For many insurance companies, achieving incremental growth isn’t easy. The insurance sector is competitive. To gain market share, client loyalty is key and for many insurance brands, the relationship and loyalty begins with agencies. It is a valuable partnership worth nurturing and many insurers are clamoring to unlock the potential of their top sellers. For those insurance companies that sell through direct sales, the importance of loyalty is no different and it begins with four key components:
Inform. Engage. Reward. Evaluate.
When insurance companies begin to consider the carrot vs. the stick, important sales partners will take notice. Instead of trying to improve agent performance by tacking on more rules, buckling down on autonomy, or adding more meetings, focus on improving communication to the agency population.
For example, a leading insurer in the Midwest communicates to participants (independent agents) each month with incentive promotions reminders and nudges to redeem points. Email open rates near 40% and there have been zero opt outs of these communications. A generally accepted open rate percentage for email campaign success is 15% – 25%.
INFORM: A secret program is not a successful program.
Today’s hybrid workforce has changed some of our old-world dynamics thus face-to-face education isn’t always possible. To effectively get attention, your incentive program must speak to your agents in a way that makes them sit up and take notice. Whether you sell through direct or indirect channels for your insurance products, an informed salesforce is a more effective sales force.
Insurance incentives are one of the quickest ways for companies to improve their strategic benchmarks AND (even better) begin gathering the all-important data they need to measure performance.
ENGAGE: Here is where the magic happens.
Once your producers are actively engaged in the incentive program, your company begins to receive some very important intelligence on who your top performers are and how they work. Observe trends by geography, target specific products or promotions to varied agencies and more. Better yet, your company now has a captive audience for ongoing training, sales enablement, and for building brand loyalty.
The incentive program you offer is indicative of your company culture—with it, you’re not only showing top-down appreciation and support for your team, you’re also financially growing your agents or employees, which means you will be able to keep your great sales teams for a longer period of time. Byproducts of incentive programs include increased retention, recruiting of better talent and, ultimately, financial growth for your agency.
It is often assumed that cash is king when it comes to rewards – that is wrong. In a study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), 83% of respondents believe it is a treat to receive redeemable points from work and 80% agree it feels like receiving a gift when receiving points over cash rewards.
Remember, before you establish any incentive program, make sure you have created strategic long-term and short-term goals and are tracking your progress toward them. Evaluating the success of each promotion and allowing your company to fine tune the program over time is key. Top producers like instant gratification. So, it is also recommended to run both short/long term promotions with attainable goals to keep agents motivated and positive. Too often, companies fall into the trap of overcomplicating their incentives or making them de-motivating. That is the opposite of creating loyalty. Your producers must trust you and their ability to get the job done.
For more information reach out to One10!