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ROI in Channel Partner Conferences
DownloadsROI in Channel Partner Conferences
Research conducted by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance.
- Executive Summary
- The ROI Methodology
- Objectives Measurement and Methodology
- Application and Implementation
- Assessment Specifications
- Summary Results for Phase One
- Summary Results for Phase Two
- Recommended Action and Observations
The 2009 annual “Allsante Inc. Encounter” event for Georgia/Louisiana healthcare insurance brokers was designed to increase sales and profits in those specific markets and engage channel partners with the company’s brand. The June 10th-11th event included more than 50 key insurance owner/principal brokers, each of whom were individually selected and invited by Allsante Inc. The delegates were representatives of large brokers who were already contracted with Allsante, but were responsible for very little business. In this manner, Allsante filled its event with brokers who had high potential to drive greater sales. The event provided delegates with training, industry updates, relationship building and networking opportunities (see Appendix A for a full description of the event). The program also included company sales personnel for the respective markets, including sales management, department heads, service personnel and key corporate leadership representatives. Programs of this nature are expensive, yet most providers believe they pay off by building better long-term relationships with resellers. After all, it stands to reason that brokers, who have a deeper understanding of products and closer relationships with a vendor, will sell more of that vendor’s goods and services. Nevertheless, in a time of careful fiscal restraint, Allsante wanted a deeper understanding of the actual Return on Investment (ROI) it could expect from the Allsante Encounter conference and hard data against which to make decisions around improving future programs. Allsante collaborated with the “ROI of Engagement” Group to measure the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of Allsante Encounter 2009. Allsante understood that by raising participants’ engagement with the company, they could accomplish the ultimate objective which was clearly to increase sales and profits. But in between that ultimate measure (increased sales and profits) lay a complex analysis of each of the components of the event and the participants’ evaluation of those components both immediately following the event; and three and six months later. To understand this in a manner that would allow Allsante to make the best decisions possible about its event, ROI of Engagement employed the ROI Methodology™ to capture participants’ attitudes, learning, behaviors and actualoutcomes following the event. Initial results revealed that the program had made a profound change in the way brokers thought and felt about the company, its products, the business opportunity and its people. The strengthened trust and confidence in the company, along with deeper connections and contact with key company employees, translated into brokers presenting and quoting Allsante products more frequently. This in turn resulted in significantly stronger reported sales from event participants. Part one of this case study examines the ROI process employed by ROI of Engagement and the “proof” of Allsante’s apparent success through The Allsante Encounter 2009. Part Two examines that actual change in sales of Allsante products among The Allsante Encounter 2009 participants, (allowing for variables) and summarizes the ROI Allsante achieved from the event, including its costs and the additional profits generated by presumed increased sales.
“The broker meeting was an absolutely enlightening experience. I came out of [it] with the thought that Allsante is one step ahead of the rest of the companies, and I feel absolutely more comfortable representing/selling the Allsante product. I exercised the Perfect Service Proposition a week after my return, and I was NOT disappointed.”
The program’s desired objectives were to increase reseller engagement that would lead to greater trust, a sense of loyalty and better relationships with Allsante and its employees. Communication objectives included vision casting for 2009 as well as awareness and product knowledge, training and selling skills. The company’s most desired objective was to change behavior among resellers so that they would increase Allsante presentations, increase quotations, highlight Allsante product advantages over others, and ultimately increase sales of Allsante small business and ancillary products. Today’s market conditions, regulatory environment and competitive pressures have made it more important than ever to measure the results of investments in events like Allsante Encounter and for management to understand the tangible outcomes such annual initiatives have on business. With bottom-line results, leadership can properly decide whether to support the program’s continued existence. And, by making the results of this particular project measurable and credible, management can build the business case to measure more programs involving incentives, rewards and recognition, meetings, events, loyalty programs and marketing communications. Allsante brought the ROI of Engagement Group (certified ROI Professionals and strategic partners with the ROI Institute) on board to provide accurate and credible results measurement. ROI of Engagement used the ROI Methodology™ to measure program results (Figure 1). Used in thousands of cases in more than 50 countries, the ROI Methodology™ prescribes five evaluation levels and a disciplined process that includes a step-by-step approach to data collection, summarizing and processing data, isolating the effects of programs, converting data to monetary value and calculating ROI − all while adhering to strict guiding principles published by the institute.
Fundamentally, the ROI Methodology™ system is a process improvement tool which also identifies barriers and enablers to performance and provides evidence of business impact (Figure 2). When an evaluation is planned, the level of evaluation for the program is determined. For credibility, every impact or ROI evaluation includes a method to isolate the effects of the program on the particular business impact data. The complicated process of calculating the ROI of meetings and events is simplified by following sequential steps illustrated in the process model below (Figure 2) revealing a logical, systematic, step-by-step approach that keeps the process manageable and allows for tackling one issue at a time. Applying the model with strict adherence to guiding principles provides consistency from one ROI calculation to another.
Phase One of the assessment was designed to measure changes in engagement, satisfaction with the broker/Allsante relationship and the effectiveness of the learning opportunities provided in the general and breakout sessions and through product training. Phase One assessment objectives were to be determined by the following types of questions:
Reaction/Satisfaction Phase One asked: After participating in Allsante Encounter, have participants:
- Changed the way they think and feel about the company, its products, the business opportunity and the people?
- Found value in attending the event relative to their investment of time?
- Expressed an Action Plan?
- Understood the Allsante value proposition and its worth related to a percent of premium1?
After participating in the event, have participants acquired the knowledge and tools necessary to be successful in each of the following areas:
- Engaging clients to better health?
- Allsante Specialty Benefits?
- Allsante One2?
- Rising healthcare costs and Allsante’s response?
- Underwriting and quoting?
- Concierge service?
- Billing, enrollment and contact center?
- Government affairs?
Phase Two of the assessment was designed to measure the actions taken and results achieved by participants three months after the event. Phase one of the assessment began where most event evaluation processes end − with a participant scorecard to assess the quality of the event overall and each workshop or session they attended. Phase One also asked participants what they intended to do with the information and ideas they gathered at the event. Remarkably, 95% of Phase One survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would quote Allsante products more frequently as a result of having attended the “Allsante Encounter” event3. This is encouraging data but it begs the question, how many brokers actually presented Allsante products more often after the event and, among participants, did sales increase? Phase Two of the ROI process set about to answer the first question and, in part, the second question. Phase Three (presented in part two of this case study) answers the second question with hard data gathered six months after the event. The Phase Two analysis updated brokers’ attitudes toward Allsante and their actual activities in presenting, quoting and selling Allsante versus their expressed attitudes and intentions in Phase One. Survey participants were asked about their actual behaviors and real actions with respect to Allsante products over the three months following the event. Those results are described below.
In summary, the survey asked – “In the past three months since the Allsante Encounter, I have frequently”:
- Presented Allsante products
- Quoted Allsante products
- Sold Allsante products
- Contacted my Allsante Sales Executive to support me in client proposals
- Contacted my Allsante Account/Retention Executive to support client renewals
- Contacted Customer Service for support
- Contacted the Allsante Renewal Center for support
- Utilized the Broker Bud to aid me in my proposals
In the past three months since the Allsante Encounter, participants were asked:
- What were the keys to your quoting success?
- What activities have been undertaken to support Allsante product sales?
- What primary thing has been accomplished differently to increase Allsante sales?
- What additional follow-up would be beneficial?
- What personal accomplishment/improvement related to Allsante product or services sales has resulted by attending the Allsante Experience?
- What challenges to the achievement of your sales goals in the coming year will be the most difficult to overcome?
- How satisfied are you with the level of Allsante management support you received after the meeting?
- What specific suggestions do you have for improving support from Allsante?
The assessment tool used was a Web-based application designed to build, distribute, track and tabulate on-line surveys. For both phases, event participants were sent three email invitations (an initial invitation and two reminders) to participate in the survey. Each promised complete confidentiality and a chance to win a $100 gift card. A random drawing for five winners was completed at the close of each survey, with the winners from the Phase One survey being published in the Phase Two survey invitation. In the Phase One assessment, 50 invitations were sent generating responses from 42 or 84% of participants. Sixty-four percent (64%) of respondents were from Georgia while 36% were from Louisiana. Forty percent (40%) were owners/principals and 38% were sales representatives. Ninetyeight percent (98%) of them had sold Allsante products prior to attending Allsante Encounter. Thirty-seven percent (37%) had worked with Allsante products for more than five years. The remaining 63% had worked with Allsante products from less than a year to five years. The Phase Two assessment sent 50 invitations and received 33 responses (66%). Of that number, 49% were owner/principals while 39% were sales representatives. Ninety-one percent (91%) had sold Allsante products prior to attending Allsante Encounter. Thirty-three percent (33%) had done so for more than five years (15% of which indicated more than 15 years) and 52% had done so for onefive years. The remaining 15% had worked with Allsante for less than one year. Both Phases One and Two surveys used a five point Likert scale with one (1) being the lowest rating and five (5) being the highest. The Specific Agreement scale used is shown in Figure 3.
“The experience was great. It is a plus to know that agents are recognized by Allsante. The value of the role of each person to make a successful outcome for our customers is key, and I like knowing that your organization feels the same way. Thanks for the opportunity to see for myself.”
Change Indicators – Engagement
The results from the Phase One survey, distributed right after the event, revealed a profound change in brokers’ thoughts and feelings about the company, including its products, the business opportunity and the people. An average score of 4.64 on a scale of one (Unacceptable) to five (Excellent) was received on the 12 questions targeting their engagement levels vis a vis Allsante
The following outline the results of the 12 questions:
- 100% have more trust in Allsante
- 100% have more confidence the company will do what it says it will do.
- 95% are more confident that Allsante products meet their customers’ needs.
- 95% are more confident that Allsante products meet their agency needs.
- 100% are more confident that Allsante customer service meets their agencies’ needs.
- 100% are more excited about business opportunities with Allsante
- 78.5% are better prepared to take advantage of bonus plans and/or other incentive programs.
- 97.6% know more key people at Allsante that can help them succeed.
- 92.8% have deeper and better relationships with key Allsante staff.
- 85.7% have expanded their professional network of fellow brokers.
- 97.6% have a better understanding of the Allsante Value Proposition.
- 100% are more satisfied with Allsante
Reaction and Satisfaction
Reaction and satisfaction questions as a whole were rated Very Good at an average of 4.45. Additionally, for those who provided comments, 100% were positive regarding overall reaction and satisfaction with the program. In fact, 46% suggested that the program be lengthened.
The following outlines the results of the 12 questions applied to this section:
- 90.4% feel Allsante, its products; the business opportunity and its people represent a “perfect” solution.
- 97.6% have the knowledge and tools to effectively sell Allsante products.
- 97.6% said Allsante products provide excellent solutions for members.
- 84.3% believe Allsante products are highly competitive with other products.
- 100% feel Allsante broker services are highly competitive with other companies.
- 100% feel Allsante member services are highly competitive with other companies.
- 71.4% think Allsante rates are highly competitive with other companies.
- 92.8% are confident they can sell Allsante products.
- 100% are confident they will benefit from selling Allsante products.
- 95.2% plan to present Allsante products more frequently.
- 11.9% feel that in a competitive situation the Allsante value proposition is worth 10% or more; 14.2% feel it is worth 6-9%; and 50% feel it is worth 3-6%.
- 95.2% plan to quote Allsante products more frequently.
“I went into the Allsante Encounter event thinking that Allsante was just another carrier and one that I had had poor experience with in the past. I left thinking that Allsante is the best carrier out there. I will definitely be selling more Allsante in the very near future.”
Participants said they gained the knowledge and tools needed to be successful. The average rating was 4.36 or Very Good. The Government Affairs (Average of 4.12) and Allsante One (Average 4.19) sessions were the lowest rated although these ratings were still good. The highest rated session was Billing, Enrollment and Contact Center with an average rating of 4.69 or Excellent.
Brokers rated the quality of Allsante Encounter at 4.93 or Excellent. Overall value to the investment of time was also rated Excellent at 4.90. Fifteen percent (15%) felt that Allsante One was the least valuable part of the experience. The two most important takeaways cited by 37% of respondents were related to the importance of Allsante’s Customer Service initiatives. Thirty-two percent (32%) said that meeting the home office personnel and building relationships were the most important takeaways for them. Finally, 35% said that they needed more time in the agenda to get more information (in response to the question, “The meeting would provide better value if…,”).
Phase Two of the assessment was designed to measure the actions and results taken by participants three months after the event. This was an important element in determining true results ROI. It eliminated the “post-event high” that many event participants experience until they return to their daily routines. The passing of three months allowed participants to put what they learned and felt into action and perspective − and to discern the tangible results. Participant brokers continued to feel that Allsante offered a perfect solution for them because they now had the education to sell the products. While not all felt Allsante’s rates are as competitive as other companies, the majority were confident that they would benefit from selling the products. Moreover, they planned to quote, present and sell them more frequently. Most importantly, 90% of them reported that they had more frequently sold Allsante products in the three month period after the event than before they attended Allsante Encounter.
Reaction and Satisfaction
Reaction and Satisfaction questions were rated at an average of 4.33 or Very Good overall.
The two questions that were markedly lower in Phase Two were:
- I believe Allsante products are highly competitive with other products. Rated 4.03 or Good.
- I feel Allsante rates are highly competitive with other companies. Rated at 3.62 (Marginally Acceptable).
The Phase Two Survey revealed that three months after the event there was a slight trend in decreased satisfaction in all areas. However, these results are actually encouraging in that despite the time removed from the event, participants’ attitudes toward Allsante did not come off their initial highs in any significant way. (See Figure 4 for an example question/response.)
The majority of survey participants confirmed that they had presented; quoted and sold more Allsante products since the event. Most had also increased contact with their Allsante sales executive and customer service representative. And, all of them were very satisfied with the management support received after the meeting.
Application and Implementation
The following summarize results from key questions in Phase Two about the application and implementation of what participants had learned at the Allsante Encounter event:
- 94% agreed or strongly agreed that they had presented Allsante products more frequently.
- 97% agreed or strongly agreed that they had quoted Allsante products more frequently.
- 90% agreed or strongly agreed that they had sold Allsante products more frequently (Figure 4).
- 71% had contacted their Allsante Sales Executive more frequently for client proposal support.
- 48.4% had contacted their Allsante Account/Retention Executive more frequently to support in client renewals.
- 71.9% had contacted Allsante Customer Service for support more frequently.
- 41.9% had contact the Allsante Renewal Center for support more frequently.
- 51.6% had utilized the Broker Bud more frequently to aid in proposals.
Common themes were recognized in the following areas:
- 50% said that they more actively quote Allsante on all cases.
- 31% said they now have a better understanding of Allsante and its products and feel more comfortable explaining options to clients.
- 20% wanted additional follow-up regarding supplemental or ancillary products.
- 50% commented on their ability to present Allsante better based on their now expanded knowledge of Allsante products and people.
- 100% of those who commented were very satisfied with the level of Allsante management support being received after the meeting.
Reaction/Satisfaction: Phase One Results vs. Phase Two
The following points summarize how participants think and feel about the company, its products, the business opportunity and the people three months after Allsante Encounter. The first two figures represent no change from Phase One, while the remaining show only a slight decrease, with the exception of an increase in the belief that Allsante products are highly competitive with other products.
- 96.8% said Allsante and its products, business opportunity and people represent a perfect solution for them.
- 100% said they now have the knowledge and tools to effectively sell Allsante products.
- 96.8% (vs. 84.3%) believe Allsante products are highly competitive with other products.
- 96.8% (vs. 100%) believe broker services are highly competitive with other companies.
- 93.7% (vs. 100%) feel Human member services are highly competitive with others.
- 81.2% (vs. 97.6%) said that Allsante products provide excellent solutions for members.
- 65.6% (vs. 71.4%) feel Allsante rates are highly competitive with other companies.
- 87.5% (vs.92.8%) are confident they can sell Allsante products.
- 90.6% (vs. 100%) are confident that they will benefit from selling Allsante products.
- 81.2% (vs. 95.2%) plan to present Allsante products more frequently.
- 90.6% (vs.95.3%) plan to quote Allsante products more frequently.
“I have been able to speak better regarding the culture of Allsante. It is very impressive and is an excellent topic when presenting the Allsante products… I present Allsante at every opportunity and explain, I believe, the commitment of Allsante and its staff to business owners to provide the coverage and service available in the industry today. ”
Both Phase One and Phase Two surveys represent strong evidence that Allsante met its ROI objectives with The 2009 Allsante Encounter event. The tremendous uptick in broker engagement, as evidenced through the high majority citing better attitudes toward and improved connections with Allsante, have led to increased sales, according to the brokers who attended the event. With 94% presenting Allsante products more often; 98% quoting Allsante repeatedly; and 90% reporting greater sales of Allsante products, the benefits would seem to far outweigh the cost of the event. And, the areas that need improvement are clearly reflected in the percentage calculations for management’s future attention. Nevertheless, for Allsante to truly understand the ROI, the actual costs of the event must be compared to real increases in profit derived from increased sales of its products by those brokers that attended Allsante Encounter 2009. Moreover, increased sales, revenues and profits must be isolated against any variables that occurred in the marketplace overall, or among Allsante’s market specifically in the time period in question. This deeper ROI analysis was conducted in Phase Three of the research and is reported in Part Two of this case study.
The primary objective for measuring results is to gather insight into continuous improvement and to make better decisions about the allocation of resources. As a result of this study and observations made during the event (and pending Phase Three results) the ROI of Engagement Group in collaboration with Allsante leadership offered the following recommendations:
- Expand the program to a full day and a half, or even two full days.
- Allow more time in the meeting agenda for discussion to harvest new ideas and innovative solutions from brokers.
- Improve upon the Local Market session to disseminate market intelligence by region.
- Expand the Legislative Session and allot more time for content and questions.
- Expand on Specialty Products content to include specific information on what makes Allsante products unique compared to the competition.
- Contact attendees where additional information was requested. The immediate follow-up aligns well with the perfect service initiative and illustrates that their feedback is important to Allsante.
- Allow brokers to select the breakout sessions they want to attend.
- Consider including additional information on Allsante’s incentive program.
- Distribute Survey Assessment to corporate and market leadership to review the impact of the program and implement recommended action.
- Communicate to the Allsante regional sales personnel a summary of results and an action plan.
- Communicate to the meeting participants (brokers) a summary of results and an action plan.
- In order to maintain and increase the level of response to the survey, continue the award incentive utilizing a drawing for respondents.
- The most effective way to measure change is to get a baseline measurement before a meeting. Consider developing a pre-meeting survey to attendees for future programs.
- Pay attention to the slight downward trend in Reaction and Satisfaction for these two markets.
- Implement a “re-energizing program” at the market level to keep Allsante top of mind with brokers. The program could be done via conference call or Web conference. Utilize the data in the assessment for topics that need to be addressed.
- Review comments regarding the Allsante Sales Executive. Recognize associates who are commented upon positively by brokers.
As above, the ROI evaluation isn’t complete until actual sales of Allsante products by those who attended The Allsante Encounter event can be assessed and compared to total program cost. That is the focus of Phase Three of the research and the topic of Part Two of this case study, which will be published in March 2010.
1 The value proposition is an analysis and quantifiable review of the benefits, costs and value that Allsante can deliver to customers and other constituents within and outside of the organization. It positions the value, where value = benefits – cost (including risks). Phase One of the study wanted to determine what percentage of premium the Allsante key benefits, costs and value were worth to brokers in a competitive situation.
2 Allsante “One” offers a variety of individual family health insurance plans, including HSA-qualified plans and offers a high deductible in order to reduce premium cost. The event featured a session on this product.
3 Catalyst Performance Group, Inc., 2009 Allsante Inc. Encounter – Georgia/Louisiana Brokers Survey & Assessment Results – Phase One, 2009. (Note: all information in this case study is based upon Phase One and Phase Two of this report, both authored by the Catalyst Performance Group on behalf of Allsante Inc.).