According to several studies, freight forwarders who want to prosper need to digitize. Indeed, automating manual processes could reduce many back-office and operations costs by up to 35% while digitizing important parts of the B2B sales process could reduce the associated direct costs even more. In addition, digital capabilities create new opportunities to improve market share.
The quoting process generates high operations costs. Indeed, the traditional offline quoting process is lengthy and tedious, often requiring several interactions among many actors to reach a final price. For a client, needing a quote is not pleasant since obtaining it generally requires a few days. For a freight forwarder, the costs to serve are particularly high with a large number of transactional clients.
Therefore, some freight forwarders use digital platforms to automate a wide range of tasks and services. For example, they replace costly manual processes and paperwork with instant pricing and automated quotes, and offer digital document handling, streamlined communications and live tracking data too.
All freight forwarders should consider digitizing their client-facing front ends to improve user experience and, among several benefits, improve the quoting process.
Business is won after the price has been given
With digital platforms, clients can get their price, on their own, on their freight forwarders’ websites. In addition, these freight forwarders often use tools to create quotes automatically. In this case, Sales and Operations teams can issue loads of offers without their clients and prospects needing to wait, and sometimes to place bookings elsewhere. As a result, their quote-to-book ratio may improve by up to 25%. In addition, Sales and Operations teams are relieved since they are no longer forced to spend hours researching costs on spreadsheets, calling carriers, computing data with various formulas and finally comparing options – all repetitive and costly tasks.
How to issue quotes quickly and get the booking?
First, the client could self-serve. In this case, the client gets instant prices on the website of his freight forwarder, based on all costs ingested by the pricing module of the digital platform. From experience, there is no turning back for clients who received instant prices for their standardized shipments – around 70-80% of total shipments.
Then, some clients prefer or need to consult their freight forwarders to get a quote. In this case, automation and digitization is the most efficient way to speed up the quoting process.
Generally, the quoting process is quite complex as it takes into account a lot of freight costs, surcharges and options. Clients may also want special services, and different types of offers up to door-to-door services. These requirements involve several local inquiries and searches, and foreign agents may also be involved.
To avoid this inconvenience and delay, digital platforms ingest freight costs and surcharges. It then becomes possible to automate the quoting process and deliver all offers instantly. Clients benefit greatly from the automation of the quoting process. Indeed, getting a full offer, immediately, rather than in hours or days, makes the freight forwarder look professional and efficient. It encourages clients to buy and become perennial partners.
Automated but flexible quoting process
The quoting tool allows an immediate offer to a client. It also supports any needed adjustment of the initial quote in order to win the business. An associated dashboard provides all daily quotes made for top clients and large shipments to make sure they are followed by the Operations and Sales teams and won.
Automated quoting tools are easily adopted by Sales and Operations
Any employee can easily use a good quoting tool right away without an expensive training. New teammates also quickly master the quoting process, executed with just a few clicks, rather than dealing with endless spreadsheets, handling numerous emails to carriers and agents, and comparing multiple service options. Finally, the automated quoting process can trigger an efficient automated billing and payment.
With Distroship, the freight forwarders’ clients can get instant prices by themselves. In addition, freight forwarders can issue quotes, giving many options, to clients in less than 1mn without searching any rates. We’ve tools to integrate buy rates into our platform to automate the entire quoting process. The buy rates are converted into sell rates in line with your client-based pricing policy. This is an additional instrument to accelerate your growth and create loyal clients.