Automation & Digitalization

Automation and digitalization in freight forwarding

Quotiss CPQ logistics software

CPQ Logistics Software Explained

Recently, we get quite a lot of questions from forwarders asking to explain different terms and acronyms related to logistics software. So many, that we even put it in a separate blog post, which you can find under this link.

But most surprisingly, more and more people start to use the term CPQ. A few years back, I have written this piece about CPQ software. At that time, it was very unpopular 🙂 So I have decided to give it a second chance since it’s getting so trendy now.

 

What is CPQ Software?

 

  • What does CPQ mean?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. Sometimes it is referred to as QMS software, where 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 the 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.

 

Why Configure – Price – Quote?

 

The majority of logistics companies still use Excel spreadsheets to manage their freight rates. Which is fine, until it’s not. There will come a time when relying on a simple Excel file can lead to disaster. When your business starts to grow, you’re going to face the limitations of it: a confusing multitude of files with freight rates together with the errors in the formulas can lead to a dramatic loss of revenues.

The right logistics software can bring structure to chaos and mess. For the sales team in a freight forwarding company, there are several essential business processes that should be digitized and automated:

  • One reliable source for freight rates
  • Instant freight quotes
  • Follow up on deals
  • Internal collaboration

 

How to Configure – Price – Quote?

 

Configure:
  • Import your freight contracts and local charges and set default margins
  • Import your customers and set default margins
  • Connect directly to your online freight contracts and spot rates
Price:
  • Upload contract and spot rates automatically (No outsourcing!)
  • Get one transparent database of contract and spot rates (No more bulky Excel ratesheets!)
  • Get an easy-to-search archive of historic rates and quotes
Quote:
  • Create professional personalized freight quotes in seconds;
  • Put your quote widget online
  • Improve invoicing accuracy

 

The danger of skipping the “Configure – Price” part

 

When you made a decision to upgrade your sales process, remember to stick to this exact order: 1) configure; 2) price; 3) quote. And here is why.

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 commercial back office of the freight forwarder.

It is necessary to start from the basics – digitize and automate your freight rates, and after that put your freight quote widget online.

You can’t skip the “Configure – Price” steps and digitize just the “Quote” part. If your pricing is based on Excel ratesheets, the data quality will never live up to any decent standard. Especially, if your goal is giving a possibility of online quotes to your customers.

 

Get a Quick Start with Quotiss CPQ!

 

At the core of Quotiss, there is a powerful engine, secure servers, and an excellent team of professionals. Our main differentiator – the simplicity. Quotiss is inspired by Pareto Rule and KISS Principle. Thanks to that, Quotiss removes 99% of the complexity of the commercial process and structures the freight rate management in a smart and simple way.

Looking for the best freight forwarding software? Quotiss software is the best-fit solution for your business. Register for a free trial today and in 14 days we can prove this to you.

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 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 transport of goods from A to B. This also 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 the “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 connectivity if any. Until this changes, all forwarders have to deal with bulky Excel ratesheets and manual rate requests. Secondly, in 2021, 99.99% of freight forwarding companies stopped using faxes, telexes, pagers, hand-written notes and invested in some kind of software solutions for their business. So, are they all digital forwarders now?

 

How to become a Digital Freight Forwarder?

 

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

Flexport raises the awareness for freight digitalization in the industry. The news of them securing new financial rounds could be a worrying sign to those forwarders who do not have a digital strategy yet. Treat it as a threat, or take it as an opportunity and use this sign 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 offered for these tools, but integrating them into one smooth forwarding software ecosystem can be extremely challenging (time, cost, complexity). This is a very big limitation for the SMB forwarding companies if they want to rely on such software solutions.

The best (fast and simple) solution for the traditional freight forwarders to transform into “Digital” is to implement the right software designed for freight forwarding companies.

 

Trends in Digital Freight

 

Remember, that 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 the number of freight marketplaces growing like mushrooms after the rain. Later, the ‘Blockchain for freight’ became hot, and we followed the news on the collaboration of Maersk and IBM. Now there is a trend for an ‘Online freight shop’.

These trends come and go for one main reason: customers want to get great service at a great price.

“Online freight marketplace powered by blockchain” does not equal a great forwarding 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 a self-sufficient product you can sell. It can give great support, but it is not enough for running a successful business.

Freight software can help to highlight your professionalism but will never replace it.

 

Being Digital Freight Forwarder

 

Where to start with freight digitalization?

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

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.

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.