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Haven, the new name of the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway,JPMorgan Chase joint venture, has launched their websiteoutlining a high-level overview of their plan for the future ofhealth care. The recent announcement of the intent of the newcompany confirms what we already intuitively know: like it or not,non-traditional competitors like Amazon, Walmart and even CVS areentering the employee benefits and health care space. On the Havenwebsite, insurance companies were mentioned once, and brokers werenot mentioned at all.

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Haven states: “We are tasked with an important and challengingmission: to develop, test, and scale models of care that createbetter health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and lowercosts for the people we serve. Our focus is the U.S.-basedemployees and families from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, andJPMorgan Chase. In time, we intend to share our innovations andsolutions to help others.”

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Haven had a message for consumers as well. “Our mission is totransform health care to create better outcomes and overallexperience, as well as lower costs for you and your family. We wantyou to get the right care every time, so that you can live yourbest life possible.”

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Also read: Where do benefits brokers fit in Amazon's newhealth care venture?

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There is no shortage of talk around innovation in our industry,often with similar messaging about new ways to provide our clientsbetter, next-generation, lower cost health care programs. And yetwe are still building our own employee benefits firms the same wayour predecessors did in the 1970s and 80s. We can't deliver theprograms of tomorrow with the producer model we have today.

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Many firms ask producers to find prospects, schedule and conductmeetings with those prospects, convert them to clients, supervisethe installation of the new client, and manage a block of business(even if it's just relationships) simultaneously. Relying on thismodel means that you have to find a unicorn who can do all of theabove at a high level.

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And now we want to add to this list the ability to understand,construct, and deliver patient-centric benefit plans committed toimproved quality and lower costs? The issue isn't a matter ofpersonnel or performance, it's the producer model itself thatcauses repeated failure and stifles firms' ability to grow.

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Most firms find themselves in one of two positions when it comesto producers:

  1. Our current producers aren't hungry to write new businessanymore. How do we reinvigorate them or move them out?
  2. We want to grow, but every producer we've hired hasn't workedout. How and where do we find new producers?

The key is to stop looking for producers. Maybe in a simplertime, when spreadsheets and auction-based solutions were the onlything we needed to lower costs for our clients, the producer modelcould have worked.  But somehow, over the last 30 years,we forgot to ask if that model was stillviable. 

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Stop looking for answers inside ourindustry

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If we look at any high functioning technology company's salesforce (who may well be our competition sooner rather than later),they don't waste their highly experienced, highly compensated salesexecutives' time on finding prospects, managing clientrelationships, cold calling or even qualifying prospects on thephone. They have built business processes that put the salesexecutive in a situation where they can use their honed skills tomaximum effectiveness.

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Tech companies break the functions of the producer model intomultiple roles:

  1. They have a consistent content marketing system that developsinbound leads.
  2. They have qualified inside sales people who are connecting withand qualifying inbound prospects to set up hand offs of only themost qualified prospects to the sales executives.
  3. Sales executives are now only working with highly qualifiedprospects. They piece together the sales presentation teams, makethe presentation, and bring in the client.
  4. The sales executives hand off to the implementation team forinstallation and breaks from the relationship
  5. The implementation team hands off to the client success teamfor maintaining the ongoing relationship

Build your firm's differently, like a technologycompany

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Building a model with all functions covered but by multipleprofessionals is more realistic, scalable, and reliable thanrelying on the chance that you have found the “right producer.” Thetech companies have proven it can allow for exponential growth, andwe've proven it in the benefits world, as well.

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Maximizing everyone's expertise is inclusive, fosters teamselling, and provides a solid career path for anyone who cares togrow in our industry. We've found it can provide a training groundfor others with less experience so they can build stronger careers,which allows firms to have a stable of qualified and trainedprofessionals when you need them in a higher role.

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Related: Reports of my death are greatlyexaggerated

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Most firms deploying this system are also compensating everyoneinvolved in the sales process, which causes them to work togetherto drive growth. There is substantial evidence that this model ismore cost effective to operate.

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If you think you're having challenges with a lack of productionor complacency from your producers today, imagine what they'll looklike competing with Amazon. If you think an infusion of new talentwill solve the problem, ask yourself if a young producer wouldrather work for your firm or Amazon.

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There's still time to evolve but as Mark Cuban says, you need tobuild your sales teams and process around a system or model with “areliable duplicatable, scalable and consistent way to bringpotential new customers in. If you don't have that, you don't havea business. You have a hobby.”

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Be sure to join Mick Rodgers and Bob Gearhart Jr. for theirsession “The Advisor of Tomorrow” April 2 at theBenefitsPRO Broker Expo in Miami.

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