2019 – A Different Year
In this month's Executive Forum, Vice President of Sales, West Mark Hamblin shares images of Saia displayed at a major college basketball game. He also reviews the sales team achievements in 2018 and what is in store for next year.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but in this case, a thousand words might not adequately describe the scene. Quite simply, the sight was awesome as “Saia” was displayed throughout the arena. The color red seemed to permeate the entire place with those four letters commanding attention. I recall how proud I was thinking how far we’ve come. Never would I have thought that we would see Saia’s name displayed at a major arena, on billboards, at a NASCAR event, or broadcast over the radio and yes, even television!
Folks, we stand behind no one and should be proud of our name. This year was record-breaking and our best ever. I encourage everyone to reflect back on 2018 and recognize our accomplishments; the entire Saia team should be proud of where we stand. Never have we been greater. Our footprint expanded and our value proposition is strong. Saia is finally in the Northeast and growing daily.
And, while 2018 was a record breaking year, it’s history - it’s in the past and yes, we have so much more to accomplish. Its’ time to focus squarely on 2019 and the mission before us. To the entire company - the sales organization is ready. Never in our history have we been prepared to launch our sales plan on Jan. 2. Normally, we reveal our key initiatives in mid-February and launch them around March 1, which equates to about three lost months. This coming year, 2019, will be different. The plan is finalized. It is complete and has been rolled out. Every sales leader has the plan and understands their role and what effective execution looks like.
Here’s a glimpse.
In 2018, we introduced the “Shared” sales concept, which is where, for the first time, outside sales and inside sales share account responsibility by working together to grow small non-producing accounts. By all measures, “Shared” was a success.
In 2019, the “Shared” concept will not only go to the next level but will be extended to national accounts as well. Onboarding new business, whether at the national or field level, is one of our greatest challenges. Next year, on the field side, all approved pricing programs will contain a joint effort by inside and outside sales increasing “customer touches” to onboard business quicker. We believe we can take what now takes months, in many cases, to just days or weeks. Quick and effective onboarding business is critical to our success. Nationally, maximizing approved awards has always been a challenge.
Next year, inside sales will share in customer engagement with all locations of an approved award. Again, increasing touches with a consistent message will drive improvement.
And, finally, Project Ignite will have a fresh look concentrating on a smaller number of terminals, but where terminal capacity and market share present great opportunities for growth.
As you can see, 2019 is shaping up to be our greatest year ever! Let’s roll!