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It used to take three hours to book air cargo. Now, it takes us five minutes.

Air Export/Import Coordinator MC Trinter
Digital Air Cargo Freight Insights Logistics Technology

Master Freight Sales Management: A Guide for Platform Evaluation & Implementation

Discover the startling truth: 43% of a freight sales exec’s time vanishes on pricing and RFPs. Don’t blink: spot quote requests stall for 91 hours on average. Brace yourself: invoicing errors drain $700 million annually.

Profit margins shrink, carrier competition heats up, and shippers demand more. Tale as old as time…or freight rate management, at least. 

Changing shipper expectations have changed how forwarders approach data accuracy for pricing, quotations, and operations.

DHL’s CEO Tim Scharwath sums up the solution to this evolving landscape: a universal tech platform is the game-changer. Everyone’s on board, and the clock’s ticking for all forwarders – big or small.

DHL isn’t alone. 86% of forwarders see tech as the key to efficiency. With slick data tools, cloud-based setups, and pocket-friendly SaaS options, the focus has shifted from “do we need it?” to “which one?” But rolling out freight rate management platforms across huge organizations can be incredibly challenging.

Packed with meticulously crafted strategies and tips straight from the freight rate management experts at WebCargo, this handbook is your roadmap to success. With firsthand experience from rolling out WebCargo Air in the field, we’ve helped 3500+ global forwarders compare over 10 million freight quotes and counting. 

This quick read is divided into three power-packed sections:

  1. What to look for in a Freight Rate Management Platform
  2. Rollout Best Practices
  3. Essential Metrics to Monitor

Let’s dive in. 


Optimizing Freight Sales Rate Management

As the name goes, freight rate management system is a software that enables logistics service providers (LSPs) and forwarders to manage freight quotes digitally – delivering better control and agility over the entire pricing process.

Your freight rate management platform should be a powerhouse, offering seamless multi-modal rate management and lightning-fast spot and rate quoting. 

…but beware of the one-size-fits-all approach. 

Every company’s needs are unique, so it’s all too easy to drown in unnecessary features. This makes opting for a platform that addresses your pain points and fuels your daily grind critical, and not one overloaded with bells and whistles.


Freight Rate Management Platform Capabilities

With freight rate management platforms, power lies in the ability to effortlessly absorb carrier rates across all modes, maintaining a centralized database accessible company-wide.

 Here’s what to hunt for:

  • Seamless Initial Rate Upload: How easy is it to upload rates? Do uploads require reformatting of carrier rates? Is uploading provided as a service, a paid package or is it self-service?
  • Upload Turnaround Time: Time is money. Swift rate dissemination is non-negotiable in today’s volatile market. How long does it take to upload new rates? How long does quality assurance take for each rate?
  • Full-Multimodal Support: Legacy systems have a tendency to focus on specific modes. Different modes have different complexities…but a best-of-breed system should be able to handle anything you throw at it. As supply chains become more complex, this is more important than ever.
  • Tackling Complex Pricing: Freight pricing is complex. How well does the system handle advanced pricing rules and complexities?


Automated Rate Management and Quoting Capabilities

Sure, a unified freight rate database is crucial, but it’s all about what you can do with that data!

The elite platforms? They offer instant, door-to-door rate and spot quoting, seamless distribution channels, and even self-service options online. Making informed, faster decisions is the name of the game.

Spot/rate quoting, especially with features like automatic door-to-door routing, quoting, and pricing, can be a game-changer for your sales team’s efficiency. Here’s how:

Instant Access to Freight Rates

  • Enable your sales team, inside sales, or pricing managers to swiftly access and search rates.
  • Time-saving access to managed tariffs for instant quoting.


Unified Formatting for Freight Quotes

  • Ensure your system automatically generates a standardized format for all freight quotes.
  • Consistency in presentation for professionalism and clarity.


Streamlined Organization Sharing

  • Facilitate flexible sharing of rates between different company branches and countries.
  • Overcome delays in multi-leg quotes with efficient sharing options.
  • Ability to incorporate optional markups for different regions or branches.


Support for Manual Quoting

  • Even with automated systems, ensure provision for manual quotes to handle exceptions.
  • Flexibility to accommodate unique or unforeseen circumstances.


Dynamic Filtering Options

  • Provide filtering capabilities by carrier, mode, and tradelanes.
  • Ability to adjust options during unpredictable events like port strikes or carrier bankruptcies.


Integration with Live Market Rates

  • Enable comparison with live market rates for agile pricing strategies.
  • Valuable business intelligence insights for competitive quoting.


Seamless Customer-Facing Quoting

  • Connect your platform to a website frontend for customer or agent-facing quoting.
  • Empower customers or agents to price and book quotes online independently.


Global Reach with Internationalization

  • Ensure support for all currencies and languages relevant to your global operations.
  • Seamless handling of diverse international transactions.


Comprehensive System Integration

  • Provide robust integration capabilities with various database platforms, from TMSs to CRMs.
  • Smooth interoperability with existing systems for seamless workflows.


Flexible Permission Management

  • Implement granular permission management for different user roles.
  • Tailor access levels to ensure data security and operational efficiency.


A well-equipped spot/rate quoting system can revolutionize your freight operations, optimizing efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction. By prioritizing features like instant access to rates, dynamic filtering, and seamless integration, you can empower your team to navigate the complexities of global logistics with ease.


Unlocking Insights with Business Intelligence

Business intelligence tools can offer valuable insights into your sales and pricing strategies. Here’s how:


Tracking Quoting and Sales Activity

  • Gain visibility into quoting and sales activity at individual, team, branch, and company levels.
  • Monitor performance by specific lanes or customers for targeted analysis.


Analyzing Win/Loss Performance

  • Evaluate win/loss ratios to understand market prices and shipping trends.
  • Extract insights into customer preferences and sales team effectiveness.


Profitability Analysis with Buy/Sell Rates

  • Utilize buy/sell rates to assess profitability and pricing trends.
  • Identify lucrative routes for investment and areas needing price adjustments.


In plain English: Business intelligence tools offer a comprehensive view of your sales and pricing landscape, enabling data-driven decision-making. By tracking quoting and sales activity, analyzing win/loss performance, and examining buy/sell rates, you can optimize your strategies and maximize profitability.

“What is clearly needed here is a unified global technology platform that can help deliver online

Quotation and booking…Everyone is moving in that direction, and logistics managers will come to expect it from all forwarders – regardless of size.”

 -DHL Global Forwarding CEO Tim Scharwath


Behind the Solution: Evaluating Your Freight Rate Management Provider

The key to success lies in both the platform and its provider. Dive into the nitty-gritty of the platform’s features and the provider’s background. 

Here’s what to consider:

About the Company

  • Enduser conscious: How user-friendly is the technology? More intuitive technology means less friction during rollouts (and increase the chances of a 
  • Training capabilities: What support and training capabilities does the company? Are external consultants necessary for implementation or training? How long does it typically take them to onboard new clients?
  • Software or Hardware: This should barely be a question today but is the platform cloud-based? Does it require installations? How often is the platform updated and what is the rollout like
  • Security: Your data is one of your most important assets. How is it protected? What data security standards are implemented?
  • Referrals: Is the company loved by its current users? Ask ex-colleagues and friends for their take on the system.
  • SLAs: Do they offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs)? Make sure your system stays operational by asking about SLAs relevant to rate processing, onboarding speed and platform up-time (if the technology is cloud-based).
  • Pricing: How does pricing work? Do you pay per user or is there a flat fee across the entire organization? Regarding rate management, are there rate management packages? What are the fees for regular rate updates?


Mastering Freight Tech Rollouts


Picking the right freight rate management platform is just step one. To truly unlock its value, you need a flawless rollout – from setup to training. Here’s WebCargo’s Customer Success team’s strategy: 

  1. Pilot Program Validation
  • Initiate a small-scale pilot rollout to validate success and refine rollout strategies.
  • Define and execute a targeted pilot program with clear objectives and KPIs for success.
  • Focus on training power users and establish a feedback loop for continuous improvement.


  1. Gradual Phased Rollout
  • Establish best practices based on insights from the pilot rollout.
  • Develop a dedicated timetable for a phased rollout with potential on-site support.
  • Secure C-level buy-in and enlist managerial support for a successful rollout.


  1. Champion User Engagement
  • Identify champion users from the pilot rollout to advocate for the platform.
  • Begin gradual rollout by sites or regions, ensuring ongoing feedback and performance tracking.


  1. Agile Rollout Management
  • Track and improve the rollout process using agile, sprint-based methodology.
  • Conduct regular meetings for feedback collection and adjustment of rollout strategies.


Best Practices for Successful Rollout

Data Quality Assurance

  • Ensure data integrity by providing clean, accurate, and updated data to the provider.
  • Implement clear pricing rules to avoid confusion and ensure accurate rate management.


Quality Testing and Training

  • Employ double-layer quality testing for rate uploads or updates.
  • Utilize automation for scalable and comprehensive testing.
  • Prioritize training for all employees, offering both external and internal resources.


Incentivize Usage and Change Management

  • Incentivize platform usage among target audiences to drive engagement.
  • Ensure management buy-in and commitment from day one.
  • Opt for short transition periods and prioritize change management for smooth workflow realignment.


Finding the Metrics: What to Measure

The ultimate goal of a freight rate management platform is to make operations more efficient. 

Proper implementation of the right tool should impact data accuracy, sales performance, efficiency and negotiation powers. 

Track core metrics on two layers – rollout and performance:


  1. Platform Implementation – Rollout status
  2. Platform ROI – Platform value


Measuring Platform ROI Metrics

Tracking key metrics can quantify the return on investment (ROI) of implementing a platform:


  1. Win/Loss Rate Changes
  • Measure the percentage change in win/loss rates resulting from faster operations.
  • Example: Freightos sees a 5% increase in closed deal rates due to quicker quote turnaround and enhanced customer service.


  1. Quoting Turnaround Time
  • Assess the reduction in customer quoting turnaround time achieved by the platform.
  • Holistics’ global rollout of a rate management platform significantly reduces quoting time, even for manual quoting.


  1. Reduction in Invoicing Errors
  • Quantify the reduction in invoicing errors enabled by better data management.
  • Enhanced data integrity and single-point-of-truth management significantly mitigate invoicing errors.


  1. Data-Driven Carrier Negotiations
  • Utilize improved tracking for closed deals, popular lanes, and carrier selection to negotiate better deals.


Platform Implementation Metrics

Evaluating implementation metrics provides insights into platform adoption and effectiveness:


  1. Percentage of Quotes Made on System
  • Higher quoting percentages indicate excellent user training and trust in data integrity.
  • Increased usage signifies confidence in the platform’s ability to generate accurate quotes.


  1. Contract Upload and Update Speed
  • Rapid updates and uploads for contracts streamline operations and enhance data accuracy.
  • Faster updates lead to more efficient quoting processes and reduced workload for pricing managers.


  1. User Adoption Rate
  • Monitor the expansion of platform usage across different organizational teams.
  • Sales teams typically lead platform adoption, but effective performance leads to usage expansion across operations, pricing, finance, and executive levels.


  1. Number of Quotes Generated
  • Assess the volume of quotes generated within the system to gauge responsiveness and efficiency.
  • Increased quotes indicate rapid customer responses, standardized templates, and enhanced insight into market trends and team performance.


By tracking platform ROI metrics and implementation metrics, businesses can evaluate the effectiveness of their investment and the successful adoption of the platform. Measuring win/loss rate changes, quoting turnaround time, invoicing accuracy, and user adoption rates provides valuable insights into the platform’s impact on operations and overall business performance.


The Bottom Line

Choosing the right freight rate management platform is crucial for increasing profitability and operating in a highly competitive carrier/forwarder landscape, as evolving shipper demands have revolutionized how forwarders tackle data precision in pricing, quotes, and operations.

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