One of the roles I am responsible for in my career is to solicit and onboard retirement plans. When a company has a 401k plan or some other retirement savings plan there is someone behind the scenes making sure that plan runs smoothly. That is one of the things we do. We help companies manage their retirement plans, and I am tasked with creating opportunities for us to be that advisor for them.
I started with a very basic knowledge the industry. I had to develop a sales process that built on what I already knew of sales and integrated it into the world of retirement plans. A process that would keep me organized. A process to entice companies to have a conversation with me. Then I had to carry out and execute on that process day by day.
The final product Luke and I developed was an 8 part plan. It includes alternating physical material with follow-up phone calls. We would deliver or mail things like brochures, reports, letters and even some free advice. Then we would call to see if they received the packages and ask for a meeting to discuss their retirement plan. The whole process takes about 6 weeks from start to finish. At the end, we would either get an appointment or move them to a more relaxed drip campaign.
The profile of the companies we started prospecting to was they were nearby the office and had more than 100 employees. They also had retirement plans of generally $3M to $12m in assets. The reason we started with this size of a company is that their information is generally more public than organizations with less than 100 employees. We could find names and contacts to target our marketing efforts.
So, we did.
We started executing the plan. We were even getting some opportunities to further the discussion with some companies. But it wasn’t all good news. The grind was hard. We got a lot more no’s than yes’s. However, we had a system and we stuck to it. We pressed on.
All while this is going on we knew that there was a much larger market we were not prospecting too. The real market we wanted to target, entrepreneurs and owners of smaller companies. We had come across the statistic that 90% of the retirement plans in the country fell into this group. Meaning the larger plans we were going after was just a small section of available business we could attract.
We have now recently made the decision to more actively pursue the smaller plans. It was always on our radar to do so we just didn’t have the knowledge yet to be effective. Its harder to find good information about their plan, if not nearly impossible. While I will never claim to know it all, I do know more than I did last year. I believe that I now know enough to be more effective when prospecting these smaller plans than I could have been even a few months ago. I needed the knowledge of the industry to create the proper conditions to perform in the new target market. That is where I am at now.
Additionally, one of the important things we learned is the limitations of working with large companies. It takes a long time to get decisions moving in those organizations. There are protocols, committees, and meetings that take months or even years at a time to get through. The long decision times is the price to be paid for an opportunity at larger accounts. However, we wanted to get some smaller, faster wins. When talking to an entrepreneur who owns a small comapny, if I am compelling in my pitch, I could get a decision within a few weeks and start moving forward. That is a much better situation than dragging out the process for months at a time.
This speed concept is our main driving force behind the decision. Quick wins to build confidence and momentum.
So, this is where we are at now. Currently (as of today) Luke are in the middle of developing our talking points and sales pitch. We are getting organized to hit the road running next week. While we are not going to quit marketing to the larger organizations it will take a back seat to the new target market.
We still have all of our sales and growth goals. We are just changing up how we go about reaching them. Same strategy, different tactics.