At recent sales meetings you’ve been discussing the pros and cons of using a telemarketing firm to generate more appointments and increase commercial lines revenue opportunities. Calls come into the agency from telemarketers pitching deals and promising all kinds of paybacks.
You want to make an informed decision about whom you hire. But choosing a telemarketing firm based solely on the deal they offer or the promises they make is a bit like picking a dentist because they’re offering discount tickets, or a law firm just because they have the biggest ad in the phone book.
Rates and anticipated returns are two elements you’ll certainly want to evaluate. But on what other considerations should you base your decision? Here’s a list of key variables that should be useful in guiding your research:
Who will actually do the calling for your agency? Will there be consistency, or will many different people be calling in a boiler room environment? Is there high caller turnover? What’s the average caller’s tenure? Is all calling done on-site, or does the firm use unsupervised telecommuters?
Does the firm take the time to understand what may set you apart from other competing agencies? Will the callers be able to communicate specific selling points about your agency? How will the telemarketing firm go about conveying your agency’s competitive advantage?
Do callers understand the insurance sales process, and the issues surrounding workers’ comp, risk management, safety engineering? Does the firm have a good handle on realistic hit ratios, dials, completed contacts and appointment ratios?
5.) Who will own the data after the program ends?
A wealth of details and intelligence can be gathered during the calling process: x-dates, current agents and carriers, decision-makers’ names and titles, email addresses, insurance concerns, and buying attitudes. When the program ends, will you get to keep this valuable intelligence or will the telemarketers retain that for possible use with other agencies?
6.) How are leads qualified?
Are the appointments that are set for you solid, reliable selling opportunities? How do the callers avoid situations where someone schedules a meeting just to get them off the phone? Are they speaking with actual decision-makers? Are x-dates and other data accurate?
9.) Customer care
If you need an appointment rescheduled, or have questions about a lead, how easy is it to speak with someone who knows what’s going on with your account? Do you get helpful reports showing calling activity and results?
How quickly and efficiently is the firm able to change lists or alter the phone tactics when you want to take a new approach or when a new carrier program promises to be especially “hot”?
11.) How much control do you have over the classes, geography and premium volume of the target businesses?
The right lists are a critical factor for telemarketing success. Are you able to target industries where you have a reasonable competitive advantage? Are the callers able to phone qualify so you’re sure you’re meeting with companies that pay enough premiums to make the appointments worth your time?
If you want an agile telemarketing partner who is committed to your goals and culture, whose decades of experience have developed into a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that commercial insurance producers face, give PMA a call at (413) 253-2381.