Doing sales in freight forwarding involves a huge amount of time and activities from an average sales rep. You have to be aware of everything that’s happening around the business: get in touch with the clients to get new bookings, research your competition, ensure high-quality support for your customers, and high level of customer satisfaction.
At the same time, you have to follow up on daily sales: prepare freight quotes for potential clients and renew the current offers for your customers.
The quoting and the follow-up parts are the least creative and the least inspiring activities for the sales reps. They take a lot of time due to the manual nature of the process.
Another drawback of the quoting process is that the average quote acceptance ratio is about 10% among the freight forwarding companies around the world. That does not motivate salespeople to jump on every rate inquiry they receive during the workday, as the chance of winning the business is too low compared to the time they would spend on quoting and follow-ups.
The most common (and also very logical) approach to the problem in the industry is to put the freight rates online.
Online Freight Rates = Self Service?
This would be by far the most transparent and efficient solution for both, customers and the service providers. Online freight rates are already used successfully in the parcel or airline business.
However, there is one major drawback to this concept: clients do not buy online rates for ocean freight. Freight rates published on the online platforms are considered to be the base tariff rates, higher than those received as an individual quote from the freight forwarder.
Customers around the world request ocean freight quote via email (or via phone call) because they believe that this way they will get the best ‘very special’ freight rate tailored to their specific shipment in question.
Putting the rates online will not make the sales job easier: the amount of rate requests incoming via phone or email will not decrease. Moreover, someone will have to spend extra time on maintaining those online rates at the relevant levels.
Automated Freight Quotes
Let’s look at some smart and simple ways to improve and automate quoting freight rates that really work.
- REPLICATE QUOTES
90% of the quotes in freight forwarding are replicated. If your client is shipping 40’HC from Shanghai to Hamburg, chances are that they will continue requesting the rate for the same corridor regularly.
Replicate the previously sent quotes. The basis of the quote shouldn’t change – adjust quote validity dates and the freight rate. Done.
- BATCH ACTIONS
Group similar tasks and use templates as much as possible. This way you can save time and reduce the number of manual errors.
For example, you can prepare one quote template with Far East import promo rates and one email template. Use marketing automation tools to distribute your promo rates as a batch action. Make distribution lists based on your client segmentation. Reuse your templates slightly changing the content every time, try to add the ‘human touch’ to your message to make it stand out. Professional and personalized quotes sent on a regular basis will increase your chances of converting the customer from ‘potential’ to ‘active’.
- TRACKING & FOLLOW UP
Sales Automation tools allow you to track your emails and see if and when your client opened the email with the quote. For example, once you know that your quote has been opened by the customer, it is best to call them and follow up right away – you will get their immediate feedback.
Some tools even track the amount of time the client spent on each page of your offer.
- ANALYZE THE DATA
Statistics is a powerful tool to drive change. Gather as much data about your commercial process as possible. This way you will define the areas with the highest ‘waste’ level. If you can measure it, you can manage it.
For example, if you know that the client doesn’t open your emails, something has to change.
Sales Automation Software for Freight Forwarding
All these features and many more you can find in Quotiss software, which is designed specifically for the freight forwarding business.
Have you ever considered using modern software to automate your sales? Even as a small or medium-sized freight forwarder, you can apply the right software solution and increase your sales productivity without increasing the headcount. When your business is driven by efficiency, it is directly related to your company’s bottom line: time is money, and the faster competitor wins the customer.
Quotiss is a practical software solution for freight forwarders, which automates all kinds of freight quotes in a smart and simple way.
Sign up for the free trial now – go digital today.