A version of this article first appeared in BenefitsPro to coincide with a panel discussion I led on the topic with Barry Cohn, Tim Doherty, and Heidi Rasmussen.
As much as we may like to think that it’s going to simply appear because we want it to, finding consistent success in sales doesn’t just magically happen. As sales organizations, insurance agencies need to take a very intentional approach to distributing time, resources, and financial investments across both prospecting and marketing activities to find that sweet spot for sales success.
And if you’re thinking that marketing is simply a waste-of-time activity, you’re missing out on sales opportunities, guaranteed.
Prospecting and marketing go hand-in-hand
Prospecting and marketing should be intentional activities producers and the agency engage in on a daily basis. The purpose is to stir up interest among potential clients.
And once the interest is out there, those potential clients want to scratch that itch and learn more about you. They’re either looking to reinforce a belief they’ve started pre-forming to either quickly check you off the list as irrelevant or reinforce the seed of a belief to learn more about you.
They immediately go online to see what they can find about you – website, LinkedIn, Google. What they find when they look you up will provide them with a quick answer to that itch – do they spend more time researching and following you? Or do they leave with zero guilt never to return?
But what if…?
If you believe the marketing part of the equation is simply fluff and a waste of time, you have no idea how many opportunities you may be losing out on. If you’re stirring up the interest, but not providing strong supporting information, you’re not giving your prospects the opportunity to develop the feeling that they need to learn more. You’re not letting them dig deeper and develop a stronger belief that they need to meet with you.
But what if you had a strong online presence that was compelling? Would those prospects have connected with you? Sent you a message? Requested a meeting?
But without offering an opportunity for them to learn more and possibly become intrigued with who you are and what you offer, you’ll simply never know. How much opportunity has slipped away because you’re only providing part of the puzzle? At best, you’ll only ever know anecdotally. Not a good answer to take to the bank.
It takes a team effort
Even if you’ve completely bought into the “we need to be marketing” idea, you need to approach it from a strategic perspective and lead it from the top. The agency needs to determine the message and ensure everyone follows through, sharing it accurately and consistency.
It takes a team effort to create the type of consistent presence and impact that buyers need to see to drive them into taking action. Buyers need to hear from you repeatedly for the message to really sink in and for them to make the connection between their needs and your ideas/solutions.
One-time activities like sponsoring a charity golf tournament or sending out a single direct mailer or speaking once at a Rotary event won’t cut it. And giving the responsibilities to just one person or one group won’t cut it. Think through the whole process and create a plan for a flow of consistent activities that includes everyone on the team:
- Producers need to stir up interest with prospecting activities such as cold calling/emailing, participating in networking events, asking for client referrals, sharing referrals with centers of influence.
- The agency leaders should be committed to developing a strong value proposition for their clients and have clear messaging explaining how it benefits the clients. At a minimum, this message should be shared on the website and on company social media accounts.
- Producers, leaders, account managers (typically client-facing team members) should be committed to sharing those same ideas through their own online presence and building on them, reinforcing them, and acting as an educational guide for their followers and connections around the core ideas of the value proposition.
- In-house or outsourced marketing managers need to be sharing the message along with everyone else.
Buyers want a consistent message
What your buyers hear from producers during prospecting interactions and what they read online or through other marketing activities needs to match. Be sure there is only one message and it’s being shared and reinforced through all of your activity and not just on the website or buried in a brochure.
You have to both talk it and walk it. When buyers see the consistency in a message that resonates with them, the more interested they become in having a conversation. And when they meet up for that conversation, the same message needs to carry through there as well.
Now more than ever before, it takes both prospecting and marketing to get to a qualified sales meeting. Give yourself every possible opportunity to open that door.
Photo by Nagy-Bagoly Arpad