“Our carefully crafted distribution strategies and regular training programmes help our partners achieve sales success. We work together to make them shine. It’s a win-win-win situation – for our partners and their customers. And for us”, says Outi Lempiäinen, Distribution Manager at AXA Partners Finland.
Outi Lempiäinen & Merja Sulander
Distribution Managers at AXA Partners Finland
Distribution plays an extremely important role in AXA’s partnerships. This could entail everything from optimizing insurance sales across an array of channels and touchpoints to training customer service and sales representatives. It all comes down to helping our partners compete in crowded marketplaces.
“We roll up our sleeves and work alongside our partners. Together we have a laser focus on boosting sales. For instance, we conduct 120 sales training exercises annually with one of our long-term partners”, explains Lempiäinen.
When a mortgage holder unexpectedly becomes unemployed, payment protection insurance covers the monthly costs of the loan. The coverage helps the policyholder to focus on finding a new job instead of worrying about loan payments.
Many people in the market for a new home are fully focused on the house-hunting process. They don´t necessarily pay much attention to potential future risks – and how to insure against them. Insurance sales is about encouraging the customer to recognise and prepare for unforeseen events.
“The question is, how do you approach this subject in a positive way? Our aim is to encourage sales representatives to open a dialogue in which they can help customers to envision possible unpleasant events and to explain ways to protect themselves against these eventualities”, says Lempiäinen.
AXA Partners trains business partner’s sales representatives to ask the right questions. This entails questions such as: What risks do you see in the future? Which situations or life events could have a negative impact on your personal finances and how would you manage loan payments in those situations?
“One simple question can be an eye-opener for customers. It all comes down to helping customers recognise the benefits of insurance”, remarks Lempiäinen.
Merja Sulander, Distribution Manager at AXA Partners Finland, notes that training programmes are a major feature of AXA’s partnerships – on many levels.
AXA Partners provides tailor-made sales support and tools to help sales representatives to succeed at their jobs. This includes an annual training plan which includes e-learning, on-line training and other sales support actions for every partner. To help a partner succeed in point of sales, AXA Partners offer sales and product training.
“My goal is to create a friendly environment at training sessions; here, everybody can freely share their best practises, experiences and challenges. Usually, solutions to challenges and the best sales arguments develop inside the sales team. I can help the team as an outside facilitator by asking the right questions and help them find new ideas to implement into their daily conversations with customers”, says Merja Sulander.
“To fit our solutions into our partners’ point of sales, it’s important to understand our partners, their customers and how their processes are built” explains Merja Sulander.
“We share our best practises in insurance sales across different channels. Many of our partners are highly digitalized, but selling insurances online might be a new thing. This is where we come in”, says Sulander.
“We work in concert with our partners to co-create new solutions, sales models and training plans. We embrace close co-operation with our partners and communicate on a weekly basis. It feels like we are one team working towards a common goal.”
“What I love about my job is meeting a lot of different people, learning from each other and being able to experience different work cultures. It’s inspiring, and at the same time challenging, to work with distribution and sales in a highly regulated business like insurance. It’s so much more creative and fun than you could imagine”, concludes Merja Sulander.