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How a Freight Company Makes Global Moves with a CRM

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Author photo: Grace Lau

Grace Lau

Ever wonder how those big moving containers get shipped all around the world? Often, it’s thanks to logistics companies like Epic Freight.

We chatted with Yohanse Manzanarez, Epic Freight’s EVP of Sales, to find out more about how his team uses a CRM to acquire customers and make successful global moves happen.

It all starts with relationships.

Epic Freight is a B2B company whose clients range from trade-show companies to booth manufacturers to high-end electronics businesses. Basically, any organizations that have time-sensitive, high-visibility moves (both air and ground freight) will turn to Epic Freight.

Once the Epic Freight team understands the requirements necessary to make that move, it then goes through its network to partner with companies that it trusts to fulfill that move. It’s a beginning-to-end responsibility with multiple moving parts.

There’s a good reason why Epic Freight is in the business of relationships: they often do multiple shipments for each client. “If we only do one shipment, we lose,” says Yohanse. “We're a trusted vendor within our clients’ organizations, which is why we’re tasked with handling these high-visibility, time-sensitive moves. All of our clients are multiple-time shippers—some multiple times a day, others a couple of times a week.”

It’s not just as simple as moving giant containers from point A to point B either; typically, these organizations require some type of service component too, whether it's meeting a work crew, coordinating multiple trucks, or having to be at unique locations.

Life before Copper…

Before Copper, Epic Freight had made a few stabs at CRMs, none of which panned out. The main difficulty was in finding tools that integrated seamlessly with Gmail. “We're pretty Gmail-focused and we’re almost always in our inboxes,” Yohanse describes. “We needed a fully Gmail-integrated solution that not only has a Chrome extension that captures information but also lets us document all the emails sent to and received from clients.”

A CRM is for more than selling.

Yohanse’s team is responsible for not only client acquisition, but also maintenance and problem resolution for clients. There are multiple steps required in each customer relationship: quoting the shipment, routing it, following up with the shipment, managing the expectations if something goes wrong, and more. “It's very much a relationship business,” says Yohanse, “That’s why we use Copper in several ways, from storing our leads to managing opportunities, to tracking our daily and weekly activities.”

Once contacts have been identified as prospects, the team makes sure they’re stored in Copper. Any meetings with these prospects are recorded with Copper’s activity tracking. “We have a distinct sales cycle that we follow using Copper,” says Yohanse. “Identifying the product, recording the first meeting, the second meeting, and other interactions... Copper helps us keep track of the probability of closing each deal.”

A quick example of what the stages of their pipeline look like:

example of a pipeline

To manage specific activities, Epic Freight also logs each touchpoint with clients in Copper. This includes phone calls, text messages, emails, and in-person meetings like lunches. As part of their weekly sales meeting, they go through Copper to understand each rep’s activities and find ways to collaborate more effectively.

“The most important quality of a CRM is…”

"Ease of use, first and foremost. And the Google Chrome extension is invaluable—that's the tool I use to document almost everything. We also love the mobile app. Copper’s a clean, simple, intuitive tool, which goes a long way in terms of making sure the implementation is smooth.”

This ease of use extends into reporting and forecasting too. Because Epic Freight uses Copper to manage new prospects, new opportunities, and upcoming projects, this means the team is already recording all the key components in a forecast. (For example, the probability of closing, the expected date of closing, and the associated revenue value.)

By Yohanse’s estimates, it took him less than a week to understand how to use Copper. After he extended invites to the entire sales team, he created a short instructional video for them, and perhaps most importantly, kept his team accountable for the first two weeks by checking if activity was being recorded in Copper.

“Copper was embraced very quickly by the team. CRMs are often viewed as extra work or “why do I have to do this” type of thing—but with Copper, it was easy to understand how we could manage information, document activities, eliminate any crossover, and validate ownership of these leads.”

CRM: also good for efficient handoffs and minimizing crossover.

Another key challenge that growing organizations often face is crossover, a.k.a. when multiple reps stumble across the same opportunity.

“Copper’s really helped us hand off information efficiently,” says Yohanse. “Instead of just saying, ‘Hey we're working this client,’ the team can now identify what ‘working’ really means. it eliminates guesswork and validates specific activities. Plus I can easily reference past conversations with clients because Copper provides a tremendous amount of transparency for everybody involved in the process.”

At Epic Freight, Copper serves as a form of ownership: if a rep finds an opportunity, they can quickly search Copper to find out if it's in there already. If it is, they can look at the sales notes and activities to see where the other sales rep is—and possibly stake a claim, but only after making a successful business case first.

“This prevents situations from arising where both reps walk into a meeting with the potential client. That would make us look silly. Copper's helped tremendously in defining those boundaries for us,” says Yohanse.

Every opportunity is a relationship. Or is it the other way around?

Epic Freight does one thing very differently—and it shows that businesses are truly in the Relationship Era: when they close an opportunity, they aren’t just closing a shipment. They’re closing a relationship that will include daily, weekly, or monthly shipments, and the client pays for that entire series.

This means that being able to maintain relationships is crucial, especially when there are opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. For example, if Epic Freight is handling a client’s domestic freight, but there is a possibility to handle international shipments as well, “international shipments” might be listed as an opportunity within that client on Copper.

“Copper helps us understand that we're contacting the right person internally and documents everything so that both Sales and Accounting have visibility and quantifiable statistics on how many times we've interacted with these people. We log phone calls, texts, meetings, and of course Copper automatically logs email exchanges. So it's very easy to see all our conversations at a glance—with not only current customers, but also prospects.”

Define, align, grow. Rinse and repeat.

As a growing company, Epic Freight’s needs are changing almost every day. It’s something that Yohanse acknowledges as being a significant challenge: what gets you to this stage as a company isn't necessarily going to get you to the next one.

“We felt a lot of pain from not being able to see or understand our customers. So that really drove us to a CRM—but it was Copper’s ease of use and implementation, and the Chrome extension that made us decide to build the business on this platform. Copper has played a big role in us growing our business and brought us tremendous organization and simplicity.”

With the results that Epic Freight is seeing so far, we can’t wait to see what big moves they’re going to make next.

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