March 25, 2024

Strategies for Scalable Sales Success in the Insurance Industry: A CEO's Perspective

Unlocking Growth: A CEO's Insights on Building Scalable Sales Success in the Insurance Industry.

In the ever-evolving realm of insurance sales, especially within the context of insurance companies, it's crucial to adopt strategies that transcend short-term gains and focus on building a sustainable, effective sales team. Let's delve into key perspectives that address pain points, with a specific focus on broker and agency sales strategy.

Rethinking the High-Volume Sales Pipeline:

The high-volume sales pipeline may offer immediate results, but it's not the blueprint for sustained success in driving an effective insurance sales team. High volumes might sound great in theory but generally come at a high cost associated with lead generation and other digital marketing expenses. The second question to ask is whether you have the funnel and capacity to qualify and convert these leads. Leads are best used when hot, with conversion rates dropping by the minute as they get colder.

In my experience, hot leads that are called within a few minutes have almost a 35% higher chance of converting than those called within an hour. Leads called days after dropping tend to convert almost 5 times less.

Focusing on Controllable Actions:

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) centered around controllable actions is paramount in insurance sales. Some of the most important metrics that led to a conversion rate of leads to sales of more than 15% for my previous business included:

Talk time: The longer you keep the customer talking on the phone, the higher the chances of converting. The more time spent on phones with customers daily directly correlates to higher sales conversion rates.

Call back time and response time: The quicker you get back to a customer means you are getting to speak to them when they are in the right frame of mind, as it is occurring while they have shown interest in your product. The longer you take to get back, the more distracted, disassociated, and distant they become.

The number of follow-ups: A maybe or call me back later is still an opportunity. The more effort you put into giving these customers a call or response in a systematic manner until you get a hard no can lead to sales you didn’t realize still have potential. This market and segment take time and effort as it isn’t as easy as closing a new incoming opportunity, however, it can be quite rewarding as the sales come from costs already incurred.

Previous year follow-ups: Just because the customer did not contact you this year doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with the customers that did reach out to you last year during the same period. Insurance being a mostly annual product means those who showed interest last year during the same time period could still have the same needs now. By following up, you are again tapping into opportunities that others deemed lost. This is what separates the average from the great agents.

Beyond Promotions and Discounts:

Promotions and discounts, while effective in the short term, are not a sustainable strategy for closing insurance sales deals. Teaching customers to value the insurance product itself, rather than relying on short-term incentives, builds lasting relationships in the insurance sector. Competitors may outpay on discounts, but a strong insurance product value proposition withstands the test of time. This can be relayed through content-driven campaigns provided to the teams to use to nurture or move the needle in the sales cycle effectively.

Some practical advice to achieve this:

Keep in touch with your customers throughout the year and not just during times of purchase or renewal.

Share news, articles, campaigns, product updates, and anything you deem relevant to the customer.

Keep a CRM or a system to remind you of their birthdays and anniversaries. Small actions like this are what differentiate your service from competitors.

Understand Your Pipeline:

Look at your numbers in a pipeline. From leads to opportunities, to quotations, payment collection, and finally sales and renewals. Understand how you are doing at every stage and what your conversion rates are at every level from one step to the next. Not every action taken will affect the funnel in its entirety. Small actions can be taken at different stages to improve conversion between stages, which increases the overall conversion rate. To do this, data needs to be collected and analyzed regularly to ensure visibility across the distribution network.

Retention Over Acquisition:

Customer retention proves more cost-effective than constant acquisition, especially in the insurance sector. Given the expensive marketing methods costing more and more, leading to higher acquisition costs combined with increased competition leading to more discounts, both lead to the undeniable fact that making money on the first year from a newly acquired customer is very unlikely. Prioritizing customer retention, fostering long-term relationships, and renewing insurance agreements contribute to the overall health of our insurance business, as that is where you are expected to make your profits. Alerting agents and relying on reminders will help create proactive actions in the critical time of the renewal sales cycle.

In conclusion, the journey towards sustainable sales success in insurance requires a shift in mindset with the help of technology and automation in providing visibility into data that can help drive high sales productivity and launching marketing campaigns that work. Focusing on long-term value and strategic, data-driven decision-making within the dynamic world of insurance sales, particularly emphasizing the role of broker agents and sales leadership, is crucial to insurance sales success. By implementing these strategies, we lay the foundation for a resilient and effective insurance sales team, setting up for long-term success.

Harprem Doowa