Sales in freight forwarding
Created on May 20, 2022 | Last updated on September 14, 2023 at 05:04 pm
In this article you will get:
Sales in freight forwarding are one of the key components responsible for a forwarder’s success.
Just as in any other kind of business, creating a sales strategy for your forwarder involves sensitivity to understanding the diversity of business partners and the ways to conduct the relationship with them to establish a good partnership.
All freight forwarders want to create a sales strategy that will increase their business generation, but before doing that, there are a few things that need to be clear.
Ways to make sales in freight forwarding
Building a sales strategy for freight forwarders is a challenge and, more than that, a process that requires constant follow-up.
Succeeding in sales in the forwarding business involves the ability to understand the mindset of your potential partners and provide them with exactly what they are looking for.
Even though each forwarding company has its strategies and processes for qualifying, engaging, and converting new business opportunities, there are basic concepts that must be considered to develop an effective strategy.
Here are two of those concepts:
Inbound sales begin when a lead comes from a potential customer reaching out to your freight forwarder to inquire about your services or products;
Outbound sales are the result of a prospecting effort to a potential customer who has not yet expressed interest in a product or service offered by your company.
The main difference between inbound sales and outbound sales is the origin of the lead.
So when we talk about these two types of sales, we can simplify by saying that inbound sales is the process in which the client or partner comes to you.
In this type of sale, your company and its services are already known, either through your marketing actions, recommendations from other forwarders you have worked with, or through the logistics network you are part of.
Outbound sales, on the other hand, happen when your sales team makes an effort to attract new customers to your business – here, your company is responsible for looking for new possible freight partners and reaching out to them to promote your services and develop new shipments.
How to improve your forwarder’s sales
The first thing you must know to increase your sales in freight forwarding is which strategies you will use for each type of sale – inbound and outbound.
Effective sales professionals are prepared not only to generate more business opportunities but also to better execute your inbound sales or outbound sales strategy.
Besides that, if you are sales strategy or thinking about updating your current strategy to increase your sales and stand out in the market, you should pay attention to the following points:
Maintain your clients and your partners at the center of your freight business
No matter what your business is, your clients are what moves the company, if you don’t have any customers you can’t function.
So take the time to listen to what your customers have to say, ask them how you can do a better job, how you can help them, ask for suggestions, and be open to receiving feedback.
This is an important part of your customer success, making sure that your client’s journey is the best one possible.
It’s also important to create a relationship with your forwarder partners.
The reason for that is simple – your freight partners also give you business, so maintaining a good partnership with them is the key to keep receiving business.
Once more, ask for feedback and make sure your partner’s journey is the best possible.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to any freight forwarder, after all, building a relationship with your customers and partners is the key to succeeding in the industry
Know your forwarder company’s strengths and weaknesses
When thinking of building a sales strategy for freight forwarders it’s important to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the freight business.
Especially because of the variety of companies there are in the forwarding industry.
Thus, to build your freight forwarder sales process you need to know what you can present to your clients as a strength.
To do that you can simply create a list with everything you see as a strength and a weakness. For example:
- Detailed information about the services offered on the website;
- Fast response to freight forwarder quotations;
- Cover different countries and cities;
- Experienced, etc.
- The competition is too big;
- Lack of marketing strategy;
- Product loss in the way;
- Lack of knowledge about the regulations, etc.
Those are some examples of things you can list for your freight company’s analysis.
Remember to acknowledge your real strengths and weaknesses to understand what can be improved, and what can be used as an advantage.
Set your freight forwarding company goals
Building your freight forwarder sales strategy without setting your company goals it’s not the ideal scenario.
After all, you need to know where you want to arrive to know if you are succeeding.
So go back to making a list of everything you think is possible for your freight forwarding company to achieve in a certain period.
After you’ve made your goal list it’s time to add the steps you need to take to make all of them happen, gather your team, and start working on it!
Take a look at the OKR method to start setting your freight company’s goals.
We prepared a board on Trello to help you have a better visualization of your company’s goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them, you can start using it by clicking here.
Align your sales team with a freight marketing plan
To increase your freight forwarding sales it’s important to set up a marketing strategy for your company.
So, if your sales team is working on sending emails, and making phone calls, the marketing plan would go beyond.
For example, the marketing team could send some WhatsApp messages, and LinkedIn DMs, along with the improvement of your company’s social media accounts, content for the website, ads, and so on.
Just make sure that the marketing strategy for your freight forwarding company is aligned with the strategies of your sales team.
To learn more about how to build a marketing plan for your freight forwarder click here.
Networking is the key
As mentioned before, building a relationship with your freight forwarder partners is key to the success of your business, and for that, you need to create a forwarder network.
There are many options for you to start building your freight network, for instance:
- Join a freight forwarder or a logistics network;
- Participate in Facebook and LinkedIn groups;
- Attend freight forwarding events.
To give you a little push I gathered some options for each of the topics above so you can get started on building your freight forwarder network.
As an option for a logistics network, there is Parnity – the evolution of Forwarder Networks.
Parnity’s network has forwarder members in over 75 countries. More than 1,500 quotations are made in a month at Parnity.
Facebook and LinkedIn groups are a great opportunity not only to improve your networking but to stay updated with the latest news in the industry.
Attending freight forwarding events is the perfect opportunity to get to know other forwarders and make new business connections.
Besides that, is also a great chance to share insights and knowledge about the challenges and trends the freight industry is facing.
Parnity’s in-person conference – Parnity Xchange, is a members-only event that will take place from February 1 to 3, 2024, at the Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. Click here to learn more!
Measuring sales in freight forwarding
To improve your freight business, you not only need to have a solid sales strategy, but you also need to know how to measure sales in freight forwarding.
Any freight forwarder, large or small, should be able to measure business parameters to know how their sales performance is going.
Measuring and tracking your results is one of the best ways to know what is working and what should be changed to get the results you expect.
How to measure sales in freight forwarding
Data is the basis for understanding the sales performance of your freight company.
According to Andrea van der Biest’s article, to be successful in freight forwarding, it is vital to measure and study some key results.
By collecting and analyzing data, your sales team will be able to identify whether or not there is a need to make changes in your sales strategy.
That is why sales metrics are indispensable instruments to guide decision-making and provide a clearer view of the effectiveness of commercial strategies.
Logistics key performance indicators, or simply KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are extremely important tools for management focused on results.
They are metrics that help sales teams measure their effectiveness and efficiency, with the overall objective of improving strategies and processes to boost sales.
As a freight forwarder, it is vital to rely on analytics. KPI logistics tracking can be the key to success.
Based on the data provided by the logistics KPI, it is easier to identify the need for adjustments and route recalculation to achieve the goals and objectives considered relevant to the sales team.
Most freight forwarding companies should define key sales metrics for their teams and regularly analyze their sales performance. Here are 5 sales metrics that all forwarders should look at:
The first thing you need to know is that a lead is a potential customer who shows interest in our service.
Therefore, it is very important to know how many people you are attracting to your forwarder business who are showing some interest in what you offer.
The number of new leads is a very important key sales metric for the team, essential for business growth.
Freight quote volume
This metric represents the total number of freight quotes sent.
By monitoring it, you can get a general understanding of how many quotes your sales team generates per day, per week, and month.
Even though other factors influence your freight forwarder partner’s decision to do business with you, this metric is important because the volume of freight quotes sent is directly related to the number of bookings you gain as a result.
The main conversion rate to look at is the sales closure rate.
At this point, you should compare how many quotes you issued versus how many of them were accepted and completed.
This KPI can provide you with the necessary knowledge about the status of your sales and, therefore, of your forwarder as a company.
This is another essential parameter to measure the performance of your sales.
An accepted quote is a commitment on the part of the customer, but it is also an indicator of a successful sale.
The number of accepted quotes has a direct correlation with future bookings.
Tracking sales volume in each route and modality will help you identify which ones are most in demand so that you can get to know your customers, and partners and work on their needs.
Besides that, monitoring your customers’ and partners’ activity will allow you to focus your efforts on getting the most competitive rates on those main routes, for example.
Profit per client
Every freight forwarding company has as one of its main goals to make a profit from its business.
None of the above sales metrics make sense if you invest a lot of resources in something that costs you more than it returns.
So make sure to measure the profit margin in freight forwarding that you make for each customer and update your list of key partners frequently.
This data can reveal not only the profitability of your business but also help you work on strategies to gain the loyalty of your customers and partners so that they keep doing business with you.
To sum up!
As you can see, building a sales strategy for freight forwarders is not an easy task, but with the right guidance, you’ll get there!
Use this blog post as a guide to building your sales strategy and remember to always analyze the effectiveness of your strategies.
By seeing your freight forwarder’s data clearly, you can identify key points faster and act even faster.
Know every inch of your freight forwarder and the behavior of your customers, and then nothing else will stop you from standing out in the market.