Building A Space Transport Startup with Customer Relationship Management
The task of acquiring new business is the difference between success and failure for many companies, particularly companies that need to keep expensive wheels turning. Finding and attracting new business is how you make the paychecks of your drivers, pay your bills, and keep your business moving on the road.
Fleet managers and transport operators need to keep improving their approaches to the sales process to stay ahead of competition and remain profitable, due to tight margins and risk with demanding customer expectations.
When you have a thorough understanding of estimating, quoting, and the processes involved with acquiring new business, you can ensure that your sales team is provided with the necessary information.
Did you know that the SpaceX program needed to iterate their model and improve to find customers and money, just like every business?
They may be trying to put spaceships in the sky, but keeping trucks on the road requires just as much planning and preparation.
In 2002, SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk. By 2008 they had accepted a $20 million investment from the Founders Fund after defining their strategy, providing a message that excited the marketplace and achieving milestones against the “promises” they made. By 2012 SpaceX was valued at around $1.3 billion.
Customer relationship management and accounting go hand-in-hand. With a customer relationship management system that integrates into your business systems you can easily keep track of sales catalogues, quotes, invoices, and contact history. You can only make money if you keep your customers happy, and if they’re happy then they’re more likely to make you money.
Do you think SpaceX got to where it is today because Elon Musk waited around for people to come to him? No. SpaceX created good relationships with its customers, and it paid off. Every sale is a promise made to your customers and by using new and intelligent technologies, your promises can be delivered!
Would you rather use a spaceship that was built in 1969, or 2020? The same applies to business, so why wouldn’t you use a system that was built for tomorrow, rather than built a decade ago?
Using a customer relationship management system creates a streamlined process for accessing and transferring client information. You can easily create quotes and repeat success using smart templates based on client rates and where profit is captured.
You can see when invoices have been paid, and add notes to contacts for other members of your team to view. Using a technology platform for customer relationship management means your sales team will have the capability to track phone calls, manage meetings, and trap data all in one place, which will streamline the sales process and ensure customers are satisfied from the first engagement.
Building business is not easy, so why make it harder than a Sputnik rocket?
By May 2012, SpaceX had operated on total funding of around $1 billion over its first decade of operation. Private equity provided approximately $200 million of this.
SpaceX didn’t suddenly have $1 billion overnight. They knew what their clients needed and worked towards that outcome, ensuring their clients’ successes as well as their own. In order to make your business money your sales team needs to understand how important their engagement is with customers, as they won’t be able to go the extra distance if they don’t know the history.
How can you keep track of your client’s needs with a paper-based system or a system designed to work when mobiles were not even considered a business tool? And if your customer relationship management process is a mix of paperwork and technology it’s impossible for any team member to share a client file or quickly find the exact information they need to close the business.
When you are not restricted by location and the information is at your fingertips you deliver the ability to provide “sensational experiences” for your clients. A proposal or quote that is delivered quickly and looks professional, while providing the necessary information for a client to make a quick decision, will drive more wins. And we all know that wins translate to new business and new business translates to keeping the doors open.
Just like the Space X program, which sought every possible way to streamline processes and to deliver more value for its clients, customer relationship management should be viewed no differently.
To provide cost value every company needs to have information available at every part of the customer journey. For transport the difference in cents to a cost per kilometre rate can be the difference between profit and loss. Let’s face it, transport companies, like Space X, use expensive equipment to deliver their services, so data is super important from the sales process (selling the mission) to the delivery process (achieving the mission).
Using a “one-system” approach that interfaces sales and delivery ensures continuity and leveraging lessons learned so your unique selling proposition is not forgotten.
Having all your data captured in one place provides the information that your sales teams need and insures your business from risk, if key team members change roles or leave the business.
Using a paperless system means the information noted against records allows for easy conversations and provides a background for anyone new to the business or role. You can organise leads more effectively to ensure it’s easy to find the information you’re looking for, without the hassle of sorting through stacks of paperwork.
Quoting is an artform that can launch success when enhanced with amazing technology
You can’t launch a spaceship to the moon without a plan. Why would you try and quote a job without a template or by taking advantage of historical data?
Well-documented client pricing and agreed terms can be created as controlled measures for future work and quoting. This can be easily automated in a “one system” approach to ensure that what was originally quoted or provided to clients at quote time is delivered and invoiced on time and to line item detail.
Long before they were a multi-billion dollar company SpaceX was preparing for the future. Early on in the business’s history they established long-term agreements that provided them with the security they needed to become a successful business.
Having a defined sales approach backed by structured process and flexible intelligent technology in place ensures that the basic day-to-day functions of the business become simple.
SpaceX showed amazing innovation and acquired a lot of money from progress payments for long-term launch and development contracts to provide working capital, not equity.
Nearly every customer we have worked with, and certainly those SpaceX customers who signed agreements on progress milestones, sought consistency from their supplier. They expected that what they had signed off to purchase would be delivered. This goes to show how important the presentation and sales process becomes when setting client expectations and subsequently payments for delivery.
Another way to look at consistency is how professional do you look to the client when you are selling, and then how professional are you in providing the promise. Your quoting process should instill confidence with your clients. With a paperless system you can easily convert quotes to projects or jobs in convenient workflows.
Invoices can then be streamlined through automated workflows reducing the complexity and increasing accuracy. Winning business will become easier if your team members can manage quoting and invoicing whenever and wherever they are using a mobile or a tablet. At Kynection we recommend using a paperless customer relationship management that integrates to your accounting software, which means that you can also predict more effectively what sales will look like over the next few weeks or months.
If you want to win more business then you need to know what’s going on within your own business. With a paper-based system or disconnected system,you will never be able to get near the capability of launching a rocket to space or building a transport business like SpaceX from $20m to several billion dollars in value. The funny thing is that it’s not that different in reality…
The technology offered by Kynection, which allows any transport operators or service providers the ability to see their whole business from sales to service to customer success within “one system” is, no different than what SpaceX used to manage their operations. In fact we believe that any company can deploy state of the art technology as good or possibly even better for a fraction of the cost that SpaceX paid for their systems.
Swapping to a paperless system may not get you to space any time soon, but it will improve productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of your business and make your sales process as streamlined and as efficient as it would require to change the dynamics of Space Transport, like Elon Musk and his team achieved.
© 2020 Autolync Pty Ltd, trading as Kynection