Every sales account manager in every freight forwarding company has a big list of tasks on his / her TO-DO list: starting from being always in the know about the latest news and trends in the industry, to building long-term business relationship with the customers, ensuring a high profile service compliance is delivered.
This overall service offering is composed of daily routine tasks, which ensure the high customer satisfaction ratio and loyalty. Tasks such as preparing individual freight quotes, revising the contract rates and following up on the potential deals form the backbone of the structured sales process.
As much as sales strategy planning is a creative and important task, the everyday routine of the sales people is different – there are many repetitive freight quotes and follow ups, and it is not an inspiring activity, especially if executed manually, without the proper tools at hand.
If we look at the quote acceptance ratio, which is 10% on average for the logistics industry, it makes the sales routine even less appealing. It’s difficult to find the motivation to perform those repetitive manual activities, to the extent that sometimes those brilliant sales strategies are left unexecuted without the due follow-up from sales side. There are studies that show that some customers wait several days to get a simple freight quote, and some will not get any feedback / callback at all.
Every salesperson dreams about the time when the clients would get their freight rates online, the same way it works with the tickets for airlines, for example. It seems that clients want the same thing, and it would be beneficial to all parties if finally there will be a platform with the freight rates aggregated from all carriers. Why hasn’t this happened yet if there are so many aggregators for hotels, tickets, etc?
There is a difference with what we really want and what we say we want. A number of companies have built online freight platforms few years ago, so why are they not getting global popularity yet?
Frankly speaking, there is one big reason why online freight rates are not used globally yet: nobody trusts the rates for ocean freight which are published online.
Those rates which appear on the websites of the carriers or on the online platforms are treated as ‘rates for everybody’, which are definitely higher than those which will be quoted individually upon request. It’s been so historically, and no one was able to change that yet. Freight rates are always negotiated personally, via phone or email.
If a certain carrier or freight forwarder will put the freight rates online, it will not change the global picture. The number of phone calls and emails from the customers asking for a ‘special’ rate will not decrease dramatically. On the contrary, some dedicated person or team from the organization will have to spend extra time on putting those freight rates online.