Segmented Incentives & Multi-Audience Technology Drives Agent Sales

How a Fortune 100 insurance company increased independent agent sold policies by infusing sales and non-sales incentives.

Prior to working with ITA Group, our client had a handful of internally managed regional programs all attempting to reach their 40,000 independent agents. They were struggling to measure the impact of SPIFFs and contests while also bearing the administrative burden of running so many small concurrent incentives.

Our recommendation—to 1) segment the audience with a tiered approach on one streamlined engagement portal, and 2) reward with both sales and non-sales activities—spurred an increase of policy applications and sales in this indirect agent audience.

channel engagement platform on laptopA streamlined engagement platform allowed for a scalable program approach.

Personalizing the Experience Supports Additional Audiences & Tiered Approach

The core strategy is to make a scalable program that can launch additional enterprise-wide initiatives. In the first phase, the program targeted independent partner agents. After a successful launch with quick positive growth, our client looked to us to extend the program to additional audiences, including career agents and call center employees.

Program Audiences

  1. Independent Agents – Earn awards for cross-selling, enrollment in supplemental products and participating in non-sales activities.
  2. Career Agents – Earn awards for policies and enrollments, cross-selling supplemental products and participating in non-sales activities.
  3. Call Center Employees – Earn awards for cross-selling and lead generation.
  4. Field Personnel – Advocate for the program with their agents.

Growing Into Segmentation

Because there wasn’t enough history with indirect agents to jump right into a segmented program, the operations teams kept a close eye on activity across the first few months to start building what would later become five core segments: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Ambassador. Each segment promotes agents’ progress and inspires them to unlock new awards at each level.

Rewarding Non-Sales Behaviors

To help differentiate the program in the market and also adopt best practices in incentives and loyalty, non-sales behaviors were built into the strategy and geared toward each segment. The goal of the non-sales behaviors was to increase activity in areas that lead to higher sales. Things like gaining knowledge, understanding how to use enablement tools, attending virtual events and using marketing credits were tied to incentives to drive desired behavior in agents while also staying front and center month-to-month with our client’s brand.

Personalizing the Experience

Messaging is tailored based on segment and is reflected in partner portal content and ongoing communications. This personalization lets agents see their progress, know what action to take next, and keeps them earning for both sales and non-sales behaviors; reinforcing the behaviors that make them experts in the insurance field.

channel partner engagement program on ipadPersonalized engagement platform kept participants informed on their progress.

Custom-Crafted Engagement Portal Integrates Existing Technology

A standard SaaS implementation wasn’t going to cut it to bring to life a flexible earning structure unique to each of our client’s multiple audiences. The best solution for our client was to pull core modules in to meet 70% of their needs and then create customization for scalable segmentation, non-standard incentive calculations and a custom UX. This allowed the client to continually bring more audiences into the program and adapt the earning structure to keep those audiences motivated.

Additionally, the program platform consolidated all our client’s disparate channel technologies into one portal with a single sign-on. With all information in one place, agents have an overall view of ongoing program progress and can redeem earned points and marketing credits.

Technologies Integrated

  • Marketing Portal: Place for agents to earn points for using marketing assets and gain access to more materials
  • Ongoing Certification & Education: One tool to track all certification and higher learning
  • Program Point Redemption: Simple method for seeing available earned points and redeeming

Reporting & Administrative Support

Bringing multiple audiences into a single platform eased administration for all their stakeholders. They now have all the pertinent data and reports at their fingertips, including details about performance, engagement, payouts and enrollment. They can even track program performance to multiple budget centers—a must-have for bringing on additional audiences. Now, stakeholders can easily see the real-time results of the program to make decisions about next steps, and their analysts are elated with data that can be automatically sent back to them or pulled down with on-demand reports.

Not only is reporting simpler, our client has a dedicated ITA Group operations team managing the program for all their audiences and ensuring new promotions, SPIFFs, portal content, earning auditing and communications run smoothly—freeing up internal teams to focus on strategy, relationships and steering the business.

Motivating Communications Drive Enrollment & Capture Attention

A comprehensive communication strategy was created to inspire agent participation. A key element was launching the program to make a splash with independent agents. A hype kit was built for field personnel to educate them on the program and showcase how to garner buy-in from agents.

Communication Examples

  • Program Guide: All the info agents need to get rewarded for their work
  • Portal Content: One place to see program rules, access training sessions and redeem awards
  • Enrollment Video: A reminder of how easy it is to be recognized for making an impact
  • Program Calendar Strip: Visual reminder of the program
  • Marketing Tip Emails: Additional tips to keep agents growing, learning and earning
  • Promotional Videos: Announcement of more ways for agents to fuel program earning
  • Monthly Program Update Emails: Segmented communications congratulate agents for a job well done
  • Activity Nudges: Personalized communications nudge agents to up their game by notifying them when they’re close to moving to the next tier and congratulating them on achieved goals

Our client appreciates not only the quality of our communications, but also our ability to work with compliance, and awarded our team additional channel communications business.

We hired ITA Group for their expertise, and they’ve proven they deliver. This program has been more successful than we hoped.

VP, Channel Marketing & Sales
A compelling enrollment video built enthusiasm for the program.
A robust communications campaign created enthusiasm for the program and kept partners informed.

Exceeding Expectations & Reaping Quick Results

The program reached significantly more agents in the first year than our client expected, including new selling agents who now actively take advantage of the program. Our client’s goal for the first year of program operation was to reach and enroll 65% of independent partner agents that are certified and contracted with our client. Within 10 months, the program exceeded 160% of our client’s enrollment goal and is still growing!

162% of clients enrollment goal for the program was reached in the first 10 months

2x more applications produced by enrolled partner agents vs unenrolled partner agents

5,000 previously dormant independent agents now sell policies

25% of total sales from the independent agent network coming from these newly selling agents