Activate Your Sales Efforts
Last week MarshBerry shared perspectives on the importance of rethinking your business strategy in the context of current circumstances. A long-term business strategy will always be a strong guidepost for decisioning, and prioritizing resources and investments. Right now, it is essential to compress the business strategy horizon to real and near term – not 3-5 years out, and align efforts and activities to creating the best possible success in 2020. Once you have created the prospecting pipeline described in our previous article, it’s time to activate your efforts.
By now you hopefully have defined the types of businesses you best serve, researched and gathered intel on the companies and have begun to leverage your network to ask for the introduction. Next, activate and amplify your prospecting efforts.
Over the next 30 days a few activities need to be happening. Start with setting goals for your producers to uncover a specific number of new prospects a week and add them to the prospect pipeline. Build a repository and system to manage and track activities. A centralized CRM system is a valuable tool to capture key data points, track interactions and document insights that are gathered along the way.
Use the notes section on an account to store information and relevant tidbits or build dedicated sections in CRM at the account level for each of the buckets mentioned previously (what does the prospect look like now; what do they want to look like in the future; how are they planning on getting there; what hurdles are they running into; and what is the “hair-on-fire” problem that needs addressing today).
Having an organized way to capture this information will pay dividends to the producer and your company.
Remember, the initial contact is an introduction and discovery call, not a product pitch. Consider the process of know, understand, then provide. The opener should clearly articulate that the producer has taken the time to know the prospect’s industry and demonstrate they understand what other businesses like them are doing to get through these difficult times. This brings value to the call. Now it is time to listen. Listen to understand. With the niche expertise, the background information gathered on the prospect, and potentially an introduction from a colleague, should make this outreach an almost effortless introductory conversation. Position the call as a genuine “I want to learn more about you and your company.” Ask them to share information about their business. What they do best. What keeps them up at night. Offer to be a resource for them down the road. Thank them for their time.
Close the call with specific approval to touch base with them again, invite them to a webinar, offer to send them a link to something that relates to the conversation. Once the initial contact has been made, subsequent calls or touchpoints such as an email should seamlessly continue the conversation. Refer back to the initial call notes. Connect the dots and introduce some insurance related information that correlates to where the prospect is headed. Be their ally. Help them, don’t sell them – yet.
Amplify your prospecting efforts by building brand awareness. The likelihood of a prospect taking your call increases significantly if they recognize your firm and have some recall of how it connects to their business. Content marketing is one critical element in today’s digital world.
Be seen and build trust – quality content earns attention and drives preference. Your firm should take the time to develop online content, informational podcasts, useful social media posts (LinkedIn Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and have a website designed for how a prospect thinks. Prospects and customers will follow you on social media because they want to read your opinion, see how you have helped someone like them, and learn about things that can help them in their daily lives. They don’t want to read about your products. When you write high-quality posts or content, your audience will take notice and will more likely share this content – helping your reach extend even further to their network (presumably with a note from those sharing it that underscores this content is worthy of serious consideration). Most prospects and customers would rather learn about a company through an article, a community project, a post, or a visit to one’s website than an advertisement.
Your business strategy must have a dynamic prospecting pipeline to sustain your firm. Defining your niche, researching companies and decision makers, leveraging your network and activating your activities now will set you up for success for when prospects are ready to buy. Elevating the use of data and technology have become imperatives to operating in this virtual business environment. This week we will share our viewpoint on capturing data and turning that data into insight and action.
If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint or would like to learn more about strategic planning for the insurance agents and brokers, please email Ben Swann, MarshBerry Vice President, Client Development or call 214-556-1452.
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