Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Video can be an effective part of your sales strategy

The smartphones and tablets most of us carry around with us aren’t just for consuming video content, they can be used to create it, too. (Photo: iStock)
The smartphones and tablets most of us carry around with us aren’t just for consuming video content, they can be used to create it, too. (Photo: iStock)

Sales reps in the insurance industry have a powerful tool at their fingertips, and it is one that they’ve likely used to help close deals with great success: video.

Video delivers visually compelling content that can articulate key messages and benefits significantly better than words alone.

However, the pitch isn’t the only place where video can (and should) play a role in the sales process. Video can be an effective sales enablement and training tool long before a sales rep meets with a prospect face-to-face.

Sales training as you know it

Insurance sales reps are all too familiar with the traditional — and often ineffective — sales training process.

At the beginning of the fiscal year or with a major new product rollout, the sales team comes in from every corner of the country (or world) to gather for a kickoff event. The reps attend countless sessions with executives and sales leaders to hear about sales priorities as well as corporate and product strategies for the year ahead. There’s slide deck after slide deck, speaker after speaker.

The reps take notes, and at the end of the kickoff, they go back to their territories to execute on what they just learned. The company will make those slide decks and a host of other documents available on the company Sharepoint so the reps can go back and refresh themselves later.

There are several problems with this “fire hose” approach to sales training.  First, the moment the sales kickoff ends, the information shared starts to “leak.” The key messages the company invested considerable time to develop and present barely make it back to the office with attendees. In fact, within 90 days of a sales training event, 84% of the information conveyed is forgotten.

Furthermore, if a sales rep decides to take the time to search for a presentation or piece of collateral discussed at a training session, they probably won’t find it quickly. A McKinsey Global Institute study  found that workers spend nearly 20% of their work week searching for internal information. That amounts to huge dips in productivity. The reality is that a single point-in-time event can’t be the main component of a sales training program if reps are expected to retain and use critical information throughout the year.

Mobile video is the answer

The logical next question is: How can companies communicate their key messages and product information to reps, and ensure that information is absorbed and retained when it’s needed most: At deal time?

The answer is mobile video, and it’s something that most people use each and every day. Sixty-five percent of people are visual learners, so by leveraging a tool that is part of almost all sales professionals’ online experience, reps can access the most relevant content as well as best practices and insights from peers, all in a way that seamlessly integrates into their workflows. And by curating the most relevant content and insights from the field into searchable channels, sales reps can find exactly what they’re looking for when they’re walking into a pitch.

Related: How to: Use insurance marketing video captions to improve SEO

It’s not just a one-way street either. The smartphones and tablets most of us carry around with us aren’t just for consuming video content, they can be used to create it, too. High-performing reps can share best practices from the parking lot the minute they leave a meeting; product managers can communicate changes to products; managers can even give assignments to reps, asking them to record practice pitches for critique and evaluation, without requiring travel or scheduling.

Making content available at the time it’s needed most is called “just-in-time learning” and it provides a number of benefits that can tied directly to sales success. First, messaging and information that would normally be forgotten can be retained more effectively, since it can be searched, viewed continuously and absorbed visually. Sales reps will also get the most up-to-date information and messaging well before facing a prospect in a pitch. For example, changes in insurance regulations, product offerings and policies can be understood by the reps and worked into pitches in real-time. Additionally, reps will have practiced and refined their pitches before getting in front of prospects. Many reps learn through trial and error based on experiences gained during live pitches, but practicing on customers can prove costly and lead to lost deals.

The benefits of learning from peers can’t be overstated either. When “A” players are able to share their best practices and most successful strategies with “B” players, the “B” players will usually learn and improve, leading to greater sales success and business growth. Messages will also be consistent across the entire sales organization, minimizing the risk of reps unintentionally misrepresenting product features and capabilities.

The most innovative insurance companies are now using mobile video as part of their overall sales enablement and training initiative. The fact that it facilitates ongoing collaboration, information sharing, message consistency and better retention and absorption of new information makes it an invaluable solution for solving many common sales training and enablement obstacles.

Mark Magnacca is president and co-founder of Needham, Mass.-based sales software and training company Allego. Contact him at mmagnacca@allego.com.

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