In my previous post I showed how the SWOT I developed for ABC Insurance could give us some ideas for formulating a few specific goals and objectives for the firm:
- To help its clients understand the Patient Protection Act and help them cope with rising health care costs, ABC wants to offer their clients more education and advice (thus capitalizing on one of its strengths: a knowledgeable sales staff). This should also offset one of its weaknesses: its low retention rate (maybe it conducted customer surveys that showed this was the result of lack of frequent contact with the agency). This should also mitigate a threat from its competitors, as well as address the other two threats mentioned in the Threats section.
- ABC has also decided to place special emphasis on informing clients of the benefits of voluntary benefit plans and helping them set up voluntary benefit plans (an opportunity investment).
- ABC has decided to hire a wellness consultant and start selling wellness consulting services to its clients (more opportunity investment).
|SWOT||Beneficial (Capitalize)||Harmful (Shore up)|
|External (Your environment)||Opportunities(Invest)||Threats(Identify)|
Now we can set some objectives for ABC:
- Objective One: Help clients better understand today’s health insurance environment.
- Objective Two: Cross-sell existing accounts with voluntary benefit products.
- Objective Three: Hire a wellness consultant and begin marketing wellness services to its clients.
Once objectives are set, the last step is to use the objectives to formulate goals that are specific and measureable:
- Goal One: Develop a seminar to evaluate today’s health insurance environment for employers. Invite all current clients, schedule follow-up meetings with each attendee.
- Goal Two: Use the seminars as a way to educate clients about voluntary benefits. Set a target of 10% of agency premium for voluntary benefit sales in the first year.
- Goal Three: Use the seminars as a way to educate clients about how wellness services can ultimately reduce their costs and increase employee satisfaction.
These goals are specific enough, but to make them measurable you would also set a target completion date and quantify an acceptable benchmark. Some ways to set benchmarks, for example, would be to aim for a specific dollar amount or target a percentage of total sales in your goals.
To sum up, once you’ve collected and analyzed the data using a SWOT diagram, SWOT analysis can help you set tangible marketing goals for your agency. You can also use the SWOT method to plan other aspects of your agency operations.
I’d suggest you go through this exercise yourself, if you’re an agency principal, once a year. It doesn’t even have to be a formal process. You can do it on the back of a napkin at lunch with your partner, if that’s your style. You might also want to involve your staff in the process. They will bring important insights and if they are part of the process they will buy into and become committed to the goals you set.
Try it out. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.
If you would like to view a video presentation of this material that I recorded as part of a sales offer to NAHU members recently, click here.