Micro small businesses, a subset of small businesses, require a different approach to market commercial insurance to micro small businesses. Like larger companies, micro businesses require small business insurance, though their unique needs necessitate a tailored marketing approach that prioritizes empathy, respect, and understanding.
Small businesses may be (relatively) small in size, sales, and footprint, but they make up a massive portion of the U.S. economy. In fact, the Small Business Administration finds that small businesses comprise 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S.
Micro businesses take on many types and forms. They’re found across a wide spectrum of industries, too. Independent contractors, freelancers, retail stores, solopreneurs, and sole proprietors may all be classified as micro small businesses depending on their employee count, annual sales, and initial capital.
Unfortunately, micro small businesses have often been underserved and neglected by insurance companies. After all, micro business accounts tend to account for less than $2,500 in premiums.
However, premium growth is trending upwards among micro businesses, encouraging insurance companies to market commercial insurance to micro small businesses. But how do you approach an owner or stakeholder with so many other responsibilities on their plate?
Address the unique needs of micro small businesses
The needs of micro small businesses — some with no more employees than the owner themselves — differ from relatively larger small businesses that employ one or two dozen employees, if not more.
That means you need to adjust your marketing strategies to take the unique needs of a micro small business into account.
For example, a micro business operating with a single employee — the owner — may not need a Workers’ Compensation policy.
Additionally, micro businesses don’t often have access to or knowledge of the resources a larger small business can take advantage of. They may also have grown from a hobby or side hustle that, over time, grew enough to become a bonafide micro business without checking off every item on the “essential business to-do- checklist.”
The point is: though micro businesses are similar enough to the small businesses you may already service, their needs and experiences differ. Take time to identify and understand the unique challenges, requirements, and pain points felt by the micro small business owners you’re targeting. Then, develop an actionable marketing strategy that fulfills their needs.
Respect the time of micro small business owners
Owners of micro small businesses often wear multiple hats. An owner is responsible not only for providing the business’s products or services, but for duties including:
- Advertising, marketing, and operating social media accounts
- Bookkeeping, accounting, paying bills, and invoicing
- Customer service
- Hiring, training, and managing any employees
- Outsourcing tasks to contractors
- Inventory management and order fulfillment
In other words, micro small business owners are jacks-of-all-trades by default. Even if they have a few contractors or employees helping, there are likely more tasks to handle than there are people.
Acknowledge this by respecting the time of the micro small business owners you market to. Demonstrate that you understand their business responsibilities by approaching them in a manner they deem respectful.
Prioritize quick and simple methods of selling commercial insurance. Offering, binding, and issuing same-day insurance coverage helps micro small business owners satisfy the need for commercial insurance without siphoning time away from their daily responsibilities.
Focus, too, on the ways your policies and processes support an ultra-busy owner. Emphasize the helpfulness of your customer service team, the knowledge of your agents, and the rapidity with which claims are processed.
Knowing that your agency responds quickly to a micro business owner’s questions and concerns ensures he or she isn’t kept from other duties longer than is necessary.
Develop authentic relationships with micro small business owners
Micro small business owners are used to communicating on a personal level. Developing genuine relationships with colleagues and other professionals is an integral part of operating a small business.
79 percent of business buyers believe salespeople should serve as trusted advisors and not just sales reps. Position your agency to be your clients’ trusted source for guidance and information about small business insurance and the ways insurance helps protect micro businesses.
Remember that the focus is on building a relationship, not pushing products for the sake of sales. Compare the benefits of your policies vs. the policies themselves: why does a plumber need a Business Owners Policy compared to only a General Liability policy? What extra protections would he be receiving? What’s the likelihood he’d experience a claim covered by a BOP but not by GL insurance?
Nurturing an authentic relationship with micro small business owners can have a ripple effect for your agency, too. Since micro businesses often network with one another, a good experience with your agency may encourage your clients to refer others in their network to your agency as well.
In fact, a whopping 83 percent of B2B customers are open to referring a business after a successful transaction. Additionally, 78 percent of those referrals amount to viable leads. Your efforts to develop a genuine relationship with micro small business owners may continue to pay off further down the road.
Connect with micro small businesses through an agency website
Your agency’s website serves as its digital footprint. Given that 69 percent of insurance customers conduct an online search before buying a policy, it’s a no-brainer that your agency needs a website to market commercial insurance to micro small businesses.
A 2017 report found that only 24 percent of small businesses purchased commercial insurance online. However, 48 percent also claimed they preferred purchasing a policy online, and 65 percent suggested they were quite or very likely to do so in the future.
Four years later, in the midst and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 90 percent of B2B sales have shifted to teleconference, phone, or web avenues.
In many cases, an insurance agency’s website is the first step in the sales funnel. After familiarizing themselves with your agency and its offerings, micro small business owners are still likely to pick up the phone to speak with an agent.
But that doesn’t discount the usefulness of your website. A powerful, easily navigable website can serve as a portal for clients to manage their policies, access documents (such as their certificate of insurance), and interact with your customer service team.
As a result, an insurance agency website can make it quick and convenient for a micro small business to purchase and manage an insurance policy without needless complexity.
Partner with companies that focus on serving micro small businesses
Because micro small businesses are so underserved, it may benefit your agency to partner with a company built around fulfilling their needs, such as Coterie.
Coterie allows insurance agents and firms to determine if a given micro small business is in appetite, then quote, bind, and issue policies in a matter of minutes.
You’ll also have access to Coterie’s world-class customer support to ensure your clients’ questions, concerns, and issues are quickly rectified and solved.
Partnering with a company like Coterie allows your agency to satisfy the unique needs of micro small businesses and provide them with the commercial insurance they require, while eliminating or avoiding the time-consuming frustrations so common in the typical insurance-buying process.
Market commercial insurance to micro small businesses by showing empathy, respect, and understanding
Selling a policy to a micro small business is likely one of the more personal interactions you’ll have as a B2B insurance agent or firm. You won’t be put on hold as you skip through half a dozen departments, pawned off to someone who lacks any authority to buy from you, or be asked to run through reams of bureaucratic red tape.
Instead, you’ll be speaking with micro small business owners themselves or, at the very least, someone fairly close to the owner. Demonstrating your genuine interest in the success of the business and empathy for its struggles can go miles. It also helps you lay a foundation to offer a value-based solution to the business’s concerns and worries.
Market commercial insurance to micro small businesses by empowering your product knowledge and sales skills with your humanity. You’ll be doing the business a great service its owner will come to appreciate and be grateful.