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Are the Days of Insurance Agency Telemarketing Over?
Are the days of insurance agency telemarketing over? My answer to this question is “it depends on the industry and the profile of the prospect”. Telemarketing (or cold calling), although a form of interruption marketing, can be very effective when properly approached and applied to a specific niche and b2b target profile. There are much better ways to market many B2B products and services, but there is still a time and place when highly targeted, niche cold calling can be effective for B2B businesses. I would like to qualify this statement, that the days of telemarketing will eventually come to an end as more cost effective means become available, as eMarketing, Social Media Marketing, ePublishing and other web centric means s are more effective and less expensive. But today, cold calling or outsourced telemarketing can still work for certain insurance agency niches and prospect profiles.
For example, truck insurance agencies that focus on smaller trucking company profiles with 2-50 trucks can average 6 appointments per week in about 10 telemarketing hours per week (about 1 appointment for 1.5 hour call). While trucking agencies that focus on 100+ trucking companies are likely to achieve better results by leveraging email marketing and webinars rather than telemarketing, or at a minimum they should integrate telemarketing into a webinar marketing strategy. Many experts would agree that a fully integrated, comprehensive, web-centric approach to insurance agency marketing yields the best return on investment. However, vertically oriented agencies or agencies with a unique value proposition can still achieve compelling results with a well-planned and professionally executed B2B telemarketing strategy.
Cold calling can also be done on a one-to-one basis by salespeople (insurance agency producers) calling high into their targeted prospect accounts, which combined with personalized email can yield effective results. The challenge, of course, lies in the producer’s ability to find the time to do this in a way that is consistent with the myriad of other responsibilities that impact his time. Many marketing veterans describe the difference between agency producer cold calling and telemarketing from a production perspective. Telemarketers are generally expected to generate around 25 calls per hour, documenting position changes, direct phone number and, of course, delivering arguments along the way. This means that in 60 hours of calls per month, the phone is dialed approximately 1,500 times, or 18,000 times per year if fully extrapolated. The insurance agency producer’s time is much better spent on other activities; they don’t have the time or the patience to consistently deliver that volume. Obviously, telemarketing is not just about volume, a well-defined and constantly refined script is essential, and can result in a qualified appointment for every hour and a half of “telemarketing”, which can be interesting for an agency producer, or for that matter, any small vertically oriented business.
So, in my opinion, although the days of telemarketing are shrinking for many insurance agencies and other businesses, there are still instances where a targeted telemarketing campaign provides a good return on marketing investment. If done professionally and appropriately, high quality B2B telemarketing can yield profitable results.
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