an insurance agency's marketing plan that needs producer buy-in

How to Get Producers to Buy In and Contribute to the Agency’s Marketing Plan

If you’re in a marketing role at your insurance agency, you may have faced some resistance from the sales team on participating consistently in marketing activities. This struggle may range from simple LinkedIn posts to committing to routine videos. While you may understand that marketing must include the sales agents for the agency, many producers are reluctant to participate.

Leadership Must Buy In

The old saying, “it starts from the top down” is very true. The insurance agency has invested in having a dedicated team member just to focus on branding, lead generation and marketing. In order to truly succeed at insurance agency marketing, the buy-in must extend from “we like the idea of having a marketing person” to true accountability from the entire team on executing the marketing strategy.

As an insurance agency marketing professional it is important you present your marketing strategy clearly and methodically. If what you are proposing is off the cuff or not well thought out, you may lose the agency leadership’s support. At Agency Appeal we recommend building a comprehensive marketing plan that is clear, concise and goal driven. Your plan should include your strategy to brand the agency, build awareness, generate opportunity, increase closing ratios, drive retention and sell more to current customers. In your plan clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of the team, and be certain you’re working well ahead of schedule to avoid any last minute requests that can be inconvenient for people’s schedules.

Earning Producer Understanding

In many agencies producers have been trained to focus on selling, and they often struggle with the other tasks or responsibilities associated with their roles (such as paperwork, service, documentation). Add marketing into the mix, and you’re sure to feel like a duck swimming upstream. When you’re first outlining your plans, do not forget a critical step: getting sales agents’ feedback. They are on the front line, and they may have marketing ideas that they have not been able to get to. Use your good old Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and listen to them first.

Once you listen to them and can identify key sales and marketing challenges that producers face, you can get to work on building your strategy. When you listen to your producers, the marketing plan becomes their idea, and they are likely to have more buy-in. Don’t be surprised if you get a very diverse group of challenges to tackle from each producer; they are most likely sharing with you the struggles they face personally.

More than likely your plan will not only include solutions to their problems, but also many items they did not think of. When bringing a marketing culture to an agency that hasn’t had much creativity in the past, it’s a natural reaction to be skeptical. To overcome any apprehension, make sure you are prepared with the following:

  • Statistics that share the importance of your strategy. (These are easy to find with a quick Google search.)
  • Examples from other insurance agencies. Many people are visual and need to see the final outcome and any results associated with it.
  • The overview of the producer’s time investment. In sales you trade time for money every day. We have to show them that it will be simple and easy.
  • If you feel you will be facing a great deal of pushback, consider finding a beta tester, one agent who is willing to see it through. Peer proof often works to get buy-in!

Converting to a Marketing & Sales Culture

Being in marketing means you are filled with amazing ideas and energy. Being in insurance means your peers at the insurance agency manage risk every day. See the gap in personalities?

While you may be prepared to tackle everything in the next 90 days, think about taking baby steps. The greatest plan without buy-in lacks execution. Set goals for the team to progress toward becoming a marketing culture. For example, if you want to have a united LinkedIn presence, set a goal for training, templates and/or a review of everyone’s LinkedIn profile. Try to avoid taking the approach of, “do this by this date or else.” You have to remember that many sales agents may have only basic skills in this area, and may become overwhelmed or embarrassed if they are uncertain how to accomplish a marketing task.

Finally, in your role you need to be obsessed with reviewing and tracking metrics. Now, this is a part of marketing that has a delayed reaction where awareness you build today may pay off in 6 months, but telling your story of wins will help confirm buy-in. Unfortunately, many agencies view marketing as an expense rather than an investment. As a marketing professional you always need to be striving to tell the story of what’s working, but also have the transparency to say what isn’t and how to improve it.

If your insurance agency is looking to start investing in your marketing strategy and build a brand that connects to your target customers, contact us! We would love to learn more about your insurance agency!

Kelly Donahue-Piro is the Co-Founder of Agency Appeal and President of Agency Performance Partners.

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