Increase Your Closing Rates with a CRM ft. Clu Connors – Ep 002

Increase Your Closing Rates with a CRM ft. Clu Connors – Ep 002

Written by Glen Shelton

Glen Shelton launched Lead Heroes in 2015 after noticing a lack of quality and service among telemarketed lead providers in the insurance industry. As president of Lead Heroes, Glen actively manages a call center with real people generating quality insurance leads. With processes designed to improve efficiency and lower costs, Glen helps maximize ROI for agents selling Final Expense life insurance and Medicare Supplements to seniors.

May 10, 2018

For the second episode of our Heroes Huddle Podcast, we start featuring insurance industry professionals who aren’t agents, but can still offer agents something. Clu Connors is the owner of Radius, the winner of our review blog post of CRMs that we did back in March. If you haven’t read that article, be sure to bookmark it, because it will elaborate on many of the features that we discuss with Clu.

Biggest Mistake Agents Commit

Clu says utilization is the secret to maximizing any CRM, but the biggest mistake agents make is not maintaining their database. If you aren’t maintaining a database in some form or fashion, whether it’s notecards or a robust CRM, then you simply aren’t being the most efficient agent you can be – and, consequently, may be missing sales opportunities.

The Two Sides of CRMs

Clu explains that a CRM can help an agent with two main aspects of their sales process:

  1. Lead management: The process of segmenting, nurturing, and then funneling prospects to the agent for engagement.
  2. Client management: The process of segmenting, serving, and upselling prospects.

Having a CRM is like hiring a full-time assistant to help you manage your prospecting and client retention campaigns – but at a fraction of the price.

Increase closing rates with CRM

Listen to the full episode to hear Clu’s 12 persuasive reasons to try out Radius CRM. You’ll also hear the shocking statistic revealed by Velocify, another CRM company we reviewed in our blog post. Once you understand this revelation, using Clu’s insights, you can instantly increase the number of leads you’re closing by a third!



Interview with: Clu Connors, Founder of Radius Bob CRM

Glen: My first interaction I guess with any CRM, when I first started in this business I (was) working mortgage protection direct mail leads, which at the time I thought they were the hottest thing I could possibly get my hands on. And my CRM consisted of about five to six folders, and I’m shuffling through, you know, I’ve got stacks of paper, I’ve got digit folders, they’re all over the place, and I’m just like, “Man, there has to be a better way.” It was just such a nightmare for me.

I set an appointment, all of a sudden that mail lead is gone, and I’m like, “Where did I put that? Is that in my home office? Is it at the office in town?” So yeah, I think CRMs are just absolutely critical to this business, and many people are behind the times. It sounds like you guys got started by helping someone out who may have been behind the times.

Clu: Yeah, I mean your story isn’t that much different than we’re hearing today, even with new users that are signing up. And everyone’s coming from various current situations, whether they’re using the five folders and shoving papers in them or they’ve got the world’s biggest spreadsheet known to mankind, or even index cards, or even other CRM/lead management providers.

So, and that’s not that there’s—the knock on the industry, but we are slower to, I guess, inherently start to utilize technology to its fullest. But you’d be surprised, I mean there’s a lot of people coming around and getting a lot of good uses out of all of the tools that are available out there. There are lots of others.

Glen: No, absolutely. One thing I was curious, with your knowledge in the CRM space, what do you think the biggest mistake agents can make with a CRM, whether it’s your setup, your platform, or if it’s a different CRM? What do you think is a really common mistake or just a mishandling of a CRM system that you’re seeing?

Clu: Yeah, you know, kind of like we say, the CRM is as good as the data is, right? And so you’ve got to be able to, you know, bring in good data, you’ve got to be able to manage that data, too, as well, right? So you’ve got to be constantly updating systems as you’re marketing through these leads, as you’re having conversations to these leads. You’ve got to disposition, add notes if you’ve got multiple agents that are in the system. It’s just really keeping it up to date, because like anything else, if you don’t do it for a few weeks or you don’t do it for a few days or you choose not to utilize it, it’s just—you’re going to have to go back and start over again.

So it’s utilization, I guess would be the thing that we really try to drive home. And that’s where we are trying to keep our users as engaged as possible, whether it be rolling out new features, whether it be real-time training, whatever it may be. Get them to use the system, get them to use it as often as possible.

And that’s the end goal of Radius, is I can make their life easier from a day-to-day perspective so they’re not having to focus on that scenario versus writing business and converting leads and clients.

Glen: I think you hit it on the nose. I mean providing value, people are going to keep using your service, right? I mean that’s a concept, an ideal that I try to follow with Lead Heroes, so I think that’s awesome that you guys are constantly—you know, some people just kind of build something and then they just set it aside, right?

I see that with CRMs out there, where it’s like it was unfinished or early development and then they just kind of left it where it was, and they hinted that they were going to do stuff and never did. And I know you stayed true to that, I’ve seen Radius kind of evolve over the time. (03:19)

Clu: You know, the reason behind that, as Jeremy who works for us likes to say, we eat our own dog food, so we’re using the system on a day-to-day basis. So when an agent or agency creates a free trial or is an existing subscriber, Radius is in, managing that relationship with them, or we’re marketing to them to help convert and get them to sign up to utilize the systems. We’re not using it from an insurance agent marketing to consumers; we’re using it to market to agents or to manage our existing subscribers, so we’re using it on a day-to-day basis.

We know what we love about it and we know what we could physically and actually make better about the system, too, as well, and that’s why we see these continuous updates that we push out. It’s because we’re in there every day of the group.

Glen: Yeah, absolutely. One thing, and I saw this question pop up online previously, someone was asking—there was an agent asking about tracking. So obviously a CRM, right, tracking your clients, I mean that’s the whole goal there, but their question was, and they were kind of coming from the angle of they already knew the answer, which is always wonderful, but the question was, “Is there a CRM that can track renewals for my insurance clients?”

And their answer basically was, “No, there is none that exists out there.” And I piped in and I thought I’m pretty confident, Radius Bob, because I’ve personally played around with it, I have clients that I work with who use your system, we’ve integrated our dialing setup into your system. So I’m really familiar with Radius Bob and I’m pretty confident you guys do track renewals.

Clu: Yeah, and there’s a couple solutions out there that do it as well. And with Radius, it is really two sides of the house. There’s the lead management side of the house and all those great features that come along with that, and then there’s the client management side of the house.

When you move them from a lead to a client, there’s really three or four major things you want to focus on. Obviously, one is the effective date, two is the renewal date, obviously, and then the commission and renewal component that comes with those renewal dates and those products, most definitely.

So within Radius, you can configure products by carrier and define those commissions in real—at the agent level. So you may have a multitude of agents that are in the system who may have bettering levels of commissions than renewal percentages, and then you can build those specifically into the system, and then you can get even deeper if you want to get into certain lines of business or types of products, whether it’s a Medicare Supplement who has a tier year component to the payouts, and maybe you’re getting X percentage for the first three years, and then Y percentage over next seven years. You can build that structure inside Radius.

Or if you’re on the P&C side and you’ve got what they call regular premium versus commissionable premiums, you can put in the commissionable premium, so that tracks a different thing. We’ve got the ability to do Medicare Advantage, that’s really based around the actual effective date, so it’s got a different percentage based upon the 12-month calendar, and then your standard, even if you’re getting a flat fee commission or renewal, so it’s just $100, $200, $500, it’s $10,000; whatever the number is, you can manage that commission renewal, too.

And at the same time, so you can build out that structure, you can do reconciliation, too, within the system, right, on those commissions and renewals. So the system, it just allows you to say, “Hey, over the next 12 months, here’s the amount you’re getting paid per month,” and as your statement comes in, you can actually put in the physical actual amount and the actual payment date and help track that as well. And then finally, just because we like to get really deep in the weeds, is you can run a commission revenue report. So as you’re tracking those commissions and you’re reconciling them, then you can run a revenue report to see by carrier, by product, by agent, by date, obviously, to understand what’s coming in the door, what will come in the door.

Glen: And for some of the small agencies out there, where it’s—I know there’s a lot of independent guys and there’s also a lot of small call centers or small agencies. How does tracking overrides or tracking commission splits—is that something that’s easily done as well? (07:07)

Clu: Yeah, within the system you can build your hierarchy. So whether you’ve got multiple locations, you’ve got X state and Y state, or you’ve got cities, or you’ve got LOA agents, you’ve got contracted agents, your contracted with agencies whom are contracted with agencies, so you can build that down-line structure, that hierarchy, and you can—the users inside the system can have a certain percentage assigned to them. So as they view that lead or that client from a commission or renewal perspective, they’re seeing their cut or their override.

So if I’m the writing agent, I’m the suite agent, I’ll see my percentage from the agency owner, I’ll see my percentage. If I’m the up-line of that agency, I’ll see my percentage. So yes, you can do that.

Glen: Talk to me—and then you hit on there, too, when you were talking a minute ago, you mentioned reporting, being able to pull reports, which I can tell you from my background working in a corporate sales environment that the biggest companies out there are doing informed decisions based on data reporting, right?

So I think if you can take that and use it as an independent agent or as a small agency and make those informed decisions based on data-driven sales, I mean it’s a huge—it looks out and says, “You know what? We’re closing all these people between the age of 67 and 73 for Medicare Supplements; that everybody over 73 we’re having issues with.” Something simple like that and you can pull a report, and then you can change how you’re targeting your market. (08:33)

Clu: Yeah, if you’re the independent single agent who’s writing the Medicare business or you’re the large corporation who’s writing a multitude of commercial lines, yeah, then the data is going to help. It shouldn’t make every decision, but it should drive most of your decisions on what you should focus on and where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are, for sure. With Radius, you can run what we call the customer port off of almost any data site inside the system, and then we’ve got some prebuilt canned reports that allow you to run certain things.

A feature that we like, because we utilize it every day, is you can build what we call saved reports, and push those saved reports on the dashboards, because we like to see things on a daily level or a weekly level. I could spit it out in pie charts or bar graphs, or even downloaded PDF files. But yeah, you’re 100 percent there, Glen, it’s just the data is so imperative these days to how you should be driving and operating your business and where you should focus on or not focus on, potentially.

Glen: Yeah, I went to LeadsCon this year and I was actually posting on my Twitter feed, “Any listeners out there who want to follow me on Twitter? @LeadHeroes?” It’s a crazy awesome Twitter feed, I will be the first to attest to that right now. But no, I sent a couple tweets out during LeadsCon and one of them was during the Velocify presentation, and they tracked like 40,000 leads, I believe, that were entered into their system, and they were saying that a third of leads never even got called.

And I—being able to track that as an agency owner, right, or as someone who has down-line, I mean being able to sit there—I deal with agents every day, I know you interact with plenty of agents as well. I mean, if you get someone who’s coming to you and they’re saying that the leads aren’t working or I didn’t make enough money this month, you know, and then being able to do some—I’m assuming something like that would be easy to pull from your system as well, right? (10:27)

Clu: Yes, so when a lead is put in a system or client, we date and timestamp and put them in the database. And we have a running clock that runs in the background that we call days touched, so that’s a number that’s displayed. Every time you update the lead, whether it be adding a note or changing a disposition, updating the phone number, whatever it may be, the clock resets itself. So you can literally tell looking at a lead or a multitude of leads if it has been touched in 20 days or 30 days, or one day, whatever it may be.

And the other thing that we kind of liked from an agency owner perspective—because to your point about a loss of 40,000 leads, so a [INAUDIBLE, 00:11:05], but a third of those leads hadn’t been touched, that’s a lot of money, Glen, that’s a lot of money that’s sitting on the table.

Glen: That’s a ton of money. I mean—

Clu: Both from a spent lead perspective to get access to those leads on the marketing side, as well as the commissions and renewals that will come with the conversions of those leads, right?

Glen: Yeah, it’s one thing to have bad leads or to have to deal with a prospect that is telling you no, I mean that’s one thing. But to not even take a swing, that just makes me—as someone who offers leads to agents—that just makes me hurt inside.

Clu: Yeah. No, I mean it would have been cheaper for that agency owner to give the agents half of those leads, because they would have been saving money, right?

Glen: Absolutely. No, absolutely. I was trying to remember the statistic, and I can’t remember if they said it in this presentation at LeadCon or not, but I believe it was something like the leads market is $20 billion or $200 billion, so when you think a third of those leads are never contacted, I mean, it’s a billion-dollar loss, a multibillion-dollar loss every year.

Clu: Yeah, a lot of money on the table, for sure. And then your competitors, if you’re not catching them, they will, right. They’re going to reach out them, they’re going to market to them, they’re going to do everything they can.

Glen: Someone will, that’s right.

Clu: Yeah, and what I was going to with—to the point of not touching leads within the Radius system, is that we’ve got some automated workflows and one of them really is around if a lead isn’t touched in a certain amount of time and you as the agency owner can define that, it takes that lead and it puts it into another—assigns it to another agent automatically. So and it sweeps the book of business and moves that lead to the agent that may start to work that lead.

Glen: Efficiency, that is awesome. Hard to do when you’re dealing with stacks of paper. You’re going off your own hand-written notes. That’s awesome.

Clu: The problem with stacks of paper is that the fan gets too high, it’s going to blow those stacks of paper everywhere, right? So that’s like—

Glen: Keep the window shut.

Clu: That’s sweeping the book of business there, the other agents, right?

Glen: Literal sweeping. You get the broom, you have to sweep the papers. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. One thing, I personally haven’t used it, but I noticed when I was poking around in your system previously that email marketing you guys have, you kind of have that built in. I mean you’ve got all these awesome features just kind of based into the CRM system.

But I was going to go on the record with an official guess that it’s the most underutilized feature in Radius Bob by agents or agencies. I could be wrong. What do you think? (13:38)

Clu: I agree and disagree. So it is underutilized for sure, but it’s still utilized. I mean, let me paint this picture, Glen, of what can be done and what most of our subscribers are doing out there. But so just imagine you’re getting a lead from, right, and that lead’s coming into your Radius automatically, right, so the organization is able to push that lead into the agent’s account automatically.

The bells and whistles start to kick in, so the autoresponders on the email will go out to that lead automatically, it will say, “Hey, thank you for contacting Mr. Agent, he will be reaching out to you momentarily.” And so you’ve got that autoresponse that goes out. That triggers a whole drip campaign once that leads comes in the system. So that drip campaign is completely defined by the agent or agency of how they want to do business; the content can be customized to a specific touchpoint. So whether it’s five hours later, day two, day 10, day 30, 50, 60, whatever it may be, so all these emails are just sitting there ready, waiting to go automatically once that lead comes in the system.

So yeah, I mean email is the biggest opportunity from a feature perspective to be utilized, and it’s semi-underutilized in the system, but you know, we’re slowly educating the user base to how they can really maximize the opportunity when it comes to the email. And it’s the automation of it, right? So it could scare someone to say that, “Oh yeah, you’ve got to send out 15 emails in the span of a couple of weeks to really penetrate and touch that lead and get them to call you back.”

And they’re saying, “Oh, I’ve got to manually send out 15 emails?” No, not at all, right? You build it once, not that you set it and forget it, but you build it once and that lead comes in from and it just starts to fire off automatically.

Glen: You’re absolutely right. Unfortunately most of our leads do not contain email addresses. We do have one lead that does, but I mean the most—something that I took away from LeadsCon that a lot of the agents were saying the most different ways you can touch a lead the better. Some guys would, you know, they had like opt-in information, they would text the lead. Across the board is there another feature that you would say in your CRM system that’s more underutilized then than the email marketing? (15:44)

Clu: The most underutilized feature was we had built in a live chat for users. That was the feature that never got used, and rightly so. But no, I—

Glen: Live chat with you guys?

Clu: No, internally inside—between users, right, so if you had a 10-user account or 20, you could actually do live chat internally with each other. But that went nowhere. We made some boo-boos in our day, and that one was one of them, probably because it’s fairly new from a feature set, the voice offering, which we just rolled out in the past, officially the past month, but it’s been going on a little longer.

For years now, people wanted us to do a few things. One was build in an autodialer, everybody needs an autodialer, predictive dialer, whatever it may be that they’re calling leads or clients. And so we integrate with a few other providers out there and that kind of worked for us for as long as it did, and I’m not sure if your listeners out there are familiar with the platform Twilio that has created hooks or a giant API that systems like ours can hook into and add on these great sets of features.

So voice offering, the click-to-call feature, it’s a preview dialer because they generate a list inside the system either manually or automatically once the dial queue and start dialing automatically. Then we’ve got the inbound call, too, as well. So fairly new feature, I’m going to say very underutilized. Once again, we internally had been using it for four or five months now, we’re making it better, but it’s pretty good to begin with.

But then you can even go into things such as custom form fields, right. So to the point of: can you customize a system out there? Yeah, you can. You know, Radius has a great baseline, a great foundation from an insurance agency perspective, but we know everyone operates their business a little differently, so just getting people to understand that they can create custom form fields and create custom coverage time for those types of things. That’s probably one of the things that we can always do better as a group to help people understand how they can tailor it to their specific needs.

Glen: I noticed last time I was poking around in there that you guys have a knowledge database. Do you have—and I believe—was it a lot—do you have videos in there of kind of those features?

Clu: Yeah, we’ve got about 15 or so video tutorials that range on specific topics to kind of the general review. Danielle is producing more videos as of late, has just come out with a new kind of five to 10-minute overview of the entire system. But from the standpoint of when you create the account, going through the entire setup process, we do a lot of webinar, 30-minute trainings for when people get started in the system.

Glen: That’s awesome. What I love about your system is it’s simple enough that you can jump right in and start using it, but then at the same time you have all these features, like all the ones you’ve been explaining, and maybe you have to watch one of these videos or maybe reach out to you guys to get some brief training on, but you have the complex features for advanced users. So I feel like you kind of take care of both sides, which I think is awesome. (18:34)

Clu: Because yeah, I mean the independent agent is solely focused on the ACA and that offering is going to operate the system much differently than a small commercial business, that’s right, that aligns the business somewhere else.

Glen: One question I get asked all the time from agents is, “Well, what’s the closing percentage, Glen? If I buy leads, how many should I expect to close?” It’s one of those questions I personally hate, and not because I think the leads we offer aren’t going to close well, but when it comes to the individual agent or the individual agency’s sales system and their follow-up process, it’s a completely different number.

If an agent dials all the leads once and we go off of those closing percentages, and then if I have an agent that’s using your system, they’re getting ahold of almost every single lead, and then we’re going off of their closing percentage. You know, it could be double.

So one question I had for you, and I’m not sure if you guys have ever tried to calculate this, but what sort of ROI do you think an agent can expect from using a CRM like Radius Bob?

Clu: I couldn’t agree more with the statement around there’s a multitude of factors, and it’s at the individual user level or the agency level when it comes to how they—once they’ve captured the lead information, how they’re actually utilizing that information and going after the leads. So I look at the ROI question maybe in two ways.

One is the business owner, I’m outlaying cash for a system. What am I getting in return? And I could simplify it to the point of a single agent, we charge $34 a month, $34 a month, so 12 months, $408, roughly or exactly, because I know the number.

Glen: Roughly.

Clu: But so if you look at it from that perspective, if I’m a user, I’m paying $34 a month. If I convert one lead, what’s my commission on that lead? It’s probably more than $34; it might be more in the $408 over the span of 12 months, right? So if Radius helps you simply convert one to two leads, and you multiply that maybe a number of users, your return on investment starts to be phenomenal as you continue down a path. So looking at it from that perspective.

Now let’s take it from the perspective of, the bigger bucket of, “Hey, am I using a CRM or am I not using a CRM or am I using a lead management tool, or am I using this one versus that one?” Yeah, I mean holistically at a system-wide level, we don’t look at that because there’s so many factors, and then also from a standpoint of we don’t dive that deep into our subscriber database from that standpoint.

I’ll use it from how we use it on a day-to-day basis, when we weren’t using it as heavily when we first got started versus where we are, we saw a 10 percent increase in conversions. As we customized the content from the automation of emails and the touchpoints and the text messages, we’re seeing that creeping up even higher into 15 percent better than we were without or when we weren’t using it as much. A lot of factors in that, once again, but that’s how, from our business perspective, what we’re seeing when we didn’t and when we do, and as we continually improve.

So I mean you can’t be satisfied with that 10 percent because there’s so much more out there you can gain from there, so you’ve got to start squeezing more out of what you’re doing, modify it, change it, so on and so forth within the system, and maybe instead of five touches you go to seven touches, and maybe instead—

Increase Your Closing Rates with a CRM ft. Clu Connors from Glen Shelton

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