From the Archives: An Embarrassment of (Marketing) Riches

Posted on

March 20th, 2014


An Embarrassment of Riches

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by John Scranton

I am a big fan of the soccer team FC Barcelona.  I have always respected their approach to developing talent, and love to watch their style of play.  I make an attempt to watch as many of their matches as my schedule allows.  Last night, I watched a replay of their Champion’s League massacre of Shakhtar Donetsk.  While preparing for a free kick from just beyond the penalty area, three star players gathered to discuss who would be taking the kick.  The announcer proclaimed this to be “an embarrassment of riches.”

I thought to myself “an embarrassment of riches? That’s it! That’s the key to marketing success!”  So I immediately went out and hired three of the worlds best marketers, signed them to eight-figure salaries and began shopping for a new yacht.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  Kidding about the eight-figure marketing assassins and the yacht, but not kidding about the embarrassment of riches being the key to success.  Let me explain.

Barcelona had three players with unique and distinctly different styles circling this free kick.  Dani Alves who delivers powerful strikes, Lionel Messi who often curls a ball into the upper corner, and Xavi who might lob the ball over the wall onto the head of a teammate.  All different, all effective, all with certain potential to score a goal.

When attacking your marketplace, it is extremely unlikely that only one marketing initiative will be the key to success.  But fully developing three (or more) unique and distinct campaigns will provide a much greater likelihood of market penetration.  In my case, this consists of 1) eMarketing & Webinars 2) Blogging & Social Media and 3) Referrals and Cross-Selling.  Three groups, each consisting of multiple elements.  This creates a multi-dimension approach that touches prospects in a variety of ways, giving them many opportunities to respond to my messaging.

A properly executed integrated marketing campaign generates sales activity in many different ways with a variety of prospects – and hopefully leads to an embarrassment of riches for your business.

Insurance Agency Marketing – Top 5 Tips in 200 Words or Less – Tip #1

Posted on

June 10th, 2013


Tip #1: Clearly Define Your Target Prospect Profile

A wise man once told me: “If you try to be everything to everybody, you probably won’t be anything to anybody.”

Attempting to develop deep expertise in many areas is a very challenging and often futile objective.  How likely is it that the best pitcher is also the best hitter, or that the best quarterback is also the best linebacker?  This logic also applies to insurance sales – particularly when creating a marketing campaign.

For example, I previously worked with agents who specialized in unique niche markets such as car washes or fire departments.  In each case, the agent knew nearly everything about the risk – not just from an insurance perspective, but from a business perspective.  If you can discuss car wash equipment or ladder trucks intelligently prior to taking applications, you present a distinct and highly marketable advantage.

A message of value was created as a result of a clearly defined target prospect profile.  In these examples, the profile was defined by industry – but size, location or product could also be key characteristics of an ideal prospect.  This tip is a crucial first step to the development of an effective insurance agency marketing campaign.


Webinar Preview – Branding & Collateral to Grow Your Agency

Posted on

February 6th, 2013


Insurance Agency MarketingBranding & Collateral to Grow Your Agency
    Presented by StartUpSelling, Inc. February 6, 2013
    Speaker: John Scranton
  • Branding
  • Why it’s important
  • Why it’s not
  • CollateraleBrochures
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials
  • Improve Prospecting
  • Closing More Business
  • Questions & Answers

How to Insure the Success of Your Producers – Webinar Summary

Posted on

April 4th, 2012


Insure the Success of Your Producers

Our Speakers: John Scranton & Alan Blume


  • The Old Way
  • A Better Way
    • Prospect Identification
    • Prospect List Generation
    • Email Marketing
    • Web Seminars
    • Appointment Setting Warm Calls
    • Appointment Setting Cold Calls
    • Social Media Marketing
  • Question & Answer Session

The Old Way

  • A Desk and Phone
  • Cold Calling
  • 2-3 Appointments per Day
  • 30,000 Miles per Year
  • 60+ Hour Weeks
  • High Failure Rate
  • Agents are Seeking a Better Way…

A Better Way – Insure the Success of Producers

Prospect List Generation

  • Industry, Size, Geography
  • Titles, Data Fields, Emails
  • Carefully Select Vendor
  • Append and Scrub

Reach Your Prospects

  • Professional, Educational Email Marketing
  • Effective for B2B Prospects
  • Commercial P&C
  • Group Benefits
  • Educate Your Prospect – Do Not Sell
  • Convey Your Message Quickly
  • Feature a Value Driven Call to Action
  • Use Multipart Mime (limited graphics) Business Emails
  • Limit Frequency & List Use

What Does Your Prospect See?

Webinar Call to Action

  • Sample Webinar Topics:
  • Outlook Backup Best Practices
  • Hours of Service Regulations – Changes and Impact
  • Learn about Mandated W2 Reporting & PPACA Updates
  • How to Integrate Social Media Into Your Training Initiatives

Appointment Setting Calls

  • Warm Call Opportunities:
    • Email Opens
    • Email Click-Throughs
    • Webinar Registrants
    • Webinar Attendees
  • Identifies Interested Prospects
  • Infinitely More Valuable than Cold Calls
  • Producers Should Only Make Warm Calls
  • Professional Callers are also Effective

Vertical Cold Calling

Social Media Marketing

  • Blogging
  • ePublishing
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

Question & Answer Session

Upcoming Webinars: LinkedIn Training Today at Noon ET, Agency Web Marketing Next Wednesday at 1pm ET

Posted on

November 9th, 2011


Webinar: Complimentary LinkedIn Training for Executives & Sales Professionals

Join us for this brief, complimentary and educational web seminar. Our panel of web marketing experts will review and discuss how to effectively use LinkedIn to grow your business. There are now over 115 million members using LinkedIn, and the number is growing daily. Profile optimization, content integration and group participation are all important aspects to an effective strategy that will allow you to access this vast number of prospects. Topics include:

* Profile Optimization
* Blog & Content Integration
* Group Creation & Participation
* Advanced Search Functionality
* Company Page & Employee Standardization

Date & Time: November 9th at Noon ET

To Register:


Agency Web Marketing Methods to Build Producer Pipelines – Complimentary eBook

Insurance Agency MarketingJoin us for this brief, complimentary webinar. Our team of insurance agency marketing experts will review web based methods to build your pipeline and create opportunity for your producers.  We will also explain the Prospect Scorecard system to simply and easily track and qualify your pipeline opportunities.

Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of StartUpSelling’s new eBook, Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0, and a Prospect Scorecard designed for B2B agency producers.

Date & Time: November 16th at 1pm ET

Webinar Wednesday October 26th at Noon ET – Effective Appointment Setting & Lead Generation Methods

Posted on

October 24th, 2011


Join us for this brief, complimentary and educational web seminar.  We will review insurance agency lead generation and appointment setting campaigns, comparing the results of traditional programs with current innovative methods.  The variation in the exclusivity, data provided, and profile accuracy is often disparate, and agency principals, executives ad producers must understand this prior to engaging in a lead generation or appointment setting campaign.  Topics include:

* Comparing lead generation campaign results
* In-profile, data rich leads vs. traditional leads
* The value of exclusive leads and appointments
* Lead handling tools and methods for success
* Question and answer session

Date & Time: Wednesday October 26th at Noon ET

To Register:

StartUpSelling’s Prospect Scorecard Mobile App Now Available from iTunes

Posted on

October 18th, 2011


The Prospect Scorecard offers salespeople and businesses a simple and easy way to qualify, track and rank their best prospects. Salespeople, sales managers, entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, insurance agents, realtors and other business people often refer to prospects in vague terms such as: new, warm, hot, cold, likely, qualified, etc. These terms do little to better understand a sales pipeline or convey likelihood of purchase to other members of the team. The Prospect Scorecard resolves this issue, simply, quickly and easily for any salesperson or business. Benefits include:

  • Helps you create ideal attributes to form a buyer persona
  • Creates a simple numeric system to leverage your buyer persona
  • Assigns numeric values to rank your best prospects
  • Helps you create a simple qualification acronym to determine likelihood to close
  • Ranks your prospects alphabetically, by Prospect Score and Quality Score
  • Color codes prospects into Green, Yellow and Red categories, quickly elucidating prospect status

What does your perfect client look like? Create a Prospect Scorecard to quantify your approach to prospecting and pipeline building. Some of the attributes of your ideal client might include revenue, growth rate, client type (business or consumer) and market niche. For example, are you targeting companies between $5 million and $10 million in revenue? Are your best prospects fast-growing firms like those found on the Inc. 500 list? Are you selling to consumers? If you’re selling to consumers, are they high net worth prospects, middle income, younger or older? Are your prospects in a specific niche market such as banking, insurance, biotech, plumbing, consulting, education, etc.? Create a Prospect Scorecard with your ideal attributes and a customized qualification abbreviation to help you determine if you are selling to an in-profile prospect.

To Purchase:

To Learn More:


Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Part 1 Chapter Index (Chapters 1-5)

Posted on

July 7th, 2011


Chapter Index & Quick Reference Guide to Part One of our Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 eBook

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 1: Introduction

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 2: Prospect Identification & List Generation

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 3: Insurance Agency eMarketing

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 4: Insurance Agency Webinars

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 5: Telemarketing & Appointment Setting

Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 2: Prospect Identification & List Generation

Posted on

June 6th, 2011


Prospect Identification

Who do you wish to sell to?  Who are able to sell to?  Who will be profitable to sell to?  Why will they buy from you instead of your competition?  These are all questions you must answer accurately before entering any business.  If you cannot come up with good answers, you might want to consider a different product/service/solution.

Begin by identifying your ideal client.  If you are P&C commercial agent, this might be a manufacturer with 50 employees or a contractor with $5,000,000 in revenue.  A life agent might seek households with at least $150,000 in total income or couples nearing the retirement stage.  Lastly a general agency might prefer to try selling everything to everybody.

So how crowded is your space?  If there room for you?  Does your value proposition create room for you in that marketplace?  Perform a careful analysis, because I personally know dozens of agents who would love to write that 50 person manufacturing business.  Many of them have deep and unique expertise and access to a vast array of markets – you must be able to explain why you deserve the business instead.

I suggest you seek a unique niche.  Start a program or find an area of specialization.  If you have a great opportunity to compete for the above manufacturer – quote it.  But if there will be significant competition that provides markets or services you do not, pass it up and invest your time in what you know you can do better than anyone else.

Your specialty could be a vertical, like restaurants or auto repair.  Or a horizontal, like benefits programs for businesses with 10 to 20 employees.  Or a line of coverage, such as worker’s compensation or professional liability.  How many agents in your market are a true expert in D&O?  Likely not nearly as many as those who want to compete for the manufacturer.

For example, my company provides marketing services.  We could sell to anyone, but I know that we can do a better job helping a $10 million dollar insurance agency sell benefits programs than we can helping Apple sell iPhones.  So I make my outbound calls to agency owners, not Steve Jobs.  This is one of our key verticals, and there is plenty of room in the space for our deep expertise, unique web marketing focus and compelling value proposition.

Prospect List Generation

Now that we have decided who we would most like to sell to, how do we find them?  Begin my acquiring quality prospect lists.  This can be accomplished online without a great deal of effort.  Although, there are challenges and pitfalls, so be careful when you make your selection.

There are many, many providers of lists that can be found on the web.  They will provide data in all shapes and size, and of varying quality.  Find a source that can offer you the detail you need in a convenient format, like an Excel spreadsheet.  Fields like first name, last name, phone number and email sound like obvious items to include, but some low-cost or low-quality vendors will not have all fields populated or will lump all the data into a single field – making an upload to your CRM or email engine impossible.

Seek a reputable vendor that will provide you with a sample of the list you will procure.  Make sure you they have all the information you need (employees, revenue, industry could be necessities to some agents and useless to others).  Also confirm the list count prior to  engaging with a vendor.  When we enter a new vertical target market, I like to start with around 5,000 contacts that have email addresses.  Buying 500 would not create enough opportunity, and buying 50,000 would be wasteful as that is a far greater number than I currently wish to prospect (as a boutique shop we seek steady and incremental growth).

For a young business, purchasing a prospect list is critical.  You have limited resources and need to begin hitting your targets immediately.  Find a vendor or a marketing professional who will consult with you and make certain your investment is not wasted.  A client once told me he purchased 30,000 prospect emails for a significant sum of money.  These led to no opportunity – only SPAM trouble.  Do not make the same mistake.