Generating leads and accelerating sales is hard work for independent insurance agents. Getting facetime with prospects is tough and building a market presence is even more challenging against the fast-emerging insurtech presence in the marketplace.
As the hard-grafting on the front lines intensifies, more and more independent agencies are looking to outsource prospecting to insurance telemarketing specialists. Outsourcing in this manner allows producers to focus on the low-hanging fruit and convert more leads into sales.
Insurance marketing firm, Neilson Marketing Services, offers insurance telemarketing with the methodology, technology and experience to promise leads, X-dates and appointments for agency clients. Approximately 85% of the company’s insurance telemarketing business comes through the independent agent channel.
“Our clients will come to us with a target class of business, which might be contractors or restaurants and so on, and we will then build a list of prospects that fit into the appetite of the agency. We’ll find out how far they want to market within an X mile-radius of the agency and we’ll categorize accounts into prospective premium volume,” explained Paul Neilson, vice president of sales at Neilson Marketing Services.
“We will then call all of those business prospects and we will profile them, finding out all sorts of information like: number of employees, whether they use commercial autos, their current agent and carrier, and generally what’s going on with the business and their insurance. To use a military analogy, we’re on the front-line.”
Turning a prospect into a lead requires a bit more work than a few phone calls. Retaining clients can be tricky, which is why Neilson Marketing coaches customers about follow-up best practices and offers follow-up letters that agents can use to keep in touch with clients and prospects.
The results speak for themselves. A California insurance agency that wanted to expand its footprint in manufacturing invested $28,000 in a Neilson telemarketing campaign, which generated eight accounts and $239,875 in premium. Another agency client spent $9,000 in telemarketing to target the construction industry. That investment garnered four accounts and $104,000 in premium.
“Outsourcing seems to be picking up a little bit each year,” Neilson told Insurance Business. “There’s a lot of M&A activity going on right now and as mid-sized agencies are bought by bigger agencies, I notice two rules of thumb. On the one side of the coin, you have the agency owner on a three-year earn-out who wants to sit on his current revenue, which maybe has a bonus tied to it for growth, so the owner is very cautious about spending money.
“On the other side, you’ve the agency owner on three-year earn-out with much larger bonus opportunities tied to increased, organic growth. These people do spend money and they’re willing to invest in an $11,000 marketing campaign and write some business from it. The ROI over three years is sometimes 10x what they paid. The growth graph isn’t going up like a hockey stick, but the outsourcing trend does ping up a little bit each year.”
Insurance telemarketing works for some lines of business better than others. Personal lines can be quite risky because of data protection rules and cold calling regulation. It’s also ahead of commercial lines with regards to digital prospecting. Neilson Marketing Services is B2B and therefore works with agencies selling commercial lines.
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