Increased competition in the market means that many insurance lead generation and sales teams could use a re-think. In this article, we explore fresh ideas that can reinvigorate the insurance lead generation process from end to end by looking at:
- The basics of insurance lead generation, including common types of insurance leads
- Why you should focus on the right, high-intent insurance leads
- The top challenges for insurance sales agents (and how to overcome them)
- Essential tools to manage insurance leads and boost contact rates
- How automation can help you improve insurance sales
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 lead generation in life, health, home, or auto insurance—the same understanding and strategies for success apply across the marketplace. Read on to find out how you reach, convert, and retain more customers in your corner of the insurance industry.
What Is Insurance Lead Generation?
Insurance lead generation, for the uninitiated (or those in need of a refresh) is the process of attracting potential insurance customers. It’s a critical undertaking for any business in the industry. That’s because no matter what sector of insurance you’re in, you need a healthy sales pipeline to fuel the growth of your business. And an effective lead generation program is how you make sure that pipeline is chock-full of candidates ready to be converted into customers.
How to Generate Insurance Leads
Where and how do you get insurance leads? These days, insurance businesses will likely encounter and work with a variety lead types, including:
- Exclusive leads: A lead only sent to one buyer. Typically costlier and more highly sought-after than alternatives available for purchase.
- Shared leads: A lead that can be bought by multiple insurance agents. While competition for these leads is high, they come at a lower price.
- Live transfer leads: Prospects are transferred “live” from a call center to the specialized insurance sales agent.
- Real-time leads: Usually generated organically and online, real-time leads are warm leads who have just completed an online form or somehow expressed interest.
These leads can come from a variety of sources. Cultivating a diverse approach to generating leads helps ensure that your business can consistently generate insurance leads. For instance, leads may be generated through:
- Referrals by existing customers.
- Demand generation content like blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, and more.
- Paid search ads.
- Social media content.
Of course, while organically generated leads are great, they might not always lead to an adequate amount of leads. That’s why many insurance businesses also turn to third-party lead sources to help power their insurance sales engines with a consistent flow of data.
How to Get More Insurance Clients? Focus on Getting the Right Leads
So, you’re using a mix of the lead gen strategies above and you have a steady flow of leads into your sales pipeline. You’re all set, right? Not so fast.
In many industries, you show your sales prowess by turning just about any lead into a customer. But, according to Jacob Rodriguez, Director of Sales, Auto and Home Insurance at ActiveProspect, in the insurance world, you can’t just go after any and every possible candidate that’s in your pipeline.
“Too many bad customers making too many claims can really destroy your loss ratios,” says Rodriguez. So instead of a “come one, come all” approach to insurance lead generation, Rodriguez says you need a better, more refined strategy.
To improve your business’s reach, he says, you’ll need to narrow your lead generation efforts to focus on customers who fit your company’s ideal profile.
Targeting Your Ideal Insurance Customer
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, insurance leads that fit your ideal profile are not only going to perform better, says Rodriguez. “They’re also going to retain a lot better on your books. And retention is a huge factor for growth within this vertical.”
Getting the best insurance leads doesn’t end there, though. You can make this lead generation strategy even better by just adding 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 insurance lead generation and sales efficiency. Why? 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.
Overcome the Top Lead Gen Challenges for Insurance Agents
Generating these high-intent insurance leads is not without its challenges, though. In fact, it’s something many in the industry outright struggle to do. 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 challenges of compliance and costs.
Verifying Consent of Insurance Leads
The challenge for many insurance businesses is not only getting consistent, quality leads, but 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. (Not to mention states like Florida are enacting their own so-called “Mini-TCPA” laws.)
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 Insurance Leads
However, when challenged with regulatory red tape and the costs of buying or generating high-intent insurance leads, many organizations instead opt for what seems like the path of least resistance: high-volume, lower-cost leads.
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—so you need to try to make up for the gap.
Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi explains that with the scarcity of high-intent insurance 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, Hakimi says, the reality is that with increased regulation and increased frustrations around telemarketing calls, this high-volume approach is likely to increase problems for insurance agents and hinder growth.
Instead, to overcome the top challenges facing insurance agents, you should continue to focus your efforts on high-intent insurance leads. You just need smart outreach strategies and dynamic tools that help you efficiently manage insurance leads and drive a greater call center ROI.
How to Manage Insurance Leads—and Contact More of Them
When you focus on high-intent, compliant leads, you need to make the most of them. That requires effective lead management tools and an outreach strategy that boosts contact rates. The goal is to get more of your insurance agents in conversations with those leads—so they can convert them from high-intent leads to high-retention customers.
Use Automation to Improve Your Speed to Lead
Insurance lead generation is often like a competition and—especially when it comes to approaching these scarce high-intent leads—agility is what wins the race. So, to manage insurance leads effectively, you need to put speed to lead at the heart of your approach. Ask yourself: How fast can your agents respond to incoming leads?
Too slow? Then you may have just lost a potential sale. When you generate a high-intent lead, they’re ready for you, no matter the source. When they enter your sales pipeline, 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—and you’ll leave your competition in the dust.
How do you increase your speed to lead?
Call center automation is key: When a warm lead enters your sales pipeline, 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.
That’s not the only way to improve your speed to lead, of course. 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 consent-based leads you cultivate.
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 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 caller ID reputation management tools and strategies in place, both blocking and flagging can become a runaway problem for lead gen teams—even those who are zeroed in on high-intent leads.
While some savvy 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.”
Identify Effective Lead Sources with Real-Time Reporting
As our webinar’s polling showed, inconsistent lead quality is all too frequently an issue in the insurance industry. Insurance call centers and lead generators need to track real-time metrics to inform improved decision-making and stop low-quality lists from hurting performance before it’s too late.
As we discussed, once you know how to generate insurance leads, they’re likely going to be coming in from a variety of sources. Without knowing how each lead source is performing, lead buyers can easily become stuck in an endless loop of buying and exhausting more and more leads without any recourse. Instead, you need to know which sources are hurting your ROI and be able to take action.
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. It’s also important for making sure that your cost per acquisition isn’t too high. 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.
How to Improve Insurance Sales and Get More Customers
All this attention to effective insurance lead generation and management is for nought if your sales approach isn’t up to snuff. You don’t just need to find and reach high-quality insurance prospects—you need to convert them. While the tools discussed above will help you boost your contact rate, the automated solutions below will help you improve your insurance sales and turn your leads into more insurance clients.
Smart, Skills-based Routing
In insurance lead generation and sales, where a certain number of call transfers can be 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 delivering positive customer experience and sales efficiency.
Eliminate unnecessary friction within your lead-to-policyholder pipeline by deploying smart, skills-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 TCPA 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.”
Dynamic Scripting Software
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 staying compliant. 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.
Dynamic scripting can also bring a personal touch to your calls by harnessing the customer data culled during your initial lead generation activities. This personalization can separate you from the competition: 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 the rest of their winning outbound call script. 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.
Automated Omnichannel for Insurance Lead Follow-Up
Of course, these days, not every consumer even 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 those high-value, high-intent leads. It’s also another part of your insurance sales process that can be augmented by data gleaned during acquisition.
Say, for example, you know from 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 start 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.”
As one agent with US Health Advisors described, it was Convoso’s cloud-based dialer software’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.”
With the right know-how and tools, you can reach, convert, and retain more insurance customers than ever before.
Interested in seeing what Convoso can do for your insurance team? Learn about our full suite of features by requesting a demo today.Schedule a Demo