Nikolaj Munch, Sales manager at AXA Partners in Denmark
This is how Nikolaj Munch lives the AXA Partners core value: Customer first. He’s been working in the insurance business for 20 years, both at large insurance companies as well as brokerages.
“I started at AXA Partners in October 2019, working with the financial sector. It combined many of the things I’ve done before, like account management, sales and the financial sector. For me, this was a great opportunity to work with completely new insurance products that aren’t really part of the Danish landscape – and products that have tremendous potential”, says Nikolaj Munch.
AXA Partners is always working with its partners; for instance, with white-label solutions where the partner maintains the relationship with the end-customer. The most typical AXA Partners product that banks offer is loan insurance, which covers a borrower’s monthly payments in case of accident, illness and unemployment. Other examples include personal accident, auto loan insurance or card-related products such as travel insurance, payment protection insurance, shopping-related insurance or ID theft.
“The most important reason for choosing AXA Partners is that we’re partner-oriented. That makes us stand out. We’re not preoccupied with our own brand. Instead, we’re always focused on what’s best for the partner and the end-customer. And we’re really good at designing and executing the customer journey. It’s in our DNA”, says Nikolaj.
Insurance and finance are conservative markets. The products usually emanate from bigger markets like UK, USA or other bigger markets around Europe.
“Denmark is often too small to launch new types of Insurance product. You usually require countries on a bigger scale. And size does make a difference when working for a brand like AXA. Our big international presence enables us to offer products developed in bigger countries like Germany or France. This provides us in Denmark with a broader range of products. AXA Partners has large-scale options that most of our competitors don’t have.”
Partners are often surprised by the level of income AXA Partners’ products can generate for them. AXA Partners’ products provide end-customers with value like security and predictability, while at the same time generating revenue for partners.
“In addition, we also take some of the partners’ risk when we ensure that their customers can pay their bills – even in case of unemployment or illness”, says Nikolaj.
After 20 years in the business, Nikolaj Munch has a lot of experience in what makes a great sales or account manager.
“First of all, always remind yourself of the ‘so what factor’. Ask yourself: What’s important for your partner and their end-customer? I can easily show potential partners a massive PowerPoint presentation with 50-100 slides about our worldwide business or capabilities in general. But should I? Put yourself in their shoes and visualize what’s important to them.”
“Second, remember one of our core values: Customer first. Always put your partner first, and don’t forget to be relevant and of value to the end-customer. We don’t ever want to hear that we only deliver revenue. We must deliver a value proposition that goes all the way to the end-customer.”
“Third, identify key stakeholders and needs at the company you’re approaching. Make it easy for your contact person in the company you’re approaching to present and market the case internally. If they need to convert your pitch to internal language, be sure to include charts or messages that support senior- and board-level decision-making.”
“Also, always ensure that you offer solutions that meet specific needs. And keep your promises”, says Nikolaj. “When you want a long-term relationship, your partners must always trust that you will deliver.”
“And last but not least, always show initiative and come up with new ideas for improvement. You must show that you contribute to the relationship. Otherwise, someone else will do it”, says Nikolaj.