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Case Study – Intermediary Perception Analysis:

When Third-Party Sales Activity is Compromised by Negative Perceptions

Anova Client

Large U.S.-Based Insurance Company

The Challenge

Anova’s client utilized independent, third-party advisors to distribute its products in the small and mid-size company sectors.  Over time, sales volume had grown sluggish and senior management wanted to know if this problem was company-specific or symptomatic of a channel-wide slowdown.  If the slowdown was company-specific, the client wanted to understand why advisors were selling its competitors’ products more frequently and more aggressively than its own.


Anova was engaged to conduct a comprehensive “Intermediary Perception Analysis” survey to provide the answers to these questions.  We conducted in-depth telephone interviews with advisors who sold our client’s products as well as those of its principal competitors.  We soon learned our client’s sluggish sales performance was not a market-wide phenomenon.  In fact, many of its competitors were doing quite well because advisors were selling their products at a much higher rate.  The Anova research showed that in addition to seeing our client’s sales support efforts as uneven and inadequate, advisors perceived the company as inflexible about accepting new business that did not fit its ideal profile or preferred underwriting standards.  As a result, advisors were establishing closer working relationships with some of the company’s competitors, whom they saw as being more receptive, creative and cooperative.  Finally, we also learned that advisors were highly dissatisfied with how our client was working with their mutual clients.  Advisors complained that the company was excluding them from client communications and interactions, undermining the close working relationships they maintained with these mutual clients.

The Outcome

Our client used Anova’s “Intermediary Perception Analysis” to initiate a number of changes.  Senior management loosened underwriting standards, adopted a more creative approach to structuring customer relationships, adapted the company’s products to evolving market expectations, expanded its sales support capabilities, and began taking a more collaborative approach with advisors on matters pertaining to client relationship management.  Anova continues to conduct follow up surveys at scheduled intervals for the company, and the satisfaction ratings advisors provide about our client have steadily and significantly improved, which has had a positive influence on the company’s sales volumes.