Increased competition in the insurance market means that many outbound sales and lead gen teams could use a re-think. In this article, we explore fresh ideas on how to reinvigorate the insurance lead generation process from end to end by looking at:
Focusing your insurance lead generation efforts on the right customers
How automation can boost contact rates and speed-to-lead
Strategies for reducing call blocking and flagging
How to leverage customer acquisition data and personalize your sales approach
Times of change or uncertainty affect every industry differently. For much of the insurance industry, the COVID-19 pandemic ratcheted up demand as consumers sought out the security of the right policies in the face of so much change. Greater demand has come with increased competition.
Yesterday’s approach to sales and generating leads in insurance may not be enough to deliver the results you need to thrive. A solid sales foundation is more critical than ever for insurance providers grappling with fast-paced changes in loss ratios, market dynamics, and regulations.
We hope these fresh insurance lead generation ideas bring new life to your sales process—and new growth to your organization. Whether you’re trying to improve life insurance lead generation, health insurance lead generation, home insurance lead generation or auto insurance lead generation – the same understanding and strategies for success apply across the insurance marketplace: focusing on the right customers, consent-based leads, contact rate, speed to lead, personalization, and automation.
Focusing Your Insurance Lead Acquisition on the Right Customers
In many industries, a hallmark of top-notch marketing is the ability to turn just about any consumer into a customer. Jacob Rodriguez, Director of Sales, Auto and Home Insurance at ActiveProspect says that “Good marketers are willing to market to any customer.” After all, in so many cases, any customer is a customer that you want.
However, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for insurers. “In the insurance world,” says Rodriguez, “too many bad customers making too many claims can really destroy your loss ratios.” Insurance sales teams need a better, more refined approach to lead acquisition. To improve your reach, you’ll need to narrow your marketing and acquisition efforts to focus on customers who fit your company’s ideal profile.
Read the recap and watch the webinar Mastering Insurance Lead Generation discussing how to leverage consent, compliance, and contact rates to gain more insurance customers.
Your Ideal Insurance Customer Profile
By only going after consumers who fit your model persona, you’re more likely to end up acquiring customers that will uphold better loss ratios and do so over the long term. That is, those that fit your ideal profile are not only going to perform better, according to Rodriguez. “They’re also going to retain a lot better on your books. And retention is a huge factor for growth within this vertical.”
Nevertheless, this better approach still falls short of the best approach to insurance lead acquisition. You might wonder, how do I improve on my ideal insurance customer?
Simple, says Rodriguez: You just add one more layer. “The best option today is to not only market to your ideal customer profile, but to your ideal customer that also raises their hand and says, ‘I’m giving you consent to call me now.’”
This approach, termed consent-based marketing, can make all the difference in driving sales efficiency. That’s because this consent also reveals a stronger underlying intent – the customer that raises their hand has shown their willingness to convert. They have high intent.
How compliance and cost concerns figure into the best approach to insurance lead generation
During a webinar on insurance lead gen, polled participants showed that an overwhelming majority (87%) had experienced issues with inconsistent lead quality. In fact, they ranked this as the single biggest issue in finding an insurance lead vendor or partner.
“It’s unfortunate, but a lot of large [insurance] carriers and large businesses will settle for good and better [even] when the best option is available,” says Rodriguez. So, what’s behind this hesitation from insurance organizations? It’s certainly not ignorance.
Instead, it’s generally driven by intersecting concerns over compliance and costs.
Verifying consent of insurance leads
The challenge for many insurance businesses is not only getting consistent, quality leads, but with assuring that the data is compliant – which costs more. But the added expense of generating compliant insurance leads tends to pay off – not only in more efficient use of agent time and higher conversions, but in sparing your company legal fines over regulatory non-compliance.
While a recent Supreme Court ruling may have alleviated some concerns over verifying express written consent and TCPA compliance at the federal level, insurance is a state-regulated industry, meaning that there are still a number of hurdles for sales teams to clear if they’re to avoid legal consequences.
To avoid the high costs and reputation damage that can accompany compliance violations, insurance sales teams must take necessary steps to verify and document the consent of their leads.
High volume vs. high intent leads
Challenged with regulatory red tape and the costs of high intent leads, many insurance organizations opt for what may seem like the path of least resistance.
It’s easy to understand the conundrum faced by so many in the insurance industry. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in this position.You want to find people who are interested, who have the intent to learn about or invest in insurance. But that doesn’t mean those prospects are available when you want them.
Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi explains that with the scarcity of high intent leads, many insurers instead try reaching out to a high volume of leads as a sales strategy. “The challenge you find is that people go for something that’s easier to get in volume to try to make up for [the lack of high intent leads].”
But the reality is that with increased regulation and increased frustrations around telemarketing calls, this high volume approach is likely to increase problems for insurance lead generation that will lower your success. Rather, you need smart outreach strategies and dynamic tools to compete in today’s insurance market.
Boost Contact Rates to Reach and Convert More Leads
Once you’ve got your high intent compliant leads, you need to make the most of the opportunities they represent by getting them on the phone, and hopefully converting them to a win for your insurance company. Your top priorities following lead acquisition should be accelerating your speed to lead (get ’em while they’re hot!); boosting contact rates to get more agents in conversations with those leads; and tracking your lead metrics in real time so you know how well your expensive data is performing.
Use Automation to Improve Your Speed to Lead
Agility is the winner in this race – especially with those scarce high intent leads. How fast can your agents respond to incoming leads? Too slow? You may have just lost a potential sale.
It’s not just about competition. It’s about psychology.
When a prospective customer completes a lead form online or otherwise raises their hand, in that moment they are ready. And that’s your cue to seize the moment – while your business is still on their mind, before their interest has cooled, and, yes, before your competition may have a chance to reach them first.
Increase your speed to lead, and you’ll increase your contact and conversion rates. Now you’re leaving the competition in the dust.
How do you increase your speed to lead?
Automation is key: When a warm lead enters your sales cycle, your insurance dialer should automatically enter it into a custom workflow according to the priority you’ve set. Hopefully it’s supported by omnichannel outreach and pre-defined cadences that your team has fine-tuned over time.
Think of ways to improve your speed to lead. You may want to hire more agents, automate email replies, and power up your one call close. Speed to lead is one of the best ways to harvest the crop of content-based leads you cultivate.
Don’t let poor voicemail detection keep you from reaching your high quality leads. Learn how answering machine detection speed and accuracy can boost contact rates.
Reduce call blocking and flagging
Low-quality lead sources are not the only reasons some insurance organizations are seeing declines in contact rates. Call blocking and call flagging are on the rise.
As more outreach regulations come into play, such as STIR/SHAKEN, and telecom carriers and consumers become more empowered to label calls as a spam risk, those low contact rates will continue to interfere with the ability of legitimate businesses to engage in conversations.
Without the right tools and strategies in place, both blocking and flagging can become a runaway problem for outbound sales teams—even those who are zeroed in on high intent leads.
“Insurance companies need to take a multi-pronged approach,” according to Nima Hakimi. He points to two strategies that insurance sales teams need to incorporate into their sales processes: caller ID management and identity verification.
Caller ID management and verifying calls
While some savvy sales teams may already be utilizing a high number of caller IDs, this is only half the battle. Hakimi says, “Even if you’re calling on consent-based leads, you have to manage the volume of numbers that the DIDs use based on geography. It’s not just [a matter of], ‘Hey, let’s use as many numbers as possible.’ You need to figure out where you are calling and associate the right number of IDs that are local to that area based on your call volume. And so your dialer should have the ability to figure out what those numbers need to be.” You can also register your various phone numbers in order to minimize the chances your calls get flagged as spam or telemarketing.
Pointing to one verification method available to call centers, Verified Calls by Google, Hakimi points out that this verification can also be a powerful sales solution. “It’s something that we’re implementing that you can use to tell [customers] who’s calling and what the purpose of the call is—and that [information] shows up on Android phones. This is a perfect solution [for high intent leads] that will allow those that really want and are interested in your service to know who you are, so they’re more likely to pick up the phone.”
Identify Effective Sources with Real-Time Reporting
Inconsistent lead quality is all too frequently an issue in the insurance industry, as our webinar’s polling showed. Outbound insurance call centers and lead generation organizations need to track real-time performance metrics to inform improved decision-making.
Without knowing how your lead sources are performing, insurance lead buyers can easily become stuck in an endless loop of buying and exhausting more and more leads without any recourse.
Tiffanie Gonzalez of Top Healthcare Options describes encountering just such a process before being able to rely on Convoso’s own reporting capabilities: “With VICIdial I ended up spending a lot of money since I couldn’t figure out which vendors the calls were coming from, and I couldn’t optimize. I just kept buying from sources that weren’t doing any good. Now with Convoso, I happily give my money to the vendor that’s making me money, not the vendors that are not making me money.”
Understanding the efficiency of your leads and lead sources is critical to driving success. With a list conversion report, you can drill down on your true cost per acquisition or the profitability of your lead on a list vendor level. Learn more about strategies to improve lead efficiency and drive profitability in this post by Nima Hakimi, Outbound Calling Strategies: Accelerating Lead Efficiency.
Find out the most important metrics to track for your outbound insurance operation with this guide: 16 Essential KPIs for Outbound Call Center Profitability
Leverage Your Insurance Lead Generation Data to Streamline Your Sales Pipeline and Improve Efficiency
To build an insurance sales operation that meets today’s hyper-competitive environment, you need to use tools that help you leverage the actionable insights generated during your lead acquisition. The automated solutions below – skills-based routing, dynamic scripting, and omnichannel outreach workflows – can deliver personalization and efficiencies for success.
Smart, skills-based routing
In insurance sales, where a certain number of call transfers are often unavoidable, it’s essential that customers never get lost in the shuffle. Ensuring that leads are paired with the right agent from the get-go is a crucial part of a positive customer experience. Eliminate unnecessary friction within your lead-to-policyholder pipeline by deploying smart, skill-based routing within your outbound calling process.
Using lead location data generated during the acquisition phase to inform skill-based routing, insurance sales teams can first and foremost ensure that agents with the right state licensure are automatically given the phone call, without needing to use a click-to-dial solution.
But the benefits of smart routing go beyond supporting compliance. Routing parameters can also be customized according to the various strengths of different sales team members. With the power to give the warmest leads to your hottest agents, your team can build and maintain sales momentum. “You have to leverage these data points [to be successful],” says Hakimi. “Don’t just go right into the conversation. Figure out which of the agents do better with it, for example, if the [lead’s] credit score is higher or lower.”
Sticking to the dynamic script that sells
Once your lead is on the phone with the right agent, you can set agents up for success—and further support compliant conversations—with dynamic scripting.
Given the stringent regulations that govern much of the insurance industry, keeping agents on script, delivering the right disclosures and getting the right permissions, is an important part of sticking to the letter of the law. But even for the most experienced agents, keeping everything straight can be a tall order. Dynamic scripting software serves agents all of the information they need to check the compliance boxes before proceeding with a sale or transferring the call to the right place.
Harnessing the customer data culled during the lead acquisition phase of your sales cycle, dynamic scripting can also bring a personal touch to your calls that distinguishes you from other providers. Even the inclusion of basic information, like the web domain on which the customer opted-in, can help agents connect with customers—and help the customer quickly understand that the call is valuable to them and not unwanted spam.
Once again, making the most of these data points within your scripts is about reducing friction. The more seamless the opening of the call is, the more smoothly your agent will be able to move toward delivering their winning sales pitch. And that’s also where dynamic scripting comes in: Not only will your agent come to a call prepared with the information they need to maintain compliance, they will be equipped with all of the talking points—and helpful answers—they need to soothe customer pain points and turn leads into policyholders.
After all, it’s not just compliance regulations that can be tough for agents to keep tabs on: Insurance plans and policies themselves can be tough to get a handle on. Whether you’re pitching a lead on a new auto policy or easing their switch to Medicare, dynamic scripting helps your agents be the experts they need to be while answering questions, assuaging concerns, and guiding prospects towards confidently closing.
Inform Your Omnichannel Outreach Cadence
Of course, these days, not every consumer wants to conduct their business over the phone. Reaching your customers where they want to be reached—and, perhaps more importantly, not over-contacting them where they don’t want to be reached—can go a long way toward influencing a final sale.
Empowering and expanding your insurance lead gen efforts with true omnichannel capabilities is essential to boosting your success with high value, high intent leads. It’s also another part of your sales process that can be augmented by data gleaned during acquisition.
Say, for example, you know based on your acquisition data that a lead opted in using their mobile device rather than a desktop computer. You might also know that this particular lead is a millennial. Based on these insights, you might include them within an automated workflow that includes a faster follow-up via text or email—or you might even lead with those channels and allow that lead to come to you.
According to Nima Hakimi, “This is how you can get to the point of being able to pay more for a lead that’s consent-based and raising their hand saying, ‘I’m interested’—by being able to prioritize, personalize, and automate your outreach [and] cadence based on all the information that you have available.”
Keeping Agents Happy Is Part of the Equation
Grasping the keys to insurance lead gen success—whether it’s personalization, automation, or speed to lead—isn’t only about bolstering your bottom line. The effectiveness and efficiency of your insurance sales process is also crucial to keeping your entire sales team motivated—something that, according to ActiveProspect’s June Chung, only grows in importance as today’s market grows ever more competitive.
“One of the things I’m seeing right now as there’s so much interest in the insurance space, is there’s so much money, so much opportunity now, that the human aspect of labor—getting the right agents, making them stay, keeping them happy, and then growing that base—is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge. And having the right lead optimization systems and the right sales process in place, and giving your employees the right tools is a huge differentiator.”
For Chris Cantrell, with US Health Advisors, it was the Convoso insurance dialer’s capabilities that helped his team discover this kind of differentiator and deliver a new energy to his sales floor. “When you have a sales floor that’s getting immediate results because the system is working so quickly and efficiently, you’re going to have a happier sales floor. And when you have a happier sales floor, obviously you have more sales and more profit—it just goes up and up.”
Interested in seeing what Convoso can do for your insurance team? Learn about our full suite of features by requesting a demo today.