with newer salespeople who will be so tech forward, like they will, you know, do all the follow-ups and all the automation and reminders, but they're so scared to pick up the phone you know so some of those basic things.

Holly Laboda: 12:21

or then you have the people that are kind of more traditional. They want to talk to people on the phone, but then they're not taking advantage of some of those like tech and kind of advanced things. That's why we really believe in kind of like lifelong learning and constant evolution. David Happens was just talking about this inside of Elevate there. But you really just have to always be a consummate learner, because these things are evolving Like think of how AI has evolved just within the last year. I mean, I can't even speak to this. I know you're much more, much more versed there, but you have to stay on top of these things and figure out which different pieces you can kind of incorporate into your own strategy to make you the best person wherever you are in that sector.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:00

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Blythe Brumleve: 13:47

So what are maybe some successes that you're ready to make the jump visit spi3plcom. So what are maybe some successes that you're seeing with all the evolution that's been going on? What are some, I guess, sort of modern suggestions or playbooks that you could recommend for companies to take if they know that they have a problem with their sales and that this time of the year, this time in the market, I should say, when we're kind of in a down market, people are starting really wanting to ramp their sales up again. So what would that, I guess, sort of approach look like for and I would imagine it depends on the scale of the business as well.

Holly Laboda: 14:24

Yeah, it depends on the scale of the business and also, kind of again, their commercial strategy or who they're selling to or what those people are looking for from them. But I think a lot of times where we see initial opportunities to make some quick wins is getting really clear on what your sales strategy is. I mean, that sounds so painfully obvious, right, but if you go ask a random salesperson for them to tell you, like Joe Schmoe, salesperson on the desk, what's your organization sales strategy, who are you trying to sell to, what are you trying to achieve, it's unlikely that you're probably going to get the same answer that that sales leader will give you. So that, like clarity and alignment in the sales strategy, I think is really important. And then the process and all of the execution to kind of follow up with that. You have to make it as easy as possible for your salespeople to do their job. You know. So clarity and strategy and clarity and process execution, what that looks like, what those expectations are, I think are really easy quick wins for both.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:21

What is sort of, I guess, a sample process that sales teams should be implementing, process that sales teams should be implementing. Is it like a hard, like you know what, the definition of you know an MQL versus SQL? Is that part of the process? Or is it, you know, everybody is, you know, just sort of unknown until they fill out a form on the website? What does, I guess, sort of a good sales process look like?

Holly Laboda: 15:46

You know, I think it can be all different levels of like granularity, like if you're getting to MQLs and SQLs. That's a pretty granular sales process. I mean, I think at a high level. You need to figure out, at minimum again, this is going to sound like super obvious, but what is a prospect to us? At what point do they become a customer? When we're prospecting with somebody, like, what's the next step? What does our discovery look like? We're trying to get a face-to-face meeting. Are we trying to get a quote? Are we trying to get in their RFP cycle?

Holly Laboda: 16:13

All of that's going to depend on what your commercial strategy looks like, but just kind of those big buckets like that is a great first start. Make sure that's connected to your CRM and make sure people know how to move prospects through each gate of that, because what that gives you is like shared language and as you talk to people, this is where this person is in the cycle. I can't get this prospect to move into the discovery phase. They won't open up to me. How can I do that so you can talk about it to each other? But it also will give you kind of. You can create playbooks from that. You can give them the skills and the tools based on those things. It's just a really important first step for folks.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:54

With COVID there was a you know sort of a big adoption of e-learning and you know, diving into, you know membership and courses and things like that. Since then it's kind of fallen off just a tad. So I'm wondering, like what is sort of, I guess, from a training perspective? Where are you seeing some of the I guess the biggest, you know sort of light bulb moments for sales team? Is it in-person training? Is it e-learning? Is it, you know, maybe a combination of the two? Like how are the salespeople upping their game in logistics? How are the salespeople upping their game in logistics?

Holly Laboda: 17:28

Well, first I'll say whatever you're doing, do something, do some development and you're moving in the right direction. But definitely when COVID hit, everything went virtual and some people really adopted that and that was new for folks. People learned how to do it really quickly. We went from doing almost exclusively in person to everything virtual. We had to learn how to do it really well, and it absolutely can be just as effective to do it virtually. Some parts are more enjoyable to do in person. But so there's virtual versus in person and there's also live versus like not live right, and what we tend to do is like a blend of those things, um, and what we tend to do is like a blend of those things.

Holly Laboda: 18:13

Um, I think after, after covid, like when it started to wrap up, right, then people are kind of. You know how people uh, revenge traveled after it people like

Holly Laboda: 18:19

revenge, planned in-person development sessions after that too. So then all of a sudden in person was back. But really virtual hasn't gone away. We do a lot of the blended learning is what we call it where maybe there'll be kind of an e-learning course that people can take on their own time. That's a beautiful thing because it lets you learn at your own pace. It doesn't pull your entire sales team off the floor at the same time. You know that kind of a thing. But then we'll get together live, either virtually or in person, to do the practice, the application, the coaching.

Holly Laboda: 18:50

It's really hard to do those things not live, so you can do them really well in like a Zoom environment or something like that. But the real-time practice, the feedback from a manager or from a facilitator, a coach like myself, is so critical. So whether that's going to blend it and then like live virtual or e-learning and then like live in person, whatever that looks like for your team, I think can be really effective. A lot of times teams that are co-located, they want to do everything live in person because that makes sense. Or if you have your team all around many states or the country or the world, you're going to do more stuff virtually, because then you don't have all the travel and entertainment expenses. So it all can work, as long as you're working with somebody who knows how to do it.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:31

Well, are you training people in on-site, like in person, too? Yeah, we do, oh wow.

Holly Laboda: 19:36

Yeah, actually a lot of our work we do that we don't have our own offices and facilities. We're going to our clients all of the time, so sometimes that's kind of like custom work we'll do with them. Sometimes it's a part of their sales kickoffs that they're having, We'll do something. But yeah, a lot of stuff that we do onsite at customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:53

Oh, that's super interesting because I imagine that it opens the door to do more like live training and instant feedback, and it's so much more. You know, that kind of training maybe is a little bit better suited for live versus than you know virtual Right right.

Holly Laboda: 20:07

It's definitely there's a different energy level that comes with getting together and doing some things. There's, you know, the visibility of others' approaches, the ability to practice, the ability to get feedback. That can happen virtual or in person, but the energy in the room is kind of hard to replicate in a virtual environment. And then you have all of like the downtime interactions, right, like even downtime at these conferences, when your team is together, they're having dinner together, they're talking in the hallways, they're like learning and building their network and kind of experiencing different examples of what people are doing, and that's also hard to replicate.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:44

Yeah, because I would think that that environment creates much more. So if you have sort of the e-learning, it says the table stakes for the conversation or for the training, and then you have the in-person training where you can start making those more you know connections and more you know light bulb moments and getting that instant feedback instead of trying, you know, trying it out on the phone and failing miserably, at least you can get some of that instant feedback and be able to apply it immediately.

Holly Laboda: 21:09

Right, that's what we always say to people Like. Sometimes these things are really uncomfortable. You know, doing like a role play in front of your teammates is sometimes a lot scarier than actually doing it in front of a customer right. Like we get it.

Holly Laboda: 21:20

That's always the pressure that people say but let's try something new in this environment rather than burning a bridge in front of a customer like let's let's try it here in what is although it might not always feel like it is a safe environment, and then we'll figure out how to apply that to your customer when you get out in the real world.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:38

one of the other phrases that I heard a lot is you know, I you just hear a lot in general with with marketing and sales, but today, specifically with with the kickoff of the concert or conference concert too. Yeah, we have a little bit of music going on here in New Orleans. We are in New Orleans, yeah. So what about KPIs Like what does, I guess, sort of a baseline level KPIs look like for a modern logistics sales team?

Holly Laboda: 22:02

You know that is so all over the board. We work with some like we're working with a client right now on their kind of customer facing KPIs, for example. We would bring those into business review conversations or something like that. So what are you measuring? What does your customer want you to measure about their business to show that you're doing a good job? But if you're talking about, like, internal sales KPIs like how do we know if our sales team is being successful, is that?

Holly Laboda: 22:26

where you're going yeah, that can be all over the board too. I was just talking with somebody this morning that's kind of figuring out some of that stuff, and my coaching in that moment was like, if you're thinking about kind of what to measure, or like what to tie goals and compensation to start with the outcomes, what kind of outcomes are you looking for? What kind of results do you want from your sales team? That's what you should ultimately measure. That's the things that you're managing at the end of the day, managing to.

Holly Laboda: 22:52

And then, if you're having a problem in one of those outcomes, then you start stepping back to what are the opportunities that are in their pipeline? Are you set up to get the results that you want, or do we need to start fixing your pipeline? And then, what are the activities that are leading to those opportunities? Are you not doing enough outbound calling? Are you not having enough of XYZ kind of conversation? Are your emails awful? Like what are those activities look like that are leading to the opportunities? And you can kind of step back down that train.

Holly Laboda: 23:21

But what I often see with sales managers who are trying to get more like I need to start managing our sales team more and start coaching them more, is they start to get really gung-ho on managing the activities, which I mean, if I'm coaching you and your goal is selling a million dollars a month and you're selling a million dollars a month, do I really care how many calls it takes you to get to that million bucks? Like I should be saying, like have better calls, like I don't care how many you do, as long as you get to this result. So I think I think people tend to get burned out, especially when you think about coaching or like CRMs, if you harp too much on the activities, focus on the results and then, if you have a problem there, then start stepping back.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:05

So for I mean, obviously executives care about you know closed business and customers and expanding that business with them. Are there any other sort of sales activities that are important to them that they see their team making an effort on?

Holly Laboda: 24:21

It probably depends. I think it also depends on the level of the executive and kind of what they're focused on. But at the end of the day, everybody wants the results. So if it's the revenue or the margin or the current customer growth or whatever kind of result you're looking for within that sales or account management team but sometimes it's going to be different ones, kind of depending on what matters to them. I don't have a really great answer for like this, one is the number one, yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:44

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Blythe Brumleve: 25:30

What about from the lens of you know, because we you know from that shipper panel too. They also mentioned that visiting in person goes so much further than blasting out emails and, you know, trying to get somebody on the phone via cold calling. Is there room for you know, like Zoom info and visiting people in person? Unexpected, yeah.

Holly Laboda: 25:54

Yeah, well, okay, so let's the visiting in person, I think can be really helpful with prospects and current customers. Definitely with current customers. Try to figure out how to get face-to-face. It's night and day the type of interaction and relationship building that you'll have With prospects. It's trickier.

Holly Laboda: 26:12

I know that a lot of people will say, like you know, just stop by and drop off some donuts or whatever you're doing, like knock on the door. It's not always like super welcome these days. It's not always even like allowed in the facility, depending on what it is Like. You can't just walk up to the doctor if you're a stranger, right? So I would like proceed with caution when you do that. I know there are people that do it and swear by it and honestly like what I say.

Holly Laboda: 26:39

With anything that sales and account management, if it's working for you, don't stop, yeah, but think about how your customer would react to that situation, how you want to be perceived by that customer. Do you want to be this annoying person who's dropping off donuts, whether or not they like donuts, or do you want to be this person who has value to add in a conversation? You're opening the door in a right way to get in and then be invited to come into that. But I think all there's. There's room for a lot of variety in an entrance strategy. It can include in-person things. It's great if it does. I just wouldn't hang your hat on the random driveway.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:16

Yeah, that's a I was thinking of, like when we're kids, that they always tell you don't take candy from strangers. And then here we are as adults, like stopping stopping by as strangers with a bunch of donuts Right, but if you're the Krispy Kreme box, it's fine, right? Especially if they're the new, like Dolly Donuts, that Krispy Kreme just announced. So the Dolly Parton oh, I didn't know about these. Dolly Parton can have your creeper van outside and.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:49

I'll say yes, where are we?

Blythe Brumleve: 27:50

going All right. So you know. Last last few questions here Um what are some underutilized sales tactics or strategies that you're shocked that more logistics companies are not adopting?

Holly Laboda: 28:13

Underutilized, I would still say, like phone calls or people, like people are not doing them enough. Even though it's not new, it's not revolutionary. There you go, thank you, it's not revolutionary, but it is underutilized, and it's underutilized doing it well. So a really good like phone outreach methodology built into your, into your engine strategy is like it's so important. I think that, um, leveraging social as a part of your engine strategy is really important. Like you're talking about kind of that, that spectrum, and you don't want to hang your hat there either. Like you can't be your only angel strategy but a smart strategy that has, you know, a phone call and a voicemail and an email that's followed up with, and then a LinkedIn connection or researching something on LinkedIn and using it to craft a great phone call or email message. Like those are definitely underutilized.

Holly Laboda: 29:01

And I think the last one is this like this in-person component, right where it's conference connections or something like that, you're doing some research beforehand, you're setting up meetings, you're making these connections, you have great follow-up for your afterwards. There's a lot of opportunity for doing that more effectively too. And then this is more on the marketing side. But I have been hearing lately from my marketing friends that real direct snail mail. Yes, that's where it's at these days.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:30

I have heard the same exact thing, especially when I follow a lot of subreddits around marketing and sales, and snail mail has made a huge comeback Handwritten letters sending a box of cookies to. Instead of showing up at the office with a box of donuts, you're sending a box of cookies to their home address, and that those little things like you don't really get direct mail anymore, unless it's like you know coupons or something like you know. When others are zicking, why don't you zag and make that connection with your customer?

Holly Laboda: 30:01

Yeah, and also getting noticed and getting a conversation started. You, like we were talking about earlier, I'm an entrepreneur and a salesperson too. Whenever I send like a handwritten thank you note to my clients or to other people that I work with, or, if you know, like at christmas time or something special, I send like something to their home that they can share with their families, I always get phone calls about those things and and that's the intent like to start a conversation and make your customers feel appreciated and then, you know, keep you in mind, like in their, their, the back of their mind, when something comes up and they need something.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:35

I am curious, as you were talking earlier about the, you know, making the phone calls, doing a little bit of research before you make the phone call. What does a sample phone call look like? How do you, I guess, sort of break that barrier with that person who's not expecting a phone call from you? They're probably in the middle of something, but they pick up the phone, Like what are the first few sentences that you're saying as a sales rep?

Holly Laboda: 30:55


Holly Laboda: 30:56

So we don't use like scripts for those kinds of things, but it's really important to be very planned in those first couple of seconds, because it is a disruption and you are like you're disrupting somebody's day. You need to get their attention, you need to like hook their curiosity in that quick conversation. So we recommend a couple of things, like as a part of that first conversation, we would always recommend, like, doing your research in advance so you can have something that's showing your relevance. So I just noticed that this happened or you might be experiencing something like this. You also have to have a really strong value proposition and then you have to know, kind of what your intent is with those things.

Holly Laboda: 31:34

What are you trying to get? Are you trying to get a conversation? Are you trying to get a quote Like what is your goal with this? And you put all those things together and say, hey, this is life calling from, everything is logistics. Hey, I noticed that this is happening. We happen to be able to help people with this kind of a thing. I'd love to grab some time with you to talk about that. If it's of interest, is it worth some time? So it can really come together in something that's really concise if you have those couple of building blocks, laid out.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:58

So if I am a business and I recognize I have a sales problem, what do I need to do to get my company ready to do work with somebody like you?

Holly Laboda: 32:11

Well, it depends on how much clarity you have and what that problem might be Like. Some of that might just be hey, I'm not getting the results that I want. I know it's a problem. You might not know what is all leading to that lack of results, and we can help you figure that out. But kind of figuring out what that problem is and then kind of figuring out whose buy-in you might need to kind of create, like make that problem big enough for someone to care about, or like get the clarity to kind of solve it, um, but you don't necessarily have to have all those things solved before we start talking. Sometimes we can help you get there too, all right, right.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:43

Lastly, as far as like any takeaway tips that you want the audience to have, maybe they're struggling with their sales processes. Everybody wants more business, but what advice would you give to companies out there in order to you know that tomorrow they could implement and it would help, you know, increase the potential of getting new business?

Holly Laboda: 33:05

Yeah, I would say some really foundational things are really important, like we've been talking about with like strategy and process, but even more like granular and foundational than that. Get super, super clear on who your ideal customer is and if you don't know for sure your sales team doesn't know and make sure that it is so painfully clear like you can picture them and what matters to them. And then, once you have that, get really clear on your value prop, and your value prop can't be crap about your company. It has to be something that matters to that ideal customer and it matters enough to get them to move away from the status quo. It has to be a big enough deal.

Holly Laboda: 33:41

It has to be one of the mentors that I had at one point called it like you have to be don't be a vitamin, be a painkiller. Like make sure that if something that's not just oh yeah, I probably should take that vitamin today, but if I don't, like I'm not going to really be bothered tomorrow A painkiller. Like you found something that hurts so much Like I can't ignore it. Like I can't do anything until I've taken this pill. So Like I can't do anything until I've taken this pill. So figure out how to make yourself a painkiller with that value.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:05

Oh, that's a great quote. Great quote, all right, for real. Last question this time when can folks you know follow you, follow more of your work? I know you're giving a talk here at TMSA. Can you kind of give us a roundabout, you know takeaway from your talk? And then also, you know, where can folks follow you and follow more of your work?

Holly Laboda: 34:22

Yeah, well, we're really. We have a website, we have all that stuff. But we're pretty active on LinkedIn. We like to share a lot of things out there, so you can always find me there. And then when we're at Elevate, we're coming to conferences like this we're at Elevate, we're at TA, we're at Food Shippers, we're at all these kind of things and we like to talk about, we like to give they can implement today, to be better leaders, better account managers better salespeople, especially.

Holly Laboda: 34:44

My business partner, sarah Black, is talking tomorrow about the power of influence and how building that key skill really helps you be a better salesperson, helps you be a better leader. So join for that, and then I'm leading a panel tomorrow on people, profit and purpose. You don't have to choose. You can pull this all together and align your whole team in a direction to get all of those things done, well, perfect.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:08

Hopefully, a lot of these talks I should probably clarify this before I speak on it, but hopefully a lot of these talks or takeaways, are going to be loaded up into the member portal over on on TMSA at least some of the takeaways, and if not, then there's future webinars, which you're you're obviously a part of um, and live events that that the TMSA offers. So I would encourage folks to to check out I'm going to be putting all the links in the bio or at least in the show notes uh, you know, anywhere they can get in contact with you and then also for for TMSA, for that additional training. So, holly, thank you so much. Yeah, thank you. It's a pleasure to be here with you.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:36

Yes, yeah, I know we had some music, so hopefully you know y'all, y'all all enjoy the music, but that's the kind of entertainment I think you get from a place like New Orleans. Right right, you get control, right Well, holly, thank you again, thanks.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:55

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. 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.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:20

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 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.

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.