The Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing

December 21, 2009

In today’s economic climate, it’s difficult to find consistency. Business is changing at a rapid rate in every industry, and insurance is no different. As everything from the internet to the classic bear and bull markets transform the game of insurance sales, many people are looking for a measured, consistent approach to be taken to the industry that can create results in any market. Fortunately, even as the world changes around us, there are certain universal truths about sales and marketing that continue to be true throughout every economic climate. By following the Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing as laid out by Jeff Solomon, one of the founders of Leads360, it’s easy to prepare and hone an approach to sales that will be adjustable and effective whether your team focuses on B2B sales, B2C sales, or both.

The Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing are fairly straight forward, and by focusing on these seven factors any sales staff can find the right approach to fit their market. The rules are as follows:

  1. Speed of Sales Process
  2. Number of Decision Makers
  3. Simplicity of Buying Process
  4. Quantity of Leads
  5. Role of Emotion
  6. Value of Sale
  7. Uniformity of Offer

While each sales opportunity is different, they can each be judged based on where they fall in each of these seven categories. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, a smart sales staff will consider where they are in each case and try to determine what approach will maximize their ROI.

Obviously, B2B sales and B2C sales are two very different animals, and a quick look at the Seven Universal Rules will indicate that, in each case, the clear differences require different approaches in sales. In B2B sales, the speed of the sales process is slow, taking months or years, while compared to the faster process in B2C sales, where sales can close in days. The number of decision makers in B2B sales also increases significantly when weighed against B2C sales, as businesses will rely on multiple people and departments to come to an agreement, as opposed to a single individual or family deciding on a policy. The buying process in B2B sales is much more complicated, with many more steps to the sales process than in B2C sales. B2C business will rely on tracking a large number of leads where B2B sales, is an environment where the total number of leads is much lower. The role of emotion can be a key factor in B2C sales, where convincing a single person is sometimes all that’s needed to sell a policy. B2B sales on the other hand, will require an approach more firmly rooted in logical appeals to deal with businesses. The value of a sale is much higher in B2B sales, warranting the extra work needed to close a sale, but requiring fewer sales than B2C to be profitable. Finally, the uniformity of offer will be much more consistent in B2C sales, while B2B sales require a tailor-made pitch for each sale.

It’s important to understand where you stand on each of these seven scales to craft the most effective sales plan for your policies. By taking a steady, measured approach to sales that incorporates these seven rules, companies will be empowered to sell more policies with a smaller investment. While there are clear differences between B2B and B2C sales, this doesn’t mean that things are in black and white, and it would be a mistake to assume that all B2B sales are created the same. The Seven Rules are universal, but it’s important to ask yourself where you are at all times rather than just assuming that the same cookie-cutter approach can be adopted for every opportunity. This can be particularly relevant in the rapidly expanding field of small business sales. Small business growth in recent years has been considerable, making it an ever growing part of the economy. As Dan Brown, executive vice president, Property/Casualty Sales & Distribution, for the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. puts it:

“Small business is big and getting bigger. Some 6.4 million businesses with one to 20 employees now contribute to our economy, and this segment continues to grow at a record pace. Everyone – the college graduate, the corporate refugee, the new citizen, and the early retiree – seems to be thinking about starting up a business these days, and judging by the numbers, many will do it.” 1

However, many companies haven’t taken a proactive approach to courting small businesses that correspond with the questions they should be asking themselves based on the Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing. As Alan L. Shulman, publisher of Agency Ideas, notes:

“The small business insurance market has grown in importance to agencies and companies alike. Yet, despite the favorable attention given to this profitable arena, too many agencies still treat small business as they always have, as an indistinguishable part of their overall commercial lines department. To aggressively grow in this highly competitive field, agency managers must permanently separate small business from its larger brethren, and allow it to stand fully on its own.” 2

The simple fact of the matter is, while selling to small businesses is technically B2B sales, a quick review of the Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing reveals that selling to many small businesses’ insurance needs mean that they have more in common with a B2C sales process than a typical B2B approach. As a result, it’s important that every new opportunity be gauged against the Seven Rules, and your approach be modified to maximize the number of policies sold. One of the best ways to customize your approach is to employ a Lead Management System, also known as an Insurance CRM, like Leads360. By carefully reviewing the detailed metrics available and fine tuning your approach, you can use the Seven Universal Rules of Sales and Marketing to your advantage and see your sales expand.

1 Dan Brown;

2 Alan L. Shulman;

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