Delivering the right message at the right time
Five years ago, when Phil Armas joined Lincoln Financial Group as their VP of Digital Business, he was challenged with evolving their technology stack and the way they think about technology at Lincoln. Coming into a 115-year old company, this was no small feat.
Armas evaluated the current stack and made an assessment, “The technology stack wasn’t going to get us to the next level. Many of the platforms had become antiquated. We were going to spend more money to create the common functionality we needed than what we would spend to buy something new.”
One of the biggest challenges Lincoln ran into with their current technology stack was a lack of actionable data. “We know that companies like Amazon have tons of data and can tee up the right product at the right time to sell. We needed to do that in the insurance space and our current platforms weren’t going to do that,” said Armas. Lincoln needed a product that was going to help their wholesalers deliver the right product to the right financial professional at the most advantageous time.
This became their goal, to find a product that could help them deliver the best experience for their wholesalers while being able to support their distribution sales model. Lincoln needed to be able to influence financial professionals to choose their products off the shelf for their individual clients.
When we met and dove into a six-month courtship with Seismic, we knew we found the right partner and it’s not just a partnership, we consider it a marriage.”
During the pandemic, the day-to-day processes of wholesalers were turned on their heads. Many of Lincoln’s wholesalers were used to basing their schedule on travel, visiting all of their clients in a territory on one trip. In a virtual world, they had to change the way they organized their day.
Simplifying the wholesaler-client engagement experience
Seismic met Lincoln Financial Groups’ vision and together a partnership was formed to enhance the lives of Lincoln’s wholesalers. “We had this vision, we had to find ways to get the right message at the right time to the right financial professional and no company embodies that more than Seismic,” said Armas. A major hurdle to reaching this vision is the regulations around insurance products. Not only are there regulations around what firms can receive product content from Lincoln, but state-level regulations as well.
“We have a philosophy of let’s not just make it simple, let’s make it ridiculously simple,” explained Armas. Lincoln needed to solve the regulatory and business problem with one tool, and to do this they leveraged Seismic’s Email Blast feature.
They had to make sure wholesalers could access the right product information when sending it to a financial professional. Along with having the ability to make sure it has been approved in that state and the state regulations around it. Then, the added layer or making sure it has been approved at that firm.
“We came to Seismic looking to help our wholesalers communicate with their customers while protecting the Lincoln brand. Partnering with Seismic to launch the new email blast templates is the perfect addition to our sales enablement success,” said Kathi-lyn Coker, AVP Salesforce Platforms at Lincoln Financial Group, who helped implement the Seismic platform.
To be able to get the experience right, Lincoln partnered with Seismic to create a process for wholesalers to distribute personalized emails with content to a large group of financial professionals, compliantly, and allow financial professionals to schedule a meeting directly from the email. “For a wholesaler what it looks like is they simply select the product and then send it to the people they choose,” said Armas. “That sounds really simple and in our Seismic platform, it is really simple.”
With customized templates and content properties guiding wholesalers in the right direction, using the feature was widely adopted. “The beauty of using templates in Seismic is that we are meeting our wholesalers where they are. Searching for an email is as easy as looking for a LiveDoc, Powerpoint, or PDF. Just like other content, you can use content properties to assign the templates to your profiles, ensuring that the right people have access to the content,” said Coker. With email templates in Seismic, Lincoln wholesalers have the ability to send the right content to the right person every time. Wholesalers have the ability to customize email templates and marketing can lock certain templates for compliance purposes.
Every month Lincoln Financial Group receives insights from over 300,000 emails sent using Seismic email personalization features, email blasts, and LiveSend technology.
Connecting platforms across Lincoln Financial Group
When a company integrates Seismic with other platforms the power of Seismic extends, expands, and creates an even greater experience for end-users. “At Lincoln, we connected Seismic to Salesforce. This allows us to bring in contacts and leads directly from our CRM,” noted Coker. The Salesforce integration enhances the power of Seismic email blasts and makes it easy for wholesalers to pull in lists of contacts based on matching account opportunities, campaigns, and reports.
With the Salesforce integration in place and the ability to add custom calendar links in an email field, Lincoln Financial Group wholesalers have the power to send personalized emails to their entire book of business seamlessly with a link to their calendar included to easily set up an appointment. By sending the email with Seismic, wholesalers can track in Seismic’s engagement center who opened the email, who engaged with it, and for how long. This information and data help wholesalers deliver the right message to the right contact at the perfect time.
One wholesaler spoke with Armas about his success using Seismic email blasts.
He said 95% of the time he got that business by sending out one simple email to his territory and then figuring out how to follow up with a meeting or another Seismic email.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, wholesalers were faced with a transition period from conducting themselves in person with clients to moving many interactions into virtual meetings. The pandemic made knowing who to contact difficult and there was a need to accelerate the ability of wholesalers to reach out to a growing call base. Seismic’s email technology paired with the Salesforce integration helped support this digital transition, among other key measures taken at Lincoln, as wholesalers worked to automate part of their outreach by sending simple, territory-specific emails to help secure meetings.
100% adoption of Seismic
Lincoln Financial believed in the power of Seismic for their wholesalers and knew it was going to be an important part of their workflow. Driving adoption was done in a three-step approach.
First, key influencers were identified and included in the vendor selection and some product conversations. Then Lincoln decisively rolled out Seismic to this group first. “As they [key influencers] got excited about it, it just became organic because they told two friends and then they told two friends and that’s how these key influencers got the word out. The rest of our wholesalers we’re more prone to listen to them because they speak their language. That was one of the key components,” Armas explained.
The second key component was the lightweight promotion of Seismic and features through short videos. “Weekly, we would send out a one-to-two-minute video, really hyping and promoting some of the key features of the new DMC platform that we built with Seismic,” Armas said to help reinforce the word that was already organically spreading from their key influencers.
“In addition, the third component was constantly getting a message out there through weekly newsletters that come from our most senior leaders and we had an article every week in there about the new DMC platform and that really helped to drive engagement,” noted Armas. Through these three touchpoints, Lincoln Financial Group informed, educated, and enticed their wholesalers to adopt Seismic into their workflows.
Through this approach, Lincoln Financial Group achieved the highest adoption of Seismic. “All in all, that drove 100% adoption of our platform, which is pretty incredible. We couldn’t be prouder,” exclaimed Armas.
Saving the day with Seismic
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the midst of rolling out Seismic, Lincoln Financial Group suddenly found themselves working from home overnight. The timing of investment in a new tech stack when everyone was going to have to rely on interacting with each other and their clients digitally, helped drive home the value in the decision they had made to partner with Seismic.
By equipping their wholesalers with a platform that seamlessly fits into their workflow while helping them get in front of financial professionals with personalized emails at scale, Lincoln Financial Group did not fall behind.
“So, talk about how Seismic saved the day for us and allowed our wholesalers to continue to do business for the rest of the year. I’m happy to report that not only did we hit our numbers, we did it during a pandemic which really saved the day for Lincoln and helped us gain market share. Incredible,” explained Armas.
With a strong partner in Seismic, Lincoln Financial Group created a simple experience for their wholesalers that kept them ahead during a pandemic and allowed them to connect with their customers at a higher rate and ultimately, hit their numbers through insightful data and key touchpoints.
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates, including The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, Syracuse, NY. Variable products distributed by broker-dealer/affiliate Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc., Radnor, PA. Securities and investment advisory services offered through other affiliates. Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations. Lincoln Financial Group is not affiliated with Seismic.