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Lincoln Financial Increases Social Program Adoption and Inbound Web Traffic

It’s always a thrill when a client partners with Hearsay to achieve success through social selling. It’s even more exciting when they’re willing to share their story to benefit others, and Lincoln Financial Group’s Distribution Marketing team agreed to do just that recently.

Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that empower people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. The Lincoln Financial Distributors division markets and sells Lincoln-manufactured variable and fixed annuities, life insurance and investment management products through financial advisors, financial intermediaries and sales professionals.

The Distribution Marketing team wanted to take a strategic approach to drive demand for their financial services in an authentic way and decided social selling was the right approach. They knew that delivering the right technology would be critical in driving adoption from their field team and the business outcomes they desired. Ease of use, efficiency and a strong foundation of compliance were also ‘must haves.’ In addition, they knew they needed a comprehensive program to guide onboarding and beyond. To ensure they met all of their goals, they were looking for a true partner, not just a technology vendor.

Lincoln selected Hearsay Systems as their partner and deployed Hearsay Social to 350 wholesalers. This required close orchestration between the Lincoln Financial Distributors marketing leaders and the Hearsay team, including tailored training and an instrumental digital toolbox.

Learn more about the solution by downloading the full case study.

“The transparency we get in our partnership with Hearsay and how Hearsay is able to perfectly serve our industry has made it one of the easiest decisions we’ve made. We are looking forward to moving forward in rolling out a CRM integration next!” –Scott Carlisle, AVP Digital Marketing & Collaboration for Lincoln Financial Distributors Marketing 

Lincoln Financial Distributors’ strategic approach and dedication to set the program up for success from the beginning is starting to pay off. Their onboarding efforts have resulted in a 300% increase in adoption of the social selling program, which has led to more than 114K impressions and 1.8K clicks across social posts. Perhaps most impressively, the company has found that upwards of 50% of inbound traffic to the Lincoln Financial website was driven by wholesalers (up from 28% at program launch).

“Hearsay has made growing our social program simple, providing amazing tools to get our sales folks engaged. Through usage of their dynamic campaigns, pre populated content and ROI tools, our social program has grown over 300% in one year!” –Kiersten Shank, Digital Marketing Consultant 

Download a PDF of the full case study here.

Three Lessons in Resilience from a Very Special Guest

We were lucky enough to have Jane Chen speak at our mid-year kickoff recently. As the co-founder & CEO of Embrace Innovations, Chen’s journey of developing a ground-breaking infant incubator for approximately 1% the cost of traditional incubators was one riddled with obstacles and setbacks – and her deep resilience to persevere through each challenge is truly inspiring.

The company’s mission and approach to design thinking necessitated a profound vulnerability and authenticity, but what was truly motivating was Chen’s stories of the roller coaster that is being the CEO of a start-up. It soon becomes clear that Chen’s got what they call ‘grit.’ At every big dip in the journey, whether she initially felt like she could do it or not, she somehow manages to persevere.

Chen highlighted three lessons that can help us all develop and foster a deep strength and resilience during this still tumultuous time.

Lesson #1: Let Go of Attachments to Outcomes

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. So goes the translation of a line from Scottish poet Robert Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse.’ If one thing has been and remains true through the pandemic, it’s the certainty of uncertainty. Chen’s story reminded us that uncertainty is a part of life.

Though stresses may be amplified right now, many of the challenges we face come from getting caught up in fear over what might happen in the future or over indexing on a specific outcome.

At one point in the life of Chen’s company, Philip’s Healthcare was poised to acquire it. This would allow them to not only continue operations but expand their life saving mission by multitudes. Then a week before they were to sign the paperwork she got a call…the deal was off. Chen was devastated and convinced her company was going under. Within a week, through an amazing turn of events, Marc Benioff of Salesforce offered to fund Chen’s life-saving technology, and the company lived on.

Immediately following this week of intense highs and lows, Chen decided to take up surfing and went on her first 10-day silent meditation. These two solitary practices highlighted the impermanence and constant change of everything—the waves, the wind, her thoughts, her feelings. It was a profound awakening. “I realized…how attached to this one outcome I had become for Embrace’s success, that even the thought of the company shutting down, threatened my own sense of identity. Through that, I learned one of the most important lessons of my life, which is that we are not defined by our external successes or failures,” she said.

Lesson #2: Feel All of Your Feelings

Close your eyes and picture a CEO. What do you see? It’s probably something similar to what Chen imagined a CEO should be: composed at all times. In fact, isn’t this what we all strive for at work? We want to be our most professional selves and exhibit a sense of stability and calmness. But, we’re all human beings and imperfect – and vulnerability in leadership is essential to leading with purpose.

Chen found this out after spending some time in India getting her company off the ground. The scenes she saw regularly at hospitals were heartbreaking and left her feeling sad, angry, and anxious. In the early days, she repressed those feelings, but “one day they just bubbled up to the surface, I started crying in a team meeting, and afterwards I was so mortified, I was so embarrassed. But my head of operations came to me later and he said something I’ll never forget. He said to me, “Thank you so much for being vulnerable, because when you’re vulnerable, it gives us permission to be vulnerable as well.””

Chen’s remedy to ensure she’s feeling all her feelings these days is mindfulness. “Mindfulness is just becoming fully aware of our thoughts and feelings, whatever arises for us, and then to accept them without judging, without labeling, without needing them to go away, just fully accepting and honoring how we feel…Every emotion is correlated with a physical sensation that’s neither good nor bad, it’s just is. And the research shows that an emotion lasts no longer than 90 seconds. So if we can just be with that emotion for 90 seconds, if we can surf the wave of the emotion as it crests and dissipates, then we allow ourselves to process that emotion.”

Lesson #3: Choose to See the World through the Lens of Beauty

We’re at a point in history where it’s easy to feel like things are not pretty. Pandemic, civil unrest, climate change, and a constant 24-hour news cycle, can easily lead one to see the world through the lens of doom and gloom. But we have a choice in how we process the world around us, and there is beauty to be found.

Chen has been through this before. “During my years in India, I could really feel myself becoming jaded. I was working in this very corrupt government system. I was surrounded by death and poverty on a daily basis. Then one day I woke up and I realized that for every horrible thing that I saw, I saw something equally beautiful. All the people who had come together to help us in this mission, doctors in these very poverty stricken areas, who would see patients all night, purely out of the kindness of their hearts. And the most beautiful thing I got to see was the love a parent has for their child. It is the purest and most selfless form of love in the world.” She points out that seeing the beauty doesn’t mean ignoring the bad. It simply means choosing to see the full picture, and leading with the beauty to improve our resilience and well being.

Conclusion

For those of you who practice meditation or mindfulness, the advice Chen shared may be second-nature. But that’s the beauty of it. These are three simple, powerful principles that anyone can practice to be more resilient and feel better. They can be applied to any circumstance, on a daily (hourly, minute-by-minute) basis. And if you’re not sure, you don’t have to take Chen’s word for it. Apply the scientific method; try it out and see if it works for you.

The Vitamin and the Painkiller – Where Does FinServ Fall?

Traditionally in business, a solution, product, or service is either a vitamin or a painkiller. Think about a vitamin — it’s a nice-to-have. When you remember to take it, you take it. If you don’t take it on a particular day, you usually don’t even notice — but over time, when you take your vitamins, you do feel better every day. Now, a painkiller? That’s when you have a major issue, you have a burning platform, you have to take care of it right away. Every moment that you don’t take care of it, you’re at risk.

The conventional wisdom is you can choose to build one or the other, but I believe that a great product does both: solves that burning problem right away … and makes you a little bit stronger to face tomorrow. In my recent episode of Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman, I explored how Hearsay started as a vitamin (social selling), accidentally uncovered and addressed a huge pain point (compliance), and turned that into an even bigger vitamin (human-first digital).

This metaphor is relevant today when we think about the products being created at this moment. Everyone with an entrepreneurial mindset has been watching with interest as these new markets develop. Face mask makers. Food delivery services. Virtual conferences. Parents’ collectives to organize virtual classes and pods. We’re all serving as one another’s painkillers right now – creating products and services that keep us safe and connected.

But the standout products in this new market? Not only are they saving us pain, they’re also making us a little bit better. A little happier, a little more resilient. I look at a company like Second Wind, a small mask-maker in New York. This team of women created a custom mask design with a stylishly long decorative chain — adding a dash of verve that turns the mask into an upscale fashion statement. Is this product a painkiller? Yes. A vitamin? Also yes.

While I recorded this episode early on in the Covid pandemic, revisiting the session more recently made me realize, never has this metaphor been more applicable to financial services organizations than now. The pandemic has turned lives, and capital markets, upside down. In today’s uncertain economic times, financial services organizations are in a unique position – their advisors and agents are vitamins and painkillers for clients. There is a short-term urgency and long term necessity for clients and investors to connect with their agents and advisors for that authentic guidance and personalized advice – and it’s never been more critical than now.

Our economies have been changed by this pandemic, and when it ends, they will not look the same. Lots of the products and services we need now are painkillers: Right now they’re vital, life-or-death, but when we don’t need them any more, we won’t use them any more. On the other hand, the things we’ve grown to love during this time, the things that make us better, happier, stronger … we’ll make an effort to keep those, even after. Whether it’s your new Peloton, or a delivery service that’s a delightful improvement over schlepping to the store, or a new habit of checking in with your social networks more often and being more genuine when you do. Those are our vitamins.

So my advice on how to help your advisors and agents thrive throughout this time and afterward — it turns out, it is the same advice I gave Reid and listeners in the episode. Encourage your field to be both a vitamin and a painkiller. Solve an immediate need for their clients, and strive to make their long-term vision just that little bit better too.