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Who would you rather try to sell business insurance to? A business owner with a budget for insurance, or a mid-level employee with limited influence on purchasing decisions? This simple analysis can be an easy way to qualify leads.
It seems obvious that you’re better off directly targeting business owners, especially those with an interest in purchasing policies. Doing so would mean you’re going after a qualified insurance lead. Yet, too often, salespeople cast too wide of a net, trying to pitch whoever they can, regardless of whether they’re a good fit.
Especially in the business insurance sector, where only certain types of prospects can realistically become customers, it’s important to qualify leads. You wouldn’t want to waste time or money trying to sell to someone who has no need for business insurance, such as those who do not make purchasing decisions at their companies.
Instead, you would likely want to go after business owners and executives. More specifically, a qualified insurance lead for your particular agency would likely have certain characteristics, such as the size of their business and the level of coverage they’re seeking.
Insurance agents can start with these top-line factors. Yet, to increase the likelihood of a sale, agents can also dive deeper by determining how far along the purchasing journey a prospect is. A business owner conducting their initial search for insurance, for example, might not be as strong of a lead as an executive who has met with multiple agencies and is ready to purchase in the next few days.
By directing your sales and marketing efforts towards more qualified insurance leads and less toward an unknown audience, the better off you are. In this guide, we’ll explore how to qualify leads for insurance so that you can increase your success rate.
Understanding Qualified Insurance Leads
Before you get too deep into trying to qualify leads, it helps to get a clear understanding of what this process means.
As Salesforce explains, lead qualification involves “determining how likely a lead is to ultimately turn into a paying customer. Qualified leads are leads that have been determined to have a good chance at converting into customers.”
You need to think realistically about how likely you are to sell a prospect an insurance policy. You may meet an executive at a large business who could theoretically make a large purchase. Yet after speaking with this contact, you may find out that you don’t sell the types of policies they’re interested in. Or perhaps they’ve been working with another insurer for years and show no interest in switching.
Instead of continuing to go after this type of prospect, you’d likely be better off focusing on a smaller potential client who has inquired about your policies. The latter would more likely be a qualified insurance lead.
Types of Qualified Leads:
When learning how to qualify leads, it helps to understand that not all qualified leads are the same.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
Some leads might be a good fit on paper for your services, but you’re not sure how close they are to making a purchasing decision. They have shown interest in your product or service either by reaching out via a form on your site or by calling you directly. Their interest can often be attributed to some action you took. For example, maybe your site showed up in search results when they were researching online. Or, maybe they saw an ad online for your business and clicked on it. Either way, you’ve gained their attention, but they aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger. These types of interested parties are referred to as MQLs, or marketing qualified leads.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
Others leads may have already talked pricing with you. If someone has gone as far as getting a quote or asking about cost, they have shown they are close to making a purchase. These types of leads may or may not have already interacted with you online. Perhaps they have already visited your website several times and are now ready to make a decision. This type of lead is known as an SQL, or sales qualified lead.
As Tableau, a data analytics platform explains, you can group leads into marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. “Marketing Qualified Leads are very curious, while Sales Qualified Leads are leads handed off to Sales because they are considering a purchase.”Tableau
Both types of leads will require your attention but in different ways. For example, you might segment your marketing emails into two lists — one for marketing qualified leads, where you include more information on the benefits of insurance, and one on sales qualified leads, where you focus more on closing deals, such as by offering a discount.
Ways to Qualify Leads
Understanding the different types of leads can help when it comes to actually try to qualify them. Mostly, however, learning how to qualify leads means taking the time to ask prospects questions and analyze their behavior. That way, you can determine whether someone who seems like a qualified insurance lead on the surface is actually in the market for a policy and is the right person for you to focus on.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time and effort with a contact who is not in the position to make a purchasing decision.” Asking questions like who in a company might be involved in making the decision can help, explains The Brooks Group, a corporate sales training and sales management training company.
More specifically, some of the ways to get more information from prospects include using:
If you get new prospects, such as via referrals, it helps to spend a few minutes on the phone to qualify leads. In what’s known as a discovery call, you can find out a little more about a prospect, such as what their business entails and how far along they are in their insurance purchasing journey.
“The best way to qualify a lead is over the phone during a short discovery call. This way, you’re able to have a casual business conversation to get an idea of what they’re most interested in and evaluate if they fit the bill,” says G2, a business software and services review site.
Similar to discovery calls, having an introductory, face-to-face meeting can help to qualify leads. These introductory meetings may be a bit more in-depth than discovery calls. You could even visit prospective clients’ workplaces to get a better sense of their business needs and see how strong of a lead they really are. Since these meetings may be more in-depth, however, you might want to start with the discovery call or at least email correspondence to get a sense of whether someone is a qualified insurance lead.
When you get new prospects, one way to qualify leads is to have them fill out some information that helps you understand their likelihood of purchasing. For example, if you generate leads from hosting a webinar, your registration page could include an intake form asking whether the prospect is currently shopping for insurance policies.
You can also include intake forms in places such as your “Contact” page on your website. Instead of having visitors email you whatever they want, ask them for specific information like their business size and industry. This will help you understand if they are a match for your target clients. Just keep in mind any privacy regulations if you start to collect detailed information like this.
Analyzing Marketing Data:
Prospective clients might not always tell you how likely they are to purchase from you. So, another way to qualify leads is to analyze marketing data. A prospect who consistently registers for your webinars, for example, is likely a more qualified insurance lead than someone who unsubscribed from your email list. As such, knowing how to qualify leads can depend in part on knowing how to leverage marketing data.
Turning Qualified Leads Into Customers
Figuring out how to qualify leads can help you improve your sales and marketing effectiveness, but you still need to be able to close deals. Once you have a group of qualified insurance leads, you may want to dive deeper into the quality of each lead.
Some prospects will fall into the marketing qualified leads category and others into the sales qualified leads category. Yet even within these groups, there can be differences in how strong of a lead each prospect is. A prospect might become a qualified marketing lead by signing up for your email list. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to focus on them as much as someone who you’ve already had a discovery call with and know fits your target audience.
One way to improve your effectiveness is to use lead scoring. “By assigning points to the prospect’s actions you deem the most valuable, like visiting the pricing page or requesting a demo, you can create a score for your leads that will show how active they have been and how high their interest level is,” explains Pardot, a marketing automation platform that’s part of Salesforce.
With a better understanding of how strong each lead is, you can direct resources accordingly. Some low-scored leads may need more attention to convert them into clients, whereas high-score leads may be ready for you to set up sales meetings.
Furthermore, using technology like Wheelhouse can streamline your process, increase efficiency, and automate the process of lead qualification. With Wheelhouse, you can create SQLs automatically by adding a “Get a Quote” button on your website (or including your custom Wheelhouse URL on any digital platform). By linking directly to your Wheelhouse URL you will automatically qualify your leads as sales-ready. And your prospect? In 10 minutes they can request a bindable quote through you from multiple carriers.
In addition, leads that come from other sources, as you qualify them, you can direct them to your Wheelhouse URL. This way they can generate a quote for insurance and you can focus on converting more leads. Depending on your lead scoring, you might use the custom URL in an email. Whereas in other cases, you might want to include the link in an ad to try to move colder leads further along in the purchasing journey.
Over time, you will likely find that qualifying leads and having the resources in place to convert those qualified prospects into clients can help you win more deals with less, overall effort.