In the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to work with insur-tech startup company, BriteBee, in a sales communication role. At the time, BriteBee was an online marketplace company offering users access to a directory of local insurance agents. As a very early-stage startup, our main goal was to grow the number of agents on the directory as quickly as possible in order to support the increasing number of consumers driven to the directory (basically working to overcome a “chicken and egg” issue).
In my sales communication role I would research, qualify, and add potential directory agents to our customer relations manager (Hubspot). I would then enroll those contacts into sales email sequences with the goal of setting up a sales call or in-person meeting. After realizing that our email campaigns were not performing at the level we needed to hit our growth goals, I took on the task of developing an alternative strategy.
The biggest changes that I wanted to implement in our prospecting emails was making our messaging shorter, offering something that was actually valuable to each unique prospect, and taking the focus off of pitching BriteBee itself. My solution was to offer media exposure.
Within the company, we already ran a semi-regular blog and a podcast (mainly for SEO purposes). Inspired by this Forbes article by Heather Morgan, our new strategy involved researching and qualifying agents based on how strong their online presence was, how well they communicated their personal brand, and overall how well they might be able to benefit from being on a podcast or contributing to a blog. I would then email the prospects, identifying the specific factors that prompted me to send the invitation to the podcast or blog.
This strategy allowed us to achieve a 15% positive reply rate on our prospecting emails, a drastic improvement over our cold emails asking for sales meeting or offering free trials. We also found that our sales relationships and conversion rates were much stronger when we start with a prospecting email that offered value (like media exposure) upfront while also leading to a relationship situation (as interviewer/interviewee or blog collaborator).
My experience working on this new prospecting strategy pivot even got featured in this article by Databox - How to get Double Digit Response Rates to Your Prospecting Emails
Recently, BriteBee has made a business model shift and is growing a successful marketing agency with a niche in the insurance industry. Many of their first clients were agents that were first contacted through the cold email podcast invites.