Margarita Tokareva

Software as a Service in Logistics

4 Reasons to choose “Software as a Service” in Freight Forwarding

What is “Software as a Service” (or SaaS) and how is it different from regular software? Read this guide to navigate with ease in the changing tech environment.

 

…80% of the products and services being consumed today are different from those that were being consumed five years ago. And five years from today, fully 80% of the products being used will be new and different from those being used today” – Brian Tracy, public speaker, author.

 

What Do You Buy When You Buy Software?

 

Software is a digital commodity, yet for years it’s been treated as a physical product. Corporate software license deals can cost millions of dollars, paid in exchange for a single CD. Very expensive CD.

But there is a very big difference between buying software vs buying an actual physical product. When you own a product, you have all the rights to use it as you wish, until it finishes, breaks, gets lost, etc. With the software, it’s not that straightforward. Usually, what you really buy – is the right to use the software.

Salesforce.com is probably the first most famous “Software as a Service” (or SaaS). The model proved to be very successful and challenged many of the traditional enterprise software vendors.

 

Benefits of Software as a Service

 

The SaaS model has flourished because of the many benefits it offers to businesses of all sizes and types. In freight forwarding and logistics, the most popular SaaS products are Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM), software that generates freight quotes, freight rate management software, white-label solutions that enable online quotes, etc.

 

1. SaaS is easy to use

SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device – anytime, anywhere. Because most people are familiar with using the Internet, SaaS apps tend to have high adoption rates, with a shorter training period.

 

2. Lower costs

SaaS applications are subscription-based, which means lower initial costs. Having the SaaS provider manage the IT infrastructure means lower own IT costs.

 

3. Painless implementation and upgrades

Because the SaaS provider manages all updates and upgrades, customers don’t need to download or install updates. The SaaS provider also manages availability – all you need as a customer is a web browser and internet access.

 

4. Seamless integration, customization, and scaling

SaaS companies can scale indefinitely to meet customer demand, including customization if required. Plus, many provide APIs that let you integrate with any existing ERP or other business productivity systems.

 

SaaS is Innovation

 

When you are a small business, then Software as a Service solution seems to be the best choice – it can be quickly deployed and tested (most SaaS offers a trial period for free or a fraction of a price). A monthly subscription plan usually allows 1-3 months’ cancellation notice and makes it a pain-free investment, rather than purchasing a heavy IT infrastructure and technical support. Probably the biggest problem for small businesses is the enormous amount of choice that’s already available in the SaaS market. Read here on how to choose the best SaaS for your business.

Larger companies have a set of challenges to deal with when it comes to Software as a Service, mostly around integration with existing enterprise software. Still, SaaS is the most cost-effective way to go to get to the forefront of innovation.

 

Quick-Start with SaaS – Quotiss Software

 

Software as a Service challenges the way business operates today. The biggest advantage of all is how quickly it can be re-shaped and re-purposed by a constantly changing business environment. If you’d like to try something new in your business, this is the right time to do it!

Click here to register your trial account in Quotiss online. We’ll activate it and help with the initial settings and user onboarding. Start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight instantly from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

Quotiss Freight Software

6 Reasons Why Quotiss Freight Software is the Right Choice

If you don’t have any freight sales automation software in place today, you should not worry about it. You can get one in under an hour and start sending fully automated freight quotes right away.
Here’s how: Choose Quotiss freight software to power your sales team!

 

If you want to keep it simple, the easiest way is to register for a free trial. It takes less than 1h to set up a working account, which you and your team can test free of charge for 14 days.

Yes, we believe so strongly in the power of our software that we offer a free trial—regardless of the size of your business or the number of users you have on your account.

For most freight forwarding businesses, when choosing the freight software, you’ll get the best results if you look for the following features:

 

  • Easy setup—even for non-technical users (15-30 minutes)

Quotiss account can be created and configured in as little as 15-30 minutes, even for non-technical users.

For example, if you’re already registered for the Quotiss trial and you want to switch to a full version, it only takes about 15 minutes to configure it. This includes adding your logo, users, teams, a set of terms & conditions for your quotes, etc.

 

  • Configuration options to match your brand

Within your quoting software, you’ll find options for the color, branding, and design of your freight quotes. These should be easily configurable from menus you can access directly from settings.

If you need to create custom code to change the look and feel of your freight quote, we offer many options for customization. It can be based on your own design, or with the help of our professional graphic designer.

 

  • Easily searchable

Make sure to choose sales automation software that makes it easy for your sales team to search and find archived freight quotes and historical freight rates. Many software options do not come with a strong native search function. In Quotiss, the search is a state-of-art engine, searching through the entire database by context and keywords in milli-seconds.

 

  • Optimized for mobile

As of 2020, 52% of all web traffic came from mobile devices, with the vast majority of that happening on smartphones. If you’re looking for freight quoting software, make sure the software is optimized to create freight quotes that work well on mobile devices—not just desktop computers.

That way your sales team can create and send freight quotes no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

 

  • A web widget option for your homepage

One of the best features of freight quoting software is the ability to integrate your freight rate database into a widget you can place directly on your homepage.

If you’re a Quotiss user, a web widget is included with your account—meaning you don’t need a separate popup tool to add a quoting widget to your site. With a flexible system of margins per client, per route, per product, and/or per contract, you can make sure that your customer will retrieve the right freight rate online. The same rate as he would get from a sales rep.

 

  • Affordable and supported for the long term

Once you’ve selected and implemented a good-fit freight software, you usually won’t want to make major changes for a while. For that reason, it’s important to ensure whatever freight software you choose is affordable and will be supported by the developer for the long term.

 

Sales Automation Software for Freight Forwarders

 

You can find all these features and many more in Quotiss software, designed for automating sales for freight forwarders.

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 sales process is powered by Quotiss, you become fast, efficient, and win more deals.

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.

 

Sales in Freight Forwarding, Quotiss

4 Ways to Automate Sales in Freight Forwarding

Doing sales in freight forwarding requires a huge effort from a salesperson. Apart from the actual selling, they constantly have to solve the puzzles of freight ratesheets and prepare a correct calculation of a freight quote for their customers. Sounds familiar? In this article, you can find 4 simple solutions for sales process automation in freight forwarding.

 

A salesperson in a freight forwarding company, 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 a high level of customer satisfaction.

At the same time, you have to generate and follow up on sales deals: 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 rather low – about 10% among freight forwarding companies around the world. That does not motivate salespeople to jump on every rate inquiry they receive during the workday – chances of winning the business are too low compared to the time they would spend on quoting and follow-ups.

The most logical approach is to move the freight quotes online.

 

Online Freight Quotes

 

Moving the quoting process online would be the most efficient solution for freight forwarders and their customers. Online freight rates are already used successfully in the parcel or airline business.

However, this concept has one major drawback: the market does not trust online freight rates. Freight rates published on the online aggregators are considered to be the base tariff rates, higher than those received as an individual quote from the salesperson.

Importers and exporters around the world request ocean freight quote via email (or via phone call) because they believe that this way they will get the best and ‘very special’ freight rate tailored to their specific shipment in question.

Without personalization of the rate level, online rates will not make the sales job easier. Moreover, someone will have to spend extra time uploading and refreshing those rates.

For the online quotes to work, the client has to be 100% sure that the rate he will retrieve from an online quoting tool will be the same as the rate he would receive from a salesperson. Will elaborate more on the subject in the next post, stay tuned!

 

Automated Freight Quotes

 

Let’s look at some smart and simple ways to improve and automate freight quotes that work.

  1. REPLICATE QUOTES

90% of the quotes in freight forwarding are replicated. If your client is shipping 40’HC lots from Shanghai to Hamburg, chances are that they will continue requesting the quote for the same corridor regularly.

Use the previously sent quotes as templates. The basis of the quote shouldn’t change – adjust quote validity dates and refresh the freight rate. Done.

  1. 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 regularly will increase your chances of converting the customer from ‘potential’ to ‘active’.

  1. 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.

  1. ANALYZE 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

 

You can find all these features and many more in Quotiss software, designed specifically for automating sales for freight forwarders.

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 sales process is powered by Quotiss, you become fast, efficient, and win more deals.

Quotiss is a practical software solution for freight forwarders, which automates all kinds of freight quotes smartly and simply.

Sign up for the free trial now – go digital today.

Freight Quote Follow Up Quotiss

Why Forwarders Should Always Follow Up on Freight Quotes?

Did you know that just one follow-up email on a freight quote can boost your sales results? Many freight forwarders seem to think that replying to their customers’ quote requests with a freight quote is already a great competitive advantage. And it’s not far from being true!

According to the fresh Mystery Shopper Report published by Freightos, the majority of freight forwarders have failed the test, again. Similar to last year’s results, 60% of quote requests still did not result in receiving a quote.

Well, it is indeed great if your sales team replies to all quote requests they receive – but it’s not enough. Follow-up emails to those who didn’t respond to your initial message are a must if you think of a truly efficient sales process. Follow-up is so important that the sales team should realize it even before they start sending freight quotes to clients.

The Mystery Shopper experiment also revealed that out of the 25 quotes received, only 2 (two!) companies sent a follow-up to see if the shipper was still interested in booking. That’s only 8%! In short, hardly anyone sends follow-up emails.

 

What does that mean to you?

 

There are three practical matters that are crucial for increasing the quote win ratio, which directly impacts your bottom line results:

  • Instant Quoting (sales reps need a simple tool to quickly generate freight quotes)
  • Email Integration (seamless connectivity and email tracking automation)
  • Follow-up (the feedback loop: was a quote successful or not, why?)

It means that if you do a follow-up after sending the freight quote to your customer, you are jumping right into the “8% club” of salespeople who actually do that. By following up on a freight quote, you show more interest in building a relationship with the client than the majority of whoever reached out to them. This means that just by sending follow-ups on quotes, your sales team will stand out from the competition.

 

Don’t be afraid of sending follow-ups

 

Usually, customers do not comment on the freight quotes they receive for two reasons: either they simply forgot or need some more thinking to place a booking. In both cases, we can increase their engagement by following up.

Sometimes people may feel that follow-ups will make the recipient feel stalked and angry. In practice, this is rarely the case. Usually, people feel grateful, enjoy your interest in them, and admire your persistence. Well, most of the times 😊

This is an actual reply I got lately:

“Hi, Margarita,
thank you so much for following up, because right now it is a very busy time. I would like to look into this in April.
Thank you again and I would definitely like to do a trial of Quotiss software in the future.”

Often it’s the follow-up that makes them hit ‘Reply’. Jason Zook reveals in his article that over 75% of all the deals he’s landed over the years have been a result of sending follow-ups. If you think that you can actually get yourself a chance for landing 75% more deals just by sending follow-up emails, you want to start sending them right away, don’t you?

 

How to Follow Up on Freight Quotes?

 

As you start sending the follow-ups, you immediately realize that keeping track of all the freight quotes is not as easy as you first thought. You will realize that it takes much more time than you initially expected.

At Quotiss, we understand that forwarders can’t afford to spend that much time on quoting and following-up. Automation of freight quotes and follow-ups is the best way to build an efficient sales process and increase the win ratio.

If you want to check how to automate follow-ups on freight quotes, sign up for a free trial at Quotiss, or request a demo.

Freight Sales Quotiss

Freight Sales vs Transparency

In freight forwarding, the transparency of the freight sales process has never been there at all. With the freight tariffs in a form of extremely complicated Excel ratesheets, and freight quotes prepared manually and sent by email or Whatsapp there is no visibility, no control and often no follow-up.

Usually, the sales manager doesn’t know how many freight quotes were sent in any period of time by the sales team. There is no way to check it if it’s all done manually. It is almost impossible to monitor the sales margins in the quotes. Managers must rely on the reports prepared by sales reps, where the information is unstructured and often biased.

This lack of transparency is also an issue for sales reps themselves – they have to search for freight rates in various files and emails, and there is no clear record of what rate has been offered to a client. This is a waste of time and resources, and it often leads to lost business opportunities.

 

Transparency of Sales is Essential

 

The importance of having transparency in sales activities is crucial for any business. The key to gaining control of the revenue is to have real-time access to sales performance. The live data stream is invaluable in spotting changes in trends and picking up on issues before they become a problem.

Also, studies show that when employees know their performance and have an instant overview of their KPIs, they improve their work. Focus, motivation, and accountability come when teams can see where everyone stands in just a glance.

Transparency in freight sales can be achieved in the organization when both pricing and quoting are managed via the same platform. A platform where all freight rates and quotes are created and stored, in the most structured and most proper visual way, accessible from anywhere and anytime. Quotiss software provides such a platform for freight forwarders.

Freight forwarders get access to more and more digital tools each year. There is a big interest in digitizing the customer interface: offer online freight quotes, online bookings, online tracking, etc. All these customer-facing digital initiatives are very necessary, but hardly possible without digitizing the back office of the freight forwarder.

It’s not possible to offer online freight quotes if your selling rates are maintained in Excel. You run a big risk of low data accuracy, which can cause financial loss and/or reputational risks.

 

Visual Sales Performance

 

Quotiss software automatically uploads freight ratesheets, local port charges, customer database. It contains pricing guidelines and an archive of freight quotes. With Quotiss, the sales team can generate perfect freight quotes in seconds, and email them to customers directly. Thanks to the full email integration, the follow-up is automated too!

Quotiss dashboard is a powerful visualization tool. It provides a full rate history per carrier, client acquisition statsfreight quotes performance, average margins, etc.

Quotiss dashboard puts your commercial KPIs and critical metrics together into an artfully designed and intuitive display. Data is updated in real-time. It allows setting goals and opens opportunities for immediate feedback and action. Everyone in the company is on the same page when it comes to sales performance and pricing guidelines, enabling better communication and collaboration across the teams.

By switching from Microsoft Excel to Quotiss software, you can automate sales activities and get access to the sales performance analysis, in real-time. There will no longer be a need to manage a number of complex freight ratesheets in Excel. That’s right, no more Excel!

With Quotiss, you can increase your sales productivity without increasing your headcount. When your business is driven by efficiency, it directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

 

Would You Like a Quick Start with Quotiss?

 

Click here to register your company. We’ll activate your company’s profile and help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can upload your ratesheets and start quoting freight from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

3 Reasons Why the Freight Rates are Record-High

 

Freight rates for shipping and transporting goods are going through the roof. What happened and why do we see such an unprecedented surge in freight rates?

 

Freight rates for shipping containers from China to Europe and the US have gone up to the unseen levels. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which is used to measure the average spot rates from Shanghai on the major trades, increased by 3x compared to last year (or any other year for that matter). For example, freight rates from Shanghai to the US West Coast rose to a new record of $4,054 per TEU – a 20% increase!

 

1. The Corona Combo

 

The lockdown is a direct effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. First, it was the lockdown in China at the beginning of the year, and a couple of months later  – everywhere else in the world. The economic lockdown affected the flow of goods: due to the closure of factories and plants, bookings were canceled. This resulted in blank sailings and capacity cuts. Passenger planes stopped the delivery of the airfreight cargo, causing a surge in prices for the limited capacity of the cargo planes.

Freight rates blank sailings Quotiss

During the summer of 2020, the flow of goods continued almost “as usual“.  But then, another unexpected Corona effect kicked in – the change in consumer behavior.

As Vincent Clerc (Maersk CEO) put it: “We hadn’t foreseen just how Covid would be able to change consumer patterns,” he said, adding that acceleration in demand has been the fastest in at least 10 years. “People use a much, much higher portion of their wages on goods.

It’s true. There is a change in the spending patterns. When the services became unavailable (restaurants, beauty, tourism, entertainment just stopped), people switched to buying more physical goods that need to be transported. Retail sales in the U.S. in December rose by 4.8% compared to the same period in 2019, causing the surge in demand.

 

2. The Shortage of Equipment

 

A conspiracy theory goes like this: all shipping lines had a secret meeting and decided to send half of their equipment to an uninhabited island far away. This theory could be false, but the truth is that there is a significant imbalance of empty containers on Asia-Europe trade.

Commitment agreements with the shipping lines used to be a space and equipment guarantee in the past, but it doesn’t solve the problem anymore. Even with commitment in place, it’s close to impossible to get an empty container in China these days. Carriers introduced a number of surcharges, pushing rates even higher. For example, Maersk Line is working on a number of initiatives called ‘Delivery Promise’ which should replace the standard ‘commitment’ agreement.

This is very frustrating to shippers. They have to accept the new rules of the game: “Ongoing service unreliability, coupled with the record profits of shipping companies at times of crisis, clearly depicts a seriously disrupted market and demonstrates that carriers have been passing tremendous hikes on spot rates, imposing heavy surcharges above the fixed-term contractual rates,” says Denis Choumert, president of the European Shippers’ Council (ESC).

 

3. Supply & Demand is King

 

COVID-19 and the equipment shortage are both valid reasons for the current freight rate spike. However, the main cause for the rate fluctuations on the market is always the supply & demand balance (or imbalance, to be precise). The lockdown contributed to increasing demand and the lack of shipping containers in Asia resulted in a limited supply. Consequently, freight rates have doubled.

Market forces are the main driving factor behind the freight rate fluctuations. Factors such as fuel prices, distance traveled, terminal costs, etc. don’t impact freight rates as much as supply and demand do.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):

“In general terms, the demand and the supply of maritime transport services interact with each other to determine freight rates. While there are countless factors affecting supply and demand, the exposure of freights rates to market forces is inevitable. Cargo volumes and demand for maritime transport services are usually the first to be hit by political, environmental and economic turmoil. Factors such as a slowdown in international trade, sanctions, natural disasters and weather events, regulatory measures and changes in fuel prices have an impact on the world economy and global demand for seaborne transport. These changes may occur quickly and have an immediate impact on demand for maritime transport services. As to the supply of maritime transport services, there is generally a tendency of overcapacity in the market, given that there are no inherent restrictions on the number of vessels that can be built and that it takes a long time from the moment a vessel order is placed to the time it is delivered, and is ready to be put in service.

Therefore, maritime transport is very cyclical and goes through periods of continuous busts and booms, with operators enjoying healthy earnings or struggling to meet their minimum operating costs.”

 

The Conclusion

 

Shipping lines are finally in a good place, making up for the previous years of low margins. Ships are loaded with high yielding containers, the spot market is at an all-time high, and the customers are forced to accept higher rates when signing new long-term contracts.

Freight forwarders make the biggest margins on the fluctuating market, so they are in a good place, too. Although, their sales and booking teams must be under a lot of pressure now.

Importers and exporters, on the other side, have to deal with the new reality of shipping rates. Their dilemma is difficult – accept the “ridiculously high” spot rates, or wait until the market will “normalize“. But as the wise saying goes: “It’s very difficult to predict, especially the future”. Who knows, maybe these rate levels are the new normal?

logistics startups disrupt freight forwarding

Startups in Freight Forwarding – Hot or Not?

In the last 5 years, the number of startups willing to disrupt the ‘traditional freight forwarding industry’, has been skyrocketing. Is ‘disruption of freight’ still a hot trend in 2020?

This post is inspired by the report ‘Startup Funding in Logistics’, published by McKinsey in May 2020 (highly recommended reading).

 

Startup Funding Statistics

 

The logistics industry became very hot in 2015, with funding growing 76% per annum. Most of the funds have been poured into the last-mile delivery services (9.9 BLN$), road freight marketplaces & solutions (6 BLN$), and the warehousing sector (3.3 BLN$).

The most exciting category is “Air & Ocean transportation” – these are the startups that aim to disrupt the traditional freight forwarding. Those startups received 1.6 BLN$, most of it (a whole 1.3 BLN$) went to Flexport – leaving just a fraction of funds for the other 300 startups in the group. An example of unfair Pareto distribution.

 

Logistics startup funding data Quotiss

Trillion-Dollar Industry

 

Those startups who fall under the “Air & Ocean transportation”, Flexport included, have the same 3 lines they use in their VC sales pitch:

  • “Freight forwarding is a trillion-dollar industry”
  • “People book tickets and taxi via apps, so we build an app for freight forwarding”
  • “Freight forwarders run their business on Excel, phones, e-mails, and fax machines”

This sales pitch immediately raises questions:

  • Why is there still no freight forwarding app in 2020?
  • Why is there still no huge success of Flexport?
  • Why is Flexport still the only one well-funded digital forwarder? (I do not count those owned by the traditional forwarders).

There is a number of reasons why the freight forwarding industry has not yet been disrupted as promised.

 

Uber for Freight

 

One of the reasons is the B2B nature of the forwarding business. People book taxi via app, but people do not book freight. Businesses book freight. And this fact takes us to a different level of transaction complexity. What adds more complexity, is that there are several parties involved in transportation, including government services. In the case of international transport, we should also count customs, cross-border laws, inspections, etc.

To put it shortly, booking and shipping a container is 100x more complex than booking and riding a taxi. This is also the reason why there are so many logistics software companies on the market – the complexity and local specifics of the forwarding business make it impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all software.

A possible solution would be to standardize shipping and forwarding to the level that exists in aviation today, get rid of all ‘local exceptions’ and ‘special permissions’. There are steps in this direction, but it’s a long way.

 

Booking.com for Importers and Exporters

 

In shipping and forwarding, freight rates are negotiated. It is very unlikely that someone can accept the online rate from the website. Such rates are considered the ‘entry-level’, and then negotiation begins.

This tradition definitely slows down the adoption of the freight marketplace – a platform where importers and exporters can book freight online by selecting the best offer from a forwarder (like ‘Skyscanner’ or ‘Booking.com’ for freight).

If there is a small shipment in question, it’s easier to outsource the delivery to the e-commerce platform. If there is a bigger shipment, it usually involves higher risks & costs related to the transaction complexity (see above), a direct contract with the 3PL company is a rational choice.

For the freight marketplaces to thrive for B2B, the market has to change its dynamics. There are steps in this direction, but it’s a long way.

 

Trillion-Dollar Industry with Low Margins

 

Last, but not least – freight forwarding is a low-margin business (click to read an interesting article by Eric Johnson). The ROI is not that attractive for the VCs, and until that changes, we will not see many startups who want to be the next Flexport.

Flexport is a digitally-enabled freight forwarder. Their main source of income comes from the commissions for transporting goods. In terms of business model, they are no different from a traditional forwarder.

What about the digital component? Well, if we look closer at the “traditional” forwarding companies, we will see that most of them use quite a lot of software in their daily operations. And there are no fax machines anymore 😊

So what is the difference, if there is no difference?

 

Sales Automation means Higher ROI

 

A solution to making ROI more attractive is to increase sales margins and reduce costs. A good idea would be to start with sales automation. Sales automation is the digitization of manual, time-consuming sales tasks using software, artificial intelligence (AI), data analysis, and other digital tools. It aims to simplify the daily sales workflow and bring transparency to the commercial aspects of the business. With sales automation on your side, you and your sales team can accomplish more on an average day than you used to on your best days. Your results will speak for themselves.

Quotiss software is everything your sales organization needs for freight rate management and sales automation. With Quotiss, you can easily upload your freight rates and local charges, automate your freight quotes (yet keep them personalized and human), track and follow up on the deals in the pipeline, and monitor sales performance in real-time.

With a free trial you can be 100% sure that Quotiss software is the right solution for your organization. After the account activation, you can follow the user guide to add clients and test our instant freight quotes module.

Lead Generation Quotiss

10 Tips for Online Lead Generation in Freight Forwarding

How do freight forwarders transform their lead generation process from offline to online? You can find a few tips in this article.

 

The year 2020 is a unique and unusual time for many businesses, freight forwarding included. Handshakes and offline meetings are history, face masks and videoconferencing is a new reality. Logistic conferences, economic forums, and trade shows are left in 2019, and not coming back soon. Together with the traditional offline lead generation.

 

Lead Generation in Freight Forwarding

 

In economics, one has to run to stand still. And “if you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that” – The Red Queen. The number of new leads is a very important key sales metric for the team – the sales funnel should always be full of potential deals to cover for the unexpected losses.

 

The traditional way of lead generation (conferences, meetings, forums, trade shows, fairs, etc.)  is currently unavailable. Online lead generation can bring certain benefits to freight forwarders, and this time it remains the only option anyway.

 

How to Generate Leads Online: 10 Useful tips

 

Getting into the online marketing world is easy. Today, in 2020, a number of digital tools have proven to be a great way to generate B2B leads, acquire new customers, and grow the business. We will give you 10 useful tips that you can start using right now!

 

1. Optimize Your Website

Your website is your first most important asset in the online world. Make sure you have the basics covered: your page must have a modern look, the right amount of information, simple navigation, and a clear message to your potential customer. Insert the ‘subscribe’ box to collect emails, connect Live Chat, or add a link for a quick online consultation. Don’t forget to connect analytics to your website to measure the results. You can also invest in SEO and SEM to improve the ranks of your page in search engines.

2. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Your social media page is your second most important asset in the online world. In the B2B segment, the preference is given to LinkedIn, but Facebook and Twitter could also be worth considering. Your company social media profiles should be regularly updated. This way your potential clients will know that your business is ‘alive and kicking’, and they will be more likely to contact you. Of course, your company profile should be visually appealing, and the content should be engaging.

3. Produce Engaging Content

The information that you share on your website, blog, or social media profiles should be relevant, interesting, and engaging. It also should be unique: no copy-pasting from other resources (beware of the Google algorithms). The more engaging is your content, the more people will interact with it (like, comment, share, repost, subscribe, follow) – the bigger coverage you will achieve as a result.

4. Ask Your Clients for Referrals

People trust people and their opinions. Ask your current customers to write a review about your service, or ask them to fill in the survey and answer a few questions about their satisfaction with your cooperation. Post these reviews on your webpage (don’t forget to get permission to use their name, company, photo, logo, etc.) so that your potential customers can refer to this experience.

5. Implement Targeted Campaigns

Keep your sales leads engaged by sending them regular communication. News, promotions, special offers, announcements, industry, or market events – anything that would keep your potential customers in the loop.

There are plenty of email marketing tools on the market, designed for email campaigns. However, with Quotiss freight forwarders can manage their sales leads more efficiently by sending customized freight quotes, targeted for a specific market/campaign. You can also measure the conversion ratio, open ratio, and future bookings.

6. Integrate an Online Freight Calculator

Customization of your webpage would give an extra value differentiator against your competitors. The most common differentiator these days is an online freight calculator. Shipping lines are successfully pioneering online rates, and some forwarders started to offer online freight calculators too. However, in most cases, it’s a simple online form (fill in => submit => wait for email).

The real online freight calculators will soon become the new norm. The ‘only’ problem with them is to ensure that it always gives the quote which is relevant to the client/market, and the level is the same as if it was quoted by the sales rep. This is only possible when a freight forwarder has an excellent internal rate management tool, with applied pricing guidelines. If you’d like to learn more about such a tool, please contact Quotiss.

7. Cooperate with Freight Forwarding Networks

It would be a waste not to use the freight forwarding network effect. Most likely, you are already a member of a few networks of such a business nature. Make sure that other members of the network know about the specifics of your business. You can create separate email campaigns to keep them in the loop of the latest service updates. The network effect will increase the coverage and bring more potential leads to your company page.

8. Keep an Eye on Your Competition

Monitor your competitors online to be aware of what they are up to. Get inspiration and correct your online strategy based on the steps that they take. But also remember, that your value proposition should be unique to stand out.

9. Engage with Your Audience

Always attend to every request that you are receiving from an online channel. Unanswered comments on your company page do not give a good impression.

An idea for advanced companies: organize an online workshop or seminar on a relevant subject. Use every opportunity to tell your target audience about the benefits of trusting their business to your company. Show your expertise.

 

What’s the Tip #10?

 

The lead generation process (both online and offline) can be quite costly for any business, and it can be a complete waste of resources without proper follow-up.

Here is tip #10: simplify and automate the process of adding a new lead to your CRM system. The lead management module should be user-friendly and intuitive, very easy to use, and practical. Sales reps don’t want to spend 20 min of their time to update all required fields in their CRM to create a new record, especially when there is an uncertain chance of success. Sending a ‘test quote’ to a new lead should be fast and fully automated.

Quotiss software can help you to automate your sales process, and simplify your sales lead follow up. This is especially crucial at a time when most sales teams work remotely and need a smart and simple software to collaborate efficiently.

 

Ready, Set, Automate!

Click here to register your Quotiss account. We’ll help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start quoting freight instantly on the same day we sign the deal.

Key Sales Metrics

5 Key Sales Metrics in Freight Forwarding (And How to Improve Them)

Most freight forwarding companies around the world set the key sales metrics for their commercial teams, and regularly produce thousands of sales performance reports. But these reports don’t necessarily tell how to improve the numbers. Whether you’re new to sales or a seasoned expert, it’s always worth getting a fresh perspective on your own stats, data, and metrics.

Why? Because bringing your sales team from good to exceptional is only possible when you know the cold, hard numbers. Let’s break down the 5 key sales metrics that matter the most to help you understand exactly what it’s measuring, why it matters, and a few tangible ways to improve them.

 

1. Freight Quote Volume

 

The freight quote volume is the total number of sent freight quotes. Start tracking this key sales metric to get a general understanding of how many quotes your salespeople generate per day, per week, and per month.

  • Why is it important to measure?

The number of sent freight quotes indirectly correlates with the number of bookings you win as a result. Of course, there are more factors that influence customers’ decision to book with a specific freight forwarder, but still –increasing the number of sent quotes, will naturally grow the $$$ outcome.

  • How to increase the number of sent freight quotes?

Simplify and automate the process of creating a freight quote, without compromising the quality of the quote. Quoting software should be user-friendly and intuitive, very easy to use, and practical.

 

2. Number of Accepted Quotes

 

Another parameter, which is essential to measure the performance of the sales team. At the same time, we recommend to keep track of the quotes which were declined by the client, and always ask for the reasons behind this decision.

  • Why is it important to measure?

An accepted quote is a commitment from the clients’ side and an indicator of a successful sale. The number of accepted quotes has a direct correlation with future bookings.

  • How to increase the number of accepted quotes?

We recommend analyzing the rejected quotes. With the advanced reporting feature in Quotiss, you can track rejection reasons by route, by the client, by shipment type, etc. This should give you a few ideas on how to increase quote acceptance.

 

3. Quote Win Ratio

 

The percentage of accepted quotes, also known as quote win ratio, can be an excellent key sales metric for efficiency. This is a very important parameter, which can be measured on the company level, team level, per person, by specific trade, per client, etc.

  • Why is it important to measure?

With these powerful stats, you will gain insights into your most efficient products, teams, directions, and more.

  • How to increase the win ratio?

Following the formula win ratio = accepted quotes / total quotes, you should work on increasing the number of accepted quotes (obvious) or decrease the number of sent quotes (less obvious).

It might be counter-intuitive to decrease the number of sent quotes, but sometimes it makes sense. With Quotiss’s advanced customer dashboard, you can quickly identify accounts that never converted from quote to booking. Those could be the ones to let go and to focus on new leads instead.

 

4. Number of New Leads

 

In economics, one has to run to stand still. And “if you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that” – The Red Queen. The number of new leads is a very important key sales metric for the team, essential for business growth.

  • Why is it important to measure?

Sales reps should always develop new leads to grow their portfolio and achieve targets. The lead generation process can be quite costly for any business, and it can be a complete waste of resources without proper follow-up.

  • How to increase the number of new leads?

We will prepare a separate article on lead generation in freight forwarding. Here is just simple advice: simplify and automate the process of adding a new lead to your quoting system. The client management module should be user-friendly and intuitive, very easy to use, and practical.

Sales reps don’t want to spend 20 min of their time to update all required fields in their CRM to create a new record, especially when there is an uncertain chance of success. Sending a ‘test quote’ to a new lead should be fast and fully automated.

 

5. Average Margin

 

None of the above key sales metrics make any sense if quote margins are not healthy. It is very easy to achieve exceptional results with the key sales metrics if you are selling freight below the market level.

  • Why is it important to measure?

We assume that every freight forwarding company is in this business in order to make a profit (unless you are a digital freight forwarder with many $$$ from VC funds).

  • How to increase the average margin?

This is a trick question, that depends on many aspects of your business specifics. But we recommend measuring it. Rephrasing Peter Drucker: if you can measure it – you can manage it, and if you can manage it – you can control it, and if you can control it – you can improve it!

Quotiss software can help you to measure these 5 important sales metrics, automate your sales process, and follow up and simplify your sales routine. This is especially crucial at a time when most sales teams work remotely and need smart and simple software to collaborate efficiently.

Ready, Set, Automate!

Click here to register your Quotiss account. We’ll help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start quoting freight instantly on the same day we sign the deal.

Quotiss Sales Automation

Sales Automation – 8 Practical Tips for Freight Forwarders

In the previous article, we’ve covered the top 10 benefits of the sales automation software for freight forwarding companies. Now it’s time to be more specific and go through the actual steps in the workflow of sales reps, where Quotiss and the sales automation can help the most.

These aspects of sales automation will particularly help sales reps achieve better productivity and win more deals:

 

  • Freight Quotes:

If you’re still creating and sending freight quotes manually (using MS Word, Excel, or similar tools), I’ve got great news: there’s a much better way.

First, upload your freight tariffs and local charges to automatically create and replicate freight quotes. Your spot and online rates will also be automatically added on the go. Second, integrate your mailbox with Quotiss. It’s an easy once-off process that only takes a couple of minutes.

That’s it – now you can generate and send perfectly tailored freight quotes in just a couple of clicks!

 

  • Quote and Email Templates:

Use freight quote & email templates to send your promo offers to potential customers – this will free up a ton of time. With Quotiss software, you can create a perfect personalized freight quote & email at a single glance. Personalized communication is very important because it increases response rates and customer loyalty.

You can quickly customize your freight quote to a specific client’s needs before sending it. Also, Quotiss lets you add personalization tokens so details like the contacts’ name, company, and email greeting are filled in automatically.

 

  • Client Knowledge Base:

Knowledge is power. The more information you have about your client, the easier it will be to successfully connect with them and earn their trust.

That’s where client profiling comes in. Quotiss gathers information from all freight quotes that have been sent to every customer, creating a comprehensive profile of your prospect. Use the client dashboard for quick visualization of stats.

 

  • Groups & Customer Segments:

With Quotiss sales automation software, you can use hashtags to segment your clients & group them into smart mailing lists. For example, the client can be tagged as #promoShanghai, #promoshoes, #monthlyFEAupdate, etc. Use the specific hashtag to prepare targeted promotions and automate your marketing communication with the customer.

 

  • Batch Actions:

What if you want to batch-send freight quotes to a list of customers, instead of going one by one? Quotiss lets you do exactly that. Select a group of clients using hashtags; prepare a personalized freight quote, add personalization tokens for each client, and finish off with some unique details to fill your messages with the human touch.

 

  • Quote Tracking & Follow up:

Quotiss software allows you to track your freight quotes and know if and when your client opened your email. Once your quote email has been opened and read by the customer, it is the best time to call and follow up right away – you will get their immediate feedback and a higher chance to win the deal!

Use the deal status switch to ensure that no deal slips through the cracks lacking proper follow-up.

 

  • Reporting:

If you lead a sales team, you might be spending an hour (or more) per day manually creating reports and then screenshotting or attaching them to emails.

There’s a much easier way to keep your team informed motivated. Use Quotiss Dashboard to monitor the key sales numbers in real-time, or download the statistics to Excel to make more complex analysis.

 

  • Client Ownership Rotation:

Handing over a client from one sales rep to another takes up precious time. There are better things to do; plus, some account specifics and exceptions may be neglected by a new sales rep, which definitely won’t help your team hit the budget.

With Quotiss, the clients are re-assigned automatically, and the knowledge base is always attached to a client’s profile. A new sales rep can simply replicate the previous offers, not being afraid of losing important details.

 

Ready, Set, Automate!

 

Click here to register your Quotiss account online. We’ll help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight instantly from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.