It’s Monday morning around 9:30, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee fills the air in your office. You’re still easing yourself into another week of grind and getting ready to crush it when a new lead notification pops up — somebody filled out the webform and is interested in an insurance policy.
What do you do — grab your phone immediately and dial the potential customer’s number, or take a short break until you finish your coffee, check your schedule, and mentally prepare for the day?
This may seem like a minor decision, but taking too long to respond could inadvertently push the lead (and their money) right into your competitors’ arms.
Even if we’re talking about a 5-10-minute response delay, you risk losing a seriously hot lead to sluggishness and inefficiency.
Recent studies show that your decision at that moment could mean a world of difference for your sales outcomes. The odds of converting a new lead decrease by 391% if the response delay is just over a minute.
The correlation between speed-to-lead and conversion rates is too significant to ignore, especially in the high-stakes insurance industry.
What is Speed-to-Lead, and Why Is It So Important?
If you’re an insurance agent, you know the market’s cut-throat nature and understand how critical every second is when contacting potential customers. Speed-to-lead means: the time it takes you to reach a lead after they have opted in.
Speed-to-lead can give you a significant edge over your competitors in the insurance industry, where customers have many options and high expectations. It can also help you build trust and rapport with your prospects and move them along the sales funnel.
So, speed-to-lead is not just a nice-to-have feature in your insurance sales strategy. It is a critical factor that can make or break your conversion rates.
Let’s dissect the main reasons for striking while the iron is hot.
High level of engagement
When a lead opts in, they show a high interest in your policies, i.e., they’re ready to buy!
They also expect a quick response from you, meaning you risk losing their attention and trust if you don’t act fast. Although sizzling hot, these leads may forget about you, lose interest, or change their mind. On the other hand, if you contact them while they are still on your website or shortly after, you can capitalize on their interest and urgency and move them along the sales funnel.
Closing insurance deals is all about building meaningful relationships and credibility with your prospects, as the products you sell are intangible. You need to earn their trust since they want the service to be their safety net when things go wrong or something unexpected happens. In other words, you must convince them that your first and foremost goal is protecting their best interests. This is how you’ll give them a sense of security.
And you can’t do that if your responsiveness leaves much to be desired.
When a lead opts in and expresses interest in your policies, they are likely shopping around and comparing different options. Suppose you don’t contact them before they go to another website. In that case, there’s a chance that one of those other providers or partners will be faster and give them an offer before you do, slamming shut the window of opportunity before your very nose.
Research shows that up to 50% of sales go to the first sales rep that reaches out, so timing is everything if you want to lock in a deal.
Another factor that makes your job harder is the fickle market.
For example, health insurance policies typically renew year after year, meaning that consumers commit only for a shorter period. As a result, this leaves them open to being contacted by another company. According to stats, roughly 30% of customers switch insurance providers, implying that earning customer loyalty in this industry can be quite a feat.
Therefore, even with an existing customer base, you’ll have to do the outreach process all over again every year, making speed-to-lead even more crucial for retaining and expanding your business.
How to Improve Speed-to-Lead in the Insurance Industry?
Now that you understand the importance of speed-to-lead, how can you improve this metric and boost your insurance sales? In short, the answer is by accelerating your entire sales cycle.
Here are some tips to help you do that.
1. Identify your benchmarks
While everyone understands that every moment counts for sealing the deal, the concept of speed might not be the same for everyone. For some reps, it might be an hour; for others, it’s a matter of minutes.
That’s why everyone in your organization has to be on the same page about what speed-to-lead means. This means defining lead response times across different departments — sales, customer support, and customer success alike.
The same applies to different communication channels. Also, potential customers might email you outside of your regular business hours. Set up autoresponders that will inform them when exactly they can expect a call from you and provide additional resources.
2. Implement sales engagement software
Identifying new leads, reaching out to them promptly, and being able to personalize the outreach is a complex and time-sensitive process that can’t be done manually. VanillaSoft’s priority-based lead-management system ensures you reach out to the freshest and hottest leads first.
The platform will automate numerous tasks, such as list management, CRM updates, or cadences, freeing up your time to engage prospects and sell policies. It will allow you to organize all your prospect, customer, and analytics data, centralize it, and make it easily accessible.
Logical branch scripting gives you a sense of direction when talking to leads. It helps you handle potential objections while auto-dialing, additionally accelerating your outreach since you won’t have to punch numbers.
Setting follow-up cadences incorporating multiple outreach channels, such as SMS, email, or voicemail drops, is a breeze. This way, you can increase your chances of reaching leads who may prefer different modes of communication or may not be available at certain times.
3. Test and optimize your strategies
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving speed-to-lead.
You need to experiment with different strategies and see what works best for your target audience and goals.
By testing and optimizing, you can identify the bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your lead management system and make the necessary adjustments. For example, you can optimize your web forms to capture only the vital information from leads or automate your email and SMS responses to confirm receipt and set expectations.
It’s also a good idea to test different variables, such as the time of day, the frequency of follow-ups, the tone of voice, the content of messages, etc., and see how they affect your results.
Speed-to-lead is indispensable in an intensively competitive industry such as insurance. Call them as quickly as possible when you get a lead, preferably within minutes or seconds.
Remember that this metric also influences how potential customers perceive your service — if you’re not that easy to reach, they will undoubtedly wonder what will happen should they have to file an insurance claim.