Which came first: a winning culture or winning deals?
Eric Schnirel and his team at Great Lakes Transport, a third-party logistics company (3PL) based out of Buffalo, NY, are building a world-class sales culture focused on the success of their people. Their people-first culture is evident in the efforts and initiatives the company is known for, including:
- fundraising for charitable causes
- emphasizing relationship-building
- working with employees on career goal setting
- giving managers the freedom and flexibility to create their own sales strategies.
In fact, those things always come first before any mention of YoY growth and returns.
"It’s not all about the bottom line here at Great Lakes. Culture comes first, and the rest will fall into place.”
Culture is a word thrown around a lot in sales — and many people seem to think that if you could just start winning deals, your team will create the foundation for a winning sales culture. But Eric and his management team at Great Lakes are an example of what more studies are showing: that if you build the culture first, the wins will come.
Q&A with Eric Schnirel, President of Great Lakes Transport
Q: Why did your team start using Ambition?
Culture! Ambition and Great Lakes seem to share a similar culture. We know our employees' happiness is directly correlated to our companies success. Giving us a reason to celebrate even the small wins is huge. We have built a culture that hard work pays off not only in higher commission checks but with rewards, recognition and prizes that the employees can pick! I originally bought Ambition to keep live Metrics on Gross Profit and Loads Moved. I then realized there is so much more to capture and so much for the employees to use as a tool for their own success.
Q: Which sales strategies does your team leverage?
A: We have a bunch of individual sales strategies here at Great Lakes. We like to say that each employee has the freedom to create their own sales strategy/personal touch. In logistics, it's hard to come by an honest broker that truly cares for the person on the other line. We do customer rewards, charities, and truly try to make a difference. It’s not all about the bottom line here at Great Lakes. Culture comes first and the rest will fall into place. I would consider us up and coming. Great Lakes from top to bottom knows we are always learning and are always looking for ways to improve our customer and carrier experiences.
Q: What motivation tactics do your sales coaches leverage?
A: We have a few competitions going, but what truly motivates everyone is seeing what their peers are doing. They see the successful people at the top of the activity score, and they are working to get there as well. It might be more calls, trying to get more leads or simply moving more freight. Sometimes you need that reminder.
Q: What makes your sales team successful?
A: We have the hardest-working team in the industry. Hard work only gets you so far. We have a team that truly cares about our customers and the relationships that we build. Most of our sales reps have our customers cell phone numbers and truly are there for them around the clock. They know details about their lives and don’t just treat them as someone giving them freight. They become friends and show them that personal touch. When they see how much we care they know we will handle their freight with the same attitude.
Quick Gains with Ambition:
- We just switched into a new system along with Ambition. We will truly see numbers when we compare September to October. As of right now we are looking to increase our revenue and gross profit by 150% from September to October!
- 13% Week-over-week increase in gross profit comparing the first week of September to first week of October.