How many people does sales need?

Reading time: approx. 3 minutes
Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: Pamyra GmbH

Services where little advice and support is needed in sales can easily be handled online. Lasse Landt, Managing Director of Pamyra GmbH, believes that in the future most transports will also be booked directly online by customers with a few clicks.

Privately, hardly anyone books a hotel room by phone anymore. What is the situation with transports? How digital is freight forwarding?
Logistics in the parcel sector (“CEP sector”) has set extremely high standards for the transport industry in recent years. Nevertheless, up to now there has hardly been an opportunity to book transport services directly online for larger consignments of one Euro pallet or more. This is only now being added as a new sales channel, and we see that many forwarding companies are looking for ways to use it. In addition to the large forwarding companies, which often develop their own portals with a large expenditure of resources, there are also newly founded pure online forwarding companies that are starting out with their own digital approaches. In the end, however, the core business is still about handling the transport. We have developed a solution that enables logistics service providers to become online forwarders themselves and to book digitally, and also to network more closely with each other. We are concentrating on digital processes for logistics, while our freight forwarding customers can continue to focus on their core business, transport handling. Together, we are able to address a clientele with a strong online and digital affinity, but we also see that, after initial hesitation, the topic is increasingly becoming the focus of the wider shipping community.
Which services can be sold digitally and which not?
The online channel works very well for services that do not require a lot of consultation and are not very individual – for example, daily price inquiries for simple transports. Of course, there are parameters that have traditionally been queried over the phone, but professionally implemented, this can be digitized for the most part, and the process can also be streamlined very easily via this digitization. Special cases are more difficult and will remain so: Every dispatcher and every forwarder can certainly immediately remember his three most challenging transports – you could hardly digitize them.
Felix Wiegand (center), who serves as CEO, and Steven Qual (right), Head of Internal Operations, founded Pamyra. CFO Lasse Landt (left) completes the management team.
What does a freight forwarder need to be successful on the digital channel?
Of course, you have to ask for all the essential information and also actively communicate the details that you can’t safely assume the customer knows. For example, people regularly call us and ask for the price of a transport. In doing so, they have found the phone number on our website, which, as a comparison and booking platform for transports, can show them the price with a few clicks. You can’t completely prevent such calls, but you can try to steer people in the right direction and have to build a booking route in such a way that users more or less automatically and intuitively walk in the right direction. If a freight forwarder is active on our marketplace pamyra.de, new customers generate themselves almost automatically. If a freight forwarder uses our solution on its own website, it must also ensure that its digital channel is known and used. The marketing for this is then up to the freight forwarder, but we are also happy to support our partners in this area.
How many more people does digital sales need?
I find the question of where human labor is really well used, i.e. which areas cannot be digitized, exciting. Answering price inquiries by e-mail or asking for specifications – digital systems can do that very well with a little preparatory work. On the other hand, wherever an empathetic component is needed, human contact is required. With larger customers in the service sector or in the direct negotiation of contracts, experience and personal communication play a very important role. In my opinion, the trick will be to reduce the workload of employees when they are performing simple, repetitive tasks – also because this is often more error-prone than when a computer does it – and instead to make greater use of human performance where it creates real added value for customers.

»If an activity is not at the core of one’s own business field, it is also perfectly legitimate to hand it over to others.«

Lasse Landt, Managing Director Pamyra GmbH

From what size of company is it worthwhile to set up such a digital system yourself?
For very large mid-sized companies and corporations, this can be worth considering – where the individual adaptation of a system to one’s own needs brings such a great advantage that one is willing to invest seven-figure project sums. What many underestimate is that a custom-programmed solution is usually outdated after just three years. So a software-as-a-service model that keeps you up to date with the latest technology at all times can be a good alternative. I think it’s also generally good advice as an entrepreneur, and especially in logistics, to focus on your core business and your own strengths. If something is not in this core of one’s own business field, it is also perfectly legitimate to hand it over.
What development do you see for the next few years?
The top priority in the industry is certainly to further increase efficiency, above all by optimising the utilisation of loading capacities. In terms of transparency, a lot will happen in the coming years: Increasing digitalisation will bring with it greater price transparency – even if this will not please everyone. In the same way, transparency regarding the strengths and weaknesses of individual market participants will increase. As a forwarder, I have to compare myself with a growing number of competitors. Up to now, forwarders have often wanted to offer their customers a wide range of services. In the future, clear profiles will certainly become even more important: everyone should become even more aware of their individual strengths as a transport service provider and communicate these clearly to customers. Last but not least, I think that digital networking will enable freight forwarders to automatically hand over transports that they do not want to or cannot handle themselves to other service providers: Orders that they can handle well themselves will then be handled by them to an increasing extent, and those that are less of their strengths will be passed on to others – for a small agency fee and with as little effort as possible. The high intensity of competition that currently still prevails in the industry could develop along this path in the direction of even more cooperation.
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