In the world of logistics, 3PLs are often challenged by tight competition. To help you stand out, providing FTL quotes professionally and urgently is critical for closing more deals. An FTL software tool with the right features will help you manage your sales team’s quoting efforts strategically so that you can secure more FTL loads and reap the highest possible profit with every quote.
In this article, we will discuss nine FTL software tool features that you must have to stay competitive. Learn more below.
When creating a quote for your customers, it is crucial that you project accurate truck miles. If you enter a location into a standard GPS, the miles projection will not be accurate because it is programmed for car miles. Since trucks are heavier and larger, there are certain restrictions that require detours and potentially longer routes. Trucks require bridges, tunnels, and roads that accommodate their height, weight, and size, even turning is considered.
Projecting accurate truck miles builds credibility with your customers. If you’re basing your quote on car miles or estimations, you won’t provide a fair or accurate quote. If you under-quote the miles, you will lose money. If you over-quote the miles, you can lose your customers’ trust. An FTL tool will accurately project truck miles for every load.
An FTL software tool that incorporates real-time FTL market rates is another way to guarantee that your quoting is accurate, competitive, and created quickly. While you may access real-time market rates in other applications, a CRM + FTL quoting tool built for 3PLs contains all this information in one place, so you can quote in a few minutes. You can access real-time market data, generate professional quotes, and track communication with clients in one central application. An accelerated quoting process means you can greatly increase your likelihood of converting more clients.
You can get a sense of each customer’s buying appetite by having data about average historical awarded lanes in your FTL software tool. This data includes average carrier rate per mile, markup, sold rate per mile, total cost, and profits. If you see that your customer has been accepting quotes with 18% margins, then you know that sending a new quote with 18% margins will most likely be awarded.
This is key for taking the guesswork out of quoting. Average historical awarded lanes data gives your salespeople a framework that keeps them from losing quotes by adding higher than normal margins. It also keeps them from offering a quote with lower margins and losing out on potential profit.
It is important to note that your FTL quoting tool must allow you to define a date for your average awarded lanes data. This is because rates in the last 30 days are very different from rates the previous year. Having this control gives you a more comprehensive analysis of how much to quote.
A smart price suggestion widget analyzes the data from sections 1-3 (accurate truck miles, real-time FTL market rate, and historical awarded lanes per customer) to suggest a “smart” price range as you compile your quote. This widget is another tool to take the guesswork out of the quoting process. Data-driven quotes will be more effective in converting customers. Further, this helps to standardize quoting processes across the board for your sales team. Instead of leaving it up to the discretion of individual salespeople, you can lead your team toward a unified and data-driven quoting strategy.
An FTL software does not just address the content of your quote but the presentation as well. A professional quality quote needs to succeed on both counts. Your quotes mirror your brand’s professionalism and reputation, so your quotes must be free of errors, typos, and formatting issues. These errors typically occur when your sales team is generating quotes with Excel or any other manual-based quoting system. Utilizing a professional quote generation FTL tool minimizes the possibility of human error.
Remember: Price is not the only determining factor on whether or not a customer accepts your quotes. Professional quotes build your company’s credibility and foreshadow the kind of quality service a customer can expect going forward.
Email integration and templates in your FTL software bring our focus again to standardizing communications and projecting professionalism. Your logistics CRM + quoting tool must integrate with your email provider and allow for templates so you can quickly send a quote via email in a standardized, professional manner.
Email templates reduce the chances of poorly written emails and ensure consistency in communication no matter what member of your sales team a customer is connecting with. This builds your brand image and increases customers’ trust.
Additionally, it would be good to have the ability to create emails in your FTL software tool that feature a small preview table of the quote within the body of the email. This allows customers to preview quotes without having to open the quote file to understand important details. Simple additions like this enhance your customers’ experience and help you secure more loads.
After sending a quote, you must be able to track all the communications related to that quote in your FTL software tool. You can do this using a logistics CRM with FTL quoting capabilities. This way, you can easily stay on top of your quote’s progress in one single view.
Setting default quote rates/margins is an excellent tool for a CEO or sales manager. Rather than letting individual salespeople choose any margin, you can set a default quote rate to guide the team. This is especially helpful when you have a new customer with no historical awarded lanes data. Some tools let you set global quote rates and specific company quote rates. Let’s look at how they work:
With a quote dashboard in your logistics CRM, you can view a summary of all your open and awarded quotes, estimated pipeline revenue, profits, average gross margins, and more. You can also view all your quotes in a table format and use filtering tools to sort and search by status, origin, mode, company name, and more.
Many of the benefits of an FTL tool center around making strategic, data-driven decisions. A quote dashboard is no exception. It allows you to analyze your successes and pinpoint areas to refine your strategy.
To secure more shipments, you need an FTL software tool that simplifies the quoting process and enables you to make data-driven decisions. Practices such as projecting accurate truck miles and consulting real-time FTL market rates increase customer confidence in your service. Considering data like average historical awarded lanes and utilizing a smart price suggestion widget allow you to create competitive quotes, while default quote rate settings and a quote dashboard will enable you to strategically coordinate your sales team’s quoting efforts. All these FTL software features and more will help your logistics business secure more shipments.
If you are interested in a CRM with a built-in FTL quoting tool, request a demo of this CRM for 3PLs.
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