Kamilah Foster Exclusive Q & A Interview with Ryan Bennett of ShipHero

April 18, 2022

Exclusive Interview with ShipHero Ryan Bennett Hear Our City Media

By: Kamilah Foster

Vice President of Sales

1- How does it feel to be a leader of a major successful company in the shipping arena?

I feel privileged every day to have a position within ShipHero’s C-Suite and the new challenges that come on a daily basis due to how eCommerce has boomed in the last few years. We are the only company that commercially offers software and fulfillment services to eCommerce companies. Offering ground-breaking solutions that do not commercially exist is really exciting.

2- What was the strategy to help grow this business?

Like any company wanting to grow, we have a marketing strategy and outbound sales team, but what really helps a company grow quickly and sustainably is providing excellent service and getting referrals from happy clients. Our employees, particularly our Onboarding team, Client Service team, Operations team, and Engineering teams, all embody our company name, they really are all heroes, Shipping Heroes!

3- How important is it for a team to feel like management is their #1 cheerleaders?

A team feeling like management is their #1 cheerleader is hugely important. I think salespeople need to be celebrated for their ideas and for their contributions. To create a great team environment, it’s important for management to listen to employees, let them lead conversations, show empathy, be transparent, and be someone they can count on. When people feel valued and recognized, they are typically happy at work, and they will stick around and perform.

4- Do you hold a degree in business or was this a natural progression?

I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Otago in New Zealand. I majored in Management and minored in Film & Media Studies. I also hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Primary Education (Elementary Teaching). Like a lot of young adults at university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduating. I really had my eye on playing university basketball more so than studying, I felt like I majored in basketball my first two years, and I struggle to recall much from those first two years compared to my third year.

My university education didn’t lead me into the logistics and eCommerce industry but it provided me with personal development to allow me to travel and connect with people in more ways than I ever could have imagined. From teaching English in South Korea, to working my way up from the ground level in logistics in North America, what my education gave me was invaluable.

5- How important is relationships and customer service?

Outside of operations doing the actual physical work, these are the two most important components of any good 3PL and any good sales person. I treat every person I meet like they are a sales prospect. That might sound slimy, because many people think of salespeople as the used car salesperson caricature. For me it’s practicing the core skills of relationship building. Most people, extroverts or introverts, want to talk about themselves or their interests and by asking people questions and listening to them, it’s a way of building rapport with someone very quickly. Everyone wants to feel heard, important and appreciated. I’m the person that doesn’t stop talking to the Uber driver, to someone on the phone at the CRA/IRS, or the mail carrier. I love meeting people! Customer service is the continuation of this, it’s the second or continuous sale.

6- How important is it to not be sales driven?

As a salesperson, it’s important to know your goal is to drive revenue for your company and to own a quota, but it’s also important to be selective and ensure there is a great fit for your company and the client. Ensuring the balance between selling and client/company fit is essential. To answer the question, salespeople should be consultative by nature and try to solve a visible problem or uncover a problem to solve. Sales driven implies the salesperson is money-focused, those salespeople are transactional and fairly transparent.

7- How does it feel to have shipped over millions of packages world wide?

It feels great to help people get their packages in the most convenient way possible. During the pandemic, we were able to ship hundreds of thousands of PPE and Covid tests to people all over the US and the world. So those shipments had even more meaning to me. The environmentalist in me is happy, too. Why? Did you know that eCommerce is 17% more carbon efficient than traditional retail stores (according to Generation IM)? At ShipHero, I take great pride knowing that we are driving a huge reduction in carbon emissions by load balancing via ground transportation for our clients between our US facilities, meaning we are able to reduce our amount of air shipments significantly compared to other 3PLs. Air shipping methods are the largest CO2 emission producers in our industry.

8- In the business of shipping, are you in direct competition with FedEx, The United States Post Office, and Amazon?

No, we do not directly compete with FedEx, USPS or Amazon. We utilize carriers like FedEx, UPS, & USPS. We support Amazon sellers by providing FBA and FBM warehousing and fulfillment solutions that merchants need.

9- Did Covid 19 Pandemic have any effects on you as a business?

Yes is an understatement. The eCommerce industry as a whole experienced approximately 6-10 years of accelerated growth within the two years of the Covid pandemic. We saw supply chains bend, and break due to the increased online shopping demand by consumers that all of a sudden adopted eCommerce stores due to lockdowns and product shortages. Many people were able to work from home and have remained at home as remote workers. Warehouse workers were considered essential workers from the onset of the pandemic and worked tirelessly to fulfill orders for consumers. The work they have all put in as a collective should be discussed more in the media and in our daily conversations - it’s a hard job that requires much more celebration. With Covid restrictions lifting in many major markets around the world, we have only seen a slight drop in eCommerce sales as an industry this past March, signs that order volumes are maybe leveling off to pre-pandemic levels of annual growth. However, the pandemic did help eCommerce stores find new customers that have now likely become accustomed to online shopping.

10- This business at one point was operating out of a basement… What is something you can say to inspire the younger generations to follow their dreams?

Malcolm Gladwell has his 10,000 hour theory, and I tend to believe that once you have 10,000 hours under your belt, you will be able to talk about your passion with so much enthusiasm that it will inspire others. To start something, you need people to believe in yourself. For people to believe in you, you need to be believable.