Margarita Tokareva

Expert in sales process optimization in the logistics industry. Helps freight forwarders go digital and boost their sales with the implementation of the right freight forwarding software.

Digital Freight Forwarder Quotiss

Being Digital Freight Forwarder

Do you believe in Digital Freight Forwarders? Or do you think they are mystical creatures, like unicorns? Oh, wait… Flexport is both a digital freight forwarder and a unicorn!

We can argue if being a digital freight forwarder is actually a thing or not, but without a doubt, it’s cool to be a “digital forwarder” these days. At Quotiss, we wish that every forwarder becomes “digital”. In this article, we explain how you can maximize the benefits of freight digitalization in a fast and simple way.

 

Who is a Digital Freight Forwarder?

 

Flexport is by far the most famous and the most funded “Digital Freight Forwarder”. Flexport.com has a user-friendly interface: their clients can get quotes online, place bookings and track their shipments. But what is behind the counter of that beautiful shop-front?

Behind the counter, there is a young freight forwarding company, with the ‘same old’ business model of a middle man between the carrier and the customer. Their source of income as a forwarder comes from charging a premium for their service of arranging the transport of goods from A to B. This means, that they face exactly the same commercial and operational constraints as any other freight forwarder. So, what is the difference, then?

 

The difference between a Digital and Traditional Freight Forwarder

 

Obviously, the difference is in the “Digital” component. It is assumed that the “Traditional forwarder” relies on Excel as a main tool for the business, and “Digital Forwarder” has a smart digital platform that connects and integrates all aspects of their business. The obvious benefits of the digital setup are: 1) speed; 2) automation, 3) cost-efficiency. 4) transparency.

But there is a problem with this definition. First of all, there is a limit to connecting and integrating things into one system. As they say, “you can only be as digital as your supplier”. Some suppliers, like Maersk, are more advanced in the digital field. But the majority of the carriers allow limited integrations if any. Until this happens, all freight forwarders have to deal with freight ratesheets and manual rate requests.

Secondly, in 2021, 99.999% of traditional freight forwarding companies stopped using faxes, telexes, pagers, and hand-written notes. So, are they digital forwarders now?

 

How to become a Digital Freight Forwarder?

 

The term “Digital Freight Forwarder” has become the synonym of Freight Digitalization.

Flexport rises the awareness for freight digitalization in the industry. The news of Flexport raising new financial rounds could be a worrying sign to those forwarders who do not have the digital strategy yet. There is no need to worry – just take it as a sign and use the opportunity to upgrade your own tech.

The majority of freight forwarding companies today use some kind of software to manage their business processes. So, are they all digital forwarders? Well, no.

Some software solutions (like Excel, Salesforce, SAP) are not made for freight. There is a certain level of customization for these tools, but integrating them into one smooth forwarding software system can be extremely challenging. This is a very big limitation for the forwarding companies if they want to rely on such software solutions.

Traditional freight forwarder becomes digital freight forwarder only with the right software designed for freight forwarders.

 

Why is Digitalization in Freight Forwarding so Slow?

 

Cargo transportation, compared to passenger transport, is still at the beginning of the digitalization journey. Some business processes are more automated, some are less – but, all in all, there is still a long way to go.

Remember, in technology, one has to run to stand still (said The Red Queen). With the modern pace, certain trends go out of fashion fast. What looked like a technology of the future 5, 10, 15 years ago – now is collecting digital dust on the shelf in a virtual closet.

Some time back, ‘Booking.com for freight’ was a hit and we witnessed plenty of freight marketplaces rising like mushrooms after the rain. Later, the ‘Blockchain for freight’ became hot, and we all followed news on Maersk and IBM’s project. Now there is a trend for an ‘Online freight shop’ – which shall pass, too. These trends come and go for one main reason: customers (importers and exporters) don’t want a revolution in freight. They just want to get a great transport service at a great price.

 

Digitalization is Essential for the Forwarding Business

 

The ultimate goal of freight digitalization is to automate business processes and improve experiences for the people who matter the most for growing your business: your team and your customers.

“Online freight marketplace powered by blockchain” does not equal a great transport service, and it definitely doesn’t guarantee a good price to a client. And we are getting to the most important point: it’s the market expertise & professionalism that matter the most to the customers. Digitalization is not enough for running a successful forwarding business.

Freight software can help to highlight your professionalism by increasing your business process efficiency.

A good idea would be to start with sales process automation, as this has a direct impact on sales performance in the company. Sales automation means 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.

Freight software solutions on the market are very different in terms of their features, functionality, price, and many other factors. Beware that using freight software that isn’t a great fit for your company can actually do more harm than good. Use this guide to pick the best-fit freight software solution for your business.

 

Being Digital Freight Forwarder. Powered by Quotiss

 

Quotiss is a sales automation software for freight forwarders. With Quotiss, you can digitize the following internal business processes:

  • Rate management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Quoting freight + Online Quote Widget
  • Sales Follow-ups
  • Sales Analytics

With Quotiss, your team will no longer have to maintain bulky Excel ratesheets, create quotes manually, waste time on searching quotes in the mailbox.

Process Automation and Efficiency are the key benefits of Freight Digitalization. Fill in this form to register for a free trial of Quotiss software. It only takes a few seconds!

Logistics Software Acronyms Quotiss

Quick Guide to Logistics Software Acronyms

In this article, we will solve the riddles coded into the logistics software acronyms and will try to figure out if a freight forwarder needs a CPQ, QMS, TMS, FMS, ERP, CRM, etc… software solutions, and why.

 

The Logistics Language

 

We all know that the freight forwarding industry speaks its own language. There is no shortage of industry-specific terminology, that ‘the outsiders’ do not understand. And let’s admit it, people in the logistics industry love acronyms!

When I demonstrate Quotiss software to a potential client, I always mention at the beginning of our call, that I do speak the ‘logistics language’ – it makes the person on the other side much more comfortable 😊

During my 10-year career in Maersk, my acronym vocabulary grew by x1000. Most of it came from the time in vessel operations dept., where we used acronyms to communicate with the ship crew via the satellite. My favorite one was this standard email text from the ship: “cnf eta agw wp rgds”. Yes, it’s a meaningful sentence. Any guess?

 

Logistics Software Acronyms

 

The list of acronyms is not fixed, and every year we learn something new (like COVID-19, for example). I have no purpose to go over the standard list of the logistics terms – you know them better than me. Instead, we will review the list of acronyms for the software products marketed for the logistics business. The list is growing every year, so it’s getting hard to navigate in these 3-letter codes.

Here are the top 6 logistics software acronyms:

  1. CPQ
  2. QMS
  3. CRM
  4. ERP
  5. FMS
  6. TMS

Now, let’s go through the details and check what it means, what is the purpose, and do you need it as a freight forwarder.

 

CPQ (or QMS) Software

 

  • What does CPQ (QMS) mean?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. QMS stands for Quote Management System (do not confuse with the Quality Management System, which also exists out there).

  • What is the purpose of CPQ (QMS)?

It is typically used to produce accurate quotes for complex and configurable products, much like the freight quotes. The overall purpose of CPQ system is to make your sales process efficient, productive, and successful. QMS is a limited version of a CPQ, where the ‘Configure’ part is missing and the ‘Price’ part may not be automated as a result.

  • Do I, as a freight forwarder, need CPQ software?

Yes, of course! By the way, Quotiss is a typical CPQ software. Visit this blog post to learn more.

CRM Software

 

  • What does CRM mean?

CRM stands for Customer relationship management.

  • What is the purpose of CRM?

CRM is used to manage all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers, active accounts, and potential (or sales leads). When someone talks about CRM, they usually mean a CRM software system, a tool that helps with contact management, sales management, productivity stats, and more.

  • Is CRM software part of CPQ software?

CRM can be part of the CPQ software, enabling a seamless connection between your contracts and tariff rates, freight quotes & customer database, turning product configuration, pricing, and quote generation into an integrated part of the sales process.

  • Do I, as a freight forwarder, need a CRM?

Yes, of course! By the way, Quotiss has CRM essentials built into our standard product. Only the core features, no-nonsense. Visit this blog post to learn more.

 

ERP Software

 

  • What does ERP mean?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning.

  • What is the purpose of ERP system?

ERP is a software platform that allows a company to use a number of integrated software modules. Modules within the ERP will usually include procurement, sales, ordering, invoicing, and accounting among others. The most common ERP systems in the world are SAP, Oracle, IBM, etc.

Overall, ERP is that enormous integrated database of everything, which took a very long time to configure and implement in every team in your organization, and nobody really likes it.

  • Do I, as a freight forwarder, need an ERP system?

Well, that depends on the size of your organization. Large companies often have no choice but to get (stuck with) an ERP system. SMBs, on the other hand, are more lucky.

 

FMS (or TMS) software

 

  • What do FMS and TMS mean?

FMS stands for the Freight (Forwarding) Management System, and TMS stands for Transport Management System.

  • What is the purpose of FMS system?

FMS (or TMS) is similar to the ERP: a modular platform across all freight forwarding business processes. A difference between FMS and ERP is that FMS is made for freight forwarding, and ERP is a global standard for all industries. FMS software enables planning, execution, and reporting of transport movements within the supply chain. The most famous TMS system in the world of logistics is Cargowise. But there are plenty of local solutions on the market, too.

  • Do I, as a freight forwarder, need FMS (TMS)?

Rather, yes. Again, that depends on the size of your organization. Large forwarders often have no choice but to implement Cargowise globally. SMBs, on the other hand, are more flexible and can choose a local solution that fits their business needs.

  • Can CRM and CPQ software solutions be a part of FMS?

It is possible. FMS usually provides a standard solution for every business process in the supply chain. But most of the time, it’s just not good enough.

 

Software Toolbox for Freight Forwarders

COVID-19, among other things, gave freight forwarders a “quantum leap” in digitization. With the freight rates being at an all-time high for a few months, the freight forwarders generated remarkable profits. Many started looking at digitalization, as a way to allocate those profits, investing into the future gains. We see this new trend from an increasing number of Quotiss demo requests we get from our Online Form.

The new software solution can be a great investment – it can help your business to stay afloat or even boost it, by increasing productivity and simplifying the collaboration (especially for the ‘work from home’ scenario). But it’s easy to overdo it, and swamp your team with a multitude of tools to check / fill in / update / monitor.

If you are sure that your team needs another digital tool, please make sure that you are familiar with one more acronym (the last one for today):

 

API Integration

 

  • What does API mean?

API stands for Application Program Interface.

  • What is the purpose of API?

In simple words, API is a software intermediary that allows a few applications to talk to each other. API delivers your request from software (1) to software (2) and then delivers the response back to you, in a format that software (1) can process. In the context of our article, API can connect the interface between your CRM, CPQ and TMS systems. It will still be 3 separate software solutions, communicating and working as a team.

  • Do I, as a freight forwarder, need my software solutions to support API?

Yes, of course! By the way, Quotiss can connect with your FMS via API (as long as your FMS has the API enabled). Get in touch to get a copy of our API documentation.

 

In a few years from now, the logistics world be even more tech-driven than it is now. We do not know what it will look like, but we can select the best software that is available on the market right now. And if you still quote freight in Excel, you should definitely check our Free Trial here.

Sales Automation in Freight Forwarding, Quotiss Benefits

Sales Automation in Freight Forwarding – Top 10 Benefits

Improve your sales efficiency, get rid of manual tasks, streamline recurring activities, automate deals follow up, and more – thanks to sales automation in freight forwarding.

 

If you are considering automating your sales process, but still unsure what value will it bring, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever wasted half an hour digging through your multiple Excel ratesheets or emails to find the freight rates you needed?
  • Have you ever lost a booking because you forgot to reply to that rate request?
  • Have you ever gone back and forth with a quote request figuring out how to calculate all charges correctly?
  • Have you ever lost a booking because you forgot to follow up on the deal?
  • Have you ever miscalculated your sales performance and ended up with an unfulfilled sales budget?
  • Have you ever spent precious time looking for that freight quote that you sent a few weeks ago?

If you said yes to any (or all) of the above, your company can definitely benefit from sales automation. This article will guide you through sales automation tips in freight forwarding.

 

Top 10 Benefits of Sales Automation in Freight Forwarding

 

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.

Sales automation benefits your business, sales team, and bottom line in multiple ways:

  1. Boosts the productivity and performance of your sales team
  2. Ensures your sales deals are followed up, timely
  3. Increases the quality of your freight quotes
  4. Accelerates your business efficiency
  5. Improves the accuracy of your sales process
  6. Simplifies quoting and freight rate management process
  7. Reduces response time which directly improves customer satisfaction
  8. Keeps commercial data consistent across your sales organization
  9. Brings transparency to your commercial process
  10. Allows efficient use of sales team resources

With sales automation on your side, you can accomplish more on an average day than you used to on your best days. Your results will speak for themselves.

 

The Danger of Sales Automation

 

Obviously, you can’t automate everything in your sales process, some aspects must stay human. Interaction with customers has always been the most important value differentiator for every freight forwarder. You never want to automate sales to the point when customer relationships will feel completely robotic and soulless. Think of hundreds of distributed emails with the freight rates from China that you receive every day. Usually, those emails immediately go to the spam folder. Wonder if they get any conversion with this tactic?

Sales automation is not about replacing your sales team with email distribution software. Your professional sales team is a critical and irreplaceable element to your deals. Sales automation allows your sales reps to focus less on administrative tasks and more on selling. It also ensures that your sales process is structured, easy to follow, and unified across the organization.

Your sales automation tool is the most important element for your sales automation. It is the main engine of your sales process. If the engine is not the right fit for the job, your sales process will not work at the maximum efficiency and minimal resource. If you use Excel ratesheets and manual quotes instead of freight software, you need a bigger sales team to achieve the same revenue.

 

Sales Automation with Quotiss

 

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.

The software itself has automation tasks — such as carrier integration, quote replication, direct reply to a quote request, quote receipt confirmation, quick access to archive data, and much more. It also feeds data via API into the other software your company uses.

Click here to register your company in Quotiss. We’ll activate your account, and help with the initial settings and implementation. You can start using Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

Quotiss Freight Forwarding Software

Freight Forwarding Software: 6 Best Features for Sales Automation in 2021

We will guide you through the basics of sales automation in freight forwarding software and how to choose the best software for your business.

 

Freight Forwarding Software for Sales Automation

 

Sales automation software empowers freight forwarders to automate the sales process: quick freight rate discovery, instant reactions to a freight quote request, automating the follow-up on sent deals, etc. As a result, you enjoy the boost of freight sales, keeping control of your costs, and getting real-time market analytics – all in one platform.

Sales automation software feels out of reach for many small and medium-sized freight forwarding businesses because:

  • You think it requires a lot of time to implement,
  • It seems like a high cost / low rewards idea,
  • Your clients aren’t asking for it directly.

Let’s look at these assumptions and see why—with the right freight forwarding software—every business (yes, even yours!) can benefit from sales automation.

The software for freight rate management, freight quote automation, and sales analytics was not often searched some 5 years from now when Quotiss just started as a small startup project. At that time, we were struggling to find the right definition for our product, because the analogs didn’t exist. Some CRM and ERP systems offered the functionality, but it was so cumbersome that most companies never succeeded to adapt it to their business process, sticking to Excel.

Today, freight forwarders can choose from plenty of software options, available on the market. Are they all good?  No, they are not. How to find the best freight forwarding software for your sales and pricing teams? Well, the easiest way is to click here and start your Quotiss free trial now. Or just keep reading the article.

 

6 Best Features for Sales Automation in 2021

 

The best sales automation software shall include the following features:

Quotiss - Freight Forwarding Software

1. Freight Rate Management

In order to automate the freight quoting process (the output), you have to start with digitizing the input (freight rates). Upload your freight tariffs and local charges, add spot rates on the go, and get instant access to the online rates via API. With the rate management software, you can keep all freight rates on one platform, ensure data consistency, enable instant data sharing across the organization and do your own market analytics.

Quotiss is the only software on the market to offer an exclusive freight tariff uploader, suitable for every freight ratesheet format and product type. You get rid of Excel ratesheets and can keep control of your negotiated freight rates in-house.

 

2. Quoting Tool

Quoting is the core process in sales automation. Imagine creating a perfect personalized multimodal freight quote & emailing it to your client in a couple of clicks. Sounds like a dream come true.

Email integration is essential – personalized communication with your customer is very important because it increases loyalty and response rates. A large variety of customization options is very important – your freight quote shall be tailored to the needs of your client. Quotiss is the best freight quoting tool on the market – or else, why would it be called Quotiss?

 

3. CRM

To really offer the best customer experience, you’ll need to have all of your customer data stored in one place. Sales automation software that includes some sort of CRM—even a simple panel with basic customer data, quoting history, business potential, average product margins, payment settings —helps sales support agents to quote and follow-up faster.

 

4. Market Intelligence and Analytics

Ideally, your sales automation software accumulates the data and connects the dots creating a larger sales funnel. You can collect, segment and analyze the information from the sales deals to encourage upsells, or set up new services and products to further build your company strength.

 

5. Booking API

The best sales automation software is tied to your TMS system, to make the most out of software integration. Choose to automatically send the successfully accepted freight quotes to the booking team. Select the data which will be automatically uploaded to your booking software, including Buy and Sell rates and freight margins, product and service details, etc.

 

6. Website Quote Widget

Enabling your customers to retrieve freight rates online through your website can sound like a crazy idea. However, with the powerful rate engine in the background, it can release some workload from the sales team, increase your customer loyalty and boost your sales!

The most important condition is to make sure that your customer will get the same rate online and via a sales rep. Quotiss software has the best rate management engine to power your digital customer portal with the most accurate freight quotes.

How to choose the best freight forwarding software for your sales team?

 

If you haven’t selected freight software for your sales team, you’re simultaneously at an advantage and a disadvantage. On the plus side, you haven’t invested in any wrong tool. The downside – you’re losing on sales automation benefits.

You can find all the above benefits and many more in Quotiss software, which is designed to automate 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.

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

Lead Generation Quotiss

10 Lead Generation Tips for Freight Forwarders

The year 2020 was a unique and unusual time for many businesses, freight forwarding included. Handshakes and offline meetings became history, face masks and videoconferencing became 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. How do you promote a freight forwarding business in 2021?

 

Today, in 2021, several digital tools have proven to be a great way to generate B2B leads, acquire new customers, and grow the freight forwarding business. We will give you 10 useful tips on how to promote a freight forwarding business that you can start using right now!

 

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 an important key sales metric for the team – the sales funnel should always be full of potential deals to cover the unexpected losses.

 

The traditional way of lead generation (conferences, meetings, forums, trade shows, fairs, etc.)  is currently unavailable. The freight rates are reaching previously unseen levels, keeping your sales team very busy securing business. Online lead generation can bring certain benefits to freight forwarders, and this time it remains the only option anyway.

 

How to Promote a Freight Forwarding Business?

 

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’s 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).

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.

10. Simplify – Automate

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 updating 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 for a free trial. We’ll help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start quoting freight instantly on the same day we sign the deal.

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.