The title poses a question that many insurance agency owners, executives and producers probably ponder. After all, whose job is it to fill the top of the funnel? And has the answer to this question evolved over time, requiring a different response today than it did ten or twenty years ago?
Some insurance agency owners think that insurance agency leads should be generated by Producers. They expect them to pick up the phone and cold call their way to a robust pipeline, join networking groups, stop by businesses, drop off brochures (canvassing) and send out information via the US Postal Service. This may have been a reasonable response 20 years ago, though it did often result in a high Producer failure rate. Today, there are better tools, technologies and methodologies available to help ensure the success of new agents, many of which can and should be used by the Producers themselves.
The pipeline challenge occurs with many types of businesses, it’s not specific to insurance agencies. Many smaller organizations are reticent to add marketing dollars to their current sales expenditures, and expect or at least hope, that their new salespeople will cold call their way to success and build their own pipeline. Unfortunately, this is too often an empirical path to failure, as most new producers are typically unprepared to tackle their own lead generation, lacking the experience, tools and organization to accomplish this tedious and challenging task. The changing world of lead generation as it migrates away from cold calling and face to face networking toward a more digital venue, further complicates the challenge. Insurance Web Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Insurance Agency Email Marketing, Blogging, Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization and Web Seminar Marketing are all more efficient tools than traditional cold calling, snail mail and “canvassing”.
Insufficient qualified prospects at the top of the sales funnel, invariably leads to inadequate results at the bottom of the funnel. Why don’t insurance agencies or other B2B companies invest more in marketing? I think there are a few reasons.
- Some agency executives, especially those who started 20 or 30 years ago, don’t believe in marketing. Many still look at cold calling and personal networking as the tried and true path to sales.
- If an agency is paying a producer a base salary of $50,000 (plus benefits), they don’t want to spend additional dollars for marketing – they think it just adds to the cash burn and risk.
- Many insurance agency marketing plans and dollars simply focus on local events and traditional seminars. Web marketing is still an unknown frontier.
- Many agencies lack a formal marketing department and are uncertain how to create a successful insurance agency lead generation program.
There are many other reasons, but the net results are the same, producers who don’t have quality leads flowing into the top of the funnel, won’t have sufficient sales flowing from the bottom.
Perhaps the best advice for insurance agencies when it comes to hiring new producers is as follows. If an agency intends to hire three new agency producers, but does not plan on investing in a marketing and insurance lead generation program, they should consider investing in only two new producers and using the savings for a marketing support and insurance leads program specifically targeted for those producers. Increasing the success of new hires is a certain path toward a more successful and profitable insurance agency.
For more information about insurance agency leads and insurance agency marketing visit startupselling.com, or read Sell More & Work Less www.sellmoreandworkless.com.