Advanced Sales Areas Face Challenge Of Quantifying Efforts
A problem that many advanced marketing professionals here are facing is the increasing pressure to quantify their effectiveness to upper management. With shrinking budgets across the industry, many agree that it is difficult to attain additional dollars for support functions that do not correlate directly to the companys bottom line.
The end result: Many advanced marketing areas are understaffed.
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“Were all facing greater demands with fewer resources,” said Richard Edinger, manager advanced financial solutions for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, during a breakout session at LIMRA Internationals annual advanced sales conference.
In addition to fielding calls from producers, Edinger noted that most advanced marketing areas take on a number of other tasks, including: internal and external training, support for legal and compliance areas, specialized software analysis, and development of technical advanced marketing brochures.
A function that senior management is adding to that list is the task of associating the efforts of the area to actual sales results.
“That position seems ludicrous,” stated Glenn Nicholson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Cincinnati Life Insurance Company, Cincinnati. The executive explained that many members of executive management throughout the industry do not fully understand what an advanced marketing unit is responsible for. As a former member of such a unit, Nicholson faced these same challenges years earlier.
Nicholson added that advanced sales “is a major contributor to the achievement of company sales goals–we cant always quantify that.”
But in an effort to quantify their efforts, many advanced marketing areas have begun tracking their activity. For Edinger, this has become one of the biggest challenges he faces today.
“In the past, if we kept the field happy that was good enough,” Edinger explained. “Now they want to see numbers and associate what we do with the bottom line.”
Edinger feels that by tracking activity, it will translate into production. This is a method similar to that taken by Rebecca Hanna, vice president of advanced marketing for GE Financial Assurance Companies, Lynchburg, Va.