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AmFam’s Digital Maturity Model: The Proof is in the ROI

You may have seen the blog post we did in May, featuring American Family’s digital maturity model. After winning the Hearsay Summit ‘Transforming the Enterprise’ award, we were anxious to have Josh Feyen share secrets to his team’s success with guiding agents to not only get started on social media, websites, and texting for their businesses but how to really fly. In the post, Josh gave us AmFam’s top three tips for maximizing their ‘Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly’ program:

  1. Educate your reps (and don’t forget to take advantage of their competitive spirit)
  2. Provide lots of content and leave room for agents to post their own original content too
  3. Track metrics and review/revise the maturity model yearly, since the rules of digital success are continually changing

As follow-up to the first blog post, we decided to catch up with a few American Family agents and staff who have progressed through the program to demonstrate how a digital maturity program truly produces measurable results.

Heath Burchill, Colorado – 70% increase in calls from Google, 50% website lead close rate

Heath Burchill has a large agency, managing 14,000 policies and 11 employees. His agency is consistently at the head of the pack in driving traffic and leads through his agency website. He has seen a traffic increase of 130% to his Google listings resulting in a 70% increase in total calls. Through 2019, mobile searches on Google directly generated 200 calls to his agency, which is significantly helped by 20 years in business and 189 positive reviews on Google. And the Burchill agency has a 50% close ratio on website leads!

Monica Hoskins, Ohio – Top agent driving leads through agency site and AmFam.com

Monica Hoskins spent 10 months ‘Walking’ on social media before she decided to try her hand at increasing her original content posting. That original content increase began in October 2018, and now she’s a ‘Fly’ agent most months. She is also one of the top agents driving leads directly through her agency site and AmFam.com, both of which convert higher than the state sales average.
Monica has a couple of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to creating original posts that really drive engagement. First, people love getting a glimpse of who she is as a person. Insurance is a business built on trust and customers want to know that the person they’re putting their faith in for guidance is a real person. Monica’s most popular posts are pictures of her grandkids, which make engagement “go through the roof,” with 300-400 engagements. Next, she makes sure to respond to social engagement. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many business people don’t take the time to do it and how often it results in leads.

Christina Smith-Gallagher Agency, Wisconsin – Success through delegation 

Christina’s agency ‘walked’ for all of 2018 but in 2019 moved on to ‘run’ and ‘fly’ as she delegated social media ownership to her staff Kristie Pecard. Kristie focuses on original postings and managing the content calendar. Kristie also updates the agency website a few times a year and they’ve even had a few reviews recently which Christina responded directly to. Finally, the agency’s calls from their Google listing have also increased year over year by ~120% from 100 to over 220.
There are a few best practices Christina and her team follow that have contributed to her success. First, Christina has built a team and delegates across multiple office locations for digital and sales. She has a talented social media program manager in place, Kristie, who subscribes to campaigns that keep corporate content flowing. She also uses the Hearsay calendar feature to change some of those dates to spread corporate content out. This allows her to pepper in customer content like staff highlights and funny stories.

Todd Laczynski, Indiana – More leads, above-average conversion and delegation

Todd’s agency is driving leads through the digital channel and creating more original content in 2019 compared to 2018. The agency is not only driving leads but consistently has an above-average conversion rate. He is also receiving more calls each month from Google, over 55 for last month. He credits some of his success to delegating ownership of digital marketing to his staff Brianna Merz. She makes sure all agency profiles are up to date, sets content for Facebook, and uses her mobile phone to stay on top of any new notifications.

Hearsay Highlights

The agents and their teams told us some of the things they like about Hearsay and use to increase success:

  • Relate has saved team about 4-5 days/month worth of time
  • Appreciate Hearsay as a ‘one stop shop’
  • Keep Hearsay Relate IM desktop open so they can respond to text messages immediately
  • They get notification emails when they are getting a text message, in case they aren’t using their phone in that moment
  • By posting to Facebook through Hearsay, they don’t always get new business but tend to get a lot of clients wanting to reinstate and/or add policies.
  • Delegation is key. If you have hired staff, let them help keep your social media going – it pays off!
  • They use the resources and guidelines that the home office provides to the field, like the agent site profile suggestions when just getting started, and the dynamic campaigns to “keep the content lights on”

One large trend we noticed is that the agents are not spending a lot of time in the Hearsay dashboard. We love to hear this because as you get up and running, you shouldn’t need to spend much time using Hearsay. Hearsay hopes to set each agent up to be out meeting with clients and nurturing relationships. These agents are really on their way to digital mastership!

Biometric and In-App PIN Security to Enhance Secure Client Engagement via Texting are Here

New in-app PIN and biometric security features have been added to the Hearsay Relate mobile app to further mitigate end-user vulnerabilities and risk for your firm. Though we’re proud that we’re the first solution in the industry to offer this high level of privacy and security across both iOS and Android devices, for advisor texting and cellular calling capabilities, we also see it as an opportunity for our customers to provide their clients with an extra level of security and peace of mind.
As the financial services industry has begun to embrace BYOD corporate device policies, there’s been a steady increase in the rise of attacks on mobile devices. But there’s no going back. Advisors and agents need to be connected at all times and they need it to be easy. At the same time, corporate IT and compliance teams need secure and compliant solutions.

With over 9 years serving the heavily regulated financial services industry with forward-thinking and data-driven advisor-client engagement technology, compliance and security are in our DNA. We follow the regulatory guidelines closely and added these new security measures to ensure that every agent and advisor meets the mobile application security guidance provided in FINRA’s 2018 Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices.
By adding biometric and PIN-based security features to Hearsay Relate, its innovative, compliant voice, text messaging, and advisor workflow product, Hearsay increases the protection available for both company and client data at the application level. Because this additional layer of security doesn’t require device management, it enables protection on managed and unmanaged devices to support all mobility models (BYOD, CYOD and COPE) without affecting end-user productivity. It provides advisors and agents with a simple and familiar way to securely access private client conversations.

New Features Make It Simple to Protect Client Data and Communications

Hearsay Relate provides a dedicated mobile business number for compliant texting and cellular calling across web and mobile devices. Every call and text are automatically logged to CRM and WORM-compliant archives, saving advisors and agents time-consuming data entry while enabling corporate visibility into field activity. The Relate application can also trigger click-to-call or click-to-text workflows from other corporate systems such as lead follow-up, billing reminders, or claim management. Additionally, Hearsay Relate leverages an automated FINRA compliance data model and supervision engine, which saves compliance officers hours of manual approvals per day.
With the latest security enhancements, Hearsay Relate utilizes the device’s preferred biometric security method – fingerprint or facial recognition – while providing a fallback option to use a unique in-app PIN to grant users nearly instant access to client conversations. This also ensures that sensitive data stored within the Relate application is protected behind an additional wall of security while preventing sensitive data from being accessed if a device is compromised. These features do not just safeguard from hackers. For example, if an agent’s or advisor’s child finds his or her parent’s phone, the child can’t start texting their clients.
If you haven’t started using Hearsay Relate yet, you can learn more at https://hearsaysystems.com/hearsay-relate/.

How to Demonstrate Social Selling ROI in Financial Services

Proving the return on investment (ROI) of social selling can seem daunting, particularly when multiple stakeholders – sales leaders, marketing leaders, and agency leaders – all seem to value different indicators of success. But quantifying results of your efforts can change the perception of social selling (a much needed but often questioned tactic in financial services), and increase enthusiasm by demonstrating the real impact social media has on business outcomes.
So what is social ROI? Simply put, it’s proving that you’re getting as much or more out of social selling as the resources (time and money) you’re putting into it.

Establish Your Social Media Objectives

Before you can measure or report on the success of your social selling strategy, you must establish some clear objectives. What exactly are you aiming to do?
Social selling objectives will differ by role, and might look something like this for financial services and insurance firms:

ROLE OBJECTIVES
Marketing Leaders Increase brand reach, referral traffic and lead generation
Sales/Distribution Leaders Increase client acquisition, cross-sell/upsell and client retention. Also, increase advisor recruiting & retention

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but represents a good starting point and common objectives we see across a broad range of clients.

Benchmark Your Performance Against These Objectives 

Once you’ve established the specific objectives your firm is focused on, it’s time to measure your program’s current progress against those objectives. Since this often appears overwhelming, we’ve put together a simple, customizable framework for demonstrating ROI – along with the tools Hearsay offers to help you use it.
Let’s get started.

1. ADVISOR/AGENT SATISFACTION

The simplest way to get started with ROI is to measure how satisfied advisors and agents are with your program. Technology and marketing support is often cited as one reason advisors and agents switch (or stay) with a firm, so it’s important to track this sentiment over time.
How to get started: Work this into an existing field NPS survey, start a new survey, or use Hearsay’s ROI Survey to measure this (and more).
Hearsay Customer Success Story: A Fortune 50 multinational insurance firm – surveyed their advisors in 2018 with extremely positive results. Of the respondents:

  • 94% of advisors found value using social media (23% found it very valuable)
  • 68% of advisors found the social selling program helped establish their brand and value proposition within their networks
  • 45% said it strengthened their client relationships
  • 31% found a new lead or client
  • 25% received a referral
  • 21% report that 5-10 transactions/clients were influenced by social
  • and 18% say it’s helped them find a candidate for hire

2. MARKETING VALUE

A more complete approach is to include the marketing value generated for both advisors/agents and corporate marketing. A simple way to measure the financial value of awareness created by your field team’s organic social marketing is to calculate how much it would cost to generate those results through paid advertising.
How to get started: Use Hearsay’s Ad Equivalency Calculator to quantify the value of your advisors’/agents’ total impressions, clicks, and more. Next, use Hearsay’s Attribution feature to measure the corporate referral traffic & leads generated by your program.
You can quantify the value of that corporate traffic by multiplying it against your firm’s average Cost Per Click (CPC). Example: Let’s say your program generated 460,000 visitors to your corporate website and your firm’s CPC is $5.00. It would cost your firm $2.3m to generate that qualified website traffic through paid advertising.
Hearsay Customer Success Story: Since we released Campaigns (marketing automation for advisors), one Hearsay Social customer has been able to reliably generate over 1 million unique website visits every year. At an average cost per click of $5.19, that’s over 5.4 million dollars in highly-qualified corporate website traffic. Unsurprisingly, this referral traffic alone provides a return on the firm’s investment in Hearsay Social multiple times over.
Aside from proving social selling ROI, there are important insights to be gained from this tracking that may have otherwise been missed. Through tracking how much traffic (and how many leads) different posts and campaigns generate on an aggregated basis, for example, we’ve found that in insurance and wealth management the highest-ROI content often has low engagement but high click-through. Topics like Retirement, Divorce, Aging and Neurological Decline, and Special Needs Families are all private matters that many do not want to discuss publicly on social media. However, readers will click on an article, read, and fill out a form for more information.
Without URL attribution, you may not discover that some of the highest ROI content has zero likes or comments, yet generates impressive website traffic and leads. Being able to measure how much traffic and how many leads different content and campaigns generate also allows admin teams to close the loop and refine their content strategy over time in a data-driven way that’s more directly attributable to revenue than ‘like’ and ‘comment’ engagement rates.

3. DISTRIBUTION VALUE

The most robust approach includes a measure of your program’s impact on client acquisition, upsell/cross-sell, and client retention. This can be measured anecdotally or by correlating your field team’s marketing activity with their production (sales) data.
How to get started: Use Hearsay’s ROI Survey to show, anecdotally, how social helped your advisors and agents grow business through increased acquisition, retention, and more. Alternatively, use Hearsay’s Digital ROI Assessment to conduct a detailed analysis of the performance and business value of your social selling program.
Hearsay Customer Success Story: A Fortune 500 Wealth Management  customer who conducted the Digital ROI Assessment found interesting results on two fronts. The goal of the assessment was to analyze the correlation between sales and branding performance and the use of social media. There were two hypotheses tested:

  • Advisors who use social media perform better than those who don’t
  • Among those who do use social media, advisors that do so more actively perform better than peers that are less active

Comparing datasets of more than 1000 non-social and 1000 social advisors, both hypotheses proved true.
Those who used social media (compared to those who did not), on average:

Increased net new AUM by 50% Grew their total AUM and client base 50% faster Generated 150% more website visits

Of the already more successful group of social users, the more active among them:

Brought in 70% more net new AUM than their less active social peers Grew their business up to 90% faster than less active social users Generated 400% more website traffic

Understanding your social program’s performance at this level gives you a strong basis for investing in the program going forward.

Best Practices for Reporting Social ROI

Gathering data is one thing, but communicating it effectively to interested stakeholders is equally important. Here are some tips:
Consider your audience. Speak to the business goals of the group you’re addressing. Don’t simply data-dump. Explain how the metrics you are reporting help further their objectives.
Clarify limitations. It is possible to measure social ROI, but it isn’t possible to measure everything. Social selling doesn’t always follow a straight line from cause to effect. Be clear about what is possible to measure with the data you have, but also be honest about those things that defy measurement.
Use templates and plain language. Using templates not only saves time, but also makes it easier for stakeholders to compare results from one report to another. Avoid using data-speak. Provide insights in straightforward language.
Stick to a timeline. Regular review and reporting of social success makes it easier to understand progress over time. It also makes it easier to iterate and pivot as soon as you discover a current strategy isn’t performing as well as expected.

Conclusion

Measuring the value of social selling isn’t magic. Though there are intangible benefits of a great social selling strategy that don’t readily appear on a spreadsheet, carefully choosing objectives, leveraging the power of analytics (including Hearsay Insights), and communicating clearly allow you to provide tangible ROI to your agents, advisors, and cohorts.

Join Us in Congratulating Clara Shih, the First Finovate Fintech Woman of the

We’re proud to announce that Clara Shih, Founder, CEO and fearless leader of the team here at Hearsay, was recently named the first Fintech Woman of the Year at the inaugural Finovate Awards. This award is presented to the woman whose achievements in the fintech-related areas of financial services have most enhanced the sector or raised its profile as a career for women – through education, leadership, mentoring, coaching or acting as a role model.

“Finovate has always aspired to highlight the accomplishments of the people and companies driving fintech forward. Our inaugural awards program takes this a step further by celebrating our industry’s brightest stars,” said Greg Palmer, VP of Finovate. “Clara Shih has led the charge of women in fintech since she burst onto the scene. Now she is helping to develop the next generation of leaders. We are delighted to honor her as a true role model.”

Known as a trailblazer throughout her career, Clara developed the first social business application in 2007 before penning the New York Times-featured best-seller, The Facebook Era. After founding Hearsay to provide innovative, compliant fintech solutions for advisors and agents, she authored a sequel, The Social Business Imperative.
If you’ve met Clara, you know she combines her expertise in social media with what she lives and breathes: Fintech. Clara has consistently prioritized mentoring others and at Hearsay specifically, she guides teams to empower one another through activities such as the monthly ‘Ladies of Product’ meetups. STEM education has also been an area of emphasis, from working with Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, on the school’s STEM program, which now graduates among the highest number of female engineers in the country, to her involvement with Girls Inc, a national organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.
You will hear more from Clara in the coming weeks. She will be speaking at the upcoming FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit 2019, in Washington, DC. She’s on a panel discussing ‘The Art & Science of Board Composition,’ where her role on the Starbucks Board of Directors will provide a good perspective.
She’ll also be speaking at Dreamforce this year. Be on the look out for more details!

To view all of the Finovate Award winners, please visit https://finovate.com/drumroll-finovate-awards-winners-announced/.

Building and Promoting Your Personal Digital Brand

Branding, as the word suggests, is something that leaves a mark, and making an impression with customers is crucial when it comes to gaining their trust and building a relationship with them. While it’s easy to think of branding as something only large marketing teams do for even larger companies, having your own personal brand in the digital world is important and can have a major impact on your career and business. Social media is the gateway to building and promoting your personal brand in a way that not only resonates with your clients but strengthens your relationship with them.
Your personal brand communicates to others who you are and what you stand for, and social media is the keystone to amplifying your brand. Having a strong online presence helps you tell your story; it builds the foundation of trust a client needs to start – and keep – working with you. The virtual version of word of mouth, social media helps you build and protect your reputation. If a potential client researches you online and comes up empty, you may as well be a ghost.

How do you build your personal brand? 

Like any strong marketing strategy, you need to first figure out what your messaging is and then stick to it. Personal branding isn’t about curating some perfectly polished online version of yourself; it’s about sharing who you actually are, whether online or off. Building a relationship with clients takes trust, and trust takes vulnerability. You can’t expect clients to feel comfortable sharing key moments in their lives with you if you don’t share who you are with them.
Just like in any relationship, people want to feel connected and they want to know you’re invested in them. Sincere, authentic messaging helps do that. One important facet of authenticity, however, is to not deviate from it. Stay on brand; nothing can undo a hard-earned online reputation faster than going off-brand by sharing something you aren’t known for or that could damage the trust you’ve built with your clients. On the flip side, one of the biggest benefits to building and promoting a strong online presence is that as you cultivate stronger working relationships with your clients, real word of mouth comes into play. When you have clients that trust you and enjoy working with you, they often tell others. Keeping yourself and your services top-of-mind online with your clients can translate into valuable referrals offline.