Ragunath Joe Murthy
Contributing Business Consultant
The Four E’s to an Efficient and Effective TeamThe insurance industry is basically being reinvented. And, this reinvention has caused a major disruption in how insurance is defined and purchased by its new customer base. The disruption is so volatile that start-ups selling newly design insurance products are changing the landscape of the traditional garden. Of course this is an analogy; but imagine the main staples of corn, beans, wheat and rice being replaced by quinoa, millet, kamut and amaranth. One can certainly compare this garden of new staple foods to the evolution of the insurance world.
According to the research firm IDC, “one third of [market] leaders in virtually every industry will be disrupted by competition from both new and established companies by 2018. In an article, Trends: A Seismic Shift Underway, the insurance solutions provider, Majesco has this to say, “These new competitors will leverage emerging technologies to innovate product and service offerings, improve how they engage with customers, reach new markets, and disrupt business models, including operational processes, cost structures, and revenue and profit models. They will seek new partners to reach and expand their market presence and opportunities.”
Majesco Technology, Future Trends Framework
So, what does this mean to the insurance industry, and more important, what does it mean to the way we reach out to manage the relationships of our sales people and our customers? And, how will we identify the right technologies to position our companies to become or remain a top competitor?
The challenge for today’s companies is that independent agents capture nearly 80% of the commercial lines market according to the PropertyCasulaty360. In addition, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2014 and 2024, the insurance industry will see a faster than average growth of 9% due to the aging population and changes in the federal regulation that may increase demands for agents who sell health and long term care insurance.
With a sales force of mostly agents paid on commission, how do we motivate them to sell our current products as well as keep them updated on new products in the marketplace? Across the globe, agents are being paid based on quotas and milestones. With 100% of their pay being categorized as “risk pay,” training and mentoring becomes a critical part of a company’s onboading and retention planning. The need to survive can be paramount to new agents…how do I pay my rent?...how do I eat? Unless your sales agents schieve success early on, there is nothing to keep them aboard your ship. For one percent greater commission, you can step back and watch them set sail for deeper waters.
Here are some things you can do to not only retain your great sales staff but also make them more Effective and more Efficient.
The Four E’s to Success:
Encourage: There is nothing like reinforcing great performance. When you recognize the success of your sales agents, their confidence rises and so do their subsequent numbers. Healthy competition is a key factor to the success of a salesperson. Providing digital tools that are performance based, allows a broker / manager to monitor day to day sales and share the wins with the entire team. Creating greater visibility, in real time, while drilling down on the numbers, lets everyone know how far away they are from meeting their goals / quotas. Not making your goals? By utilizing coaching-in-the-moment templates, you can see how everyone is doing and reach out to those who need help. Weekly check-in modules should be included in your new digital sales management solution. Whether it's a training need or just words of encouragement, you can keep your virtual sales team at arms length everyday.
Empower: Informed employees are empowered employees. By using easy social media-based interfaces, information can be available to everyone on the team. Consistent communication of company goals and achievements brings all sales people up to date with what’s happening overall in the business. People like to be part of an exciting growing company; share where you are and where you need to be. Solicit ideas for increasing sales and encourage your high performers to share their experiences with those struggling to meet their numbers.
Enable: Provide your executives with engaging tools that give them access to a 360-degree view of the company by merging information from disparate systems into one intuitive dashboard. Drill down from top data to multiple layers of data that are refreshed in real time. Don't let the lack of an onsite IT team stop you from having performance numbers at your finger tips, on your laptop or mobile phone. Technology is the enabler of real-time data.
Energize: Share recent insights about the industry, your competition, and new products on the market. Energize your agents with information that helps them respond to each unique customer’s needs. Information is power, so keep them ready to go at all times. Last but not least, ask your sales team what types of recognition are meaningful to them. If you’re already offering end-of–the-year rewards for top sales revenue, like an all expenses paid vacation, that’s great. But what about throughout the year?
With today’s real-time tools, companies and agents have access to sales numbers on a daily basis. Being reminded of goals and surpassing targets, fuels the energy level of top performers. Don't let great performance go unrewarded for a year. Recognize daily and reward often. Gift cards, lunches with the CEO, or providing an extra day of vacation can be a constant motivator and a great retention tool. Be sure you find ways to reach out and include “everyone” in recognition and rewards moments. Even a phone call saying “Great Job” still has the power to energize….at all levels.