Today, as in the past, agencies need to set the stage for future sales (both new and renewal) with continuous marketing efforts.
These actions typically include brand building, highly targeted solicitations and everything in between. The media employed can be traditional, digital or both.
Too many veteran producers forego marketing and focus on their singular strength: interpersonal selling. It’s their knowledge of people and how to interact with them that closes new sales and keeps them on the books.
Meanwhile, the production efforts of younger agents tend to blur the line between marketing and sales. The evolution of instant information and two-way communication channels, including social media, makes this possible. Newer producers close sales by combining these complimentary functions.
To grow, agencies must use dual producer management methods: one for seasoned agents and one for newer, digitally minded hires.
While many veterans are great closers when in front of new prospects, they frequently need assistance in locating fresh opportunities. Continuous, creative and targeted marketing campaigns, employing varied channels can aid in this regard. Budget for promotional activities to supplement producer’s efforts. Help keep prospect pipelines full: the more qualified leads they approach, the more quoting and closing opportunities will follow.
Younger agents typically perform marketing and sales without apparent differentiation. It’s partly because consumers who shy away from interpersonal contact prefer to buy online, increasingly on mobile devices. It’s also because today’s online tools make an almost seamless shift from marketing to the close, without face-to-face selling. Still, digitally focused agents need to entice interested shoppers, and that’s where managerial guidance and marketing budgets come into play.
Online tools are reshaping themselves for today’s smaller mobile screens. PCs, phones and tablets all feature web landing pages, web-based rating, online applications, chats, email, and more. Agency-created mobile apps are part of the equation, but they are still in their infancy. Social networking is also integral to contemporary marketing, especially for brand building. It supports marketing and sales by encouraging promotional communications in conjunction with web or app-based closing capabilities. Investing in digital tools is no longer optional; it’s a mandatory cost of doing business, helpful to youthful and seasoned producers alike.
When China (communist) and Hong Kong (capitalist) reunified in 1997, their approach was “one country, two systems.” In this vain, forcing older, successful agents to abandon what works for them is counterproductive. Demanding newer agents to accept the traditional ways of their elders is similarly foolish.
Business definitions and functions aren’t nearly as fixed as they used to be. Marketing and sales are more interconnected than ever. This duality extends to how agency managers must work with producers. Managers need to support both the old school and the new in terms of budget and resources.
New and Newer
Agencies that employ the right strategies and investments in both producer generations enjoy an ever-expanding top line. This includes a commitment to creative marketing and flowing prospect pipelines for all.