• 1. Implement a Qualification Process
  • 2. Create an Effective Sales Process
  • 3. Hire Resilient Salespeople
  • 4. Track the Performance of Each Salesperson
  • 5. Structure a Fair Sales Compensation Plan
  • 6. Provide Outstanding Customer Service
  • 7. Offer Competitive Prices
  • 8. Showcase Track Record and Success Stories
  • 9. Stay on Top of Customers
  • 10. Invest in 3PL Sales Technology
  • Conclusion



    As the world becomes more interconnected, businesses increasingly turn to third-party logistics (3PL) providers for cost-effective, trustworthy, and efficient companies. However, simply offering high-quality services isn't enough to grow your business.

    Click Here: Secure More Shipments Using a CRM Built for 3PLs

    The logistics industry is highly competitive, with numerous players offering similar services. To thrive, you must learn how to sell your 3PL services effectively.

    In this article, you will find ten proven strategies that help 3PLs get new clients, retain them, and stay ahead of the competition.

    1. Implement a Qualification Process

    Not all leads are created equally. In sales, you will inevitably get more unqualified leads than qualified ones. It is neither efficient nor sustainable to chase all leads.

    So, the first and most important step in 3PL sales is to target the right audience. Think of it like being a sniper - your resources are limited, so the better you aim, the more effective you'll be.

    It can be helpful to have someone to qualify your leads, like a lead generation researcher.

    But before qualifying leads, you should have a criteria for the type of customers you would like to acquire. You need to have a clear picture of your ideal customer profile.


    Here are some examples of qualifying criteria to qualify your leads:

    • Demographics
    • Revenue Range
    • Industry
    • Employee Count/Company Size
    • Region

    Once you have your ideal customer profile, it will serve as your criteria for determining which leads are qualified or not. From there, you can craft your sales messages, offers, and unique approaches to capture their attention, close deals, and establish long-term business relationships.

    After qualifying your leads, your sales team can focus their efforts on these high-potential leads (qualified leads). This is the reason why successful sales teams implement a well-defined qualification process.

    In the end, it’s not just about attracting leads—it’s about finding the right leads.

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    2. Create an Effective Sales Process

    Sales professionals are inundated with vast amount of information that can be overwhelming and often leads to confusion and losing opportunities. To keep your sales team focused, it is important to create an effective and short sales process.

    An effective sales process should be predictable. Every phase has expected results and the progression from one step to the next is predetermined:

    1. Lead Generation: Identify and attract potential customers (leads) interested in your 3PL services.
    2. Lead Qualification: Determine the suitability and readiness of your leads to progress through the sales process.
    3. Assessment of Needs: Understand the prospect's specific challenges, goals, and requirements.
    4. Proposal: Present a tailored solution that addresses the prospect's needs and provides value.
    5. Close & Deliver: Secure a commitment from the prospect and successfully fulfill the agreed-upon terms.
    6. Follow-up: Maintain communication with the customer post-sale to ensure satisfaction, address any concerns, and explore additional opportunities.

    It's also important to track your leads as they move through the sales funnel, so you don't lose sight of any potential opportunities. A recommended sales pipeline should have the following stages:

    1. Lead Stage: All the leads should start in this stage – regardless of how you acquired them. But not every lead is ideal for your business, so you can only move leads to the next stage if they are qualified.
    2. Qualified Lead Stage: Your sales team should focus on all the leads sitting on this stage. They can start cold-calling, emailing, or targeting them with ads. This stage is all about engaging and nurturing them.
    3. Prospect Stage: Once your qualified leads ask for a quote, they become your prospects. During this stage, there must be a sense of urgency. It is very important that you provide your best price and your quote turnaround should be five minutes or less (preferably three minutes).
    4. New Customer Stage: If they accept the quote, they become a new customer. The best practice at this stage is for the whole team to stay on top of these new accounts, so they don’t turn to your competitors. At this point, they’re just testing the waters.
    5. Customer Stage: It is recommended that you move new customers to this stage after they have been doing business consistently with you for at least six months to a year.
    6. Lost Stage: It is inevitable that you will lose some customers, and when this happens, you want to move them to this stage. This will help you keep track of customer gain and loss, indicating whether you're gaining more customers than you're losing.

    The ultimate goal of your sales process is to convert your leads into customers and retain your customers for as long as possible. If these stages are well-defined, your sales team can efficiently move your leads through your sales pipeline and understand their conversion rates (e.g. how many leads you need to obtain one customer).

    RELATED ARTICLE: 3PL Sales Strategies & Processes: The Sales Pipeline (Part 1)

    3. Hire Resilient Salespeople

    Any competent salesperson can excel by following a well-defined sales process. But selling is a discipline where rejection is common. The ability to bounce back and learn from each 'no' is what separates good salespeople from great ones.

    How to Sell 3PL Services - salespersons closing deals


    The best salespeople are not only good at following systems, but are also incredibly resilient and rejection-proof. They can overcome setbacks and persist despite adversity.

    So, you have to build a team with the following qualities:

    • Strategic: Good salespeople customize their sales approach based on customer preferences, industry, and buying behavior. They also prioritize opportunities with the best ROI.
    • Insightful: Highly skilled salespeople know how to ask the right questions at the right time, which helps them to extract valuable information.
    • Negotiator: Great salespeople are skilled negotiators who focus on creating win-win outcomes for both parties by maximizing customer value while winning profitable deals.
    • Active Listener: They can build connections by actively listening. Since clients purchase services from companies they can trust, emotional connection in sales helps influence decisions in favor of the company.
    • Optimistic: Closing sales takes a lot of hard work. Salespeople should be resilient and optimistic, knowing that after many no's, they'll eventually hear a yes.

    Your sales team is a powerful weapon in competing in the market. They should form genuine relationships with prospects and customers, understand their pains, and provide solutions that address and solve their challenges. That is how they can convince leads to choose your services and generate revenue for your company.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Freight Sales 101: From Prospecting to Closing

    4. Track the Performance of Each Salesperson

    To increase your team's sales productivity, you need to set clear logistics sales KPIs.

    By doing so, your salespeople will have a specific objective to work towards, and you'll better understand how to manage their progress.

    Choose a good logistics CRM to monitor their progress effectively—if they are consistent with their calls, emails, quotes, and follow-ups. This will give you insights into how engaged and productive your salespeople are.

    You can see all these data using sales reports from your logistics CRM:

    • Sales Owners Lane Conversion: You can generate this report to see who among your salespeople is converting more lanes.
    • Sales Owners Activities: This will give you an overview of all the activities your salespeople are doing – calls, meetings, and emails.
    • Sales Owners Detailed Performance: You can see in this report the revenue, gross profit, and gross profit margin generated by each salesperson and the activities executed (emails, calls, meetings) to generate such revenues.

    For instance, you can quickly identify your top-performing salespeople who consistently meet or exceed their assigned targets. On the other hand, if you have underperforming salespeople, your CRM system will provide valuable data and insights that can help you pinpoint the areas where they need to improve.

    By closely monitoring your sales team's progress, you can make necessary adjustments to improve their performance and boost your business' revenue.

    5. Structure a Fair Sales Compensation Plan

    If you want to boost your sales, you have to compensate your salespeople well for their hard work. A good compensation plan will motivate them to perform at their best. And better performance means higher sales.

    A sales compensation plan includes the following factors:

    • Base Salary: Fixed amount of income a salesperson regularly receives, usually monthly, regardless of their sales performance.
    • Projected Sales: This refers to the sales targets or goals set by the company for the salesperson to achieve within a specific time, such as a month, quarter, or year.
    • Commission Rate: The commission rate is the percentage of sales revenue or gross profits or profits the salesperson earns as compensation for each sale.
    • Bonus Amount: Bonuses are additional monetary rewards to salespeople for achieving specific milestones or exceeding performance targets.

    Below are common compensation structures that you can choose from based on your business model and sales strategy.

    • Straight Salary: Fixed salary with no commission or bonus component
    • Commission-Based: Sales representatives earn a percentage of the revenue generated from their sales
    • Salary Plus Commission: Combination of a base salary and commission based on sales performance
    • Performance-Based: Rewards tied to specific performance metrics, such as meeting sales targets or acquiring new customers

    Among these structures, commission-based is often favored by salespeople. Sales professionals who excel at closing deals and meeting sales targets thrive in this environment.

    By providing financial incentives to your team, you can inspire them to achieve outstanding outcomes and help you gain a competitive edge.

    6. Provide Outstanding Customer Service

    Your 3PL customers trust you to transport their goods without delays and provide them with an excellent customer experience.

    With this expectation, you must emphasize exceptional customer support to ensure your 3PL sales can grow sustainably.

    How can you achieve this?

    A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is one way to do this effectively. It gives you 100% visibility of all sales interactions and allows you to stay in front of your customers to make sure that you are not missing any of their needs.

    With a CRM system, you can document these interactions—from their calls to their specific requirements—creating a comprehensive history of their experience with your company. This helps you better understand your customers and provide tailored services that meet their needs.

    RELATED ARTICLE: 3 Strategies to Improve Logistics Customer Service

    7. Offer Competitive Prices

    When it comes to third-party logistics (3PL) services, competition is fierce. You need to set your prices strategically to attract new customers and keep your existing ones.

    To achieve this, you need to find the right balance that reflects market rates while meeting your customers' expectations.

    In offering competitive prices, you need a logistics CRM system with a quoting tool. You can use it to identify the sweet spot for your customers – a quotation that aligns with current market prices and your customer quote history.

    A logistics CRM technology can help you:

    • Access real-time market rates
    • Monitor all quotations you've sent to customers
    • Follow up on each quotation
    • Identify quotation requests for service delivery

    Many clients also look for cost savings when choosing a 3PL service provider. So, it's necessary to show them how partnering with you can also help them save money. One way to do this is by proposing an affordable pricing strategy that integrates technology to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Logistics Technology to Boost Sales & Increase Market Penetration

    8. Showcase Track Record and Success Stories

    In B2B sales, nothing speaks louder than satisfied customers giving you praise publicly. Testimonials are your most powerful marketing campaign. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

    Step 1: Identify the Right Moment

    • After a Success: Aim to ask for a testimonial right after a positive customer experience, such as a successful shipment or reaching a milestone with your service.

    Step 2: Choose Your Method

    • Email: A personal email request is highly effective.
    • Surveys: Using tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey allows you to collect feedback and testimonials in a structured way.
    • In-Person: If you have a strong relationship with a customer, asking in person can be a good option.
    • Phone call: A direct call allows you to gauge tone and request additional information.
    • Automated Systems: Consider using marketing automation tools with post-shipment workflows that trigger testimonial requests.

    Step 3: Craft the Right Request

    • Be Personal: Use the customer's name and reference their specific experience.
    • Keep it Simple: Don't overcomplicate, make it easy for them to provide a testimonial.
    • Offer Guidance: Provide specific questions to help them focus their feedback (e.g., What challenge did our logistics services solve for you? What was your favorite aspect?)
    • Incentivize (Optional): Consider a small discount or gift card as a thank-you, but make it clear the testimonial itself is voluntary.

    Step 4: Obtain Permission

    • Explicitly ask for permission to use their testimonial in your marketing materials.
    • Provide a Release Form: For more complex testimonials, have them sign a form granting you usage rights.

    Step 5: Editing and Formatting

    • Light Editing: It's okay to refine testimonials for grammar and clarity, but preserve the customer's original voice and meaning.
    • Obtain Approval: Get the customer to confirm they're comfortable with the final edit.

    Step 6: Leverage Your Testimonials Strategically

    • Website: Create a dedicated testimonial page and incorporate them throughout your website.
    • Social Media: Share testimonials as text posts, image quotes, or short videos.
    • Email Marketing: Include customer stories in your email newsletters.
    • Sales Materials: Use testimonials in presentations, proposals, and brochures.
    • Landing Pages: Add testimonials to relevant landing pages for credibility boosts.
    • Case Studies: Turn longer testimonials into detailed case studies.
    • Video Testimonials: If possible, get customers on video – these are highly persuasive.

    In the logistics industry, companies rely on timely and efficient services for their businesses. With the right testimonials, your customers will feel more confident in your ability to provide their logistics needs.

    9. Stay on Top of Customers

    To stay on top of your customers, you need to think about what your customers care about - their business and its growth.

    Clients appreciate it when you can deliver what you promise. Besides offering top-notch services, it's important that you are proactive about attending to their needs.

    It's all about finding that sweet spot where you're in touch with them without taking too much of their time. This way, you can become their preferred choice in the market. At this point, you are not just a service provider but a partner.

    Building solid relationships is one of the best moves you can make in this industry. You've got to be open, honest, and proactive with your clients, and partners. The more reliable and consistent you are to your customers, the stronger your partnerships can become.

    Another pro tip here is to celebrate your successes together. Attracting 3PL customers is already challenging. Retaining them in your logistics business can be harder. If you want to keep your top clients, you need to learn how to make their success your success.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Importance of Customer Relationship Management in Logistics

    10. Invest in 3PL Sales Technology

    Your priority is to increase your sales and expand your market reach. To achieve this, you need 3PL sales technology to organize your 3PL sales process.

    With a CRM that has specific features designed for logistics and 3PL sales, you get features that help you stay ahead of your competition. For example, a logistics dashboard can be used to monitor crucial industry-specific KPIs. A full logistics quoting tool can simplify the process of quoting all transportation modes in one tool. If your CRM is integrated with freight marketplaces, you can also access real-time market rates.

    If you already use a regular CRM, these features may not be part of it. However, investing in a CRM designed for 3PL sales allows you to access these essential features out of the box.


    The evolution of global commerce demands that third-party logistics (3PL) providers not only offer top-tier services but also excel in presenting and selling these solutions. As supply chain markets expand, more competitors will enter the industry. Only companies that have mastered selling themselves to businesses will survive and thrive.

    The 10 strategies outlined in this article provide insights into enhancing your sales performance. Book a demo with our 3PL software to help you stay ahead of the competition.

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    Thank you for reading our article. For more educational content, you can explore all our blogs here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook for supply chain industry trends and efficiency tips. If you have other inquiries or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us through this link.


    Hector Sunol Information Technology Expert

    Hector is IFS’s co-founder and CEO, with over 21 years of experience leading and managing companies and IT operations for large and mid-size businesses. Hector is also the co-founder and CEO of Cyzerg, a technology company specializing in innovating software solutions for warehouses and DCs. Before IFS and Cyzerg, Hector was senior director of technical operations, overseeing an e-commerce website with more than one million monthly transactions.