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Beyond the curiosity this generates among candidates, we often get asked why we made these choices, and how they enable Sales to thrive at Alan. After all, variable compensation is a classic benefit in a Sales package, and at first sight, a written culture seems unadapted to a customer-facing role, where oral communication is key to succeed.
We have built a community of 150 Sales reps across 3 countries, and they love working at Alan. Why? Sales are more and more driven by purpose, and Alan offers an environment which fits them.
For a long time, Sales expectations were centered around working for famous companies recognized for their sales track record, leveraging a strong processed machine and offering a high individual financial compensation.
But more and more Sales have been questioning these priorities, and have lost their sense of purpose in mature and process-first organizations. Now they want to:
Be part of a unique adventure that is aligned with their personal values.
Have an impact on a collective project, and be rewarded by the value it creates
Evolve in a transparent culture which encourages Sales collaboration and teamwork.
Be offered multiple opportunities to grow professionally, either in their current area of expertise, or in a different one.
Work in an environment which conveys trust, breaks routine, and helps them find the right work / life balance
Taking a step back, these expectations are actually close to the ones we can find in other teams (product, marketing, tech), and show that Sales from the new generation do not want to be treated any differently.
Building such a work environment does not only mean having a great mission. It means challenging long-established assumptions of what a company should offer Sales in terms of objectives, compensation, and career opportunities. It means defining intangible values, and how we live by them on a daily basis.
At Alan, we have defined 5 values, pillars of our culture, that enable each Alaner to evolve in a unique environment:
The purpose of this series of articles is to express how Sales live by these values, and why they create the conditions for Sales to be fulfilled in their job.
Bringing health and well-being in the conversation
When companies think of health insurance, they usually consider 3 things: coverage, price and compliance.
These elements are of course essential – but we believe there is much more at stake. This is why our first mission as Sales is to raise awareness about a critical problem today: Employees’ health and well-being. By sharing external insights (studies, benchmarks, customer stories), we start a discussion around the shift that is currently happening in the market. Employees’ expectations are changing, and leading companies are taking initiative to increase engagement, reduce turnover, and attract new, younger talent. At Alan, our mission is to improve people’s health (member first). For this reason, we never showcase our product until prospects confirm that improving employees’ health is a fundamental need for them.
Example in the restaurant industry:
Client’s starting point: many prospects consider that their priority is to control their budget and lower any non-essential costs, for example by choosing the cheapest health insurance on the market.
Our approach: employers currently face a strong difficulty in hiring and retaining employees, and it is an obvious signal that there is a structural problem. Employees want to feel good when they are at work. They want better working conditions, and it has a huge impact on HR priorities (75% of employees working in the restaurant industry want to leave their job). It is time to take employees’ well-being very seriously, and to build a much more ambitious policy to create engagement and increase attractiveness.
We let the product and the clients speak
Our user NPS is exceptional (70), that’s our very first asset. It means for Sales that we do not need to “oversell” the product (for instance by promising future features in the roadmap). We focus on selling the product as it is.
We also put our prospects in touch with our customers, to have a direct discussion about their experience with Alan. It creates a virtuous circle that accelerates our acquisition (multiplier effect).
It is very comfortable for Sales to know their clients will be delighted by our user experience. It decreases their mental load (“How happy will the client be during their onboarding?”).
Ultimately, it makes Sales better at their job. We believe the Sales who are convinced by the product are the most convincing ones.
What it does not mean
If the client asks us for a specific feature and we can’t do it or it is not scalable, we do not hesitate to say no. We don’t blindly accept customer requests, as it might not be the best solution for the wider member community.
In addition to being always “members first”, the Sales activity at Alan is also driven by the rest of the principles: Fearless Ambition, Distributed Ownership, Radical Transparency and Personal and Community Growth . These make interactions among the sales team members different, more thoughtful and productive. Keep reading to see how…