Going for Brokers

A leading health insurer developed new broker segments and improved quote volume and close ratios.

For several years, a leading health insurer had been looking for new ways to compete in the broker channel and attempted to differentiate itself through wellness products and medical coverage offerings. However, not all of its brokers were receptive to these offerings, and the company had no strategy to fall back on when it found that the offerings didn’t resonate. Instead of using its growing body of agent insight to inform overall strategy, the company was using internally focused insights based on its own interactions with brokers. As a result, the company lacked the overall market perspective to help determine brokers’ preferences and behaviors. It needed to prioritize brokers for selling efforts and define what and how to sell to each individual broker.

After developing segment constructs with the carrier’s marketing, sales and product leadership efforts, ZS conducted primary research with brokers to identify key attitudes and behaviors, and then blended that research with profile and activity data from internal and third-party sources. The ZS team then used quantitative and qualitative insights to create and test four behavioral segments and outline key strategies and tactics for each. Next, ZS worked directly with the company’s sales and product organizations to develop marketing materials and messaging for each customer segment. Then, ZS helped the company tie brokers to these segments and roll out new sales tactics in three pilot markets.

The pilot program changed the way that the company thought about broker sales. Marketing and sales started to share a common language, and salespeople had a new way to communicate why a particular offering did or did not resonate with a broker. According to one sales leader: “Now I see why this broker has never responded to us. We’ve been pushing our outsourced wellness offering when what he really wants is to co-create solutions. That was the best meeting we’ve had with him in years.”

As salespeople grew more comfortable with this approach, quote volume in two priority segments rose and close ratios improved across all segments. The pilot program was deemed a success and rolled out on a national scale.

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