As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Insurance agencies clearly need help with marketing. And that need led us to start our marketing division at Q4i where we provide help and guidance in developing and managing the critical marketing functions all agencies need to be embracing.
Believe it or not, when we bring up the subject of marketing to agency owners, the first thing that comes to mind for some of them is the process of getting quotes, as in going to market for RFPs.
So, yes, starting a marketing division to help insurance agencies up their game was VERY necessary.
You can’t be a sales company without being a marketing company
Your sales process is critically important, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t get in front of prospects.
According to CEB, 57% of the buying decision is made before a buyer ever agrees to meet with a salesperson. So if you want to influence the majority of the buying decision, your only opportunity to do that is by having a strong marketing presence to earn the initial attention of the buyer.
A marketing effort not followed by an effective sales process is wasted effort. A sales process not preceded by effective marketing is a futile effort.
Three reasons why you HAVE to figure out this marketing thingOne - You are assumed to be like everyone else
Prospects assume every broker is the same, that you’re just like the one they already have. Because buyers rarely move for a better version of what they already have, you have the challenge of showing them how you are meaningfully different.
But first things first: If you can’t get in front of them, how can you explain how you’re different?
You guessed it, marketing.
When you use your marketing efforts to talk about different things, explain how you work differently than others, and when you tell stories of how you delivered different results, you become different in the readers’ eyes.
At the very least, you’ve planted the seed that you might be different, and fortunately, that’s usually enough to get them listening. The purpose of marketing is nothing more than to earn you the opportunity to get a face-to-face meeting, and if your marketing is helping create those opportunities, you can consider it successful.
It’s then during that face-to-face meeting where your sales people have to take the baton of being different and continue the race with a compelling message and process. But without the marketing message to set that expectation, your sales team will never have those opportunities.
Two – It brings the prospects to you
No matter how enticing you think your Get a Free Quote button might be, your prospects are not Googling, “Who can bring me another spreadsheet?”
If your website encourages them to ask you for a free quote, you have just taught them something very helpful. Unfortunately, what they learned is that you are just like the broker they already have who bring them quotes and that they can quickly continue their search.
Instead, your prospects are out there searching for any number of HR/benefits related challenges they might have. And, even if they’re not actively looking for help, effective marketing can make them aware of problems they weren’t even aware of, but which can quickly become a priority.
Effective marketing is like the proverbial funnel. At the top-of-the-funnel, your marketing messages are purely educational and should discuss challenges or opportunities likely facing their business. The primary goal is to simply get their attention.
Once you have their attention and provided helpful information about their challenges or opportunities, you are able to pull them into your middle-of-the-funnel messages. These messages are intended to educate the audience on the specific ways their business may be impacted. It makes the issue personal for them.
Middle-of-the-funnel solutions can also be used to introduce the general types of solutions available to address the challenges or capitalize on the opportunities.
Now, with a greater sense of urgency, the bottom-of-the funnel messaging is focused on letting them know you are able to effectively address these problems and encourages them to set up a meeting with you to learn how you can help them.
Here is an example of what a message looks like that starts with awareness and explains potential solutions. At the end of the page, the messaging leads the reader to make a connection to learn more about the possible opportunities and/or available solutions.
How awesome would it be to have prospects contacting you to help them address the problems you made them aware of through your marketing? Yeah, I KNOW!! REALLY freaking cool!!Three – Your marketing efforts never stop working
An effective marketing strategy becomes your best salesperson. It’s at work 24/7/365 and, not only is it your best salesperson, it makes every other salesperson exponentially more effective.
That blog you wrote, the video you had made, the infographic you put together keep doing their jobs weeks, months, maybe even years later.
When you make a cold call, you are expecting the prospect to work on your schedule. You’re expecting them to pick up the phone and to make you their immediate priority. And we all know the frustrations that come with those assumptions.
But, marketing puts the conversation on the buyers’ schedule. When they wake up early and can’t go back to sleep because they have some problem on their mind, your blog, video, and educational website are all there waiting to address their concern, on their timeframe.
It’s not an option
Marketing is not an optional activity and it’s not a project to be simply checked off of a list. Marketing is a critical daily function of running a business.
You already know you are a sales organization, but you have to first be a marketing organization to get to the sales conversations. More and more, if you skip the marketing effort, you’ll never get that meeting with a prospect.
You can be the best sales person on the planet, but if you can’t get in front of a prospect, your sales talent will go to waste.
Photo by MKDigitalArt.