Regardless of your tenure, size, market, niche, staffing or any other descriptor, this conflict is real and the way you approach it defines your organization.
An eternal conflict exists within every agency. I'm talking about the sales and marketing conflict between inbound opportunities and outbound opportunities. Regardless of your tenure, size, market, niche, staffing or any other descriptor, this conflict is real and the way you approach it defines your organization. It impacts your culture, how you operate on a day-to-day basis and even the composition of your team.
The strategies and tactics you deploy to effectively attract, engage, close and service your inbound traffic are existentially unique and different from how you treat your outbound traffic. The most common sources of inbound traffic in most offices are referrals, natural market connections and respondents to your content marketing, such as your website, blogs, YouTube videos and social media activity. The most common sources of outbound traffic are cold prospecting, local networking through pay-to-play groups and various forms of advertising like direct mail, internet banner ads and search engine pay-per-click.
But here's where the conflict happens: The two categories need to be treated like two completely different animals. Literally every component is different, right down to the sales process, workflows, marketing activities and even your script and talking points on the phone.
Here are three steps to create streamlined workflows and reduce friction between inbound and outbound efforts:
1) Engage empathetically when designing the prospect journey. Unfortunately, salespeople tend to build behaviors that are most efficient for them, without giving enough consideration to how the insured may want to interact. Tactical empathy can be very useful not just in the middle of a sales conversation, but also in the design of a sales and marketing process.
2) Create overlap as early as possible. Inbound- and outbound-sourced insureds begin their experience with your agency from two very different places. But, at a certain point in your sales and marketing process, the two paths will intersect for the rest of the journey. With some intentionality and planning, you can create content assets on your website and YouTube channel that supplement the personal interaction you and your team have with the insured.
3) Produce content with your workflow in mind. One of the most fundamental rules for creating relevant and engaging content is to be mindful of who your audience is and speak clearly and directly to it. The goal is to create opportunities for increased efficiency and profit that don't detract from the client experience. To make this easier, identify areas in the inbound and outbound workflows where the same piece of content could be utilized. Perhaps it's a core values explainer or a practical example of value-added services your office provides. If it fits with the client journey, then fire away.
Any healthy agency will be adept at both inbound and outbound sales and marketing strategies. But if you're thoughtful about how you design and execute your processes and workflows, you'll make things easier for you and your team and give your insured the ideal customer journey with less effort expended.
James Jenkins is CEO of RiskWell.