What You Need to Know
- Distribution models are changing.
- One place to look is inside your own organization.
- Outside distribution and retail platforms matter, too.
In every sector today, access to daily insight and information across the value chain is what drives businesses forward.
For organizations that own the entire value chain, manufacturing to distribution, access to data across the entire footprint is readily accessible. Yet, we now live in the age of the platform economy, where many manufacturers (product providers) now sell and distribute their products through third-party platforms.
Think small and large retailers, who formerly controlled the point of sale, now distributing through Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com. All third-party distribution platforms delivering access to a massive scale of consumers and potential sales volume, yet a new game entirely where the “shelf” is now online, digital, and an entirely different challenge to master than face-to-face retailing.
In many ways, the sales challenge has become even more complex. What positioning drives a higher closing rate in an online experience? What is the best listing position for my product in a comparative environment? How do I target a select purchasing audience on digital platforms — and how did I ensure continuous improvement, in a competitively dynamic environment?
And ultimately, what operational capabilities and levers will drive long-term success?
This is part of the future landscape that now faces the life and annuity sector.
To successfully compete and win in the age of platform distribution — whether through proprietary or third-party distribution platforms (such as Policygenius, NerdWallet, Ensight, Simon, FidX, Luma Technologies, and others) — life and annuity carriers will have to radically upgrade their access to data insight. Both internally, and more importantly, from external sources.
It is data insight and its “actionability” that is fundamental to driving sales funnel yield and growth in the age of the platform economy.
A Changing Funnel
Why are sales analytics so critical to sales today?
As in almost every other industry, new technology and sector structural change are having an impact on the wholesale and distribution model.
- Insurance carriers are caught between margin pressures and the demands of looking for more cost efficiency while distributors that want them to be more responsive.
- It’s now possible for agents and advisors to use online marketplaces (many adopted by BGAs and wholesalers) to work directly with carriers.
- With the product digital sales experience improving (digital training, simplified quoting, accelerated underwriting), leading distributors are now rapidly “all-in” on digital.
- Competition is getting tougher, and distribution is changing. Think of the rapid emergence of new digital carriers (such as Lemonade) and distribution entrants, such as new digital D2C, BGA and IMO models.
The pre-sale funnel is now almost fully digital, enabling a new level of data insight to drive higher sales operational productivity, new product development opportunities and other areas of competitive advantage.
Critical to addressing this rapidly transforming landscape is sales data analytics.