Historically the trucking industry has relied on outbound marketing to attract new business. But today, pushing your services on unqualified prospects might as well be called “disturb me” marketing. Kind of like how you feel when the duct-cleaning service calls you during dinner. Bugging people is bad for your brand.
It’s also a waste of resources. Do you really want your high-priced sales talent chasing dead ends when they could be building relationships with customers?
On the other hand, inbound marketing is designed to draw prospects to you. It’s a fundamental shift in the way people shop and connect, and progressive truckers are finding that inbound digital marketing systems can deliver real prospects for a fraction of the cost of an outside sales force.
If you are toying with transforming your sales and marketing strategy, here are some principles to consider:
Google AdWords: Pay Per Click
Once you figure out what your fleet is really good at — your brand — it’s time to start bragging about it.
Google AdWords is the easiest and most cost-effective way to tell the world what’s special about your fleet and to reach prospects looking for your expertise.
In a nutshell, every time people search for keywords related to your secret sauce, Google will put your digital ad on the results page. When prospects click on it, they are directed to a landing page on your website where the fun begins.
The best news: you only pay for the clicks.
CRM: The Sales Manager
Ask your top sales reps to account for how they spend their 40-hour week. My guess is they spend most of their time chasing business — cold calling and “surfing the net”.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are a critical component of any digital sales transformation. They automatically manage interactions with prospects and customers. This isn’t meant to replace outside sales reps, but to complement their efforts so they can establish the customer facetime that builds loyalty and drives margin.
Unfortunately, a lot of sales managers treat their CRM like fitness club memberships. They buy them but never use them.
Website: The Core
Websites are no longer static online brochures. In fact, in my mind, the sole purpose of any website is to convert touches to qualified prospects.
People visit a website or click for a reason. They want something or they wouldn’t be there in the first place.
But herein lies the problem. Too many companies lose out on opportunities because they have no way to track who visits their site. Building a site that offers your expertise to visitors in exchange for information about what they’re interested in, and how to reach them, is the core of every successful inbound marketing campaign.
Check your website and ask if you would do business with your fleet.
Calls to Action: Mandatory
A digital “call to action” is perhaps the most important component of any inbound marketing campaign. It’s the prompt on your website that asks visitors to do something specific, like “Sign Up”, “Subscribe”, or “Learn More”.
Prospects who come to your website expect it, and in most cases will take that next step if asked. Even if you don’t get their business the first time, you now have a qualified lead who liked something about your brand. Time to start selling!
Ironically, one of the benefits of inbound marketing is that the system generates fewer requests for random rate quotes. But when a shipper does ask for a quote, the close rate and conversion to a regular customer is faster than “disturb me” marketing. Apparently, it has something to do with the prospects coming to them.
- Mike McCarron is president of Left Lane Associates, a firm that creates total enterprise value for transportation companies and their owners. He can be reached at email@example.com, 416-551-6651, or @AceMcC on Twitter.
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