Insurance prospecting used to consist of going door to door or calling people on the phone. Maybe the salesperson could convince the prospect to buy. Maybe not. The process was random at best, and sales depended entirely on the skill of the insurance agent for building rapport, establishing need for the product and closing the deal. Because agents typically only got one shot at making the sale, it became a high-pressure sales job and thus relied on high-pressure sales tactics.
Insurance sales today are a whole different ballgame.
Prospects will not be intimidated into buying insurance. There are too many options in the marketplace. Plus, the internet has effectively freed information to the point where people can do much of the research on their own before meeting with agents.
Insurance businesses can only make so many sales by functioning manually. What they truly need is a prospecting and sales process fueled by advanced data analytics.
Data-driven prospecting and sales is possible with innovative management systems that give you access to customer data based on actionable intelligence, predictive analytics and real-time insights. With this type of technology guiding the industry's decisions, the sky's the limit on how many prospects and sales your business can secure.
Here are three things you can do when you implement data-driven insights into your sales process.
1. Integrate your front and back office.
Legacy systems treat the "front of the house" and "back office" as two distinct operations. This might be good for certain kinds of management styles, but it doesn't do much for sales potential.
By implementing a digital management platform that integrates the two halves of the business, you can use front-office information such as where the client lives, what types of policies they own, and basic demographic and psychographic information to fuel your sales process.
What's more, eliminating the wall between your front and back office gives you vital visibility across the entire business. With those barriers removed, you have a clear, unified view of the entire customer journey and your full insurance portfolio. This will enable your insurance business to make smarter prospecting efforts and sales pitches that don't sound forced or fake. You also won't waste the prospect or client's time with offers they won't be interested in.
For example, if you're communicating with a client who already has some insurance coverage, you can use existing back-office data to better understand what coverage they currently have and where there may be gaps you can fill with relevant products.
You can also use actionable intelligence to analyze existing data and better understand the type of coverage an entire group of customers has. From there, you can identify segments of customers who have gaps in coverage or exposure to certain risks and offer them coverage that makes sense for their particular situations.
So, a client who has life insurance may be a good candidate for supplemental insurance or health insurance. A person with auto coverage may be a good candidate for other types of liability. If you discover your client recently bought a family car, they may need to upgrade their auto coverage as well as life insurance.
With an intelligent management platform, you can easily conduct this entire process through a step-by-step product wizard. You ask the system to provide you a list of clients who don't have a particular product or filter existing clients according to their claims history, how much coverage they have or, for business clients, the industry they're in.
Once you have your targeted list of customers or prospects, you can begin getting quotes and initiating the application process.
2. Adapt to customer-centric sales.
Insurance has become a commodity business, but if you run your insurance business that way, it's safe to say you won't progress much further. Someone always has a cheaper price and promises better service.
Intelligent technology, however, can transform your business from a product-centric business to a data-driven one, where real-time customer insights power everything you do. This will allow your agency to provide more personalized service, with custom product recommendations for each client or prospect.
Without data analytics, most insurance businesses prepare standard sales pitches that simply guess what a prospect or client might need. With a data-driven approach, you can source data from fact-finders, previous applications, current policy contracts, email correspondence and many other sources, then use this information to intelligently determine what the client needs next.
Using advanced data analytics, an agent can check previous email correspondence, a client's current coverage, their zip code and other relevant information. For example, if a client lives in a neighborhood with increasing crime rates, the agent can focus on additional theft protection by pointing out the risks the particular client faces. The difference is, instead of being a salesperson, the agent is now a trusted advisor and consultant trying to help protect the client's property, making the customer's particular needs central to the sales process.
3. Use data to improve renewal rates.
Lost renewals are a common pain point for insurance businesses. To combat them, a data-driven management system with automated features is crucial.
Automated lifecycle policy management cuts down on manual data entry, which reduces keystroke errors and other mistakes. It also reduces the amount of paperwork your agents have to do while streamlining redundant processes. Each phase of the policy's lifecycle can be partially or fully automated:
Sales and application
When it comes time to renew their policies, many clients start shopping for a new agent, most commonly because agents forget to contact their customers before their policies lapse. When that happens, the client realizes they need new coverage, so they look elsewhere. If a new agent is wooing them with discounts and perhaps better coverage limits, then it's easy to justify making the switch.
Between forgotten customers and customers who leave because they feel their business isn't appreciated, it's easy to understand why renewal rates are so dismal in the insurance industry.
However, with automated renewals, retention and renewal ratios can increase significantly. This is because when policy expiration dates approach, a renewal is automatically sent to the client. They can then use a self-service portal to accept the renewal, and the policy will automatically populate with new dates, premiums and other relevant information.
These systems also provide tools to facilitate the renewal of large numbers of policies, even if they all have different expiration dates and require different types of handling. This technology will minimize your risk of error and enhance the process to increase your renewal rates and your sales.
The insurance industry is slowly moving away from manual processes and adopting data-driven automated systems to streamline the application process, underwriting, servicing and claims processing. Now is the time for your insurance business to make the switch. Not only will it help you stay current, it will significantly improve your bottom line.