Author: David Abell

Squirrel Works Team

It’s no secret that the folks at Squirrel Works love working with transportation companies! But the truth is, we think drivers are pretty great as well! In fact, over the last few months, I did some video work for Ed Lewis Trucking and Smith Transfer and got to know a bunch of hard working truck drivers in the process. Capturing their stories, complaints, and advice on video has been one of the greatest privileges of my career in transportation. I’m sure you realize this, but I’m going to spell it out anyway--truck drivers deliver all of our essential goods (not some of them, ALL of them). That’s why we celebrate them during this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week: September 9-15. After all, the trucking industry delivers to our cities, our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, and our businesses. The trucking industry keeps the shelves of our stores and our gas stations stocked. In fact, the trucking industry is an indispensable driver of our economy--contributing $738.9 billion in revenue a year. Picture one of millions of trucks traveling our roads today. Behind the wheel of that truck, regardless of thick fog, pounding rain, or terrible traffic, sits one of 3.5 million dedicated truck driving professionals committed to delivering the products that sustain and grow our economy. 80% of communities in the US rely 100% on trucking for the delivery of their goods. You know what that means--fewer truck drivers on the road equates to slower deliveries, higher prices, and less satisfaction! Think about it--roads without truck drivers means businesses without products, hospitals without supplies, schools without materials, buildings left unbuilt. The US and our economy would come to a standstill! Here at Squirrel Works, we see trucking companies on a regular basis. We love working to help them with their marketing needs, but the truth is we don’t always appreciate their value. We’re like everyone else. How many people stop to consider just how much the trucking industry contributes to our daily lives, our communities, and our economy? I’d bet the answer is not too many.   Now think about this--How many of us take the time to stop and thank the driver behind the wheel? During this week-long celebration of truck drivers, hosted every September, we simply want to say thanks to these hard-working men and women. This week, I hope you will join me and take a moment out of your busy day to reflect on the importance of a truck driver’s work. If you see a driver, please use it as an opportunity to say thank you to these real-life heroes.    ...
Uncategorized

The 3rd Annual DAT User Conference is coming up soon in Portland, Oregon. Here at Squirrel Works, we’re excited to reunite with old friends and make some new ones too! In fact, we’re so excited, we thought we’d share some tips and tricks to help you take full advantage of the marketing opportunities the conference provides. We’ve been to quite a few conferences, and we’re always a bit surprised by how few transportation leaders are using social media to market themselves before, during, and after a conference like the fast-approaching DAT User Conference. Let’s take Twitter for example. Twitter is an exceptionally strong platform that can provide ongoing marketing for your company--long after the conference has ended. We’ve compiled a few tips for using Twitter to your advantage while attending transportation conferences. Just so you know, we’re not real bullish on Twitter overall as a Social Media platform benefiting logistics companies but it’s great for conferences! Twitter--What You Need to Know! It’s okay to use a conversational tone on Twitter. Other social media platforms don’t have the character count Twitter does. So go ahead and skip the formalities with a casual and straight-to-the-point tweet! Twitter works in real-time and doesn’t rely on algorithms to get tweets in front of your audience. That means your tweet might have an 18-minute lifespan. Sure, you have a pretty wide reach with Twitter, but you must tweet consistently and remember that your followers are also following other people--creating crowded timelines. Use the Conference Hashtag! Conferences create a dedicated hashtag you can use! Check out the conference marketing material, the app, or any big screens for the hashtag that they recommend. That hashtag gives you a big advantage--even people who don’t follow you will see your tweets when they search the conference hashtag! With some consistent tweeting, you might end up with some new followers! Some conferences even display a live stream of tweets with the conference hashtag, and this is a fantastic marketing opportunity. Make sure your tweets are conversational, consistent, and professional, so when you show up on these live streams you look like a pro. It’s another great way to gain new followers! Speakers like Credit! Speakers at conferences work hard to prepare! Don’t forget to credit speakers when you are quoting them on Twitter--this shows respect and shows an understanding of the topic. Most speakers provide their Twitter handle at the beginning of a session, but you can also check out the marketing materials. And if it isn’t provided, you can do a Google Search using their name and the word, “Twitter.” Be brave, bold, and opinionated! Add your unique point of view or understanding when you share speaker quotes. This opens up the conversation and encourages followers of the conference to engage with and connect with your tweets. This is your opportunity to engage with ideas and smart, industry-leading speakers like Steve Brown and Donald Broughton--to name just a couple! Follow and Connect! Sure, you want to gain followers, but a platform like Twitter offers you the opportunity to network and connect with other transportation folks. Do your research before the conference. Start following some of the speakers, as well as, experts or people you’d like to connect with. Here at Squirrel Works, we’ve even used Twitter to set up meetings. Use Twitter to meet others who might be interested in hearing more about what you do All you have to do is follow the conference hashtag, find out who is attending, and tweet them to see if they have a few minutes for a coffee. Never underestimate the value of a face-to-face meeting. Get Started Today! The 2018 DAT User Conference is right around the corner--September 24-26. Use Twitter to make it your best conference yet. We hope to see you there and in the live stream!!!...
Apps and Online ToolsResources

Who would argue that the transportation industry is in a major state of disruption? The ELD Mandate, the continuing driver shortage, and a growing economy have all contributed to an ever-shifting logistics landscape. When we add in all the hoopla about autonomous trucks, platooning, and blockchain we can see that the disruption is ongoing. In this topsy-turvy environment, savvy digital freight brokers are reporting record-setting profits. We hear a lot about relationships and how successful 3PLs create and cultivate them. And I agree 100% that relationships are king, but I think technology and, more specifically, speed closely follow. Those of you with industry experience know exactly what I mean about speed. I fondly remember my first frenzied weeks working in a freight brokerage--it could have been Wall Street! The phones rang off the hook and no one talked--they yelled. Technology has quieted some of the noise involved, but it’s increased the pace--you only have so much time to react. Customers can and will give their freight to another provider in mere minutes. A carrier can book his truck before you’ve hung up the phone. Some folks say it’s the best time to be in logistics. I’m going to take that a little further and say--there’s never been a better time to work for a freight broker or a transportation company! So what makes me say that? It’s the amazing technology we can use and offer today! Most people think Transportation Management Systems (TMS), truck tracking software, or customer rate calculator tools (the big stuff) when they hear tech in freight brokerages. And sure, that’s correct, but I tend to think of the above technologies as enterprise tools for the organization. What I want to examine today are the must-have tools--tools that increase productivity and efficiency for front-line employees. Let’s take a look! Facebook App Social Media works for trucking and transportation! Okay, I’ll rephrase that. While Social Media provides a great forum for seeing pictures of your Grandma’s cat or an elementary school friend’s kids, it can do so much more! Take the Rate Per Mile Masters Facebook Group, for example. This is a master group that includes drivers, dispatchers and other experienced transportation professionals who post and comment about relevant topics concerning our industry. If you’re not a member of this group, you need to change that now--especially if you’re a freight broker. This group provides an insider’s look at the most compelling issues affecting drivers and will help you gain new insights into the ever-changing environment. And it’s only on Facebook! LinkedIn App LinkedIn is a little different from Facebook. The mechanics of the platform are similar, but the audience is geared toward white-collar professionals who want to network. You won’t find many trucking companies on LinkedIn, but you will find shippers and supply chain professionals. LinkedIn offers groups of like-minded professionals who provide valuable insights on the state of the market, as well as, best practices and government regulatory information. Don’t worry, you don’t need to master the art of social selling to make LinkedIn valuable, but you will want to keep your profile up-to-date and buff up your networking skills using the app. Ring Central App Yes, my heading is “Ring Central,” but feel free to substitute a VoIP phone system app of choice. We use Ring Central, and I think it’s pretty freaking powerful. No, I’m not suggesting that you turn into a workaholic and answer phone calls when you should be at home with your family. Actually, quite the opposite! I think given the right technology, Ring Central (or your VoIP app) can lessen your work time! For example, let’s say you have to run an errand or step out of the office briefly. With the right connectivity, you can do so without ever missing a beat The Ring Central App is cool because it has instant messaging, SMS, Phone, Voicemail, and Conferencing capabilities baked into a single application. In an industry where time really is money, it's invaluable to be connected (when you choose to be). It’s an exciting time to work in the transportation industry! Change often arrives alongside innovation. The problem is that it’s difficult to stay at the forefront of change and to utilize the technologies that can enhance both your work and your personal life. Here at Squirrel Works, it’s our job to study and use the newest and most effective technologies. We understand that you’re busy and don’t have time to vet each new app. So for now, check out Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ring Central. And when you’re ready to learn more about relevant apps or technology, give us a call. We’d love to chat!...
Sales and MarketingTIA 2018 Conference

Spring is almost here with its longer, brighter, and warmer days! Without a doubt, it’s my favorite time of the year. Along with all the good weather, spring brings with it the Transportation Intermediaries (TIA) Annual Conference. This year’s conference will be the third I have the privilege to attend. I'm always excited to travel to and network with people who are as enthusiastic about transportation as I am. For me, the TIA Conference isn’t just a chance to see the coolest technology, but a chance to catch up with old friends. Like all good conferences, often the most beneficial learning happens during conversations that occur outside lectures--over a couple of beers in the evening, talking through similar problems and solutions with old friends. This year promises to be a little different. You see, I'm a bit nervous heading into the conference for a couple of reasons. This is the first time AMT Squirrel Works will have a booth. We’re pumped because the booth will make it super easy for attendees to find and network with us. On the flipside, the logistics to exhibiting at a conference are a little daunting. Even so, I know the headaches will be worth it when the Exhibit Hall opens, and we’re having meaningful conversations with new and old friends about their sales and marketing processes. In addition to the booth, I’m presenting on a panel with a group of seasoned transportation professionals with sizeable public speaking pedigrees. I have to admit, it’s a little intimidating to be associated with such a distinguished bunch, but they’ve been great to work with on preparing the presentation, and I'm thrilled to be in their company. My personal mission for TIA this year is to educate the 3PL community on the power and value of a professional marketing presence, as well as, the potential benefit to ROI realized by creating a sales funnel process. One of the questions I’m regularly asked is, “Why do I need a new website?" which is a variant of "Why should I spend the money on this project?" Here’s the truth--We 100% believe in the power of marketing for 3Pls, but also know an ROI can be calculated when 3PLs create a sales funnel to educate customers and offer accessible purchase opportunities. We look forward to this new and dynamic conversation! If this excites you and you’re interested in learning more about it, be sure to attend my panel, How to Stay Relevant (or Re-Inventing Yourself) at the 2018 TIA Conference. And bookmark our blog for continuing follow-up conference commentary! like to learn more about it....
Sales and MarketingSquirrel Works Team

This month marks my three year anniversary with CrossFit.  Yes, this is a business blog and you might expect me to write about trucking or digital marketing, but I promise to tie this together, so stick with me! Plus the first rule of CrossFit is you HAVE to talk about CrossFit! 😊 Right now CrossFit devotees are almost halfway through the 2018 CrossFit Open. The CrossFit Open is the five-week/five-workout qualifying stage for competitors. Every Open participant completes the same weekly workout released on Thursdays, but only the top competitors in each region qualify for the spring Regionals which feeds participants into the summer’s CrossFit Games. 99% of participants have no chance at making Regionals, let alone the Games--CrossFit’s yearly Olympics--and still we punish ourselves for the chance to battle our friends and find out how we stack up against the best in the world by checking CrossFit’s leaderboard, an innovative online ranking of game participants. There isn’t another sport where you can pull up a webpage and instantly gauge where you are in relation to the top athletes! Every Thursday night we anxiously wait to see what torture (the workout) Dave Castro, Games Director, has cooked up. While we wait, we text friends with our guesses and then strategize once the workout is announced. It all sounds a little silly…and maybe it is, but the Open makes the community so strong. There’s something special about the CrossFit Open.  I belong to one of the least competitive CrossFit gyms out there, but somehow the Open manages to pump us up. I’ve heard of people so nervous, they get sick before the workouts! Keep in mind that 99% of participants have no chance at making it to Regionals, much less the games, so what causes this bizarre behavior? I believe we get worked up because the Open brings out our best. The energy it creates is hard to describe, but it allows us to set personal records (PRs) for weights and movements that we’d not otherwise reach. It brings out the confidence and strength buried deep within each of us.  Personally, I might claim to hate the open, but secretly I enjoy it because it forces me to give my best. The added peer pressure doesn’t hurt either! Does your business have a “CrossFit Open?” Think about that for a minute! What forces you to break out of your comfort zone, to set a new PR? What’s one thing that could change the trajectory of your business? What are you doing that’s hard?     I started CrossFit to stay in shape and relieve stress, but somewhere along the way I began to change, to realize what I’m made of and how much pain and discomfort I could withstand to excel. What are you made of? How do you know?...
Sales and Marketing

There is a well-known, yet fairly new vendor in the transportation space. Their name--let’s call them BIG NAME--is everywhere, and according to public information, they have already raised 10 million in venture capital.  Good luck attending an industry conference without seeing their huge booth and BIG NAME name plastered on everything because they are always a platinum sponsor. Good for them right? Actually, it’s great for them given the fact that no  one seems to know what they do! In the last year, I’ve worked with roughly 100 freight brokers to transform their digital presence and I can’t find a single company that knows what BIG NAME does! Oh sure, some folks can repeat the one-liner they’ve seen posted below that ubiquitous logo but when further questioned no one can tell me what it means. My intention isn’t to run down this venture-backed start-up, but rather to use BIG NAME as an example of the power of good marketing. You see, if seasoned transportation professionals do not understand BIG NAME’s business model or values--then how were they able to raise 10M in a highly cut-throat VC space? My guess would be through the power of marketing. BIG NAME understood how to leverage industry jargon and buzzwords to clearly articulate the opportunities they offered. With clever marketing, they convinced several somebodies to give them money. Pretty cool, huh! Let’s take this lesson and apply it to your company. Maybe the opposite is true. I’m guessing you have a rock-solid operation and pride yourself on following through on your word while delivering exceptional service to your customers and carriers.  You’ve spent years honing your craft. You’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and people. Here is where the disconnect occurs. We are so busy making our businesses the best they can be that we fail to market them properly or, in some cases, even at all. Hey, I’m not suggesting you be a platinum sponsor for every industry conference that comes round the pike. Only that you take advantage of some relatively simple ways to share your authentic story and help customers find you. If your website hasn’t been updated in the last three years and isn’t mobile friendly, then it no longer gives you a competitive advantage. In fact, your website could be hurting your credibility 24 hours a day and seven days a week. What about Social Media? Have you set up any channels? And if so, let’s hope you didn’t create them four years ago only to let them languish unused but open to the public! I’ve just shown you two small ways you can improve your marketing efforts, but to stay relevant in this industry; you need a true marketing strategy. A thorough, smart, and innovative marketing strategy isn’t simple and can’t be integrated overnight, but the good news is you have a valuable resource at your disposal. At Squirrel Works we are transportation people who understand marketing.  We will never sell you something irrelevant to our industry.  Our customers appreciate the time we take digging into new technology in order to evaluate how it best fits into the Broker and Carrier space. You offer a great service.  You have refined and perfected it over the last several decades.  You’ve done the hard part.  Now it’s time to show your customers and carriers what you truly bring to the table and why they need you.  Don’t delay.  Start on that 2018 Marketing plan today....
Social Media

Are you in transportation? Is your Social Media presence less-than-effective? Don’t worry--you’re not alone! Most brokers and carriers do not utilize the vast benefits of Social Media and therefore, do not see any ROI for their efforts. I believe, without a doubt, that a relevant and robust Social Media presence will improve your business if you avoid four common mistakes. 1.Vague and Ill-Defined Purpose Does your Facebook page have a clear point?  When Squirrel Works begins a new Social Media project with a customer, we work hard to understand their intent. We want our efforts to align perfectly with their purpose. Here’s the rub--that purpose must be clear. All too often, businesses make the mistake of over-complexifying their purpose, and that’s nothing more than self-sabotage! For example, if the purpose of your Facebook page is to recruit prospective employees then much of your content should focus on the office culture while providing an exciting glimpse into the inner workings of your operation. You want prospective hires to visualize working for you! However, this content will do little to convince food shippers that you are the best freight broker for their particular needs. The key is to pick one strong purpose--that way you don’t dilute your page and lose followers. 2. Unidentified Audience If you followed the above advice, you have a clearly-defined purpose which will be a guiding light to writing and curating the best content.  Now you have to ask the all important question--who is the ideal person to consume your particular content?  What is their demographic?  What is their age range and occupation?  Facebook’s algorithms help track whether or not you are meeting your goals, but you need to identify your ideal readers, those folks for whom your content will resonate! After all, how can you evaluate the benefits of your Social Media presence, if you haven’t defined who your followers should be and who you want to convert? 3. Content Doesn’t Encourage Engagement Does your content not only inform but also encourage your audience to participate in the conversation? Conversation sparks connection! It’s important that your readers feel you are speaking directly to them. They should be comfortable enough to loosen their guard in order to ask you questions. This is how you get your foot in the door! Don’t come off like a salesman--post something funny once in a while, share compelling industry data, ask questions! It’s important to evaluate your content on a regular basis to make sure your content positions you as a friend! 4. Lack of Consistency How many times have you visited a company’s Social Media page to discover they last posted three years ago? What does this tell you? Does it create doubt? If a company is inconsistent on the web, how likely are they to be inconsistent with you? Think about your own posting--do you post only around the holidays? Sure, everyone likes Christmas, but a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” isn’t going to excite new customers. Balance is tantamount to a relevant Social Media presence. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! If managing a Social Media account will be an additional duty for someone, create realistic expectations. At Squirrel Works, we recommend a hybrid approach where we post on clients’ behalf consistently per a pre-arranged schedule with the client supplementing our posts as they desire. This keeps the page personal while maintaining a consistent posting schedule for the defined audience. If you correct these four common mistakes by implementing our suggestions, your transportation company’s Social Media presence will be a marketing tool with benefits that far outweigh the time and thought you put into it. Having a freight brokerage background, I understand the struggle inherent in growing a business while staying on top of daily operations. At Squirrel Works, we believe that a knowledgeable partner can help you create realistic and cost-effective goals for a Social Media presence that will far-exceed your expectations!...
Sales and Marketing

As 2017 comes to an end, I’ve been taking stock of all I’ve learned and deciding what I want to carry with me into 2018. As I look back over this year of change and growth, I believe my journey with a company called StoryBrand taught me one of the most important business lessons I have learned. “Marketing” is a concept that confuses a lot of companies. Some see good “marketing” as the calendar with the flashy logo they hand out during the holiday season, while others believe “marketing” is their creative corporate manifesto. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching marketing in general and digital marketing as well to better serve the clients at Squirrel Works, and I was lucky when a friend recommended I check out the company StoryBrand. StoryBrand’s philosophy is that most companies waste “marketing” money trying to be cute, creative, and hip. Most of the time, this flashy content is a bundle of confusing noise. I began my journey with StoryBrand by reading Donald Miller’s brilliant and easy-to-understand book, Building a Story Brand, and then listening to their wonderful podcasts. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to learn more, and I was fortunate enough to attend the live workshop in Nashville a few weeks ago. The StoryBrand framework shifts marketing paradigms. Here are three of the most eye-opening and dynamic shifts! Your brand is not the hero in your company story, your customer is. The shift here is to position your company as the guide and your customer as the hero. This means you are like Haymitch in Hunger Games, Yoda in Star Wars, or Peter Brand in Moneyball. Your job is to empathize with the needs of your customers and provide a solution to their problems.   Customers buy solutions to their internal needs more than external ones. While most companies sell solutions to external problems, most customers are looking for solutions to how those problems make them feel. The StoryBrand framework explores the internal concerns your customers face and how you can address those concerns in marketing materials.   Marketing material often exploits “insider” language on the assumption that customers know more than they do. StoryBrand calls this the “curse of knowledge.” Time and again during the workshop, StoryBrand facilitators showed us where our materials lacked clarity. They asked us--Do you want your customer to attend a workshop, buy a candle, or call you for an appointment? The answer to this question should be stated clearly and plainly on your website. If you want your customer to buy a candle, you need a big bold button that says, “Buy a candle now!”   Like all really good conferences, one of the best aspects of the StoryBrand Workshop was the community. We ate together, laughed together, and brainstormed about our businesses together.  It was refreshing to venture outside the transportation industry to network with smart, funny, and talented people about our different value propositions and customer goals. After three full days at StoryBrand, I came home fired up with a specific BrandScript for a freight brokerage but also with loads of knowledge that informs my work to help transportation companies clarify their message and connect with target customers. I highly recommend the StoryBrand framework. It is easily digestible and offers concrete steps for implementation.  Please feel free to reach out to me directly. I would love to share my experience or start a project to clarify your company’s  message!...
Sales and Marketing

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy Seal officer. In the course of his military career, he was deployed multiple times to hostile countries. I first heard Jocko speak when he was a guest on The Tim Ferriss Show--one of my favorite podcasts. Normally, Tim and his guests discuss different aspects of business and sales--interesting marketing techniques and lifestyle hacks, but his interview with Jocko was completely different and very compelling. Jocko discussed motivation, discipline, and grit. When his book, Extreme Ownership was released, I grabbed it up and gorged on its contents. Jocko was in Iraq with the Seals in the same area at the same time I was in Iraq with the Army. I like to believe that maybe, just maybe, I was on a mission with Jocko and didn’t realize it. Jocko takes the practice of discipline to a new level. He doesn’t mince words--Do the work, he says, and you will get results. He lives the way he speaks. Each morning, Jocko hops up at 4:30 AM, takes a picture of his watch and posts it to Twitter. He isn’t flashy or hi-tech. When he retired from his successful military career, he founded a private consulting firm where, along with other veterans, he provides coaching and consulting for business struggling in one aspect or another. Being an avid Jocko fan, I recently purchased his newest book, Discipline Equals Freedom. I enjoy his no-nonsense approach and have been reading a lot in my free time. I have a few thoughts about Jocko’s approach to discipline. While I like his style, I don’t entirely agree with his reasoning. In fact, I think he may oversimplify. If you want to lose weight, then stop eating. If you want to save money, don’t spend it. If you want to get stronger, go to the gym. Jocko doesn’t buy into infomercials, hacks, or shortcuts. It just requires discipline, he claims. I have to admit that’s quite refreshing to me. After all, I’m as guilty as the next person. I long for success to be as easy as a new tasklist app or a new digital planner--things I can purchase. But alas, these are just tools. Discipline is required to know where I am spending my money, time, and energy. If I can master that, then I don’t need a fancy new app or gadget. Our history books tell many stories of successful folks accomplishing amazing things without an iPhone or Instagram account. I’d like to believe it’s as simple as Jocko asserts, but I’m a bit more jaded and a lot more realistic. If I had the discipline, to begin with, I wouldn’t even be pondering these questions. But what if we could cultivate discipline? What would this look like, and how would it affect the way we live our lives and conduct our business? I’ve been thinking about this, and I believe the cultivation of discipline begins with a solid support system. You might call this a tribe or a group of peers; either way, it’s the people you surround yourself with. I believe we can develop discipline if we surround ourselves with people who hold us accountable, peers who lend a hand when we need it. In Crossfit training, I surround myself with quality people who hold me accountable to work out 3-4 days a week. Until I became part of this group, I did not consistently stick to a workout routine. This holds true in business. At AMT Squirrel Works we are looking for customers willing to hold us accountable and push our limits as a company. We want customers who demand we translate the latest sales and marketing tactics to logistics so they can crush their goals. Our most successful customers are willing to do hard work. They need a partner to hold them accountable and to keep them motivated. That is our greatest strength. The future of sales and marketing requires a strong digital presence. This includes a modern website, relevant SEO, and active social media pages. It requires discipline and focus to implement, execute and stay focused on this plan, day in and day out. We are standing before the future, and I believe we should take a page from Jocko Willink. Cultivating discipline is a key component to success, and while it won’t happen overnight, at AMT Squirrel Works, you will find the support system, the underpinning to grow your business. Like all great partnerships, we will hold each other accountable and this will result in increased business and a healthy company positioned to remain relevant and adaptable in the years to come....
Resources

Picture this: You are one of only 200 lucky men and women surrounded by elegance. You look around with wide eyes because this room is one of the most beautiful you have ever seen with a majestic staircase and gorgeous marble and limestone accents. Up on the stage your friend and mentor, Bob Ruffalo, the CEO and founder of IMPACT an innovative inbound marketing company, is giving you the low-down on IMPACT’s success story, so you can take these ideas home and cultivate the same success in your own company. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it! I’m here to tell you, it was better than pretty good. It was fantastic. IMPACT Live Conference is a collaboration between IMPACT and The Sales Lion--a conference for folks who believe inbound marketing can and should be fun, values-driven, and collegial. And the conference itself embraces and exudes these ideals. The speaker line-up is packed with a variety of forward thinking sales and marketing leaders like Marcus Sheridan, President at The Sales Lion, Tara Robertson from Sprout Social, Jeff Julian, CEO and co-founder at Squared Digital, Tony Uphoff, President and CEO at Thomas Publishing, and Paul Roetzer whose talk on an “artificially intelligent” future was pretty mind-blowing. The venue was gorgeous. The food was out of this world. The opportunity to connect with other business leaders, marketers, innovative sales people was incomparable. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I plan to go again. Let me tell you why. I’m finding, as I learn more about innovative marketing, that it's critical to make and take the time to work on the business instead of always working inside the business.  Let me explain, our mission here at Squirrel Works is to bring cutting edge digital marketing solutions to the transportation industry.  In order to fulfill that mission, to provide the best possible, most innovative and valuable service and support to our customers, we want to not only stay on top of the latest trends and best practices; we want to pioneer in the field.   IMPACT Live 2017 and conferences like these give us a chance to do this.  We choose not to regurgitate old school ideas; instead, we ensure that our customers are on the receiving end of cutting edge technologies..  We offer a competitive advantage because we study the successful technology and practices of other industries and combine that knowledge with our our unique understanding of transportation to adapt them to this industry.   Continued education gives us an edge, and it gives our customers an even bigger edge!...