What does a sales process look like for the individual health, group benefits, and senior insurance market?
Every insurance organization has a sales process. Regardless if yours is documented or clearly defined, you have some sort of map your sales teams follow to convert and renew clients.
This blog will discuss a sales process and how to set one up in your organization. We’ll discuss the sales process, sales cycle, and more to help your team best prepare to use sales management software.
- A step is a building block in the sales process. The sales process is made up of steps, and they document the entire process from start to finish.
- A sales process is “a set of repeatable steps that a salesperson follows to take a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale.”
- A sales cycle is “the process that companies undergo when selling a product to a customer. It encompasses all activities associated with closing the sale.”
The sales process and sales cycle go hand-in-hand, but for this blog, this is how they’ll differ:
- A sales cycle is the time it takes for someone to go from a lead to a client. It can refer to the time between each step or represent the entire cycle. For example, a Medicare client may have a sales cycle of 25 days, but Qualified to Quoted is only six days.
- A sales process is the steps you take or the “map” you follow when selling a new client. It's what happens within the sales cycle that helps you stay on track to reach your overall sales cycle goal.
Crafting Your Sales Process
"Building a sales process is absolutely necessary to your company’s success, and is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a sales manager to impact your team’s ability to sell.”
When it comes to creating a successful sales process, there are three elements to consider:
- It’s all-encompassing
- It’s repeatable
- It’s sustainable
A sales process includes every action that happens during the sales experience. If there are holes in your process, your sales team will be less likely to stick to it. Plus, it will make training new agents more difficult.
Take into account the different products you sell and the different groups you sell to. Those different products and groups of people will require different processes, like:
- Individual business vs. group benefits
- ACA vs. Medicare
- Health insurance vs. life insurance
“A sales process is a clear, repeatable process that enables your reps to understand exactly what they need to do to succeed.”
If you cannot consistently repeat your sales process or easily teach it to a new employee, your process will not yield the success you seek.
Your sales process should run seamlessly from one step to the next. Yes, there will be outliers. However, your process should represent the vast majority of your sales; then, each agent can deal with the outliers as they come.
The steps ensure that nothing is missed, everything is checked off your list, and your buyer is fully taken care of throughout the process. They provide expectations for your agents and producers to work from so that they can replicate success.
Keep it simple and keep it relevant.
Your process must be something your team can maintain for the long term. If your process is too laborious, has too many steps, or requires your agents to check off too many things, they will start to gravitate away from it.
Your process should be a living process — something you improve upon and refine as your team grows, your target audience’s needs change, and the industry changes.
How to Start Building Your Insurance Organization’s Sales Process
Typically, any sales process will have at least five steps; however, the complexity and how “into the weeds” each step gets will ultimately determine this number.
When creating your process, start by asking yourself this question: What is the first thing that your sales reps do to connect with a potential buyer, and what is the last thing they do to finish the sale?
Answering this question will help you decide which steps your process needs and the map your agents usually follow for a sale. As Nutshell states: “align [your steps] with the key phases in your customer’s typical decision-making process.” Start with what you have, then refine it to create a process that is all-encompassing, repeatable, and sustainable.
The 5 Steps in Most Health, Group, and Senior Insurance Sales Processes
After researching and consulting many different sales processes, these are the five steps usually present.
Lead: An individual or organization that might be interested in the product or service that you are selling
Prospect: A type of lead; usually one that’s already interested in your products/services and wants to/is talking with someone in sales
You cannot start a sales process if you don’t have a lead or prospect to reach out to. Step one is bringing in the lead or prospect, which could come from a variety of sources:
- They fill out a lead form
- You purchase the lead from a lead vendor
- A referral
- Other prospecting methods
Regardless of how you acquire the new lead or prospect, you must connect with them immediately. Why? Because:
- 50% of leads go to the first salesperson to reach out
- Your odds of conversion fall by 400% when your response time increases from 5 minutes to 10 minutes
- 30% of leads are never contacted at all
Speed-to-contact can be your differentiator. Using an agency management system (AMS) with built-in lead and sales automation helps you be aware of leads sooner, connect with them quicker, and improve your chances of converting them.
Additionally, new leads and prospects sometimes require lots of courting (80% of leads require 5+ touchpoints). Don’t let your leads fall between the cracks, use automation to help you make immediate contact and maintain consistent communication throughout their journey!
Connect & Qualify
Opportunity (Opp): A potential sale; created when the agent meets with the lead or prospect and qualifies them
Qualified: Sometimes the first stage in the sales process, qualified means that the opp has been vetted and is ready for the next step in the sales process
The term “opportunity” is pretty standard throughout the industry, but it can also be referred to as a “deal” or “sale.”
The qualification step is a crucial one. It’s when you turn a lead or prospect into an opportunity. After the initial meeting and discussion, decide if the person or group will remain a lead or if their interest should qualify them as an opportunity. This means they’re a potential sale, and it moves them along in the sales process.
Needs Analysis Started: Where the agent/producer is researching and discovering the buyer’s needs
Proposal Presented: When an agent/producer has presented a proposal of options to the opportunity and is waiting for feedback
Proposal Accepted: When the buyer has accepted the proposal and the agent/producer is gathering paperwork for submission
These steps are the decision-making ones. You’ve met the buyer, learned their needs, and are now showing them how you can meet their needs. Use quoting and proposal tools to streamline this process, find the best quotes from a variety of carriers, and efficiently create professional, branded proposals.
Paperwork Submitted: When the paperwork has been completed and submitted to a carrier(s) for approval
So far, you've:
- Met with and qualified the opportunity
- Learned what they need
- Presented options to them
- Received confirmation from the buyer that they want to move forward with a specific plan/product
Now it's time to submit the plan for approval. This step is sometimes called "App Submitted" or "Sold Case Paperwork Submitted."
During this time, a few things can happen:
You may have the application sent back requiring additional analysis or information, so make sure you put that time into your sales cycle to give yourself the space you need to move through this step in the right amount of time.
Use health insurance-specific quoting tools to ensure this process is seamless. AgencyBloc’s Quote+ solution allows brokers to manage their entire quoting process in one place. Then, after a plan is selected, securely map the employer and employee data to carriers via our HIPAA-compliant software.
Closed Lost: When you lose an opportunity or a new policy is not written and enrolled
Closed Won: When you’ve won an opportunity
Closed is the final and most critical step. Closed is when you define who you've won, who you've lost, and the reasons behind those losses.
Using this insight, you can better understand your entire sales process and cycle to make meaningful changes and know how to proceed in the future.
Marking them Closed Lost with a reason gives your leadership team essential insight. Use this information to help direct conversations about potential impactful changes. Then, in the future, when you’re looking at new verticals, carriers, or locations, you can refer back to your Closed Losts and start those conversations again.
Managing Your Sales Process in AgencyBloc’s Platform
Using an industry-specific system, like AgencyBloc’s platform, for sales management gives your team the tools they need to successfully sell. From an integrated insurance VoIP to electronic compliance management to automated lead routing and assignment to sales-specific lead nurturing automation software — AgencyBloc’s Plus Suite of industry-specific solutions can help your sales and servicing teams thrive.
AgencyBloc's Sales Enablement Tools
The industry-specific sales enablement tools in AMS+, an AgencyBloc solution, help your independent agency, GA, IMO/FMO, or call center run more efficiently, track your success, and, ultimately, sell more.
by Allison Babberl
on Wednesday, May 11, 2022
- lead nurturing