B2B insurance telemarketing and just cold calling in general are getting tougher.
Telemarketing companies are leaving the insurance sector for greener pastures.
Those that remain fight for introductions and they fight in what (as we shall see) some business owners are calling:
“The most competitive industry in the world.”
So is Telemarketing Dead?
In short: Telemarketing IS Dead…
And yet against this background; many still invite insurance brokers to tender – simply on the back of a phone call!
…LONG LIVE Telemarketing!
If you need to make a yes/no decision on cold calling for your brokerage; it pays to understand why telemarketing is getting tougher.
This two-part post looks at possible causes in the insurance industry. What targeted companies in the mid-market space are actually saying – and how you might progress from here.
Increased Blockages Industry Wide
It is clear that companies are putting more and more blockages to telemarketing in place.
Many want to stop brokers (and other ‘offenders’) looking for a meaningful introduction from taking time out of busy senior managers’ schedules. This is especially true in the 10-100k premium space.
‘No Names’, ‘No Sales Calls’ and ‘Permanent Voice-mail’ policies are becoming increasingly common.
A friendly competitor of ours have seen appointment rates drop more than 50% in the last 5 years: Even with experienced callers working a pipeline with known renewal dates! (Sadly they are now leaving the market)
Certainly the ‘renewal dates are all you need’ mentality has been confined to the scrap yard. Our short report from over two years ago – ‘Three reasons your prospects don’t buy (and what to do about it)’ – saw this coming.
Our findings since then have provided more evidence of a growing challenge.
The cause: Too many calls? A lack of perceived value?
Our ‘on the ground’ findings are that business owners are getting inundated with calls from brokers and they no longer perceive this approach as adding ‘value’ to them or their business. Admittedly some sectors are worse than others.
We regularly get told when we ask (and sometimes when we don’t!) that buyers are getting 60-70 calls from brokers each year; – If not more, which is a lot to the recipient. This may sound like a lot to you too. But when you consider that it might simply be 10 different brokers, who all have permission to call, trying to get through. Then that’s only 5-10 times each annually! Hardly an avalanche; – There is certainly scope for these numbers to increase!
And of course it is not just Insurance calls, but other cold calling industries such as energy or in fact any unwanted cold calls: They all add to this blockage.
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Three Real responses from prospect companies
Here are some real (if not typical!) responses to B2B insurance cold calls:
“We are taking at least 3 calls from brokers every day”
“Simon you won’t believe this but you are the 5th insurance broker to call this morning, and our renewal is not for 5 months!”
“Your Industry must be the most competitive in the world”
That last one was said to me personally when I got through to the FD of an Electronics Manufacturer. Manufacturing in general being one of those very popular sectors for targeted calls!
He was of course not saying: “your industry is the most competitive in the world – great – I’m going to get a fantastic service and insurance quote this year”, but – “your industry is the most competitive in the world – I wish brokers would stop calling me!!!“
[I pointed this out to him and offered our services as the best of the competition. Then we got talking about BI and he said if he had a fire he would just close down the business. He finally agreed to a call back when I asked him about partial loss.]
The ‘Poor Differentiation’ Factor
You may have noticed that a lot of business owners see alien brokers as much of a muchness and the standard USP’s (report to appear here soon) do not help them differentiate.
Whether this is right or not, the facts support a need to review both a change in positioning, and a change of method.
There must be other reasons why cold calling in general is getting tougher, we might put these down to technological advances, regulation, volume of calls, quality of caller and irritation factor to name just a handful.
Edit: One article in particular by our friends @ Adara associates (we use their excellent CRM system (link)) covers this same topic from a more general perspective.
Why Insurance Broker Telemarketing is Dead
Traditional telemarketing has got so tough, that unless you have very deep pockets and the ability to carry out an extremely large-scale and lengthy campaign, you will simply not get enough appointments to secure the ‘quick wins’ you are looking for.
That is unless of course you have an exceptionally high sales conversion rate for business which goes around the market on a regular basis. Even if you do win the business though, if you are in on a loss leader; you will never make a profit if you can’t retain it.
Does this mean we are recommending throwing in the towel when it comes to B2B telemarketing for insurance brokers?
Well Telemarketing may not be your best option. (Subscribe to Insurance Marketing Advice for a post soon on ‘is telemarketing right for me?’)
Where telemarketing is right for you, understanding it to be an investment, much like buying a book of business, that won’t pay off until the medium-long term, is essential to put the campaign on a firmer foothold for success.
In part two we look at three reasons why Insurance Broker Telemarketing is very much alive.
What are your Thoughts? Is Telemarketing Dead? Are you having success with Telemarketing in your insurance brokerage. Let’s discuss in the comments of Part 2.
The key 2 Growth are a specialist sales & marketing agency with a focus on providing organic growth consultancy and solutions to the customer centred insurance broker working within the commercial mid-market space.
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