With the right approach to marketing automation, your company can attract top-selling agents, and keep them committed long-term.
Courting and keeping agents isn’t always easy. If you read our first blog in the series, you’ll know that insurance companies are facing a retention crisis that has 83 percent of agents quitting within three years, and 30 percent within three months.
And often those low retention rates can be attributed, at least in part, to poorly designed onboarding strategies that fail to fully engage agents in the beginning, or set them up for success in the future.
Your onboarding processes may lack the technology to educate new hires, or your expectations may vary too much across different business lines and locations. Perhaps you are looking for better ways to cross-sell or upsell, you are unsure of how to communicate changes or updates to employees in a consistent manner, or you have no mechanism of helping agents target the right customers outside their existing book.
Either way, without nurturing your agents from day one, or throughout their tenure, you face losing more and more employees, and miss out on the business they could bring to the table.
Fortunately, there is a solution to these common onboarding challenges: marketing automation. With the right approach to marketing automation, your company can attract top-selling agents, and keep them committed long-term.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is like online dating. It uses software to help connect agents and brokers with the right customers so they can distribute on-brand, targeted messages in the right way, at the right time. Using the same mechanisms, it can also enhance agent and onboarding engagement. With marketing automation in place, insurance companies have been able to:
- Build an online database that sends out onboarding plans, educational documents and company collateral to agents on a consistent basis
- Educate insurance agents about carrier values and appetite, the type of insurance risks they are targeting, and where they want to write business
- Guide how agents can grow with the carrier and what that will mean to the agency and their producers
- Track when and how agents meet certain milestones during onboarding and beyond
- Generate more relevant and timely carrier to agent to customer touch points
- Help carriers stay in touch with agents and producers that are not their top performers but still need nurturing as they grow their book of business with the carrier
- Help agents share precise communication to customers while making use of segmentation and behavior to deliver on-topic materials
- Take advantage of agent and policyholder data to map better customer journeys and experiences
Marketing automation can make your company, as a whole, more successful. In fact, insurance companies using marketing automation sell a quarter more policies per producer and 10 percent more per household. In addition, 80 percent of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77 percent saw their number of conversions increase.
But how exactly does marketing automation help to attract, onboard, engage, and retain insurance agents so that the relationships with their carriers last?
Lighting the Spark between Agents and Carriers
When attracting new agents, it is imperative to stand out from the crowd. Innovative marketing automation and onboarding technologies are top of mind for agents looking to do business with a carrier, with 60 percent of agents reporting these as areas critical to their success. Strong investments in these areas can give carriers an important edge.
Just as marketing automation can be used to target and nurture prospective customers based on their interactions with online content, it can also be leveraged to effectively recruit producers who fit your ideal profile. From the moment a prospective agent visits your website and shows interest in a career opportunity, even anonymously, until they explicitly show interest and provide contact information, marketing automation can assist in providing insight on their behavior and then engaging them with the appropriate content.
Once new agents are hired, you can build multi-touch nurture campaigns that can simplify, streamline, and overall enhance the onboarding process:
- Implement a standard, optimized process for carrier onboarding across all business lines
- Set a schedule of deadlines that agents must meet to complete their onboarding
- Establish time and date triggers that can automate email sends to agents with educational documents, training programs, financial requirements, and prospective customer lists
- Promote an educational curriculum or producer school to facilitate agent training
- When an agent reaches a milestone or deadline during onboarding, automate messages on achievements and next steps
- Provide digital and automated communication with product information and benefits in a timely manner about company updates or regulatory changes
- Assist agents with creating a strong and consistent customer experience
Keeping your Agents Committed
So you have recruited new agents, and gotten them up to speed and ready to sell. Now, how do you maintain their loyalty to ensure they stick with you until the end?
With marketing automation, you can easily retain and enable agents by:
- Actively connecting agents and producers on new insurance products and go-to-market campaigns
- Providing access to analytics and reporting that can shed light on customer interest and behavior, and using this information to automate ongoing, co-branded touch points to keep customers engaged with their agents and journeys
- Helping agents connect with customer life events, such as policy renewals, claims experience, birthdays, and more
- Supplying agents with relevant market information based on their portfolio and local market trends or issues
- Creating easy event communications that can occur before, during, and after events
- Tracking which agents are selling and nurturing them with specific best practice campaigns
- Increasing revenue from existing policyholders and customer base by automating cross-sell and up-sell
- Assisting lower-selling agents with production improvement campaigns
With marketing automation, it’s all about setting your agents up for success, and providing them with the education and tools they need to sell more consistently, efficiently, and frequently. Fostering transparency and support between agent and carrier facilitates strong and lasting relationships. If you stay loyal and committed to the success of your agents, they will stay loyal and committed to you.
Taking the Plunge
You have decided to invest in a marketing automation platform to enhance your agent onboarding and engagement strategies. But how you make the most of your investment? Read the next blog in the series to find out.