GuideWell Connect Sales Distinction of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: GuideWell Connect
Company Description: GuideWell Connect (Guidewellconnect.com or Guidewell.com), a marketing services company, dedicated to advancing consumerism in health by helping clients connect with their customers. GuideWell Connect Telesales is the company’s 100+ seat direct sales contact center located in Jacksonville and Miami, Florida selling individual under 65, Medicare and Small Group health and ancillary prod
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Distinction Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Distinction of the Year – Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Related Industries

Nomination Title: High Performers Rise to the Occasion

Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since the beginning of July 2014 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes: TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

The insurance industry has evolved tremendously in the last three years with the inception of the Affordable Care Act, which has presented numerous challenges for the Guidewell Connect (GWC) team. The annual selling season was reduced from 12 months to 5 months. GWC had to triple their staff from 150 agents to 450 to meet the demands of all clients during the combined Medicare Annual Enrollment and Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment timeframes. There was a very narrow window to hire the additional staff of 150 licensed agents and 150 representatives, but this task was accomplished.

The increased staff consisted of contract workers that were hired as seasonal employees. With the increase in agent headcount, there was a demand for additional Leaders to lead these new teams of agents to learn the product material and successfully sell and exceed our customer’s expectations.

GWC piloted this Associate Leadership program on a small scale for the 2014-2015 selling season and it was so successful that we expanded the program on a larger scale for the 2015-2016 selling season. During 2014-2015, GWC surpassed the sales goals for all clients. GWC Associate Leaders finished the selling season with one project at 110% of goal and another at 109% of goal.

While preparing for the 2015-2016 sales season, GWC realized that it would be very difficult to hire and train so many experienced Leaders. Within GWC, outstanding high performing agents are looking for a new opportunity within our department. These agents were a great resource that could be tapped for this opportunity to gain experience and showcase their skills for future full time positions. GWC made the decision to utilize existing talent to fill these stretch assignment positions. Jobs were posted internally and shared within the department. Once resumes were reviewed, employees were scheduled for an interview and the top eight were selected for this stretch assignment. This was a win-win for the department. Employees were pleased with the career development opportunity and GWC had experienced leaders to lead and manage their new teams.

The advantage to transitioning existing experienced employees into this role was being able to start the roles immediately. They were able to participate in the planning meetings where client’s goals and expectations were discussed. They were able to either train or join the training with the agents they would be leading. They were able to build relationships with their agents prior to the launch date, which aided them in demonstrating their true success from the inception to the end of the project.

The feedback, from the employees who have participated in the program, has been extremely positive. They enjoyed the opportunity to lead, coach and develop agents. They also enjoyed sharing in the GWC successes, which ultimately brings more clients and revenue into the company. They are then able to bring that experience back to the floor and share their learnings with their peers. In early 2015, two employees were promoted to full time Associate Managers largely due to the experience they gained during their interim role.

Letting agents know that GWC believes in them and their ability to lead a team of agents to success has given the agents another opportunity to advance their opportunities and practice leadership skills during the busiest time of the year. Taking full advantage of the talent on this team has allowed the sales managers to informally mentor through sharing the management role with these agents. Nothing says ‘you’re important’ like the opportunity to learn new skills, grow and advance your career. Through this process, we have learned that investing in the professional development results in much greater outcomes.