The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 114: The Future of the Freight & Logistics Industry w/ Kyler Ford

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 114: The Future of the Freight & Logistics Industry w/ Kyler Ford

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.  

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon Martin and you're listening to Is this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat for 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories. We really shows Tuesdays and thursday. So please subscribe. You won't miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Kyle afford, he's the VP of sales at axel. We talk about a lot of things including the future of freight and logistics. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers align sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience, where people are free to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more drift dot com. Alright, let's do this Episode 51. Is this a good time? Alright, this is great. We have Kyler Ford with us today. Kyler is the VP of sales at axel, great guy. Really excited to have you...

...on Kyler. That's great to be here. Thanks Brandon. Well look, this is all meat, no filler. We jump right in to tell us a little bit about the role you currently have and, and, and how you got to this role? Absolutely, yeah. Currently the vice president sales at axel where we provide working capital and back office automation for freight logistics space. Previously before actually worked at another startup maven was a SAS IOT company also in the freight logistics space and I've been axle since october and it's been a lot of fun. Nice give listeners like that, don't know the freight and logistics space, give them a little some of like what's going on because for my dumb Silicon valley mind, freight logistics, I immediately think of, oh no, you know, nobody is going to be doing those jobs anymore because that's what Andrew Yang tells me and there's just gonna be automated trucks driving everywhere and, and obviously it's the freight side then there's logistics like give us a state of the industry if you would, sure it's a great time in the space and...

...it's a, it's an old industry that's starting to come through a revelation of new technologies and digitalization. There's tons of money being poured into the space from new freight brokers that are doing things a new way with online digital marketplaces to access freight, making it easier for people to pick up loads and find new opportunities. As well as telematics. Companies that are very significant capital to help prevent accidents and retrofit old equipment to make it safer on the road for everybody. And as well as really real time automation around back into processes and route optimizations, Things that we use in our cars today, like Waze and google maps. Really still kind of new technologies in the space sometimes. So it's catching up to the rest of the world, but there's some great companies out there that are starting businesses that are looking to revolutionize this space, which is long overdue. But there's just tremendous opportunity in the supply chain for new tech and for smart people who are looking to solve complex problems. Cool.

And what's your prediction? How many years are we away from Elon musk? Having all the trucks on the road and uh, no one having jobs driving trucks anymore. Yeah, So we're a long way away from that. Uh, you know, it's with insurance and, and with autonomy. There's a lot of regulations that still need to put in place. There's a lot of unpredictable factors out there that need to be solved before that can be really a solvable problem. So I think, don't get worried if you're a truck driver or if you're, if you're in freight logistics, it's, it's sometime now until that will happen. Okay, Okay. Well what would you predict? five years before the first trucks are going cross country with free? I think that's, that's a fair assessment. There's actually a company here in Pittsburgh, local nation whose testing already and doing great stuff and you know, I hope for them it's sooner than that. But you know, I think we'll see some go across, but they won't be the norm for at least probably five years. Okay, Okay, cool. Is local nation, are they one of these Carnegie Mellon kind of, you know, accelerator startup, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, there's some people from their, some great talent, you know, the robotics industry here in Pittsburgh is tremendous. So we get a lot of that autonomous car programs that find their way here. So it's another another good 11 to keep an eye on. Cool, very cool. I mean, well look, I, I always say that it's a, it's a little bit of luck and a little bit of hard work that gets people where they are. I would love to hear a story from you about either one of those in your career that got you to, uh, to the place you're in. Yeah, I have a lot of luck and a lot of hard work throughout my entire career, that kind of messed up. But you know, hard working at a startup is, it's kind of the prerequisite right? You don't just walk into any of them. They take a lot of time and energy and, and you know, from the sales side even more so, lots of emails and cold calls, educating the market on on who you are because they have never heard of you and what problem you're solving and being able to clearly identify that so early on in that career path, I was able to reach out to a lot of business owners, sea level individuals through tailored emailing and relentless cold calling. And that hard work really ultimately...

...led me some some pretty good opportunities. But with that, you know, timing is everything and you know, the luck part of it was always kind of getting the people at the right time and also getting the right decision maker at the right time. So, you know, I think when I started at Maven, we didn't have any customers at all. And you know, within two years we were working with some of the largest freight companies in the country and that was just due to a lot of hard work and prospecting and looking at trying to really address their problems with the solution that we had, the same as, you know, is gone with here at axel. It's not easy to start a freight company or logistics company. So we provide the working capital that helps these people. So when that road kind of meets the rubber, we've been there to help provide them with those levers and you know, it's a really rewarding experience and it's a very fortunate lucky situation that I found myself in. So uh both use cases, it's been, it's been really rewarding. Yeah, I mean, I...

...just, it's like the fabric of of this country, I mean we are nothing if we can't move stuff around. So it truly, I get a good feeling, you know, sure you can make cool social media sides or this saturday other. But I just got a good feeling knowing that there's good people behind some of the companies that are innovating and and some of these older industries, I mean, I'm in one in the world of restaurants and it's just, you know, I'm sure you and I have a lot of similar conversations convincing people to change their ways. Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, as you touched on, it's an industry that goes under looked a lot and transportation, but it was never more evident during this last pandemic how important it really is for us to get our things in a timely manner. And that's from our packages to our home goods. So anyway, that, you know, people can innovate and make that more efficient and streamline those processes impacts each and every one of us, even if we don't know it. Yeah, I love that, love that. All right, well, look, I'm in selling into these kind of older industries. There's some interesting tactics you take. I'm sure give us something that people can use...

...that might, you know, might not be something that they know about, that they can use in the kind of their daily sales lives. I think the biggest thing that anyone when reaching out to these types of people and industries that are maybe more old school is really tailoring their approach to these people and making it very targeted. And that sounds kind of common sense. But it takes a little bit of extra research takes a little bit of extra creativity to really drive home why they should take time out of their really busy day, which could arguably be busier than any other industry because things are changing conditions are always changing for these folks. So for them to take 5 to 10 minutes of the day to talk to you about something that you have to offer is, is pretty significant. So, you know what I've found successful is making sure you do a little bit background on these folks, see where they came from, how they got their position, you know, in the email address, things that they may like or something that at their company that's been problematic for them over the years. Hit target points that maybe affect them. So, in freight and logistics, it's, you know, insurance rates, it's accidents, it's...

...the loss and visibility into their shipments, right? So making sure that whatever you're delivering really impacts their bottom line and that's something that they should take time and really evaluate because it could be a game changer. So it's all about not providing that bulleted list of overwhelming things that they could have. But drilling that down to a couple of key pieces that relate to them personally and also will ultimately impact their business, love that love that. Yeah. I mean it's it's I even have to remind myself sometimes you can't really relate it back to the use case enough right? Always make sure you're connecting your solution to their problem five times in the conversations. I mean just you can't do it enough because it doesn't always stick on the first time. For sure. Absolutely. And so who are some people that you would want to shout out that our up and comers and or people you know thought leaders that you're following that that really kind of contribute to the way you think about your sales philosophies. Yeah. I mean one more recently is you know, Mark...

...roberts, the former C. R. O. At hubspot is someone who you know, I keep constant ion and someone I look up to Ben Braverman and flex forward as someone who's built out a really successful company there that I keep an eye on. Those are great guys as well as you know, even in my own backyard at actual, you know, I think our co founders, Barth and Sean built out just an incredible culture at our company as well as a growing organization. But there's so much thought around how we, we hire people the types of things in traits that we instill in each other and hold each other to a high regard to more so than I've ever seen. And and they're pretty young guys that are doing this. So there are some people that I keep on on my radar. Nice man. Nice. I love that. And and just curious, you know, talking about those founders, what is the origin story for the company? Is it? Uh, they come out of the industry, did they? They didn't actually what it's a great story. The...

...both best friends from high school, they tried to start multiple businesses. They had gotten into a segment of transportation and kind of ride share and things within that space and then found an opportunity uh, in the logistics and freight space, providing capital to these startup brokerages and also providing payment automation for these larger brokerages. So yeah, they kind of stumbled upon it, which I feel like it's a story that happens a lot in transportation. If you talk about how people ended up there in regards of whatever role they work in, but they really are, are set and poised to transform this segment or this part of the industry. Cool, cool. Well look, I mean, all this other advice and everything is for for the, for the people listening, for me, where we eat man, give me one spot and it it's got to be from pennsylvania. You and I have a very strange connection to the center of pennsylvania and you've lived there, I've spent a little time there, I married somebody from there, doesn't have to be from there, but give me a spot in P. A. That we can go to Men. Uh this is my favorite thing to do.

There's actually a restaurant in, in Pittsburgh pennsylvania. It's called Ala Familia. It's kind of in a dicey up side of town, but it's been around for a pretty long time and it is literally the best restaurant that I've eaten at in my life. It's kind of veal chop, that is unbelievable, It looks like out of the Flintstones, uh it's got, it's got great sea bass and Black bass and Jonathan. The owner does a terrific job, anytime that there's a sporting event going on Pittsburgh, you're likely to find name your broadcaster, they're, they're athletes are their business leaders are there, but it's, it's a pretty well known or well kept secret, but I have some friends that live all over the world in Singapore, in London and Hong kong who have been here and, and have eaten here and they think it's the best restaurant they've ever been to. So wow, I highly recommended and I spent a decent amount of time in Manhattan. He did some really great restaurants up there too. We can't, you know, you can name a million, but it's right up there with any of those. This is, this is hi, this is a sounds like a must hit if in Pittsburgh isn't the...

...type of place that that's booked up well in advance or Yeah, but they recently expanded, you know, they have some capacity and uh, you know, it's worth it, get it on your, on your bucket list of places to eat it. It's a game changer. This is great, and I'm sure because of your Western P. A. Your Steelers and not eagles, so so we can hang otherwise, you know, we really wouldn't be able to go watch a sporting event Together. You're fine. 100% Steeler fan awesome, and Kyler great to connect and uh keep doing what you're doing man. I'm really, really looking forward to just keeping in touch and hearing about how your career progresses. Yeah. Brandon, I appreciate the time. Nice to nice to chat with you awesome. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show. Great review. Send it to your mom, send it to your dad, send it to your kids, send it to your siblings, sending everybody. Why not? And then tell them all to smash that subscribe button and a reminder of this episode is brought to you by drift. The new way...

...businesses by from businesses. You can learn more. Get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had fun today. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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