Propel provides innovative insurance solutions to thousands of companies across the country. We make it our business to know your world inside and out.
Trust, commitment, integrity, passion, and smart are the five core values at Propel Insurance. Every person plays a crucial role, and that’s certainly true of Suzanne Lewis – Propel’s Enterprise Sales Executive.
If you’re not sure what an Enterprise Sales Executive does, you’re not alone. This month, we sat down with Suzanne to understand exactly how she opens doors at Propel.
Q: Suzanne – Tell us about your history here at Propel.
A: I started at the reception desk 24 years ago. I worked there for nine months, took 6 weeks off to have my second child and upon my return I moved into the commercial lines department where I stayed for three years, working on large construction accounts. Then, I was given the opportunity to be an employee benefit broker. I knew I wanted to go into sales, but I knew zero about it, so I had to learn quickly. They threw me into the deep end and I said, “I’m gonna swim.” In fact, I was in that position for 13 years.
In 2014, I was presented with a new opportunity: The Enterprise Sales Executive position. Applying my background in commercial lines and benefits, I oversee all new enterprise relationships at Propel. Enterprise clients are defined as prospects and clients that utilize multiple lines of coverage (i.e. Commercial, Surety, Benefits, Workers Comp, etc.) and have the potential to provide revenue to Propel in excess of $100,000. I open doors, create relationships, and bring teams together. I match a client’s needs with a hand-picked team of people and resources across the Propel organization.
Q: So, to be clear, do you work with new prospective accounts while they’re considering Propel and you help them come on board
A: I find new prospects, picking and coaching the best team to meet every prospective client, making introductions and telling our story. Once we open the door, and a potential client meets our teams and realizes that we’re the entire package, they wonder why they hadn’t talked to us years ago.
When prospects become customers, I stay with the relationship for the long term – I don’t do the day-to-day work, but I help solve any challenges that arise. I like to be in the middle of everything.
Q: How is your role different than that of an insurance producer?
A: I am a producer but I work across all lines and industry niches. I also work with all the different components of insurance: risk management, commercial, employee benefits, bonding, cyber … whatever clients need. My job is to make sure all the tools are being used. Without being obnoxious, I want to share everything we do at Propel. I want clients to say, “I didn’t know they could do that too.”
I open doors, build relationships, identify needs, and bring the right teams in. It’s a collaborative, flowing process. I work very closely across all lines. I always endeavor to be very candid, transparent, cooperative and honest with people, and I believe that most appreciate that.
Q: What do you love most about your position?
A: So many things. Honestly, this role fits me to a T. I’m a firm believer that the person in the next door you open could become your new best friend. Plus, I believe in Propel and what we can do. We work so collaboratively, providing holistic solutions for clients. I love this role 100 percent – all day, every day. I love sharing the Propel story!
Q: Can you share an example of how you create opportunity?
A: We had a potential client who said he was happy with his brokerage firm. He thought their service was good, but when we dug deeper, we uncovered that the incumbent broker had failed to educate them about some compliance issues. This is a classic case of people not knowing what they don’t know. When we uncover potential issues, they are surprised. When they realize the breadth and depth of Propel, they are always impressed. Even if they thought they were happy before, they soon realize they could be getting a lot more service, expertise and solutions with Propel.
Q: How has COVID impacted your process?
A: Working remotely has been great. Working from home makes me more focused. There are fewer personal interruptions, and I can just talk to people all day on the phone and through virtual calls. I start early in the morning. I do miss the interaction with my colleagues in the office setting and clients though and look forward to getting back to some of that, even if on a limited basis.
Q: You are a mom, right? Do you think that role makes you better at your work?
A: 100% Absolutely! Being a mom makes you laser focused. I only have so much time, so I have to figure out how to make it work. There’s no room for error. I have to be good at my craft, and I’d better know what I’m talking about. I do my homework ahead of time because I only have one chance to make an amazing first impression.
I have two kids, a 27-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old son. I’ve been married for a long time – my 35- year wedding anniversary is this year. My husband is one of my biggest fans.
Q: Why do you think this role works so well in the Propel organization?
A: I give a lot of credit to my business partners and colleagues at Propel. They help me every day. I want to thank everyone because they’ve all had a hand in helping me develop my skills and expertise over the years and helping this role work today. When I started, 24 years ago, I didn’t know how to talk to a client, so I asked everyone for advice. I like to tell people, when you can start as a receptionist and move up to the level of shareholder, there’s hope for everyone. I want all other women to know they can do this too.