In the latest episode of Move the Deal, host Greg Moore talks with Michael DeRosa, director of professional development at Travelers Insurance. With a distinguished career in the world in learning and development, DeRosa has a passion for training sellers to be their best. The mission of DeRosa’s team is to be “world-class in underwriting and best in class in sales.”
We’re proud to have Michael as one of our inaugural Miller Heiman Group Icons. Learn more about the Icons program here.
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You Are the Differentiator
DeRosa trains underwriters in the U.S. and internationally who sell through a channel, meaning that customers purchase through independent brokers and agents, who are not employed by Travelers Insurance. Because of that, it’s important to build trust between the corporation and the people who represent it. DeRosa’s job is to ensure that Travelers Insurance not only arms the independent agents and brokers with the knowledge they need on products and services but also the tools to show buyers what sets them apart.
Insurance is an intangible product in a highly regulated industry, so consumers sometimes see little difference between carriers. DeRosa encourages his agents and brokers to connect with their customers on a deeper level, moving from viewing insurance as a commodity to seeing the broker or agent as a “trusted partner.”
Because the agents and brokers are the ones out in the field, they understand exactly how competitive the market is—so an important role that DeRosa plays is to help agents and brokers understand how Travelers supports them in serving their customers what they need.
Staying Connected to Customer Needs
DeRosa helps the agents he trains evolve their sales approach by implementing effective conversations across multiple channels, not just face-to-face meetings. One of his strategies to encourage agents and brokers to ask a lot of questions—rather than attempting to impress a customer with product knowledge, they need to put the customer’s needs and wants at the center of what they do.
He often reminds his agents and brokers, “until you can prove you care about the customer, the customer doesn’t care about you.” By proving how much a customer means to a broker and agent, they can differentiate themselves.
Growing Indirect and Direct Channel Sales
DeRosa ends the episode with actionable advice for CROs looking to grow both their indirect and direct channels. When you sell through channel, you have less control. So the way you get “growth from both” is to give a consistent, clear directive on how to sell.
“At the end of the day, understanding how the conversation managers have with their salesperson impacts what that salesperson does out in the field. An indirect salesperson, you have to build your relationship with them. Are you giving people tools, support and the knowledge that you’re there and you’re backing them up?”
[2:48] Key differences in how DeRosa approaches training in channel versus a direct organization
[9:00] Keeping Travelers value proposition in place as their sales goes through an indirect channel
[12:01] DeRosa staying connected to customers through a network of brokers and agents
[15:35] DeRosa’s advice to CROs on growing both the direct and indirect channels
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