How Strong is Your Insurance Sales funnel?
The following is a guest post from the makers of insurance prospecting and lead management platform 20Miles. It always pays to read up on good sales practices and we think these thoughts are well worth sharing.
How Strong is Your Insurance Sales Funnel?
Dedication to every step of the insurance sales funnel is what separates high-performing producers from the rest. Your insurance sales funnel is more than just a series of emails and calls, it’s how you create a relationship with a prospective client. With all sorts of guides, articles, and insurance quotes available on the internet now, prospective insurance buyers are more educated than ever and almost always shop around. This has made prospecting many times more difficult now that customers have so many more options.
Today’s producers don’t only have to be consistent when engaging your contacts, they have to be proactive to stay ahead of the competition. The less you manage prospect and client relationships, the more you leave your opportunities open to be taken by agents and brokers. Both personal and commercial lines buyers are no longer just looking for someone to sell them insurance, they’re informed customers looking for someone to advise them on how best to cover their risks.
Your Process Needs to Facilitate the Buyer
Knowing your customers is vital to nailing your sales messaging and providing value to your leads. As much as you know about selling insurance, how much do you know about buying it? Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer for a second. If you do some quick googling on how to buy insurance, you’re advised to figure out 3 things:
- what your risks are;
- what your options for coverage are;
- how much coverage you need.
If you as an insurance producer are not answering those questions for your prospects as soon as possible, you’re missing out on opportunities to showcase your expertise on their needs and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. Try creating a series of sales collateral to accomplish just this for your target audience! Breaking things down in a way that’s easy to digest can make your job a lot easier when you’re trying to explain which policy is the best for a customer. This can go a long way to improve your interactions with leads and also help to solidify your personal brand.
The Producer’s Prospecting Dilemma
Salespeople in every industry struggle with prospecting, because it often poses two difficult questions to answer:
1) where do I find quality prospects;
2) how do I make sure these prospects are worth my time and money?
When you have the wrong balance between these two objectives, your leads either don’t convert or you just don’t get enough of them to meet quota. Either way, you’ll be missing out on potential sales.
Diversify Your Lead Sources
Agents are struggling to find consistent and reliable sources of leads as competition only becomes fiercer. The reality is this: no one or two sources will be able to sustain you for long. As such, you need to be prepared to receive leads in as many different ways as possible to keep your leads pouring in, if a source doesn’t provide enough one day. For most agents, this means investing in marketing, prospecting, and pursuing referrals.
Though, many agents overlook LinkedIn as an important part of their lead generation strategies. LinkedIn has seen unprecedented popularity recently despite (or maybe partly because of) Facebook’s fall from grace. Many young producers utilise a go-to combo of LinkedIn’s sales navigator and a prospecting tool like LeadIQ to generate leads. You can warm up your LinkedIn leads with profile views and connection requests while getting insights into their company and personal interests. Once you’ve begun reaching out to leads, you’ll be able to see which ones are really interested by checking who’s visiting your profile. For commercial lines specialists, this is something you can’t afford to overlook in 2021.
LinkedIn Has Become Increasingly Important to Sales
Your LinkedIn profile is your first impression for anyone who’s seriously considering your services. When you go to shows and conventions, pass out your business card, or are referred by a client, you are likely to be looked up. A strong profile can differentiate you from commoditised agents and help to position you as an expert in the areas you specialise in. On the other hand, a weak profile can make prospects question your experience or lead to losing opportunities to otherwise comparable competitors. Walt Goshert gives some solid advice on this topic: “LinkedIn can hurt or help you, so if you don’t have the time to invest in it, you’re better off removing your account. Better to not be seen at all than to seem incompetent.”
If You’re Not Using Insurance Software, You Should Be
The insurtech revolution is in full swing now, bringing with it a myriad tools and software solutions to make the life of the insurance agent easier. With software and services available to improve every aspect of the insurance sales funnel, the question has shifted from “should I take advantage of technology?” to “which technologies should I be utilising?” Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
Solutions for Every Stage of the Insurance Sales Funnel
Marketing platforms like Agency Revolution and Keap bring sophisticated marketing automation based upon actions taken online to improve the quality of interactions at the top of your insurance sales funnel. Once you’re bringing leads in, a CRM like Less Annoying CRM or Hubspot can help you keep track of active opportunities to bring them over the finish line.
Sales engagement platforms such as 20 Miles and VanillaSoft keep your sales process on track and productivity high by organising and scheduling your prospecting tasks.
After closing the sale, agency management systems make insurance tasks like managing claims and sending renewal reminders easy, oftentimes with CRM integrations to aid relationship management. Insly and Hawksoft come highly recommended for this category. There’s even software like Rocket Referrals dedicated to bolstering your referral-seeking efforts and increasing your positive reviews.
If you’re an independent agent or if this is your first time using a software solution, you should be wary of large enterprise software like AppliedSystems, Vertafore, Salesforce, Outreach.io, etc. These platforms cost more, tend to be much more complex due to a large number of features, and oftentimes require a software specialist to help you get set up. As a rule, the simpler the platform, the easier it is to adopt, and the faster you can start closing opportunities with it.
Optimising Your Insurance Sales Funnel Requires Organisation
There’s a lot that goes on as your sales cycle progresses. Prospects are constantly being qualified and disqualified, leads at different points in the insurance sales funnel need to be nurtured, opportunities need to be followed up and closed, and more prospects need to be found to replace the ones being disqualified. Once you’ve formulated a process that works for you, measuring your results at each stage is a must if you want to improve it. A/B test at regular intervals, your performance will steadily increase as you learn what works and what doesn’t for each of your segments.
At the end of the day, good A/B testing comes down to how well you’re actually “splitting” your tests. You should try to make your campaigns as identical as possible in every way you can think of. This way, you can be sure that your results are coming from your tests rather than one campaign being sent at a better time or to a better audience.
Making the Sale is Never a One-Man Job
In the words of Brent Kelly, “Your job is not only to write new business, but also to be the first line in underwriting.” Many agents find themselves at odds with their Underwriters, because they feel they can present obstacles to the sale, sometimes stopping them in their tracks. However, no matter how hard it is to find a good underwriter, the sale simply cannot happen without one.
As an agent, this means you have to start thinking of yourself and your Underwriter as a team. You get paid for making the sale, and they get paid for insuring profitable risks. If you want an underwriter who’s willing to go out on a limb for you when you need it, you need to be able to identify which accounts are going to be good business for both you and your underwriting partner.
If you’re not knowledgeable about the insurer’s risk to make your underwriters more money, you can at least make yourself easy to work with. Here are a few tips for making an Underwriter’s life easier:
- consider the level of output they can handle. When you’re dealing with prospective clients, there’s always a sense of urgency to be as responsive as possible, but unrealistic expectations only put stress on Underwriters;
- make sure they have as much information as possible upfront. Ask your
Underwriters what they need to know before they can move forward so you know which questions to ask your prospects;
- pick up the phone sometimes. An email gets the job done more conveniently, but hopping on a call eliminates the inefficiency of going back and forth to clear up details.
A closed deal is the culmination of a well-executed process, and proper organisation and planning facilitates proper execution. Producers need to be mindful of everything that goes into closing their opportunities to wrest control over their sales process. As the old saying goes, customers are buying you, not your product. It’s your responsibility to present yourself in the best light possible.
Alone, a strong brand can only take you so far. Competitive pricing can only take you so far. Even a great sales process has its limitations. Investing time into being solid on all fronts, even at the cost of productivity, is the only way to become a million-dollar producer. If you can bring the quality of service and professionalism to the table, a tool can help you achieve scale, the most important thing is staying consistent and persistent. Your trickle of opportunities grows into a river of renewals when you stay intentional and pay attention to detail.
For more ideas on how to make your prospecting and lead nurturing more efficient, make sure to check out the 20 Miles website.
For ideas on how to make your insurance administration smooth and seamless, reach out to our team!