Sales & Marketing
The article is about the adoption of sales & marketing strategy in Logistic industry of Pakistan. The company A was incepted in 1969. With the passage of time, it has truly been evolved as the leading freight forwarding company of Pakistan. The company had achieved the top IATA revenue producing agency of Pakistan maintaining this position for the next ten consecutive years by which it had captured 37% share of the total air freight market of Pakistan. It is, however, a dilemma that instead of moving ahead, its market share in the air freight market has declined to under 10% by year 2008. Besides couple of other factors, our sales & marketing department is also responsible even if in a small way for this decline.
Current Practices of Sales & Marketing Department
Presently the sales and marketing activities are being conducted on orthodox basis. We need to establish it on more sound footing by learning and utilizing the modern techniques of sales.
Though we have very willing and educated personnel in our sales team, but we are handicapped in enhancing sales figures per sales person. This is because of using old selling techniques. At the moment, we have separate departments for imports and exports sales. Generally the sales personnel dealing in imports do not have a proper knowledge of export products and vice versa. Hence their selling options have become limited. Even though they try to sell the other products as well, but owing to lack of proper knowledge and information, their success ratio is not very encouraging resulting into smaller sales figures per person. The simple logic is that if we are informed about all our products, we can sell those as well. The 2nd point is that we should be thoroughly convinced about our products ourselves first to convince our customers. We need to have properly trained and skillful personnel in our sales team.
Need of doing research before making a customer’s visit:
- Currently we are also making our efforts with the customers on ad hoc basis without doing proper research on customer and his requirements including sector identification.
- At the moment, we don’t have a clear idea about our target customers and objectives of most of our sale calls.
- We are also not monitoring and evaluating our sale calls.
- We are also not discussing all our products with the clients.
- By adopting the current strategy of sales & marketing, we are simply limiting our selling capabilities and possibilities.
- Other than our four standard products, i.e AFI, AFE, OFI and OFE, we can also offer custom house brokerage and ware house facilities to our customers.
- By and large, we don’t discuss these products. We have restricted ourselves to import and export sales, which is not a right approach.
Modus Operandi for future
The foremost step in this regard is to abolish the bifurcation of sales department on the basis of imports or exports. The sales & marketing department will be re-structured as “Customer relationship department”. All the sales personnel will fall under the one umbrella of customer relationship department.
Every person in the new department will be equipped with the proper and thorough knowledge of all the products to be offered to our potential and existing clients. The next step is the identification of various sectors (imports & exports) as a playing field for the department. On more rational basis, following of the sectors can be formulated:
i) Textile & allied (exports)
ii) Rice (exports) – Only of selected and extremely reliable customers
iii) Leather & leather products (exports)
iv) Sports goods (exports)
v) Wool & wool products (exports)
vi) Carpets and rugs (exports)
vii) Surgical instruments (exports)
viii) Fish (exports)
ix) Fruit & vegetable (exports)
x) Marble/Granite (exports)
xi) Gems/Jewellery (exports)
xii) Furniture (exports)
xiii) Telecommunication & sound recording equipments (imports)
xiv) Road motor vehicles (imports)
xv) Water & power equipment (imports)
xvi) Textile machinery (imports)
xvii) Chemical & allied (imports)
xviii) Petroleum products (imports)
xix) Consumer goods (imports)
The sector identification would give us a very good lead in detection of our target customers. We have to make comprehensive lists of customers by taking help from the following sources:
1) EPB website
2) CBR website
3) Yellow pages
4) Custom clearance data
5) Related soft wares available in the market
7) Personal acquaintance
It is also pivotal to thoroughly analyze the current market scenario in each segment and make a list of our potential customers relevant to Company business. The proposed lists will include the names of potential customers as well our existing clients.
Before commencing sales call, the customers must be thoroughly investigated with respect to their:
- Market reputation,
- Financial position,
- Business volume and
- Top / relevant management.
We must also do the required research about the credit position of the customer, to negotiate the right credit terms with him,as per risk management principles of ASSI (Avoid, Shift, Share, Insure).
- It would facilitate us in briefing the management / head office about the credit risk issues associated with the particular customer, so that head office can easily decide about the credit policy for dealing with the customer.
- We need to establish a very good rapport not only with the import/export department, but also with the key personnel in marketing/merchandising and top management.
- Besides that, we also need to equip ourselves with the complete and enhanced knowledge of all of our products.
- With the identification of right customer, synchronized with the comprehensive knowledge about our products, we will be able to market our services on more scientific and definite basis.
- If we make our sales calls on more scientific and analytical basis, the sales are bound to come at a higher rate with faster pace.
In addition to their meetings with the important and corporate customers, sales managers will also exercise their role to supervise and monitor the performance of their subordinates as per pre-agreed standards. He will make occasional visits with the sales personnel in order to evaluate and improve their performance.
Every individual should make at least four sales calls on daily basis. He should generate minimum five good sale leads in a week. He must identify not less than 25 target customers in a year. Above and beyond visiting the existing customers, he should try to visit maximum number of new customers.
By adopting the above strategies, we would be able to boost our sales. With the enhancement of sales, Company will have more penetration in the market and subsequently our brand image will be established.
Everybody in ‘The Organization’ should try to sell
Though conventionally sales is the responsibility of sales & marketing department, but we believe that everybody in our organization can make efforts generate sales leads through personal acquaintance. Later on these leads could be dealt by the concerned department.
Though this paper has been written with relation to a specific logistic company in Pakistan; but by and large the general strategy of sales & marketing applies to all the companies in freight forwarding business.