Creating Sales Pipelines for Your Life & Health Insurance Agency

A sales pipeline is a representation of your agency’s sales process. 

To find success using your agency’s pipelines, you must tailor them to your agency, your offerings, and your process. Each pipeline will be unique to you, and the steps/stages you follow will reflect how your agency operates. 

This blog will discuss why you need more than one pipeline in your agency, how to define your stages, and show examples of pipelines agencies use today.

Why You Should Create Different Pipelines

You should have multiple types of sales pipelines because you have multiple types of business. For example, you could create pipelines for:

  • Individual Health Insurance
  • On Market Insurance
  • Off Market Insurance
  • Small Group Benefits
  • Large Group Benefits
  • Life Insurance
  • Medicare 
  • Ancillary Products
  • Individual Health Insurance Renewal
  • Small Group Benefits Renewal
  • Large Group Benefits Renewal

As you can see, once you start breaking it down, you can get incredibly granular with your process for each specific type of coverage. Another way to break it down is by carrier. For example: As a Medicare salesperson, breaking down your pipelines by the carrier instead of the coverage type would allow you to detail out carrier-specific steps you follow.

How to Define Your Pipeline Stages

Within every pipeline are the steps that make that pipeline a success. Following these steps takes you from Point A to Point B and is how you turn your opportunities into clients. 

In AgencyBloc, they are called “stages,” but they are the same as “steps” you’ll see elsewhere. 

When you’re building your pipeline, define your steps or stages that make up that pipeline. Let’s take a look at an easy example: running a marathon. My steps would be:

  1. Decide to run a marathon
  2. Put together a training plan
  3. Register for an upcoming marathon
  4. Train
  5. Closed (ran marathon)

Now, you can add extra information to each stage like:

  1. How long it should take until I advance to the next stage (stage aging)
  2. How likely I am to buy at that specific stage (win probability)

So, if we looked further into my steps to running a marathon, you can see the aging and probabilities for winning:

  1. Decide to run a marathon Stage Aging: 5 Days Win Probability: 10%
  2. Put together a training plan Stage Aging: 3 Days Win Probability: 25%
  3. Register for an upcoming marathon Stage Aging: 10 Days Win Probability: 45%
  4. Train Stage Aging: 65 Days Win Probability: 90%
  5. Closed Won

Let’s talk about that more in-depth. 

  • Stage aging: This is the approximate length of time each specific stage takes before you advance to the next stage. For example, I gave myself 65 days to train so I’d have an ample amount of time to get to my goal of running 26.2 miles. Similar to insurance, a stage for Quoting would take a few days before you can present a quote back to the person or group.
  • Win probability: Win probability is the likelihood of winning and closing an opportunity at each specific stage. My likelihood of running a marathon at my “put together a training plan” stage is low, but it grows throughout the process. This would be similar to an insurance opportunity. At the initial meeting or even quoting, the win probability at that point will likely be lower. However, as you navigate through your process and complete more stages, that probability will likely go up.

Why is it important to use stage aging and win probability? Well, it gives you more insight into the success of your pipeline and your process. It also gives you more insight into what’s needed for each step, how each stage is progressing, and what your overall sales cycle truly is. 

Remember, a sales cycle is the time it takes for someone to go from an opportunity to a client. It’s the length of time your entire pipeline takes.

Examples of Different Health & Life Insurance Pipelines

Below are four examples of health and life insurance-specific sales pipelines you could create for your agency. Remember, these are examples to help you decide what pipelines your agency needs, which stages should make up those pipelines, your win probabilities, and how long you think each stage should take.

These examples were formed by researching how AgencyBloc clients are building their Sales Pipelines and researching common steps throughout the industry.

However, no two companies will use pipelines in the same manner or have the same needs. Make each of your pipelines your own to reflect your agency, process, agents’ workflows, and the products you sell. 

Employee Benefits Sales Pipeline

This is an example of a pipeline you could use for large or small group sales. Of course, this could be extended for specific types of group sales or cut down. You could also separate out group health from employee benefits.

One of the key stages here is the Fact Finding stage. That could encompass quoting as well as your research, or those stages could be split out more. 

Stage Stage Aging Win Probability
Qualified 3 Days 10%
Fact Finding 10 Days 10%
Initial Meeting/Proposal Presented 5 Days 15%
Closing Meeting 3 Days 25%
Awaiting Decision 10 Days 50%
Verbal Approval 3 Days 85%
Paperwork Submitted 5 Days 95%
Closed Won
Closed Lost

Life Insurance Sales Pipeline

Life insurance can be a bit more complicated than other types of insurance, and the approach is far different. That’s why you want separate pipelines for different products you sell, like life insurance vs. health insurance.

An example of a life insurance pipeline you could design is:

Stage Stage Aging Win Probability
Qualified/Suspect Outreach 25 Days 10%
Initial Meeting 7 Days 15%
Quoting 10 Days 20%
Proposal Presented 5 Days 25%
Proposal Accepted 15 Days 35%
Paperwork Submitted 5 Days 50%
Health Exam 30 Days 50%
Life Underwriting 10 Days 50%
Policy Accepted 5 Days 85%
Closed Won - Premium Paid
Closed Lost

Policy Renewal Sales Pipeline

Renewal business is far different than new business because, theoretically, it should be a more straightforward and easier process. Therefore, this example is a bit more simplified. They’re already your client, so you should know most of their needs and wants at the outset, but some changes could’ve happened over the last year. 

You may want to bump up your win probability for renewal business based on your overall client retention rate. Again, they’re your clients, so your likelihood of retaining them should be higher.

Stage Stage Aging Win Probability
Renewal Meeting 3 Days 20%
Quoting 5 Days 30%
Proposal Accepted 3 Days 70%
Paperwork Submitted 5 Days 85%
Closed Won
Closed Lost

Ancillary Product/Cross-Sell Sales Pipeline

Apart from your new business and renewal business, you’ll also want to keep your ancillary products and cross-sell opportunities separated. Again, these will follow a different timeline and maybe a different approach than some of your other business. Plus, it’ll help you better segment your audience to identify their needs and improve overall conversion. 

Like the renewal example, you may increase your win probabilities in this pipeline, too. Again, you know your clients and their needs, so the likelihood of closing could be higher.

Stage Stage Aging Win Probability
Qualified 3 Days 20%
Initial Meeting 5 Days 30%
Appointment Scheduled 7 Days 55%
Approved/Paperwork Submitted 5 Days 85%
Closed Won
Closed Lost

Using the Closed Lost Stage

I touched on this briefly, but a key thing to keep in mind is that you can expand your Closed Lost options. From our blog, What a Sales Process is & How to Create One in Your Insurance Agency, we define your Closed options as:

  • Closed Lost: When you lose an opportunity or a new policy is not written and enrolled
  • Closed Won: When you’ve won an opportunity, and a new policy is written

Closed Won and Closed Lost give you insight into the needs of your clients and audience. Including more reasons about why an opportunity didn’t pan out can give you the visibility you need for future improvement. Some of the common Closed Lost reasons we see include:

  • Not ready to move/deferred
  • Not a good fit/not an ideal customer
  • Staying with current 
  • Nonresponder/no response

Pro Tip: Put a process behind converting your nonresponders by adding in workflow automation. AgencyBloc’s Automated Workflow can notify you after an opportunity is marked as a nonresponder. This helps the opportunity stay relevant and improves your chances of either converting them or more accurately defining them.

Using the Closed Lost options, you can gather vital insight to help you improve in the future. 

Creating Your Sales Pipelines

These are all examples of pipelines current agencies utilize. But remember, the sales process you use is unique to you, so make your pipelines unique as well. 

Using sales pipelines makes your sales efforts more efficient and effective, helping you reach your goals and convert more clients.

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Posted by Allison Babberl on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Sales Enablement

About The Author

Allison Babberl

Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Ku ... read more