When Grant Born worked as a division manager for a health insurance company called Health MarketsÂ in the mid-2000s, his team needed a spark to climb from its dead-last ranking for internal sales performance. Born turned to Time to Hire, revamped his sales team, and within a year was churning out numbers that ranked among the best in the company.
That experience stuck with Born when he co-founded his own company Healthcare Solutions Team (HST) in 2007, but it took a similar predicament to spark his interest in the service once again. HST launched with 14 agents and its market reach was constrained to the greater Chicago area.
Born knew his company had to expand from the highly competitive Chicago marketplace to sustain consistent growth, but to do that required hiring insurance sales reps to cover more ground. He tried to recruit in the leanest way possible, sifting through online resumes and attending the occasional job fair or trade show to find new talent, but when the effort outnumbered the marginal results, he knew a change had to be made. Even with those he could hire, the turnover of the industry was too overwhelming and he spent the majority of his time maintaining a sales staff rather than growing his business.
He turned back to Time to Hire with the goal in mind to build-out a national sales team of independent, commission-based health insurance sales contractors. With immediate success, Born has continued to run Time to Hire campaigns to this day on a weekly basis, and in that time HST has grown into a force of 558 agents operating across 47 states, along with 24 brick-and-mortar offices, all of which has added-up to a $20M business.
âOur business is two equal parts: sales and recruiting,â Born said. âThey work hand-in-hand, so to drive sales we need more insurance agents and vice-versa, meaning our business needs to be recruiting at all times.â
As Born describes, however, many sales candidates lack insurance backgrounds and it can be a tough job to sell to newcomers. Insurance agents in most states are required to be licensed, and to make the job worth their while, some agents will need to be licensed in multiple states to expand their customer base. Also, with no base salary and startup costs, such as licensing, and the truth that insurance isn’t the glitziest profession, and Born says heâs run into many candidates who actively avoid insurance related jobs.
The insurance sales industry is also prone to rampant turnover, which drives many candidates away. For HST, while the top third of its agents are relatively stable, the bottom third is continually in-flux.
âOverall it tends to be a high-turnover business, which is why weâre constantly recruiting to be maintaining our sales volumes,â Born describes. âIn this business, however, we beat the industry average for retention rate, and thatâs because we have enough candidates coming in the door to allow us to be selective.â
Born uses the Time to Hire platform to narrow search results to sales candidates with self-employment experience or sales experience, as candidates without the right background have presented too big of a risk in previous hires for the company. His company performs group interviews consisting of 3-10 candidates, and also allows the option to webcast those interviews so agents that canât attend in person can watch a webinar.
This approach has saved Born time, money, and effort, but more importantly itâs ensured that his company sustains growth with a committed and talented sales team.
“Time to Hire does the heavy lifting of recruiting,â Born said. âItâs very streamlined, very straightforward, compared to what we used to do within online marketing or newspaper ads, itâs much more effective and the difference is the phone rings with candidates who are looking for a job: which was always our biggest struggle.â
âWe used to go to trade shows and pay extraordinary fees to get into job fairs and shows and spend an ungodly amount of time sorting through candidates without ever getting that great of a result. For the amount of money we invest, Time To Hire is by far the most effective way of easily and quickly hiring insurance sales reps.â
HST continues to run anywhere from 8 to 20 Time to Hire recruiting campaigns per week, resulting in about a 7-day turnaround to interview and a 10-day turnaround period from first introduction to hiring for chosen candidates.
Bornâs sales staff has grown 4,000% in just eight years, and he credits the majority of his hiring success toÂ Time to Hire, which he says drives about 80 percent of his companyâs recruiting efforts, with the remaining efforts occurring by word-of-mouth. In recognition of the companyâs impressive growth rates, Crainâs Chicago Business ranked HST at number 16 for fasting growing Chicago businesses.
Moving forward, Born will continue to promote from within, acquiring agents through Time to Hire to eventually move up the ranks.
âMy only frustration is we donât have enough people running and using the service regularly,â he says. âIf we had more leaders in the company working with Time to Hire then weâd certainly see better recruiting results, but yeah we certainly plan to continue moving forward with the service for a long time.â