What Producers Need: Marketing And Practice Management Support
By Russ Alan Prince & Arthur A. Bavelas
With all the uncertainty surrounding many aspects of the life insurance business, producers–like never before–need to access a variety of resources in order to be successful. Resources for producer success include the following four basic areas:
*Technical–the latest strategies and products as well as case design.
*Motivationalkeeping energized and focused on being successful.
*Practice managementeffectively and efficiently running a life insurance practice.
*Marketingaccessing highly profitable clients.
Because we were interested in identifying any gaps between the resources producers want and the resources they are getting, we surveyed 266 life insurance producers. Almost half of the sample (46.6%) had annual incomes of less than $100,000. (See Exhibit 1.) Another 36.1% had annual incomes ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, while the remaining 17.3% had annual incomes greater than $300,000.
Segmenting producers in this way allows us to see whether producers of different income levels want and need different resources, and whether each group is getting what they need.
We asked the producers about support. Specifically, we probed for the kinds of support they want and asked them to enumerate the support they believe they are receiving. The results are seen in Exhibit 2 and confirm that there is a gap in some important areas.
Overall, producers know they need technical support and they are indeed getting it. Nearly all producers (94.7%) say they want technical support. Technical supportwhether it is seminars on new products and strategies or being able to access an advanced planning lawyer at the home office to walk through a caseis a requisite for producers. At the current time, producers overall (93.6%) feel they are receiving the technical support they need.
About three-quarters of producers (74.1%) want motivational support, which can run the gamut from motivational presentations at conferences to senior management kudos to any form of reassurance and reinforcement. In this area, too, there is no current gap. For the most part, the producers say they are receiving the motivational support they need (69.2%).
When it comes to practice management support, a gap does exist. Although 65.4% of producers overall are very interested in practice management support, just 39.1% say they are getting this type of assistance. From how to best use technology to time management, quite a few producers realize that they can improve the operation of their practices. The gap emerges when we note that 26.3% of those surveyed are not obtaining the practice management support they feel is critical to their success.
A gap also exists in the marketing support area. Almost all producers (89.8%) are looking for marketing support. However, less than half (41.4%) say they are receiving sufficient marketing support.
Looking at producers overall we conclude that they are getting what they need in two areastechnical and motivational support. When it comes to practice management and marketing support, however, producers say they are not getting the assistance they need.
But are there differences between income segments of producers? Do producers with lower incomes feel more or less supported than more financially successful producers? In fact, when we analyze the data by income, significant distinctions do appear. Producers making less than $100,000 annually are more likely to get the support they want (Exhibit 3), although gaps still exist.
Producers earning less than $100,000 are unquestionably getting the technical and motivational support they need. When it comes to practice management, there is a gap between what they want and what they are receiving, but it is much smaller than for producers with higher annual incomes.
Marketing support is an interesting area. Among these less experienced producers, many (85.5%) feel a considerable need for support. Many, but certainly not all, who say they are in need of support are getting it.