“Culture” is something on the mind of every growing brokerage. Particular today, when logistics recruiting is on fire and quality hires are hard to come by, brokers are all looking for ways to improve employee retention and satisfaction. An easy way to do so is by decreasing the tension between customer and carrier facing sales reps, and can often be helped by increased visibility into carrier options.
Customer Sales vs. Carrier Sales
There is routinely a tension between customer and carrier facing sales representatives (“customer reps” and “carrier reps”). The source of this tension can be debated, but there’s no denying that it exists. While visibility into available carrier options is not the absolute solution to these tensions, it can certainly help.
Often, a contributing factor to this tension is the perception by customer reps that the carrier sales team isn’t working on their loads. A customer sales rep has an uncovered load on the board and, for whatever reason, it’s just not getting covered. As time creeps closer to the pickup date and the load remains uncovered, arguments ensue. Customer sales argues that carrier sales isn’t working on the load; carrier sales argues that the load is uncoverable for any number of reasons (pick time, rate, available capacity, commodity, etc.). In many cases, neither side has much evidence to back up their opinions.
Are these productive arguments? Certainly not. Are they commonplace? Unfortunately, yes.
Carrier Options for Productive Conversations
Having carrier options (or, more specifically, visibility into carrier options) won’t fix this problem, but it does help support a more productive conversation.
Imagine the same scenario from the previous paragraph – a load is dying on the open board and a customer rep thinks it’s because nobody is working on the load. This time, however, the carrier rep is required to log all viable options and the customer rep has visibility into those options. They can see that carrier sales HAS generated multiple options, but none have been able to meet certain load requirements (price, pick time, special services, etc.). The presence of and visibility into these options create a much different conversation.
Now, it is not a conversation about whether carrier sales has been working on the load. If there are recorded options, carrier sales has clearly been working on the load to some extent. Whether or not they’re “good” options is a separate question, but you have at least eliminated the argument that carrier sales has not been working on the load at all.
From this point, management can start having a real conversation about why the load is not covered. If all of the available options are significantly higher than the quoted price, maybe the load was underquoted. If carrier sales did not record any options, maybe they actually have not been working on the load. Regardless, the conversation is much easier when there is actual data to consider. With data, comes the ability to intelligently assess these friction points and have more effective discussions and coaching.
The Impact of Culture
With the public’s increased interest in the transportation industry, an individual broker’s culture will be more and more important to attract and retain talent. If there are areas that detract from a broker’s culture, as is often the case with the relationship between customer and carrier reps, brokers should proactively take steps to improve. One easy way is having technology that gives visibility into data that can enable management to have more data-driven and informed conversations.
Check out our latest guide, “The Value of Options in a Tight Market,” where we explore other ways where optionality impacts a broker’s business.