Project Objective: To enhance sales closing rates, increase the speed of closing, and decrease the cost of sales through a systemic trust-building system
Background of Client: A Fortune 500 insurance company in Hong Kong
Staff Involved: 30 members of an insurance sales team
Service Scope: Discover, Diagnose, Design, Determine, Develop and Deploy stages of Customer-Centered Innovation Method

 

Challenges:

As it is difficult to initiate a sales call/meeting with a prospective client (especially in cold markets) and insurance sales cycles can be very long, the majority of insurance sales agents are too eager to close a sale at the end of a call, even when it is very early in the selling process and there is insufficient mutual trust. Unfortunately, this leads to lower closing rates and creates a defensive relationship between the two parties. In addition, the decrease in closing rates increases the cost of sales.
Furthermore, the traditional sales management system provides only analytical figures to measure closed deals and cannot provide any figures or data on the effectiveness of a salesperson at each step of the sales process. To collect information about the progress of sales, sales managers can directly ask sales team members for these data. However, the information from salespersons may be subjective, making it difficult for sales managers to monitor and help their team members.
Accordingly, the performance of sales agents is always unstable and unpredictable. This also causes low staff morale and low retention rates in the sales agent force.
In Hong Kong’s life insurance industry, sales agents are still one of the major channels for generating revenue and acquiring customers. Unstable sales performance, low staff morale, and low staff retention rates have a very negative effect on sustainable business growth.

Solutions:

In the initial stage, we developed four new sales strategies to generate leads, build trust, form super connections with prospects, and produce a pipeline management system to monitor cold-market prospecting. To implement the new strategies, we designed a digital-plus-people sales process to replace the traditional sales process based only on people.
In the middle stage, we showed the sales team how to generate sales leads using different types of social media activities (e.g., sharing on Facebook), as an alternative to enhance traditional methodologies.
For this approach, each sales agent had to set up a NEW Facebook account to attract their targeted customers via social media. Then, each sales agent had to post customized messages on his or her own wall every day to build trust with his or her Facebook connections (i.e., targeted customers).
To monitor each sales agent’s objective progress in establishing trust with prospects, we developed a series of key performance indicators (e.g., connections’ responses to their posts, conversion rate from silent connections to passionate fans). Using the responses to their posts and the ideas exchanged between agents and prospects on Facebook’s messaging channel, team leaders can measure and predict the degree of trust achieved.
In the final stage, we taught sales agents to analyze the data and to select high potential customers from their connections on Facebook. Then, we helped them to invite the customers to a face-to-face meeting.
As the two parties had already built trust and friendship over hundreds of idea exchanges on the social media platform, the meetings were characterized by openness instead of defensiveness. In this kind of meeting, the sales agents were more likely to discover the in-depth and urgent needs of their customers, and the customers were more willing to accept the agents’ suggestions (e.g., close the deal or provide referrals).

<<< Client Results >>>

Sales productivity:
Over 14% of the sale team achieved MDRT
Some of the team members achieved a 100% success rate for their invitations and a 72% closing rate for their cold-market prospecting. As this was a significant increase in the invitation and closing rates, the cost of sales dramatically decreased.
From a strategic sales management viewpoint:
A systemic sales process for tackling cold markets that extended from lead generation to closing deals was developed.

Track Record of InnoEdge Think Tank

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