As humans, we constantly evolve, which means as businesses we must be constantly evolving to remain relevant and important to those seeking the services we offer. That evolution needs to happen throughout the entire benefit brokerage organization, from the way we work internally to the way we work and communicate with those outside the company. I’m going to focus on improving the external efforts for benefit brokers and advisers.

Sales system

Effectively communicating your value proposition though your sales process shouldn’t be just about selling a product. The most successful sales systems provide flexibility for the sales person to meet the client where they are in their growth and development today. They also provide the framework to push and challenge clients to evolve to new levels of growth and development.

  • Selling should be a consistent approach that every producer can learn and replicate, including new producers.
  • It should be a system that can scale up or down to meet the needs of prospective clients with whom any producer is working.
  • It should scale to meet and challenge the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of the producer herself as she progresses and evolves throughout her career.
  • It should educate the clients about constantly evolving their own practices.

The most common sales system we see is quoting at renewal — gathering data for account teams to spend hours compiling quotes. This is a formulaic process that reduces the buyer’s needs down to just numbers instead of focusing on strategy development. It’s not challenging, educational or growth-focused for producers or clients. Instead it keeps the agency in a stagnant role, offering less and less value to clients. As businesses grow, they need increasingly sophisticated, and more, conversations and strategies.
Marketing

Marketing efforts need to take the same growth and development focus as the sales system.

  • Effective marketing should be intimately intertwined with the efforts of your sales people, drawing on the educational conversations they are having with clients.
  • Sales people should largely drive marketing content through various mediums such as blogs, videos, speaking engagements, articles, etc.
  • Use marketing activities to offer basic educational information on how quality benefits packages and effective employee management directly drive business growth and development.
  • Share more advanced perspectives and advice on the nuances of those topics to help businesses evolve to new heights.

The purpose of marketing like this is to open doors for producers to have more meaningful conversations with prospects. Prepare them to think beyond the quote to evaluate a broker relationship, and prepare them to think of employee benefits as a way to help grow their business.
A one-size-fits-all approach to working with your sales people, prospects and clients only ensures that as your clients grow and evolve — they will eventually outgrow your ability to help them. Effective marketing and sales have to be both art and science. Have clear systems to follow, but use those systems as a means to opening conversations and minds.

Keneipp is a partner and coach at Q4intelligence in the Seattle area. Reach her at wendy@q4intel.com.

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