The Insurance Distribution Sales Model Has Gone Dr. Seuss

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Today’s insurance sales funnel has evolved. The concept of the sale funnel was straightforward: you push large numbers of contacts or leads into the front of the funnel, you lose some along the journey, while others make it to the other side that generate into sales…and Voilà, new revenue!

The traditional sales funnel model is what typical distribution management platforms support today; they are data-centric systems that are designed to identify segments and assist in pushing leads through a sales campaign.

However, the insurance customer has drastically changed. For better or for worse, today’s customer is very egocentric. In Pega CEO Alan Trefler’s book, Build for Change, he defines this new generation of buyers as the Gen D customer. As Alan notes, Gen Ds don’t want to be “sold” to and only want to engage when they sense transparency, authenticity and trust.

Hence, to adequately service today’s policyholders a new customer engagement paradigm must be adopted to communicate, service, and transact with these “socially-connected” consumers. This is all fine and dandy but it redefined the sales funnel; one that looks like it came from the land of Whoville. I guess we are now resorted to the Thingamajig funnel.

All joking aside, let’s take a quick look at why the funnel is all bent out of shape.

As you can see from the above graphic produced by Forrester Research, the buyer’s journey is no longer fueled by sales campaigns being pushed to them. The push approach is very small part of today’s sales equation. Today, insurance buyers “pull” multiple sources of information, through Web sites, through personal networks and through social media channels. Their buying journey also involves multiple interactions with the insurance provider, which take place across a variety of channels such as the IVR, contact center, email, Web, mobile and through retail channels.

A bad interaction at any point in this complex process could result in losing the sale or, worse, the customer. A bad interaction can be caused by many things and, unfortunately, some of these are outside your control. However one thing you can control – which leads to significant dissatisfaction if ignored – is when the provider doesn’t know anything about the history of the conversation with the customer, and then adds insult to injury by making service or product suggestions that are entirely at odds with what has been discussed during the journey through the Thingamajig funnel.

To adequately service the Gen D ecosystem you need to implement a distribution management platform that considers all previous interactions across all channels and intelligently recommends next actions based on a holistic view of the conversation with the customer and business context at hand. After all, this Gen D generation will not tolerate sales and product offers that do not tightly correlate to their specific needs and wants.

To effectively sell, insurers need to extend beyond their marketing and sales interactions to encompass customer service interactions. The line between customer experience and sales and marketing has become increasingly blurred, so service interactions should be thought of as a form of nurture campaigns. The overall objective is to ensure that all interactions, during the lifetime of the customer journey, are considered within the boundaries of a single, on-going conversation with the customer and the value of future opportunities with the customer should drive all interactions and offers. In order to pull this off it requires more than a traditional SFA solution. It requires a distribution management platform that haves process intelligence at its core and capable of providing producers with real-time data on policyholder value, needs, and propensity to cater to today’s egocentric buyer.

I invite you to download our eBook, 5 Ways Carriers Can Optimize Distribution Channels. In this publication we share how to improve producer effectiveness by helping execute value added sales activities, customize relevant cross-sell/ up-sell/retention offers, and adapt strategies to the characteristics of each opportunity to drive better books of business.