At Betterview, we are proud of our hardworking, dedicated team, who remain tirelessly committed to our mission to empower P&C insurance carriers with actionable property insights. We think it’s important to regularly highlight the contributions of these employees; both to express our appreciation, and to introduce to the world the wonderful people that make Betterview such a great place to work.
This week, we sat down with Torrie Hossfeld, Sales Director. Torrie has been working in the insurtech industry for almost a decade, and in sales for even longer. She talked about her approach to sales, changes she is seeing in the insurance industry, as well as the ways that Betterview approaches customer success.
Joseph Green (Senior Writer): What does your role look like on a day to day basis?
Torrie Hossfeld (Sales Director): One of the things I love about sales – but also something that can be a challenge – is that every day can be a little different. I spend a lot of time on calls, either in person or on Zoom land where we live today. That will be with current customers, prospects, potential customers… and then there’s a lot of followup to those meetings. Then there’s the other side of it, trying to educate prospective customers. Emails and phone calls to people who I think would be a good fit for Betterview. Trying to build a value proposition and become a trusted partner, to get them to have those conversations and take meetings. Hopefully they then become a customer.
J: How do you identify customers you think would be good prospects?
T: It starts with having an understanding of the property carriers in the space. Our company has a lot of experience in the P&C industry. Whether that’s personal lines or commercial, anyone that is underwriting property in the United States is someone we are interested in, as long as they have the resources and the vision to use our platform. We also like to go to conferences, though of course that has been difficult this past year.
J: What makes a challenging customer? How do you close with them?
T: Challenging is someone who doesn’t want to change. They don’t see the problem or the challenge that we could solve for them, and they’re not willing to take a risk on a new tool. How do I close with them? Well, you kinda have to find that pain point and just keep digging at it. Maybe you even need to give them some space, do a drip campaign instead of a direct sell. Share information with them about the industry, about how you align with their initiatives. Get to know them, and then they’ll look at you as someone they trust, and will come to you when they need help. A really challenging customer though, you just need to keep working at them. Find a touchpoint wherever you can, even if you’re not necessarily always saying “buy now!”
J: What is the hardest part of your job, and what is the most enjoyable?
T: The hardest part is getting a difficult customer to engage! You can hypothesize what someone’s business pain may be, but insurance has proven to be an industry that is kind of set in their ways. So getting the right people involved in thinking outside of the box and thinking about technology and how to do their business a little differently, that can be a real challenge.
The most enjoyable is of course closing a deal. But on a deeper level, when you are able to help someone and make a positive impact in their business, that’s a really special feeling. Whether that’s helping someone work faster, or helping them reduce losses. Just having that positive impact on their day-to-day makes it worth it for me.
J: I’m interested in what you said about how insurance companies can be stuck in their ways. I feel like new technologies and new entrants in the space mean that they kind of have to change… how do you get these big, established clients to take a risk on a new technology?
T: You definitely need to become a trusted advisor, and you have to understand their business pain. That can be very hard. You can make phone calls and set up emails and meetings, but unless someone has a real pain point – their losses or expenses are high, they can’t do inspections because of Covid, they’re short on staff – they’re going to be tricky to convince. Again, you just really have to find those pain points, keep digging at them, and inform them how Betterview could really help them work faster and save time and resources.
J: Do you have any insurance background?
T: All of us in sales have some insurance background, which brings a lot to the process. It would be very hard, I think, to sell to a carrier or an underwriter without any background in the industry. I spent fifteen plus years at Standard & Poors, and when I was there I worked with carriers on their asset management side and their need for data. But prior to Betterview I was at another insurtech that focused on underwriting, and before that I was on the agency side. That really helped me learn all about the industry, the ins and outs, the terminology… insurance has a LOT of terminology. Even today I was talking to a customer about their submission process, and I could give them some insight about how every agency management system is built around an emailed submission. My experience gave me that knowledge, which allowed me to help the customer a little more.
J: What is some advice you would give to someone just getting started in sales?
T: Run! Haha, just kidding. A couple things.
- It takes a lot of perseverance and tenacity. You get told no a lot more than yes, that’s why we celebrate the yesses so much.
- Try to stay informed, but it’s also important to own it when you don’t have all the information. Don’t be afraid to say “I’ll get back to you on that.” It’s okay to not know everything.
- If you try to work completely on your own, it’s not going to work out. People want to buy from a team, so you need to want to be a part of a team, and to collaborate with everyone in the company. Sales can think of itself as the Quarterback: you might bet calling the plays, but you can’t succeed without a good offensive and defensive line.
J: So do you find Betterview to be a pretty collaborative environment then?
T: All the time, every day! Obviously the sales team is very collaborative with each other, because we want to share things we learned. Sometimes that means learning from calls that don’t go well. But definitely we share the success stories too. What did we learn about the industry, what did we learn about the customers, what are the wins for the platform or wins for the company… Being in sales is super collaborative. We have a couple team meetings a week, and we all utilize each other as a resource too. But then we also collaborate a lot with other departments. Marketing, engineering, value consulting, customer success… Honestly, I think sales is the one team that works with everybody.
J: Why did you decide to join Betterview?
T: I’ve been in the insurance space for a while, and I was particularly interested in the technology side of the company. Even though we’re a startup, we actually have a product that works and is ready to help our customers. Also, I really admire how we’re willing to do the work for partnerships upfront. We do things like retro-analysis, coverage analysis, and value consulting, to make sure we are a good fit for a partner’s specific needs. We are really focused on being a technology partner rather than just taking a “sell and run” approach.
J: What are the specific advantages that Betterview offers to carriers?
T: Well, I could give you my elevator pitch… Betterview is a customizable, flexible platform, integrating a variety of data sets, that enables you to take action based on your customized underwriting guidelines.
I think a big thing that sets us apart is the granularity of our insights, particularly our Roof Condition Score. Most of our competitors do these really broad scores, maybe 1-5. It’s not specific and it’s not giving you the details you need to make an informed decision. Betterview, on the other hand, gives a 1-100 roof score that specifically spotlights what conditions are driving risk. That allows the insured and carriers to work together to mitigate risk, which I think not only drives down losses but really helps build this relationship of trust between the two.
As our platform continues to expand, I think another big advantage is the integration of third party data, Betterview insights, and internal customer data. That’s going to include our PartnerHub, which includes data from all sorts of trusted industry providers, like e2Value’s property valuation data, and Hazard Hub’s regional peril. Being able to take action on all those different data sets combined, in a single platform, that is going to be invaluable to underwriters.
J: Do you have any takes on how current technologies are driving change in the industry?
T: I think we are in an educational period right now. Folks are still getting comfortable with things like machine learning and AI, being able to process vast amounts of information with new data tools. So a lot of that process really is just education at this point. But I do see those technologies, like automation, playing a much bigger role.
It’s a misconception that machine learning/AI will make everything perfect. They won’t. But they should make processes faster, more efficient. Really what they will do is free up humans to focus on what only humans can do. There are so many processes within insurance that can be automated, allowing humans to actually use their expertise instead of doing mindless manual tasks.
The big challenge is the folks who have older technology workflows. How do you integrate those with new advances? That can be a months or even years long process. We try to be very flexible when integrating with existing software or workflows. We don’t like to say “no” right away, we like to say “that could possibly happen, we might build that capability into the platform moving forward” etc. because the platform is always evolving, and we always keep customer needs and user feedback in mind.
J: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
T: In the winter I ski, in the summer I golf. I love to travel. That’s actually one of the reasons I love sales, because it allows me to travel a lot. But I also like to do lots of personal traveling. And of course I love just being with my kids and my family.
J: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
T: I’m gonna have to say Hawaii. Hawaii or Switzerland. They’re just such different trips, but both were so great. Hawaii is about laying around in the sun, relaxing. Switzerland was such a fun, beautiful adventure. Such a unique mix of cultures: the Italian, the French, the German, it’s all there. What a great trip.
J: What is your hidden talent?
T: I don’t know that I really have a hidden talent, but I am a pretty good cook. I like to cook everything. Various types of Asian food, Mexican food… maybe not a lot of French. Desserts, meals, all sorts of different stuff. And usually everyone eats it, so it must be okay.
J: What would people be surprised to know about you?
T: One is that I am a tom-boy at heart. I like sports, yardwork, I like to fix things, I’m not much one for makeup or dresses except for work. And the other thing is that I am a fifth generation Coloradoan. So, my ancestors have been in the state since the late 1800s. I’m very proud of that.
Betterview is on a mission to turn high-quality data into actionable insights for the P&C industry. We foster a collaborative environment, working together to find the best solutions for our customers. If you are interested in joining a strong, innovative team, head over to the careers page on our website or contact us directly.