MGAs and brokers
This feature explores the impact that the ‘rise of the MGA’ is having on distribution in the UK market and specifically the role of the broker. Brokers have proved to be more resilient in protecting their market share in commercial lines than some might have expected, given that in recent surveys SMEs particularly have indicated they would be receptive to buying insurance through a ‘direct’ method. The broad theme is the degree of broker involvement depends on the complexity of business risk and insurance products. The piece covers cover how brokers can work with MGAs to maintain their market position and specifically the benefits that MGAs offer to regional brokers. It also refers to how the emerging Insurtech MGAs could work with brokers and the insights they have on customer behaviour and ‘niche specific’ risk data.
MGAs and brokers
‘Product Density’ is the number of different products a customer buys from your business. Introducing other products and services to an existing customer is commonly referred to as ‘cross selling’. It’s well known that it’s far more expensive to win business from a new customer than an existing customer, so we often wonder why companies don’t take easier opportunities to win more business from existing customers?
The Business Case
Recognising the challenges companies face to grow top line revenue and improve bottom line results, why not release the untapped value of existing customer relationships?
The business logic behind product density is well known, but often poorly executed.
The cost of sale to existing customers is significantly less than for new customers.
- Customers are more likely to buy other products from companies with whom they already have a relationship – you’ve proved your credentials.
- The better a customer knows your business, the more products they will buy and the better your sales conversion rate will be.
- The greater your product density the more ‘sticky’, loyal and profitable your customers will be.
A quick Product Density checklist
Are your customers aware of all the products and services that your company offers?
- Do you have a communications plan for new products, product updates and enhancements?
- Do your customers know who in your company they should contact about a particular product?
Overview of our Product Density Programme
1: Product Information
Products and Services List.
Organise Product Information in a template format.
Product Fact Sheets – signed off by product specialists.
Product Library – held digitally on your company’s intranet, sales system or network.
Changes to product information fed through from the Product Fact Sheets into Marketing Collateral.
2: Creative and Design
Product information in coordinated design style.
Product Guide – overviews / summaries of products by product group; key contact for each product.
Product Briefs – more detailed product information; propositions and key selling points; product team contacts.
Product Density Toolkit – guide to product density/cross selling tools and techniques (internal only).
Improving product knowledge across the company.
Application of product knowledge.
Embedding a product density culture in the organisation.
Updates on Product Information fed through into Marketing Collateral, Distributor and Customer Communications and Product Training.
Tracing products along their Product Life Cycle; renewing and replacing products past their peak to maximise revenue and profitability.
Customers, distributors and employees are better informed about your company’s products.
- Reduced cost of sales.
- Higher conversion rate on sales opportunities.
- Improved customer retention.
- Product information is more accurate and consistent across all media.
- Product Management process maximises product revenue and profitability.
If you’d like find out more about Product Density please email email@example.com
Client Forums are a smart and cost effective way of understanding customers’ needs and expectations and building relationships and trust to win their business. There are particularly useful for testing propositions, and new products and services – at any stage of their development from early concepts to pre-launch testing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do it?
The main reasons are to understand customers’ needs and expectations in depth; to test and refine propositions; to build relationships with key people in the customer’s organisation; and to influence their buying behaviour, without resorting to the ‘hard sell’.
Will customers attend?
Our experience is they will attend if the sessions are well planned and the agenda is exciting and relevant. Feedback we’ve had from delegates at Forums we’ve run with clients say they value particularly:
• The chance to network with peers in similar organisations; to get insight on how they’re dealing with common issues; to share ‘war stories’.
• The opportunity to meet and get to know a potential business partner, particularly senior people and specialists.
• Information about products and services they may not be aware of.
• Ideas on potential approaches to key projects and business challenges.
• The opportunity to give feedback and influence our client’s thinking – this increases the chances that the 2 parties will do business in future.
What are the ideal numbers?
We recommend between 6 and 15 customer delegates attending a session (the ideal numbers are 8-12). Less than 6 delegates means you may not get enough breadth of ideas and interaction. More than 15 can be done, but requires a more directive style from the facilitator and sessions leaders.
What are the roles? Who does what?
The key roles are chairperson, facilitator and scribe. We recommend that subject experts come in for particular sessions.
Who should facilitate?
This can be done in house or with an external agency (like us). An external facilitator is seen by customer delegates as more objective and balanced (not inclined to take sides). Delegates tend to speak more frankly with an external facilitator involved. Most importantly the client should avoid the temptation to do a sales pitch (the best sales technique is to listen to customers and understand what they are looking for).
Do customers open up? Or are they cautious about sharing information and insights?
A good facilitator sets up an atmosphere where customer delegates are relaxed and comfortable about opening up. The sessions we facilitate are run under Chatham House Rules. Meeting notes distributed to customer delegates afterwards don’t refer to comments made by individuals or to company specific information. This gives delegates assurance about respect for confidentiality.
What about follow up?
We find strong business opportunities invariably arise from Client Forums; we can help identify them with our client and track follow up. Our experience is that Client Forums achieve a high return on investment (as much as 10x) as part of your marketing programme.
If you’d like to find out more about our Client Forum package, contact us 01707 373700 or firstname.lastname@example.org