Transportation Made Easy - Jamie Teets of Transportation One - Eversprint

Transportation Made Easy – Jamie Teets of Transportation One

Jamie Teets, CEO & Founder of Transportation One

Jamie Teets, the CEO & Founder of Transportation One, grew his company’s revenue from $17 million in 2014 to $31.5 million in 2017, an 85% increase, and to around $40 million in 2018.  

Transportation One is a full-service, multi-modal logistics provider.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Jamie shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Hiring quality people from the C-suite down to the entry level positions that brought needed leadership, talent and skills to manage and fuel their growth.
  • Operating with their core values in mind (trust, integrity and ethics), which in turn boosted trust with their customers, carriers, and employees.
  • Chasing a vision to become one of the largest North American third party logistics firm with hundreds employees who are happy with their careers.

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Malcolm Lui:
Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Jamie Teets, the CEO & Founder of Transportation One, a full-service, multi-modal logistics provider. Welcome to the show Jamie.

Jamie Teets:
Thank you Malcolm pleasure.

Malcolm Lui:
Jamie, you grew your company's revenue from $17 million in 2014 to $31.5 million in 2017, an 85% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $40 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Jamie Teets:
So we primarily focus on North American transportation primarily surface transportation or over the road. There's many modes and ways of transporting goods. Most of what we do is by truck full truckload is predominantly what we move. The industries that we service range primarily from Food Beverage grocery and retail CPG. Our clients range from the largest shippers in the world several Fortune 100 shippers to the small family owned businesses. How we differentiate ourselves from competition is quite easy and it's it's we're very customer centric customer service focus getting the product delivered on time. Staying true to our commitment. Operating with integrity and ethics and building trust with our clients very quickly. On the other side of the business it is very important that we treat our carrier partners equally as important as our customers or shipping partners. And that is being honest with them. Operating with integrity and ethics really mirroring how we operate with our customers and the way we interact with our carriers has really allowed us to gain traction and continue to grow not only our existing portfolios but gaining new business because of our reputation and overall credibility in the industry and the market.

Malcolm Lui:
All right. Something you agree your company's revenue from 70 million in 2014 to forty million two thousand eighteen. What would you say were the three biggest drivers behind that growth.

Jamie Teets:
I think Talon is probably number one over the many years of the first seventy eight years of bootstrapping the business and starting it up was myself and another partner at the time kind of growing the business. We lacked a true management team and having made mid-level managers which caused a lot of friction at a certain point. So over the past two years or so we've done a great job of bringing not only a phenomenal and tremendous talent to our organization. Some of the best in the industry but they've really helped layer some of the fundamentals that we were lacking before. Because of that lack of leadership. So talent no one without doubt I think number two is operating and continuing to operate with our core values in mind. I mentioned trust integrity and ethics. Those are three core values that I've operated on. To be honest my entire life. That's how I was raised in a family business and a family setting. I saw how far that went in gaining trust from employees not only customers and carriers but the employees who are number one and only assets. Without them we can't succeed. So it goes a long way when we are employees not only know that we operate the right way. We don't cut corners but our customers and carriers know that as well.

Jamie Teets:
Third I would say having a vision chasing that vision and operating on that vision by taking calculated risks I am a big believer in and taking risks so long as they are calculated not every risk can be calculated but we try to dial it in and fine tune it as much as possible which is a really allowed us to look at different scenarios and ways to pivot the business. You know I'm also a believer with that calculated risk that mistakes and failures do happen. I'm a firm believer in learning from mistakes and failures so long as they do not continue to be a trend but rather a learning experience. I'm a huge advocate for it and I do push my team to take those risks and the understanding there may be an inherent mistake or failure along the way but that's what makes us better and that's what we learn from. So in some I would say you know are people continuing to operate people in town continuing to operate with our core values in mind. The top three being trust integrity and being ethical. And third is taking calculated risks allowing in the understanding that mistakes and failures are acceptable so long as they're learning experiences.

Malcolm Lui:
Now you talked about chasing your vision. He share with me but your your vision is that you're chasing.

Jamie Teets:
Your vision is to be one of the largest North one of the largest North American third party logistics firms. That is to become a several hundred million dollar organization. My vision isn't all about dollars and cents. My vision is to create an organization to have several hundred people in my organization that are happy with their careers. They see the upward potential and opportunity within our organization and they love coming to work every single day. So my vision is in some. With that said to have a culture that not only all of my employees embrace but my shipper and carrier partners understand what our culture is internally as well and enjoy working with us as a result of that. So getting big is one piece of it but getting big the right way is more important to me because being big is not the only. You know it's not the only piece to the puzzle that we're trying to solve. Career progression and work place. Happiness is very important to us. So as long as I can build an organization where I can see other people flourish make the best of themselves. Bring out the best in themselves and help others along the way. I think that my vision in that sense would be accomplished.

Malcolm Lui:
All right. And in returns in terms of the voting talent has been one of the drivers. Now the talent that you're building out was referring really to the middle management areas to help manage the growth of your business or are you also talking about people who are your client facing folks so the people who are actually you know behind the scenes make sure everything is running well.

Jamie Teets:
Yeah it's top down talent so it's everything that you've said Malcolm. It's anywhere from the c suite all the way down to our entry level opportunities that we have in our company. We have training programs where we have training classes several times per year ranging from anywhere from 10 to 15 people per training class. It's a new program that we've developed and refined over the last few years. It's better than it's ever been which has helped with our attrition in general employee retention which is very important to us as we build the culture is continuing to make sure our employees are engaged. So I've recently hired a chief customer officer that can help with all revenue generating aspects of my business and we continue to hire these training classes so it is literally top down from the c suite to entry level and mid-level management layered in between all that.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. So you're hiring of your if you're a chief revenue officer is that what you'd call him or her..

Jamie Teets:
She's chief customer officer CEO.

Malcolm Lui:
Ok. And that kind of ties into my my next set of questions for two thousand ninety. How are things looking with sort of numbers are you looking at revenue wise by year end.

Jamie Teets:
2019 is looking very favorable for transportation one. We are continuing to significantly outpace the market. I believe the market has only grown the transportation when just six third party logistics market has grown anywhere I believe from 3 to 5 percent we are looking to grow at least 50 percent five zero over 2018. So we are looking at tremendous growth continuing to outpace the market and continuing to scale in the direction that we've planned to.

Malcolm Lui:
50 percent growth. Growth is huge. What do you guys do to make it and make that happen.

Jamie Teets:
There's a lot that we go. That we do with that. But you know I think getting back to how we treat both our employees our customers and our carrier partners. We treat every load that we move as if it were our last load. I think the mentality in which we operate having a winning attitude a winning mentality that we're the best in class kind of rubs off on our shippers and they have that confidence that we are the real deal. We not only talk the talk but we actually walk the walk as well. There are seventeen thousand brokers in North America that we compete with but service what we continue to do in servicing our customer. You asked how we differentiate it is very simple it's customer service and following through with our commitment. And what we've committed to do because of that we've been able to not only grow our existing customer base significantly. Contracts with our larger customers 12 to 24 months ago used to range from three to three to eight million. Now we're seeing contracts from our customers range from anywhere from 10 to 20 million with a single customer. So that has been a huge part of our organic growth as we continue to build all our sales team as well we are onboarding and bringing on a lot of new business new contracts. So our business development team is starting to ramp up. We have not had a business development team. Traditionally I have been the only sales person the Organization for the entirety of since we've opened the doors of Transportation one. So as we build out that sales organization it's not only farming and penetrating existing business but building our business development team to land new accounts new contracts and then continuing to grow and exploit opportunities within those as well.

Malcolm Lui:
Can you share how your business development team goes about finding new business for transportation.

Jamie Teets:
It many ways to find. Find new business I think because of our position and because of our credibility in the marketplace. We get a lot of warm leads we get a lot of referrals. That's not the only way we grow our business but that is a large portion of the way we do grow our business because of the way we operate because we differentiate by servicing our customer first and always. That has allowed us for customers to give referrals to some of their vendors or some of their direct customers so those are very warm if that hot leads and have gotten us in with some very large multi-billion multinational type accounts a lot of them sit on the Fortune 100 and 500 list from a business development perspective. It's really going through and finding how we can convert any warm leads or hot leads as quickly as possible. So we're going through prior movements or loads that we call them in our industry which is a point A to Point B in going through all of the warehouses that we've either shipped out of or we ship into that are not a customer today. So it's a very simple we'd list lead gen a pretty standard in the industry but I think where we have a leading edge on all of that is our credibility and our reputation is second to none. Our customers would say that and the fact that we have you know several Fortune 100 shippers that would say that we are their number one transportation partner goes a long way. So that word of mouth referrals one of the biggest. The second is just going through a general lead generation going through warehouses in our system again that we've shipped out of or in to. This really helped us establish credibility that we've picked up out of their facility. We've delivered into their facility for Brand X B Brand X being a current customer.

Malcolm Lui:
So the way it works if you when you make outreach to these warehouses will air. Like are the warehouses your customers are. Or do they just refer you to other companies that use their warehouse is that Howard's.

Jamie Teets:
It could be a number of things honestly Malcolm. Typically let's let's say craft times for instances as one of our large customers and we will ship out of craft times into several retailers that could be Costco that could be targeted that could be Wal-Mart. So any time. Craft Hines could be a customer of ours and we ship out of their facility but the fact that we're shipping out of the craft Hines facility into a Costco a Wal Mart a target a big box retailer that alone establishes credibility that we are a transportation solutions provider for Kraft times Kraft times is very diligent in their carrier selection process in which carriers and transportation partners like transportation one that they utilize. So there's credibility instantly the fact that we ship and we are a partner of Kraft times and they trusting us some allowing us to deliver into their largest customer. Costco Walmart Target etc.. So there's instantaneous credibility granted when we deliver those shipments of the big box retailers. So in that example Kraft times may refer us to a Target and Costco or Wal-Mart CNS wholesale saying that transportation one is one of our premier elite partners. We do trust them and you should give them a clean look. There's other times Malcolm where we ship out of third party warehouses. So Kraft Hines example if we stick with that maybe shipping out of a third party warehouse so they don't actually own the warehouse.

Jamie Teets:
Another company may own that warehouse within that warehouse. They may store product for Kraft times they may store product For Mondelez. They may store product for Unilever. They may store product for Procter and Gamble not many times you'll see competing products in the same warehouse. But the point is some of these third party warehouses will store product a number of customers. So in that sense if we ship out of a third party warehouse for Kraft times and they have another customer within that third party warehouse Kraft times not only that warehouse can say to a third party warehouse Hey you should give transportation one a look at some of your other business and within your warehouse because you shift to the same clients that we do. But Walmart has past goals and targets the big box retailers. There's a lot of cross pollination a lot of synergistic opportunities that arise in a number of ways. So that's that's the fun and logistics is there's never a dull moment and there's always opportunity in everything that we do and we see all opportunity that we cross is an opportunity to grow our business further and doing it the right way while servicing our customer in mind first and always.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. So when you have a third party warehouse Are you an example. You gave me you know you depending on on Hinds then make the introduction for you craft kind snakes and make the intro. Or will your team be proactive to reach out to those guys directly. Right out of the blue.

Jamie Teets:
It would be a dream come true if if our customers were always referring us to new customers. So no that's not what we're relying on that now that will happen although it seldom does happen. But we are relying on our team to be proactive in placing our phone calls and emails but establishing themselves with credibility and not. I'm a big believer and I'm trying to make every call at least a warm call and not a cold call.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Jamie Teets:
So because of our customer base is so diverse because our customer base ranges from many blue chip enterprise like shippers it becomes very easy for my team to confidently reach out to new prospects and immediately establish that credibility because we support shippers A B and C and we are their number one provider. Here's some scorecard here some data to back it up. Again we don't just talk the talk but walk the walk. We prove a lot of what we do with Data. Data has become an intricate part of not only our industry but every industry I think in the world today. Data and technology big data are huge aspects of what everyone's doing. So we try to use data to our advantage when we're reaching out to potential clients to show here's what we've done. Here is the backup and support. And by the way Johnny will refer us over from Kraft times he's happy to give a referral. So we'll try to use in our favor but we will only provide a name and a referral of a client so long as they've given us approval because some people aren't comfortable with that. So we do try to stay within the lines there.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now you mentioned is a lot of competition out there too. Seventeen thousand different logistics brokers out there I think you mentioned before I imagine there's probably an even larger number of warehouses out there. What's the typical sales process. Can you reach out to a warehouse where it's not a warm referral. Did they say yeah let's do business fairly quickly or is it a long drawn out process.

Jamie Teets:
It's typically in our business the sales cycle for reaching out to new clients on the ship or facing side is a much longer sales cycle. So I wouldn't call it a long drawn out process. It's just a longer sales cycle than the other side of our business which is transportation sourcing and procurement which is finding trucking companies to partner with to move the freight that we're getting from our shippers. That is a very short sometimes instantaneous phone call and you can form a relationship on the shipper side. It is a much longer. The larger the client Typically the larger the sales cycle because we are a middleman a broker. There is a negative connotation to brokerage in any industry whether that be in finance banking or transportation logistics. We operate in a lot of people see brokerages markup in cost. That is true. So we have to find the value when we're marking it up from the trucking company. We partner with. We have to find the value and how and why we deliver that to our customers. So I think it's important to understand that it is a longer sales cycle because we are broke and there is a negative connotation to that because there is seventeen thousand of them. These shippers that we are calling they are getting the same phone calls from those sixteen thousand nine hundred ninety nine other brokers. So we have to find a way to differentiate so that's again why I get back to I try to get my sales team and my sales manager to at least tee up every phone call or email that we send out to find a way to try to catch their attention as opposed to just saying we are another person that operates in the transportation logistics space to

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Jamie Teets:
Be freight because the number of phone calls that they will receive a lot of these people they are gatekeepers they are very good at their jobs they have no problem to hang the phone up because in transportation and logistics we are putting fires out all day long it's 24/7 through 24/7 365 It never sleeps. So we have to be respectful of their time. We have to be short sweet to the point. But we've got to understand who we're calling it how we're targeting them as opposed to making a blind cold call because that will not go far and to your point to call a shipper prospect you know even small medium or large size shipper then answer the phone and say we're doing business tomorrow I can say in my 13 plus years in this industry still making sales calls from time to time on larger blue chip enterprise accounts I have yet for that to ever happen. So

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Jamie Teets:
That gives you a perspective.

Malcolm Lui:
So so far the shipper facing cyber talking months years to get something done.

Jamie Teets:
Yes both you know there can be the the shorter the shorter term the sales cycle for that customer facing typically can be days to weeks to months. I would say on average it's probably months of actively touching that customer whether that's phone calls e-mails or face to face meetings. We are very diligent in how we profile our customers what their wants and needs are and then we tailor our responses and whether that warrants a face to face meeting. A handwritten letter in e-mail or other old school ways of selling know I think a lot of people in this day and age like to hide behind email. I'm a firm believer in meeting with shaking hands meeting with people face to face having transparent and honest conversations. You get a lot out of those conversations you see personalities you can understand and build trust much quicker than you can. Hiding behind emails. So I think the much larger clients the Fortune 100 shippers those are typically years multiple years of making calls and continuing to stay on them because they typically have hundreds of millions of dollars of transportation spend so they are diligent in who they work with and because of that they have a few select partners that they do partner with. So they want to make sure that they thoroughly vet out the people that are calling on them and checking with other like shippers that we may work with because again there are seventeen thousand of them. So establishing that credibility and looking over that course of time they only may have five to 10 partners. So those contracts I mentioned earlier on Malcolm that were once a couple million up to eight to 10 million are now 10 to 20 million dollar annual contracts with individual shippers that took time.

Jamie Teets:
And those shippers only work with five to 10 third party logistics companies like transportation one. So they have to have a reason you know they like to protect their incumbents and they like to make sure that their partners are valued and taken care of and know that they are protected and safe that they will continue to grow and do business as they are performing. So they typically have to have a reason to pick one partner out to bring another in. And when you're working with some of those larger shippers where the sales cycle can be many years you need to stay on top of it. You need to understand what needs to take place within that shipper in order for you to get an opportunity and you need to make sure that you are on top of their minds when that opportunity arises. So I think it's important to gauge who you're talking to again what their wants and needs are in understanding what their personality is because they may want you to reach out once a week they may want you to reach out daily but they may say don't touch base with me until next year and you have to respect that but you also have to find a way to be on top of their minds. So it's a delicate balance I think but that's what we do a phenomenal job of profiling our customers and shippers what their wants and needs are and then trying to as much as possible objectify that so we can understand how many touches and what kind of touches will go the longest way with them.

Malcolm Lui:
All right. Got it. Three last questions for you Jamie. First one if he had a billboard along a freeway that's advertising transportation one. What singer. Billboard message money. And keep in mind that people only have maybe six seconds or so before they drive by a billboard.

Jamie Teets:
Well billboard message I haven't gotten that one. I do like it. I think we we go by the motto of and this is what I would probably say is excellence achieve perfection expected. We make transportation easy. Then sure your product does deliver on time. That's our job. I think that tailors to if it were a realistic billboard that tailors to not only job opportunities within transportation one again talent is our only and no one asked and always will be. But that also tailors the message to our shipping partners and our carrier partners that want to do business with us.

Malcolm Lui:
In my last two questions for you. Who are your ideal customers and what's the best way for them to contact your company.

Jamie Teets:
Are ideal customers are anyone that ships product to North America from point A to Point B. Again we will not turn down a customer unless it's because of their specific reputation. Whether that be bankruptcy filings lawsuits leans anything of that nature. Again we want to do good business we do good business here operating with ethics integrity and trust. We don't cut corners so so long as the companies have a good reputation. Shippers we will work with anyone that is out there. We primarily again operate within the truckload sector so that could be expedite that could be 10 control flatbed drive then over dimensional many different modes that we serve. So any shipper that's reputable credible shipping from point A to Point B in North America. They are a target client. The best way for them to reach out to transportation one is to go out to our website which is transportation one dot com. That's all spelled out transportation. Oh e dot com. There is a contact us form there and I could also provide you a few contacts for my Director of Business Development who would probably probably be the best contact to reach out to so that she could understand who the target client is and then pass it within the respective managed vertical because within our company we do operate and have specialists that operate within specific verticals because they know those industries the best.

Malcolm Lui:
Jamie it's been awesome having you on my show today. Really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast.

Jamie Teets:
Yeah Malcolm I appreciate the time. It was a pleasure speaking with you. It's a humbling experience to be contacted and give some some advice and some objective to what we're trying to do. But we're doing our best over here always trying to get better and understand that we'll never be perfect but doing our damnedest to get there.

Malcolm Lui:
We've been speaking with Jamie Teets, the CEO & Founder of Transportation One, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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