The only thing worse than losing a deal is missing one altogether, especially one where you had a high probably of winning.
You’ve heard the old saying that “90% of selling is showing up.” This was true 20 years ago and still holds true today. The difference is that “showing up” early in the insurance buying cycle means showing up online.
I may be dating myself here, but back when I started selling into the insurance industry for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), we spent a lot of time in the literature room gathering brochures, datasheets and even video tapes to educate our prospects and customers. If you were late getting to the literature room, you ran the risk of not taking your share of the new literature hot off the press.
Today, things really haven’t changed that much. Prospects and customers still want to be educated on what challenges you can solve for them or what opportunities you can help them take advantage of. The difference is, these buyers are searching the internet to find all this information, and this has created a challenge for many organizations. There is also no shortage of literature since space online is virtually unlimited, which has created a new challenge as well.
So why are you missing sales opportunities?
There are several reasons why an organization can be missing out on sales opportunities. For this article, I am going to focus on three common reasons that are relatively simple to correct.
Reason #1: The Buyer has Never Heard of your Company
Unless your brand is a household name in the insurance industry, a buyer may not be familiar with your company. If you don’t show up on the first page of search engine results, chances are you won’t be found online.
If your business model is to count on referrals, then being found easily online may not be much of a concern as long as the referrals keep on coming. Depending on how fast or how large you want to grow, referrals can work well.
The best way to correct this problem is to create content that is published on the web and can be distributed using multiple channels. Optimizing this content for the right audience is how information about your company, products and services can be found online. This doesn’t happen overnight, though.
Reason #2: Perception = Reality
In recent interviews, executives readily admitted that many times their perception of a solution provider becomes their reality, only to find out their perceptions were incorrect.
There are a number of reasons why someone’s perception could be wrong:
- The buyer’s knowledge of your company is outdated, and they incorrectly assume your product or services doesn’t meet their needs
- When the buyer did some networking among their peers, they received feedback based on outdated information from their peers
- If your website looks like 1998, many buyers will assume that your offerings are outdated as well. This is especially true for software companies.
You need to educate your prospective buyers on how you can help them. Your website is the window into what you have to offer. If your website is hard to navigate, or doesn’t answer their questions, they will quickly move on. Even the best designed websites are worthless if they don’t offer the information your buyer is looking for. To fix this problem, it needs to be developed with inbound marketing in mind.
Reason #3: Internal Down-selecting of Potential Vendors
A few years ago we conducted research with several insurance companies and self-insured organizations to understand how they identify, research, evaluate and select products and solutions.
One of the trends that caught our attention was that most organizations down-select potential vendors without ever speaking with anyone from the company. One insurance company was looking for a new workers’ compensation claims system. They identified 20 potential claim system vendors on the market by doing some research on the internet.
They developed their business and technical requirements for the new claims system and based on the information they found online, they down-selected the list of potential vendors from 20 to 7. The 13 vendors that were down-selected had no opportunity to give a demo, presentation or even the opportunity to speak with the insurance company.
These 13 companies were totally unaware of the sales opportunity until the insurance company sent out RFI requests to the 7 vendors that made the cut. Of those 7 vendors, only 4 responded, 2 were given the RFP response and 1 was eventually selected.
The moral of this story is if your online presence is outdated or deficient, companies will overlook you, or down-select you in the beginning of their search. Creating content on a consistent basis about what you have to offer will increase your online presence and keep reminding potential customers that you’re there when they need you.
Nobody expects to close 100% of their deals. However, you will lose 100% of the sales opportunities that you were not aware of and that’s not acceptable. The insurance buying cycle can often be a long one. If a company knows about you and what you have to offer, you have a better chance of being included in their RFI process.
By having an online presence that makes it easy for potential buyers to find you and educate themselves on your products and services, you will significantly increase your chances of being identified early on in their buying cycle.
If you are interested in learning more about how insurers identify, research, evaluate and select products and services, click on the button below to download our free eBook "Understanding The Insurance Buying Cycle."