Today, we enjoy all the privileges of international trade. This means that regardless if something is manufactured half-a-way across the globe, you can order it from your phone and have it delivered to your doorstep. Now, agencies handling these long-distance transportation operations and coordinating this delivery are freight forwarders.
The thing is that organizing shipments may be a task that is in great demand. However, it is also quite a competitive field. This means that you’ll need to adapt if you are to increase your sales. Here are several tips to get you going in the right direction.
Efficiency maximization through digital transformation
Operational efficiency can be drastically improved through digital transformation. There are a lot of freight forwarders that are getting digitally connected to ocean carriers, which allows them to track shipments in real-time. This affects their scheduling abilities, their ability to prepare for the arrival of the freight, and much, much more.
Tracking data is essential when it comes to the schedule reorganization and reorganization (improvement) of your business model, in general. In a scenario where your current shipment status depends on a quick search, with digitalization, you’ll be able to get results in a matter of minutes. Staying competitive is also made easier this way.
Digitally transforming your operations in the 21st century is no longer as challenging. When you realize all the benefits for your sales (therefore, your income), it will become more than clear that this is an investment with an amazing ROI.
Predictive analytical tools
The best way to improve a business (especially one in the industry with so many moving parts) is to learn how to recognize and predict bottlenecks. Contrary to popular belief, optimal efficiency is when you’re driving yourself almost to the breaking point. Having too many inactive vessels, sitting on a stockpile of unordered goods, etc., are examples of inefficiency.
So, how do you improve your predictive capabilities? According to freight veterans, there are two ways you can get there. The first one is through experience and the latter through the use of proper analytical tools. Ideally, you would have both. The simplest way to do so is to learn how to integrate AI-driven algorithms with your already existing system.
One more reason why this is important is your general customer relations. With accurate predictive analysis, you can make promises to your customers that you will definitely honor. In other words, greater transparency leads to greater trust. Greater trust leads to greater sales. It’s that simple.
Study your competitors
People do business because they see a situation in which both parties receive some value. Your customer requires a transportation service, and you get paid in response. The best way to increase your sales (not just in the freight forwarding industry) is to find out your competitors’ unique selling proposition and then offer something extra.
Providing extra value will make your offer more appealing to your target audience, thus putting your enterprise miles ahead of your competitors. This value can come through price, speed, distribution, etc. The key thing is that you make sure that you can actually afford it and remain ahead.
Keep in mind that values and propositions change all the time. So, you need to start by researching your competitors and comparing them to your own operational capacities. Then, you need to repeat this reevaluation at regular intervals in order to make sure that you’re still ahead. Getting outcompeted happens far more quickly than you would expect.
The simplest way to spread the word around is through networking. In today’s hyperconnected world, even this is much easier than before. Platforms like LinkedIn are designed to connect you to suitable partners and make your outreach effort much easier. This way, you can organically generate awareness of your brand.
It is essential that you join the freight forwarder logistics network. This way, you gain more reach and become much more relevant within the industry. There are many such networks, and becoming a part of a major association specializing in freight forwarding needs to be one of the top priorities on your list.
While you are fighting for sales and trying to outcompete other organizations, the truth is that in this industry, you just can’t afford to make enemies. There’s enough work for everyone, and you should never antagonize even those who you see as direct competitors. Cooperation usually works better for everyone.
Invest in marketing
Marketing investments are always a way for you to improve sales. Therefore, you need to devise a valid strategy and fully commit to making all of it work. This usually involves outsourcing your marketing to a third-party agency. The key thing is that you find an agency that has experience with freight forwarders. This industry is specific, and it might require a bit more specialized approach.
Here, you need to have representation on as many platforms and social networks as possible. You also want to link your presence on all these platforms to all the different sales tools. For instance, you want to be on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Salesforce, Terminus, etc. This way, you’re already making it a lot easier for your clients to reach out to you.
Just keep in mind that your KPIs and metrics need to be up to date. You cannot possibly set pre-COVID goals and expect your campaign to deliver. You see, COVID-19 is impacting sales in more ways than you think. The same is true for the freight forwarding industry, as well.
At the end of the day, improving your sales as a freight forwarder is not a simple matter. You need to improve your operations, digitalize, invest in new tools, and reinvent your networking/marketing methods. Overall, the increase in income is worth it, but the journey is quite long and hard to overcome. Still, it is something you have to do if you aim to remain competitive.