Tackling the giants at FIDI

Jul 04 | 2024

It’s a perennial problem: how to get corporations and RMCs to fully appreciate the value of the service provided by movers and be willing to pay for it. That was the topic on discussion at one of the FIDI panel discussions in Edinburgh in May entitled: Between Giants and Clients.

FIDI panel discussionThe participants were Nicki French from Grace in Australia; Annika Roupé from Alfa in Scandinavia; Derrick Young from Paramount Transportation Systems in the USA; and Samuel Mergui, the new CEO of Santa Fe who took over following the company’s acquisition by Mobilitas. The session was moderated by Jesse van Sas from FIDI.  

Jesse kicked off the session by asking how much of a match are movers for the big corporations. Nicki said it was hard if you just focussed on price but moving is a personal business and customers want to have a personal relationship with suppliers. “The mover has the ability to step into that gap,” she said.

Would procurement departments be impressed by that?  Annika thought they might be. She said she’d recently rewritten an RFP to make it clear they were not dealing with goods but with a family. “I think that hit a note with them,” she said, but questioned how well movers communicate that concept.

Derrick thought that the service we provide has already been commoditised. “They expect you to do your job and handle the family well,” he said. He also felt that this industry is generally poor at selling. “The bigger companies are more successful, but the smaller customers need the sales acumen too to compete.”

Samuel said that movers need to train customers to read our business proposals. “The mobility team are usually on our side,” he said. “But the relationship with procurement is just a game.”

But Annika felt that it is possible to lift the value of a service through good selling. “Procurement will buy whatever HR orders.  So there is a big responsibility on us to make the benefits clear so the mobility people want what we have to offer. That’s the personal touch.”

Jesse agreed that there wasn’t enough sales training and suggested that part of that should be to learn how procurement works. Samuel agreed.  “Our sales team go to the market with how to sell our product, how to upsell, and how to present the business solution; but they don’t know how to handle procurement and how to handle the matrices. We need to help our sales team to get ready to discuss on equal terms with procurement.”

Nicki said procurement people had explained that part of the problem is that people don’t read and answer the questions on RFPs properly so they don’t get the information they need. “You need to provide what they want, then educate them on what they missed in the process that’s important to get them the outcomes they require,” she explained. “Issuing RFPs is time-consuming for the customer too, so you need to go upstream and cut them off.”  Derrick pointed out that RMCs respond only to what their customers ask.  “They are not making stuff up to be difficult.”

Jesse asked whether movers were more concerned about turnover than profit ...

Photo (left to right): Jesse van Sas, Nicki French, Samuel Murgui, Annika Roupé and Derrick Young.

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