- February 18, 2015
- Posted by: Steven Patrick
- Category: News and Views
It has long been an axiom in direct marketing that the best leads are the ones who identify themselves as interested in your product…
It has long been an axiom in direct marketing that the best leads are the ones who identify themselves as interested in your product. The market usually calls this “raising their hands.” The main point of this article is to show how to improve percentage of lead generation today.
Insurance companies initially saw the Internet as a way to directly close sales without Agents. This turned out to not be the case as insurers quickly saw that people shopped and compared on the Internet, but did not necessarily buy. The point of this article is to make the case that qualifying the lead first in a two-step model is actually more cost efficient than sending them right to an Agent without qualification.
Today, the idea is to call the customer within seconds (at least one study concluded that the threshold should be under 30 seconds) and have a very short conversation with the customer to determine if the lead is real. This process will usually eliminate 85% of the gross leads; hence it is easy to see the efficiency. The remaining leads are then “warm transferred” to an Agents in a call center to make the sales pitch and close. When done this way, and depending on the product, the close ratio can be anywhere from 10% to 25%.
Many insurance companies insist that any call activity be confined to the US. While it is true that Agents are licensed by the States and thus must be in the US, limiting a company’s thinking to using only US personnel for lead qualification is short-sighted and today … just wrong. And it’s not just a cost issue.
Yes, using offshore non-licensed call center personnel in countries like Pakistan and the Philippines is less expensive, but that by itself is no reason to go offshore. The fact is that the call center business has become so saturated in the US that companies who hire people are not always able to be selective. But, in many offshore environments the quality and education level of the available labor pool is far greater and selectivity in hiring is a reality.
Lead qualification with warm transfer to a Licensed Agent makes good sense and, whether done on or off shore, when done correctly can greatly reduce overall acquisition cost. It just doesn’t make sense to limit thinking to US options when the alternative is less expensive and often more effective too.
Jon Hamilton, President of Insurance Services
Jon T. Hamilton, heads up Premier’s Insurance Division. He came to Premier from Dialogue Marketing, where he was VP of Strategic Solutions. During Jon’s 40-year career, he has run Operations and Client Services for several companies, including Colonial Penn, Y&R, SafeCard Services, ICT Group and TCIM Services. He was also a Founding Partner at InterMedia Marketing, specializing in insurance call center services. Jon is Past President of the American Teleservices Association (now PACE) and Past Chair of the DMA Teleservices Council.