Promoting supply chain and logistics solutions via teleprospecting can produce very favorable results, as shown in TeleNet success story APL Logistics Enjoys Winning Solutions and Results from TeleProspecting Program. Successfully approaching this market requires an understanding of the way in which supply chain solutions are evaluated and purchased – which tends to be a complex and lengthy process. Based on our experience, here are a few things to consider when utilizing teleprospecting to target the supply chain,
Identify All Key Decision-Makers
Every company that ships a product has a supply chain need of some kind. Most large companies have a number of key players involved with decision-making from C-level execs to VP/Director Level Management of individual departments (i.e. product lines, regional areas, industry focuses, etc). It is important to understand who the key players are and understand their responsibilities.
VPs and C-levels contacts can provide an understanding of each division supply chain needs and no doubt are concerned with real cost savings and ROI. However, a Director level manager is often the best place to begin your effort. These decision influencers can provide a strong understanding of the day-to-day challenges that exist with existing logistics providers. Obtaining this information first, can make subsequent conversations with executives more powerful.
Understand an Organization Logistics Requirements
Companies use a number of vendors to store, ship, track and manage their products. Since integration requirements can be a key component in the decision making process, it is critical to understand the current vendors in place and what the existing contract terms require. This does not exclude technology, as it plays a very important role in the supply chain. Be prepared with competitive messaging. Positioning against a specific service or technology provider can be effective, particularly when there are known challenges that may exist.
In addition to understanding who is currently servicing your potential customers, it is also very critical to gain knowledge of their specific product requirements. Does the customer product have temperature controlled needs? Are there special assembly and kitting requirements? Is there any exposure to hazardous materials? These types of requirements are critical to understand during the selling process.
Primary vendors are not changed too often; therefore, determining when evaluations will occur is highly beneficial for more immediate needs but also ongoing nurturing.
Probe for Current Challenges
It is critical to determine key challenges that a prospect faces. Service level agreements play a very large role within the supply chain. Whether it is delivery of a shipment to a location/customer or assembling a product for future display in store, most every company shares some level of time sensitivity within the supply chain despite having very different product offerings.
Educate, Inform & Nurture
A supply chain vendor evaluation is not a frequent occurrence within an organization due to lengthy contract terms. This is important to realize and see the bigger picture. Despite infrequent evaluations, it is critical to understand when the next one will take place. Logistics contracts can be very complex and substantial and you do not want to miss out when RFPs are submitted out to vendors. In most cases, the evaluations are very formal and are based on contractual expiration dates. Teleprospecting allows you to identify contractual terms, evaluation timelines and key dates for submitting data. Often an organization will have a list of vendors on file that they submit RFPs out to for bids. Therefore, it important to utilize teleprospecting to not only improve your knowledge of the prospect company, but to also inform the prospect of your solution offerings and differentiators.
Ongoing nurturing is especially important since the sales cycle is very lengthy and tends to be focused on relationships. The key is to offer relevant information based on what you’ve learned about each prospect organization and supply chain (as opposed to a generic one-page brochure or