Ideal will use its sustainable competitive advantages to steadily gain market share. The first advantage is based on extensive inside industry knowledge of the insurance field. The second advantage is an already established network of contacts within the industry.
While these competitive advantages currently reside in Sarah's head as intellectual capital, it will be downloaded to the organization through intensive training courses that Sarah is designing and putting all employees through.
Ideal's sales strategy will based on closing the deal through a persuasive spiel detailing how Ideal can provide a superior service relative to the competitor. Because Ideal is intimately familiar with the industry, they can provide a superior service for the same cost.
This approach will only work with agents that have already decided to forgo an in-house support staff and are trying to decide between a specific support staff.
Sarah will also be targeting newly registered agents who are making the decision whether to have an in-house solution or to outsource the service. Although Sarah no longer sells insurance, she has kept her license current. This allows her to be part of the various insurance associations that agents typically belong to. By being an active member of the association, she is able to do a lot of networking for her business. This develops new relationships with insurance agents that she was not aware of before while in practice. Additionally, it allows her to maintain relationships with all the agents that she was colleagues with previously. Sarah will turn this access into contracts.
The first month will be used to set up the office. This will include choosing the site, purchasing furniture, and setting up the computer network. During this first month Sarah will be contacting some of her former colleagues
The first week of the second month will be used for an intensive training of two of the support staff. The last three weeks of the month will see some sales activity. Sales will steadily increase from this point.
Month five will see the hiring of the final two support staff. They will also be trained during the first week of the month and then will take on a work load.
Ideal's competitive edge is a very specific, deep industry knowledge of insurance. While having this specific knowledge will preclude a lot of the market, it makes a small part of the market quite attractive to you and your customers.
This deep industry knowledge is based on Sarah's five years spent as an independent insurance agent. Sarah will then gather all of this intellectual capital and process it into a training program so is is shared knowledge throughout the organization.
This approach is somewhat backwards relative to the norm for the support service industry. Generally, the background of the company owner is from the support staff industry. They then apply the support staff proficiencies to the industry of their different customers. Sarah believes that the intricacies of the insurance industry are far more complex then that of the support agency. Her rationale is that she can pick up the few things she does not know about support much quicker than having to learn about each industry.
Sarah's industry access is valuable for networking as well. Having spent time in the industry, Sarah developed many strong relationships with agents. Having established these relationships previously created a trust bond that is significant when it comes to attempting to transform the professional insurance relationship to a support service based relationship.
Ideal will have several milestones early on: