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Lead Generation: Qualify. Connect. Close

Posted Feb 04 2010 6:37pm

Direct-to-consumer health insurance selling – Medicare AdvantageIndividual MedicalMedigap, Short Term MedicalPart D  – is challenging even the best sales organizations. On the consumer side there’s a long list of pain points: economic woesincreasing premiumspre-existing conditionsand healthcare complexities (admit iton a good day it’s a bureaucratic nightmare tied together with red tape). From a sales perspectivea commoditized set of individual products and multiple distribution outlets―layered networks of field agentscall centersWeb enrollment and retail outlets―translates into fierce competitive rivalry.

These market dynamics mean that health plans looking for organic growth must start with an ability to generate qualifiedactionable leads…and then close the sale. Successful lead generation starts by efficiently
segmenting and qualifying potential prospects. Only then can a tailored blend of lead producing tactics be effectively deployed. Lastlypowerful customer relationship building is critical to closing the sale.

Following are ingredients of high performance lead generation programs.

QualifyGatheringanalyzing and interpreting consumer data allows health plans to understand variations in each customer segment they are pursuing. The more you know about prospectsthe more prospects you can turn into qualified leads. Capturing core demographics, purchasing habits and lifestyle attributes provides important competitive intelligence. The result is highly qualified leads tied to actual consumer buying patterns and “most likely” purchaser indicators. Narrowing the view of your market will create productive leads—those you want to continue to spend valuable direct response marketing dollars on.

Connect – Influencing consumers takes an ability to articulate the most compelling features of the products you’re sellingand then link those features to how they benefit your target audience. Separate yourself from the health insurance sea of sameness. The most common lead generation mistake is overemphasis on product detailsrules or instructions. Focus on strong value-based messages around elements such as premium savingsenhanced benefitsprovider choiceor drug coverage. Be persuasive and actionablealways driving a prospect into a sales relationship.

It takes multiple prospect touchesusing a combination of tacticsto obtain an actionable lead. The key is to figure-out which combination allows you to achieve your growth goals (and manage your budget).
Whether onlinedirect maillocal TVor community grassrootsdirect response lead generation should generate immediate consumer response. Anddon’t view lead generation tactics in a vacuumeach has a specific role in achieving results.

Close – A qualified lead means a prospect has “raised their hand” and is requesting help as they navigate their purchasing decision. Don’t let it go to waste. Health plansregardless of the distribution channel they’re usingneed to establish themselves as a “go-to” resource ready to answer tough questions and provide trustedconsultative guidance as prospects weigh their choices. Closer are facilitators. This means helping prospects compare value-based tradeoffs in the context of their personal situation. Deliver answers to their problems and watch your close ratio skyrocket.

In direct-to-consumer health insurance marketscharacterized by cutthroat competition and abundant product choicenew member acquisition is directly tied to lead generation. As group insurance markets continue to fragment and consumer wants and needs shiftmore individual consumers will be shopping for health insurance. Shoppers equal leads―potential customers looking for a resource to help direct their purchasing decision.
High performance lead generation converts shoppers into leads. There is no greater selling opportunity than a qualified lead looking for help.

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