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7 Strategies To Set Your Organization Up For Success

If you’re a product manager or director for a health care plan, you likely already know that it makes sense to cross-sell ancillary insurance products. I’m sure you’ve heard about some great options and you know that demand for these products – from dental and vision insurance to even pet insurance –  has jumped in recent years.

Both members and accounts are expecting more and more from their health plans, so expanding your offerings can help firm up your position as the plan of choice in the market. While cross-selling ancillary health insurance products may sound like an easy path to increased profits, you need to go about it the right way – right from the start.  

One key component of setting your organization up for long-term success is getting executive buy in. While that may sound straightforward, there are a few reasons why decision makers may not fully be aware of everything that goes into cross-selling new products. They include:

  • Many health insurance executives haven’t been in a sales role before.
  • A common way of thinking is, “If we can sell health insurance, we can sell anything!”
  • Also, there’s the assumption that members will buy these products like they do health insurance.

Getting a “yes” from someone who doesn’t understand what they’re committing to, and what internal resources and processes are needed to make change happen is actually worse than a “no.” You’ll just end up doing a lot of work for very little return. 

Whether or not the above scenarios are at play in your organization, cross-selling ancillary health insurance products isn’t going to work in the long run unless the decision makers understand what’s required of them and their direct reports. This may sound like a daunting task; however, it really just takes some thoughtfulness and persistence.

Here are seven simple strategies that can help you get genuine executive buy in to cross-sell ancillary health insurance products: 

Be honest. You’re not going to be profitable from day one – it takes time and money. While this might not be what leadership wants to hear, you’re better off setting the right expectations.

Identify a “plan champion.” Take some time to find the right person (or persons) who can be in your corner. This needs to be someone who’s built up some credibility and is a bit of a risk taker, who wants to change the organization for the better by giving it a bit of a push in the right direction. You can leverage them to provide introductions to other executives and cross-selling updates in leadership meetings.

Create a one-page collaboration document. Put your thoughts together on paper. Show you know your stuff by clearly and succinctly articulating the value cross-selling will bring to all constituents and how it will work collaboratively across the organization. You can refer to this document during meetings with leadership, to ensure consistent conversations and make the most of any face time you get with decision makers.

Set up a steering committee. You want to form a group dedicated to the value cross-selling ancillary products brings to your organization. Getting decision makers in the room together two or three times each year gives you a chance to demonstrate progress and get additional buy-in when needed. Committees can also provide a great professional development opportunity for up-and-coming staff.

Promote your successes. Internal publications are an important tool for visibility, since they’re usually read by leadership. The corporate communications teams that put them together are always on the lookout for good news to include, so don’t be afraid to share your wins like new partnerships and sales milestones – no matter how small. 

Remember your manners. Reach out to say a sincere “thank you” to anyone who helped you along the way – and don’t underestimate the value of offering a free breakfast or lunch. Your colleagues will remember that the next time you ask for their support.

Keep promoting the partnership. Communication doesn’t stop once you get a “yes” – make sure the leadership team is continually reminded of the value that cross-selling brings to the organization. By maintaining their commitment and excitement, you’ll be able to go back to them with additional partnership opportunities as well as weather any executive transitions.

It’s important to remember that while getting executive buy in is critical, it’s just one part of an organization’s long-term success when it comes to cross-selling ancillary health insurance products. Whether you need guidance on strategy or support for full implementation, contact me to get the conversation started.