Telemarketing is Dead, Long Live Telemarketing [Part 2]

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Le roi est mort, vive le roi !


In Part 1  of Telemarketing is Dead, Long Live Telemarketing; we killed traditional insurance telemarketing.

We looked at perhaps the most likely cause of increasing blocks to the telemarketing strategy, and what targeted companies are actually saying.

In part 2, having established that traditional telemarketing for ‘quick wins’ is no longer a practical strategy for most; we now look at three reasons why telemarketing is still important for the growing broker. Plus I’ll raise some initial ideas on where we might go from here.

[I’d also like to introduce you to the King. (That’s Dave’s Cat).]

Three Reasons Why Insurance Broker Telemarketing is very much alive

Insurance Telemarketing is very much alive for three reasons:

1. Commercial Insurance is a seller proactive market place.

Prospects rarely approach brokers they have not spoken to before. (linked to those three blockages to sale again)

This is partly due to a lack of perceived differentiation. Also the fact that businesses get so many approaches means they often don’t feel the need to look elsewhere, unless guided by a referral from another company in their sector.

Our research shows that most companies, if they do review, will select a broker from information they already have (often what has been sent to them), rather than looking online.*

2. Cold Calling remains the quickest ‘Organic’ way to build a large sales Pipeline

As far as I can see, cold calling as part of an extended marketing campaign remains the quickest way to build a sales Pipeline from scratch. It allows you to identify the right contacts in an organisation and if you can get through to a buyer, there is an 80-90% chance that they will ask you to call back at the time of their renewal. Plus most receptionists will give you renewal and e-mail information. And although it can be expensive, it is an investment that a lot of brokers believe to be, and have proven to be, worthwhile. The important thing of course, is that once built, you must keep on top of your pipeline, or risk losing all your hard work and investment.

3. A large % of businesses pick a broker to tender with following a timely phone call

Once you have a sizeable pipeline of prospects, Telemarketing remains an essential part of the prudent broker’s organic growth strategy as such a large number of businesses admittedly choose brokers to tender with simply on the back of a call at the right time in their buying cycle. Not picking up the phone is hardly going to help here.

Where do we go from here?

Without an extensive survey it’s hard to see if appointments booked over the phone are going down, up, or staying constant (although there are indications that companies are reviewing less often). Simply with more brokers calling it could be that the size of the pie hasn’t changed, there are just more (smaller) slices.

Fact is, whilst these buyers make up a large segment of the market place, if you’re not making calls, you are not in the game.

The trick is to swing the odds in your favour, and leverage the existing relationships that you have to the full.

Just calling for the sake of calling is a waste of time. Pipeline management and sensitive campaign management are key – without these elements the traditional telemarketer may just as well give up  now.

What’s more, where brand is strongly established and associated with positive feeling, appointment rates are exceptionally good. Strength of brand is everything and campaigns need this at their core. (In fact really strong brands may be the only exception to this post!)

Effective nurturing, where each individual is treated as such (Subscribe to Insurance Marketing Advice for a post soon on insurance buyer type profiling), keeping your name in front of them, and continually strengthening the relationship and positive feeling they have with you is a recipe for success.

In Part 1 I went back and added a link to local consultant David Thornley’s blog on the same topic – here is an extract: –

“[The initial Sales Process has] evolved; it’s about the first steps to an intelligent, informed, joined up conversation with people who are known. It’s about teasing them with content, watching how they respond and reacting in a supportive rather than intrusive manner, by email, by phone, Skype, Face-time, through Linked-in, through Twitter and Facebook, through, who knows? Whatever works, for them.”

Sure, Reach out wide enough, make enough calls, and you will get appointments on this basis alone. But there are many more effective ways to skin this cat (figuratively speaking – not the King, I don’t think Dave would be pleased, even if the King does have 9 lives…).

 Photo Credit: Dave Malkoff via Compfight cc

*This research was conducted over the phone and so will be impacted by any bias among those who are prepared to take insurance-based calls!

The key 2 Growth are a specialist sales & marketing agency focused on providing organic growth consultancy and solutions to the customer centred insurance broker working within the commercial mid-market space.