Freight Rate Management

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. 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.

 

What’s the Tip #10?

 

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

Here is tip #10: simplify and automate the process of adding a new lead to your CRM system. The lead management module should be user-friendly and intuitive, very easy to use, and practical. Sales reps don’t want to spend 20 min of their time 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.

Quotiss Freight Software

6 Reasons Why Quotiss Freight Software is the Right Choice

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

  • Configuration options to match your brand

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

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

 

  • Easily searchable

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

 

  • Optimized for mobile

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

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

 

  • A web widget option for your homepage

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

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

 

  • Affordable and supported for the long term

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

 

Sales Automation Software for Freight Forwarders

 

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

As a small or medium-sized freight forwarder, you can apply the right software solution and increase your sales productivity without increasing the headcount. When your sales process is powered by Quotiss, you become fast, efficient, and win more deals.

Quotiss is a practical software solution for freight forwarders, which automates all kinds of freight quotes in a smart and simple way.

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

 

Sales in Freight Forwarding, Quotiss

4 Ways to Automate Sales in Freight Forwarding

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

 

A salesperson in a freight forwarding company, you have to be aware of everything that’s happening around the business: get in touch with the clients to get new bookings, research your competition, ensure high-quality support for your customers, and a high level of customer satisfaction.

At the same time, you have to generate and follow up on sales deals: prepare freight quotes for potential clients and renew the current offers for your customers.

The quoting and the follow-up parts are the least creative and the least inspiring activities for the sales reps. They take a lot of time due to the manual nature of the process.

Another drawback of the quoting process is that the average quote acceptance ratio is rather low – about 10% among freight forwarding companies around the world. That does not motivate salespeople to jump on every rate inquiry they receive during the workday – chances of winning the business are too low compared to the time they would spend on quoting and follow-ups.

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

 

Online Freight Quotes

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Automated Freight Quotes

 

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

  1. REPLICATE QUOTES

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

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

  1. BATCH ACTIONS

Group similar tasks and use templates as much as possible. This way you can save time and reduce the number of manual errors.

For example, you can prepare one quote template with Far East import promo rates and one email template. Use marketing automation tools to distribute your promo rates as a batch action. Make distribution lists based on your client segmentation. Reuse your templates slightly changing the content every time, try to add the ‘human touch to your message to make it stand out. Professional and personalized quotes sent regularly will increase your chances of converting the customer from ‘potential’ to ‘active’.

  1. TRACKING & FOLLOW UP

Sales Automation tools allow you to track your emails and see if and when your client opened the email with the quote. For example, once you know that your quote has been opened by the customer, it is best to call them and follow up right away – you will get their immediate feedback.

Some tools even track the amount of time the client spent on each page of your offer.

  1. ANALYZE DATA

Statistics is a powerful tool to drive change. Gather as much data about your commercial process as possible. This way you will define the areas with the highest ‘waste’ level. If you can measure it, you can manage it.

For example, if you know that the client doesn’t open your emails, something has to change.

 

Sales Automation Software for Freight Forwarding

 

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

As a small or medium-sized freight forwarder, you can apply the right software solution and increase your sales productivity without increasing the headcount. When your sales process is powered by Quotiss, you become fast, efficient, and win more deals.

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

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

Freight Quote Follow Up Quotiss

Why Forwarders Should Always Follow Up on Freight Quotes?

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

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

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

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

 

What does that mean to you?

 

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

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

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

 

Don’t be afraid of sending follow-ups

 

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

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

This is an actual reply I got lately:

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

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

 

How to Follow Up on Freight Quotes?

 

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

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

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

Freight Sales Quotiss

Freight Sales vs Transparency

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

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

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

 

Transparency of Sales is Essential

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Visual Sales Performance

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Would You Like a Quick Start with Quotiss?

 

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

3 Reasons Why the Freight Rates are Record-High

 

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

 

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

 

1. The Corona Combo

 

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

Freight rates blank sailings Quotiss

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

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

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

 

2. The Shortage of Equipment

 

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

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

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

 

3. Supply & Demand is King

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Conclusion

 

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

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

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

logistics startups disrupt freight forwarding

Startups in Freight Forwarding – Hot or Not?

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

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

 

Startup Funding Statistics

 

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

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

 

Logistics startup funding data Quotiss

Trillion-Dollar Industry

 

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

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

This sales pitch immediately raises questions:

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

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

 

Uber for Freight

 

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

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

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

 

Booking.com for Importers and Exporters

 

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

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

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

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

 

Trillion-Dollar Industry with Low Margins

 

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

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

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

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

 

Sales Automation means Higher ROI

 

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

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

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

Maersk Spot Quotiss

Maersk Spot is Integrated with Quotiss

We are happy to announce the integration of the Maersk Spot product with Quotiss Freight Software. Quotiss is now using Maersk Spot APIs, allowing seamless connection with the single sign on to our customers.  With this integration, freight forwarders can check Maersk Spot rates directly in Quotiss, compare Maersk Spot rates with the other contract rates, and quote instantly.

 

What is Maersk Spot?

 

Maersk Spot is a unique product of its kind. It enables instant freight quotes, guarantees equipment availability, and cargo loading on Maersk, Sealand, and Safmarine services irrespective of the peak season at a fixed price.

Mr. Marcin Zarzecki, CEO of Quotiss, says, “Maersk Spot integration is an important first step towards deeper freight digitalization. We can’t wait for other ocean carriers to follow this trend to share freight rates via API.

The quick access to the dynamic online spot rates feels like a digital revolution in the industry. It’s not a secret, that pricing and quoting freight in shipping is largely manual and involves a lot of back and forth email exchange of large Excel freight ratesheets. Enabling rate access in one click via API, shipping lines save a lot of time for freight forwarders. Enabling rate access to third-party software providers, like Quotiss, shipping lines create a solid digital foundation for further industry digitalization on a larger scale.

With this integration, Quotiss aims to promote online freight rates and enable online bookings, using a very simple and intuitive user experience. It is also another step towards selling freight online.

 

The Benefits of the Integrated Maersk Spot Product

 

Maersk launched Maersk Spot in early 2019, and even though the product doesn’t yet cover all trade lanes and container types, it is already very mature and stable. This is a revolutionary step in the right direction, long-awaited by all industry players. Simplification is the key for the digitalization when it comes to freight rates.

A number of our clients told us that they had been waiting for this product for 2 main reasons:

  • No need to login to Maersk.com separately to check the spot rates on each corridor (single sign-on saves time);
  • Advanced software integration with ocean carriers adds winning points to the competitiveness of their services.

This might be a biased statement, but as a person who spent 10 years working in Maersk Line, I’d like to add, that Maersk is one of the most innovative companies in the industry. They are well known for being a trendsetter in the digitization of container shipping, and hopefully, other carriers will follow this rate API trail shortly. #alltheway

 

About A.P. Moller – Maersk

 

A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 76,000 people. For more information: www.maersk.com

 

Quick-Start with Quotiss Software

 

These days, efficiency becomes a very strong competitive advantage for forwarders. Since there is less cargo on the market as a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to win as many bookings as possible.

Sales teams in freight forwarding companies can be very efficient with the right set of sales automation tools. Quotiss software could be the right solution to digitize your sales process. You will increase your sales productivity without increasing headcount. When your business is driven by efficiency, it directly impacts your company’s bottom line.

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.

Instant freight quotes

How to Sell More Freight with a Remote Sales Team?

There are 3 things one needs to know to visualize the size of any freight forwarding business:

  • how many TEUs/FFEs/mts are handled by the company on a yearly basis?
  • how many people are employed?
  • how many offices are running globally?

We always assume that the more the better. But is it really so?

 

‘Lean’ is the New Black in Freight Forwarding

 

The latest trend, activated by COVID-19 is directed towards efficiency – do more with fewer resources. The main question that forwarders should ask themselves is how to grow annual volumes without growing the administration costs.

In the startup world, the book ‘Lean Startup’ became the bible for any upstarting entrepreneur who is not backed by investors’ money. The book describes the only viable business model – do only the most essential work, cut all unnecessary spending, use the growth hacks and shortcuts wherever possible.

But it’s time to get specific. Here are the tips on how to run a sales support remotely. These tips will help you to create your own “lean” sales team and sell more freight.

 

Where to Start?

 

Usually, remote team tips tend to focus on hiring and managing. But, before you even think about your people though, you need to think about your tools.

Hiring takes months. Learning how to be a good manager takes years. But you could get the software you need to run a remote team today. It is possible. Even preferable.

The software brings structure and routine to chaos and mess. For the sales support 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

Once you’ve got all these elements in place, you’ll successfully conquer remote sales support. Read this before stepping into the remote sales support world and you’ll create a solid foundation to allow your business to grow.

 

Maximize Your Team’s Performance

 

Basic email and MS Excel aren’t designed for remote jobs. Invest in sales automation software. The ROI is exponential. And as far as SaaS software goes, it’s relatively cheap.

If you’re planning to offer remote sales support you need sales automation software. Without it, your team will be standing on the shaky ground constantly trying to catch up. It is not only about your customers’ experience, but it also enhances employee experience.

Obviously, we recommend Quotiss software. With Quotiss, your sales support team will leverage the accessibility to the same freight rate management and quoting platform. Every department can see the actual freight rates and active customer quotes in one place.

Quotiss allows the team to collaborate without being in the same place. Our customers been using Quotiss over the years, and scaled their teams without adding unnecessary complexity.

With Quotiss, the team is able to handle a large volume of freight quote requests without a huge staff by maximizing the usage of our sales automation platform.

You can rely on features like replicating quotes in 5 seconds, quick archive search, and direct email replies which help the sales team to respond to customers faster and more efficiently.

 

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 start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

The Best Freight Rate Management Software: 4 Unique Ways To Use Quotiss

A totally biased article on why Quotiss is the best freight rate management software for small and medium-sized freight forwarders.

 

At his previous corporate sales job, Quotiss CEO Marcin Zarzecki had never had practical software to send instant freight quotes to his clients but he knew it was crucial to be fast and efficient to achieve his sales targets.

He tried using the corporate tools, but they were not efficient and more so, added complexity to his sales routine. Then he tried good old Excel & Email combination, but that was lacking basic automation. Then he tested some of his own ideas, based on Excel templates automated by a moderate homemade macro. It was overwhelming.

The recipe for success is simple: you’ve got to create a million freight quotes yourself to feel the pain => become an expert in the field => find a solution => test & analyze => remove 90% of complexity => digitize => create Quotiss.

This is the principal moment where Quotiss is different from other startups in the field:

If no one at the C-level of your company ever quoted a freight rate, you can’t claim to be a freight automation startup.

Rather than provide a vague comparison list of freight sales automation platforms, we’re breaking down how our clients use our software to grow their business and how it could work for you too.

 

4 Unique Ways to Use Freight Rate Management Software

 

We’ll save you the time of describing the basic features. Quotiss rate management software includes all the essential functions a freight forwarding business needs.

With the shift to remote work due to COVID-19, we see the increasing interest in the software that can boost sales in freight forwarding. And businesses that never even heard of sales automation software are finding Quotiss. They’re using it to help them collaborate easier and work through quote requests as a remote team.

Below, we will list the not-so-obvious benefits of Quotiss that you can use to boost your sales:

 

  1. Automate Marketing & Communication

You can use our powerful quote distribution engine to streamline and target your marketing message directly to the clients. Group and segment your customers by using custom #hashtags to create mailing lists.

 

  1. Enhance Follow-up on Quotes

Did you know that Quotiss shows the exact date & time when your client opened the freight quote that you’ve sent? Use this data for a targeted follow-up with your customer!

 

  1. Use Sales Dashboard

Your sales performance stats are LIVE. Know your average margins per segment, know your win rates per sales team, know how many sales leads each team generates. Make informed business decisions.

 

  1. Monitor Quotiss Weekly Trends

Clients who’ve been using Quotiss for freight quote distribution since day one, show significant growth in the number of sent freight quotes since the beginning of the lockdown. We started sharing the weekly statistics of sent quotes on our LinkedIn page. Follow us to be up to date with the sales activity trend across the industry.

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 start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.