The local insurance agency is faced with a unique challenge: The life of a lead varies dramatically. Why? Think about it – insurance customers shop for insurance in varying increments. When it comes to auto insurance alone, customers may be shopping every six months. This means that your agency needs to have an effective strategy in place to ensure that once you attract a lead, you are continuously engaging with interested prospects to increase your chances of conversion.
Consider this, statistics show that:
- 37% of customers are from leads generated over 3 months ago.
- 20% of customers are from leads generated over one year ago.
What does this mean?
Focus on your fresh leads, but don’t forget about the leads that came in last month … and certainly don’t forget about the ones that came in 6 months ago. Why? By ensuring that your agency stays top of mind with consumers, you are ensuring that you will be in their consideration set when they are looking to make a purchase.
This is called lead engagement.
30-50% of the leads that enter your sales funnel are not yet ready to buy – and this is okay. In the insurance industry especially, the buyer cycle is going to fluctuate. Use this to your advantage. Lead engagement is going to be about turning leads into opportunities.
Optimizing Your Sales Funnel For Lead Engagement
Once your agency has attracted leads with a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content, your inbound marketing and outbound marketing strategy is not done. You have only just begun to build a relationship with a lead now.
During the lead engagement phase, your agency must optimize:
- Your points of contact – This includes website forms, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and arming your sales team with talk tracks.
- Your response times – Research shows that 35-50% of sales will go to the vendor that responds first. Insurance shoppers are typically price conscious, yes, but customer service will still reign supreme. In fact, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, insurance customers who experience a premium increase shop at a rate of 13 percent—less than half the rate of shopping among those who have a poor experience (28 percent).
- Your calls to action – In any piece of marketing material a prospect receives from your agency, you must do your best to maintain a two-way conversation. Sales is all about forming an interpersonal relationship. You must properly manage the expectations of your prospects and give them reason to want to engage with you – that is, contact you.
Remember, at the end of the day, lead engagement does not mean a prospect is ready to buy. You have to be able to use lead engagement as a tool to help your agency further move a lead along the sales process. At this point, you will want to prioritize your leads and how you will follow-up with them.
Pro Tip: Lead scoring and lead grading are sales strategies your agency should use to qualify your leads.
How can your insurance agency implement a lead engagement strategy to optimize your sales funnel to attract, convert, and retain more customers? Download our Lead Engagement Strategy Guide for more information and sign up for our webinar on May 28th, 2014 for a detailed look at lead engagement.