How GrowthX + Cargo Chief Broke Open the Shipping Industry


Of the 672,000 trucking companies in the US, 28 percent go empty. But Russell Jones told me he’d built the technology to solve this. Cargo Chief could streamline the whole industry. I was all ears.

Russell is a serial entrepreneur. His first company, Clearvox Communications, innovated headset technology for mobile phones in the 1990s. Back then he struggled to get his headsets delivered on time and cost effectively. As a small company, he didn’t have the inventory to fill a whole truck, and would spend too much time and money coordinating his smaller shipments. Since then, he sold Clearvox to Plantronics and developed technology to maximize the profitability of empty trucks. Much like what Kayak has done for travel, Russell has set up a meta-search engine to find the best shipping deals over a network of 500,000 trucks. That large universe of available cargo space gives small and medium-sized companies the best chance of finding an empty or partially empty backhaul. This significantly brings down costs, and offers a wider grade of access to cargo transitioning. Russell calls it “tech-enabled freight brokering.”

It was clear to me that Cargo Chief could have a huge impact on the multi-billion dollar shipping industry we have today. Russell was leveraging technology to more effectively manage inventory and organization — the strategy I used to make such a success. But what Cargo Chief needed was better sales tactics. At the time they had the traditional industry standard of outbound methods, with a full-time sales team. What they needed was strategic marketing to drive qualified inbound leads. This would cut the overhead of long conversations and sales staff.

That’s where GrowthX came in. They did a telemarketing test, trying different verticals, and targeting specialty manufacturers $1-$10M in size. GrowthX helped Cargo Chief think about categories, design and fine tune a telemarketing script, and build the database. It was a huge success, with a 38 percent response rate (when normally it was 2 or 3 percent). The strategic telemarketing developed relationships and found the right audience, and led directly to sales.

Russell is loving the experience. “You guys really get your hands dirty,” he told me. GrowthX has helped Cargo Chief integrate new strategies, bring on new specialists, and is setting up 15 successful campaigns to test segments, messages, and delivery. Now they are acquiring customers from marketing alone. This has reduced the need to have direct sales people, resulting in better service, lower customer acquisition costs, and higher customer acquisition.

Cargo Chief was a perfect candidate for the GrowthX portfolio because they had enormous potential for rapid growth in reach, sales, and scalability. I’m so pleased to say that GrowthX has helped them achieve that potential as they continue to expand. Keep an eye on them as theymove into the next round of growth!

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