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.
- 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.
- 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’.
- TRACKING & FOLLOW UP
Sales Automation tools allow you to track your emails and see if and when your client opened the email with the quote. For example, once you know that your quote has been opened by the customer, it is best to call them and follow up right away – you will get their immediate feedback.
Some tools even track the amount of time the client spent on each page of your offer.
- ANALYZE 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.