On Wednesday July 21st, we ran a very successful web seminar titled Agency Webinar: Licensed Agent compares eMarketing & Web Seminars to Traditional Sales Methods. Since the seminar concluded, I have recieved many inquiries requesting additional information and copies of the PowerPoint presentation.  To facilitate these requests, I thought I would breifly summarize the web seminar content, and post a PDF copy of the presentation.

 StartUpSelling July 21 Web Seminar Presentation

 During the web seminar, I compare and contrast my experiences using the traditional marketing methods (cold calling, referrals, cross-selling) employed by many insurance agencies and B2B organizations with Integrated Web Marketing tools (eMarketing, web seminars, virtual meetings).  As shown the PowerPoint presentation, I have been able to increase my effectiveness as a business development executive, improve my closing ratios and eliminate the extensive travel my prior sales paradigm required.

I would be happy to answer any questions regarding Integrated Web Marketing tools and how they might apply to your business.  Please feel free to contact my by visiting our website: www.startupselling.com or via email: johns@startupselling.com.

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social Media, Telemarketing, Virtual Business, Web Seminars
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I came across this interesting blog entry and thought I would share my take for small agencies and other small B2B organizations. Similar to the author, I feel that a long-term marketing plan must be in place. This will provide direction for the sales force – even if your sales force is only you!

However, I believe that it is most important to invest your limited early funds in a lead generation plan. Most small companies do not have large marketing budget, if any budget at all. If these few dollars are not invested in something that will quickly yield sales results – the company may never live to their marketing plan develop.

Lead generation and filling the pipeline to critical for a young company, and I believe should be the first place marketing dollars are spent.

Should Smaller Companies Focus on Marketing Plans or Lead Generation Plans? Is there a difference for small companies when it comes to a marketing plan vs. a lead generation plan, or is a lead generation plan simply a component of an overall marketing strategy? How much should a small company invest in marketing vs. lead generation, and which is more effective? Does your company allocate a percentage of revenues to determine marketing spend each year? Do you have a formal budget or no budget at all? Do you create a forma … Read More

via Alan Blume – Go Virtual Blog

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We were able to raise almost $8,000 for the American Cancer Society! 

Thanks to these butt-kicking team members: 

* Ryan Harrington
* Marie DeSarro 
* Mike McGuire 
* Renee Duddy 
* Adrienne Zornow 
* Annette Smith 
* Kristi Reynolds 
* Jaki Glen 
* George Finch 
* Amber Bennett 
* Hollie Roser 

And these generous donors: 

* Maureen Zupan
* Todd Cole
* Lindsey Coates
* Aaron Gray
* Gary Mackinnon
* Lisa Wolf
* Rob Davies
* Patricia Johnson
* Lisa Lauducci
* Mel Chudzik
* John and Ashley Scranton

In total, we received over 200 contributions over a 90 day span. Thank you to everyone who helped us make a difference!

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Agency Webinar Tomorrow: Licensed Agent compares eMarketing and Web Seminars to Traditional Sales Methods

Join us tomorrow for this brief, complimentary web seminar. Licensed insurance agent John Scranton will compare his experiences using traditional cold calling and referral methods with new eMarketing and web seminar lead generation tools. Alan Blume, agency marketing expert and author of Your Virtual Success, will also discuss how he implemented a web marketing strategy for an agency client that has yielded over $300,000 in new business commission in 2010. Topics include:  * Identifying and building a prospect email list
* Using eMarketing & webinars for qualified leads
* How to make every call a warm call
* Decreasing time investment, increasing appointments
* Blogging, SEO & Social Media for prospects 

 

 

 

Date & Time: Wednesday July 21st at Noon ET
To Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/406604808
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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social Media, Telemarketing, Virtual Business, Web Seminars
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Insurance Agency Marketing and the Evolution of Sales

  • Posted on July 19, 2010
  • by John Scranton

Today I was thinking about sales in times past.  I imagine the salesman in a frontier town, peddling his wares to all who pass by – just hoping for luck to strike and someone to be interested.  Or the salesman canvassing a neighborhood in suburbia asking each homeowner if they might be interested in his company’s new kitchen appliance – never knowing if they were in the market before taking the time to visit.  And finally, the salesperson working their way through the phone book – countless dials and seemingly unending rejection.

This makes me realize how fortunate we are to have the sales tools of today.  By knowing who your best prospects are, and how to procure their emails, we never have to canvas the neighborhood.  By leveraging eMarketing platforms, we can make only warm calls to those who are interested in what we are offering.  And through the use of virtual business and cloud computing tools, we never have to mind the town thoroughfare in hopes of finding a buyer – we can meet with interested parties from the comfort of our homes.

In my experience as an insurance agent, we seemed to always be somewhere in between the archaic sales methods of our predecessors and the effective, efficient and technologically advance methods of today.  A great example of this was when I once procured a list of personal lines agency clients who I could try to cross-sell life insurance and financial services.  To me, this was a gold mine.  I could call these people who were already familiar with my agency and be miles ahead of the telemarketer working their way through the phonebook as mentioned above.  However, I did not use the technology available to make sure that each and every dial I made was a truly warm call to a prospect that had shown an interest.  An evolution, but still not fully evolved.

We are fortunate to have access to such amazing and advanced technology and sales tools.  All businesses need to continue to progress and take advantage of these tools – or eventually fall victim to the natural selection of the business world.

For more infomation, please visit: www.startupselling.com.

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Social Media, Telemarketing, Virtual Business, Web Seminars
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Insurance Agency Webinar – Increase Registration by 1400%

  • Posted on July 16, 2010
  • by John Scranton

By using a highly specific and highly targeted topic – our Web Seminar registration increased by 1400%. Pretty amazing. A few months ago we sent an email invite to insurance agency prospects for a web seminar discussion of general marketing and growth strategies. We recently sent a highly targeted, highly specific web seminar invite out to a much smaller list – and our registration increased by over 1400%.

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Web Seminars
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This is a scenario we hear often: XYZ Agency knew they needed to start an eMarketing campaign. All their competitors were already doing it. So they signed up with Constant Contact and started sending all their current clients and prospects a message once a week. Other than learning how to use an email engine, they have gained nothing from this investment. Why?

There are many simple mistakes made by the novice eMarketer. I know this because just a few short years ago I was completely inept in the email marketing arena. So without giving away the entire recipe to our secret sauce for successful eMarketing campaigns, here are three basic ingredients.

1.) Carefully choose when you send the message. Avoid Mondays (too busy) and Fridays (too anxious to get to the weekend). White collar professionals often look through emails in the morning, so have your message waiting. Hands on business owners often check in the afternoons when their daily routine is complete. Make sure you understand your audience, and when they are most likely to be accepting of an interruption.

2.) Avoid a sales oriented subject line. This is hard one, because the intent of the message is to sell something. But an email that says SALE SALE SALE is always going to be viewed as spam and deleted. “Newsletter from XYZ Agency” is better, but still not great. Some of your clients will think it is nice to get the attention, but this still won’t generate clicks and opens very often. The key to a great subject line is to provide your prospect with something useful and of value – something that will help their business if they read the message. This is how you will earn clicks and opens, generating opportunity.

3.) Do everything in your power to make sure the message reaches its destination. Not to pick on Constant Contact (they are a reputable business which I have used successfully in the past), but many email engines like theirs make it very easy to shoot yourself in the foot. They provide an opportunity to add your logo, your picture, maybe even a video. All of these things may make the message look exciting – but they also dramatically increase your bounce rate.

Hopefully these suggestions help your next eMarketing campaign be a successful one!

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing
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Getting to Know your Buyer Persona

  • Posted on July 14, 2010
  • by John Scranton

The buyer persona concept is widely used to identify the profile of your target prospects. Defining and understanding your buyer persona will absolutely increase your production. When I was an insurance agent I thought I had this mastered. I was fortunate to work at an agency with specialized programs, which gave me an avenue of focus. Without question I knew who my buyer was, who the decision makers were, and how they bought. All critical concepts that assisted in my successes.

But what else did I know? Probably not enough.

After years of investing time and energy in developing my sales and marketing knowledge, I believe I have now firmly grasped this concept. Now my prospecting efforts are guided by a long list of defining characteristics that I know and understand – specifically. Examples of B2B buyer persona identifying questions are:

• What is the target vertical or horizontal?
• How many employees do they have?
• What is their annual revenue?
• How are their purchases structured?
• Do they budget for my product/service?
• Who are the key influencers and buyers?
• How do they like to be contacted?
• What are their challenges?
• What are their key motivators?
• How is the economy impacting their business?

All are relatively simple – but can you answer all of them? Now that I can, my production and closing ratios have increased dramatically.

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing
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Trade Shows: Generating Prospects or Buying Coronas?

  • Posted on July 12, 2010
  • by John Scranton

My sister is staying with me for a couple days while she works a trade show near my home in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Her company targets school districts and school officials seem to enjoy these events.  Golf, cocktail parties, a Bon Jovi concert – hopefully with some time spent visiting the trade show floor and allowing my sister to deliver her company’s value proposition.

In my previous sales endeavors (most of which was spent as an insurance agency producer), I worked trade shows in all the standard locations: Las Vegas, Anaheim, Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Orleans, and did I mention Vegas?  The goal was always to come home with as many new prospects as possible.  But as my sister is learning, I often spent more time buying these prospects Coronas than I did talking business.

I understand the value of rapport building, and I recognize that trade shows are a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with dozens (maybe hundreds) of prospects who are in-profile and likely there to find something to buy.  But to justify the extravagant cost of attending a trade show and working a flashy booth, I need a clear ROI – not just a list of names on a napkin from the hotel bar.

The greatest ROI we achieved at a trade show was to offer insurance quotes right there on the floor.  This was challenging but very slick.  If a prospect brought their current policy and spent 5 minutes with me (and a sharp CSR back in my home office) we would provide a “pricing indication” that was contingent on loss history and various other factors.  Prospects loved this.  We were almost as popular as the guys who brought models to work their displays and pass out their chotchkies.

In the 30 days following this show I think I wrote 8 new commercial accounts that covered my quota for several months and paid for the trade show many times over – delivering that compelling ROI we craved.  But as you can imagine, insurance companies were not very comfortable with these “pricing indications” floating around and gradually restricted this practice until it became ineffective.  Without the gimmick, we were often relegated back to rapport building which does not provide the direct and concrete results we wanted.

So what can you do to avoid ineffective trade show costs?

  • Be selective.  Choose 1 or 2 trade shows each year that will give you direct access to your best prospects.  These may be regional shows or an industry segment.  In my sister’s case, she is going to be talking to business officials from schools in NY – target contact from target prospects in target area.  Highly focused for fastest ROI.
  • Be visible.  Obtain a list of trade show registrants (not hard to do) and email them 60, 30 and 7 days prior to the trade show.  Tell them why they need to talk to you and how you will provide value to them during a short visit to your booth.  Those who actually show up will be buyers.
  • Be virtual.  Trade shows cost a fortune.  So minimize their costs by developing your own virtual trade show booth that is open 24/7.  Put a PPT presentation, client testimonials and your giveaway on a web page.  Then promote it using social media outlets.  This will cost almost nothing and could produce better results.  As a 100% virtual company, we successfully do this at StartUpSelling.

Trade shows can be fun and they can be great prospecting opportunities.  I would be interested in hearing stories of how you have created pipeline activity at a trade show and how you produced a positive ROI.  Hopefully the ideas above help you to make sure you are investing in new prospects, not just supplying them with Coronas.

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Virtual Business
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