Happy New Year! Let's make it a great one.

We're off and running in 2017. It's been a jam-packed first week for me, as I had the privilege of attending some of your market kickoff meetings, and I look forward to seeing many more of you very soon. The vibe in the field is unbelievable and the enthusiasm and momentum is contagious. Now, all we need to do is strike while the iron is hot and jump out to a blazing start in 2017. We picked right up where we left off last year and had a great call to start the year.

Target-setting process: What to expect

As we discussed at Focus, our U.S. Sales Target will be 6 percent for 2017. Market growth rates are calculated based on each market’s per capita opportunity. At Focus, you received your preliminary growth rates. Now, it’s time to lock those in. Here’s what you can expect over the next few weeks:

  • Jan. 14: Territory and market sales and business driver quotas and MKD/MKT/MAA quotas will be published online.
  • Jan. 25: Market directors receive suggested coordinator sales and business driver quotas. Instructions and details will be sent along with who your primary point of contact will be. Your point of contact collaborate with your market to set coordinator quotas. Let us know immediately if we should work directly with you or another member of your team during this process.
  • Feb. 1: Templates are due back to the target-setting team no later than Feb. 1. At this time, we will validate them and work with the MKDs to obtain final signoff. Once approved, RSC and DSC targets will be loaded into RPM. The cutoff for completing the upload is Feb. 11.
  • A complete overview of the target-setting process can be found here. If you have any questions, please reach out directly to Melissa Sievers.
Market Director Michael Stachowiak

The first National PACE Event of 2017 kicked off this week, and Colorado’s Market Director Michael Stachowiak urged every MKD to lead from the front. Hold your coordinators accountable for PACE activity plans, spend a few hours in the field prospecting with your team, and ask every team member to elevate PACE leads and close new business. For Mike, when you commit to doing something right – whether it’s raising over $60,000 in Aflac Cancer Center donations or taking home the PACE cup – you’ve got to prove that you’re personally invested in the win. This week, your activity will be classified in four categories:

  1. Decision-maker presentations in existing accounts.
  2. Decision-maker presentations in new accounts.
  3. Enrollments scheduled for existing accounts.
  4. Enrollments scheduled for new accounts.

West Coast adventures powered by FAME

Looking for additional reasons to set a positive PACE this week? Think Q1 FAME and how the activity your teams generate can get you closer to qualifying for big bonus money and these two West Coast adventures:

FAME Your Way to Pebble Beach. The contest runs Weeks 1-26, and criteria is similar to last year’s Napa contest structure. Details are coming soon, so PACE yourself now to make sure you’re the territory with the highest percent of TVP and MKD FAME qualifiers in Q1 and Q2.

Convention 2017 – Aloha, Hawaii! To qualify for Convention, you must hit 100 percent of your sales quota and achieve FAME at least once during the qualification period. Didn’t qualify for FAME in Q4? Use the next 12 weeks to secure your Q1 FAME and your beach chair in tropical paradise. Visit Field Force Services for Convention 2017 details.

Broker business: The key to unlocking FAME

Last year, the numbers told a clear story: Markets that increased their broker business made FAME in at least one quarter – markets that decreased their broker business didn’t. With the spotlight on health care in 2017, there’s never been a better time to partner with brokers and build true benefits solution packages. Here’s how three market directors are upping their game:

Rod Nunez, LA-E, has hired broker coordinators for his four regions – and by sponsoring broker events and expanding his list of brokers to include those who aren’t Aflac-appointed, he expects each of them to bring in $250,000 in AP. That’s a $1 million boost to his market's bottom line.

Ricky Reynolds, AR, is asking each region to bring in more broker reps and to produce at least five cases every quarter. With four regions, that’s 100 career-assigned cases by the end of 2017.

Matt Berger, PA-PH, doesn’t believe in differentiating between the field and broker channels – for him, it’s all sales. This year, he’s running events to introduce brokers to his best agents, and he's committing to providing full technology, benefits and enrollment solutions. By leading accounts to solutions that best fit their needs, you’re building trust with brokers and gaining access to future business.

President, Aflac U.S., Teresa White

Teresa reiterated the importance of Vision 2020 while reminding us that more than anything else, the marketplace needs solutions. Aflac's job is to be that benefit solutions provider to the entire market. Vision 2020 depends on all operations working together. Vision 2020 is additive in nature – we look for growth in both the broker and career channels, as well as any additional channels we may add. The market demands it, and we cannot lose focus on growth in our channels if we plan to reach our goals in 2017.

Everwell reached its year-end objectives thanks to the hard work by Jeramy Tipton and his team – and all of you who continue to drive the platform forward.

Congratulations to TVP Ken Meier and RVP Brian White for leading the Northeast to an outstanding 2016 and for continuing to push all the way to the end. Well done.

Chairman and CEO Dan Amos

Dan gave his thanks to the Northeast and also thanked the Aflac Nation for continuing to drive One Day Pay. While the expectation is every market at or above 50 percent Smart Claim usage by the end of the first quarter, there' s no reason why that number shouldn't eventually top out at 75 or 80 percent.

We need every market to win in 2017 – and specifically in the first quarter. Dan believes wholeheartedly that Q1 success means bigger wins down the road. The urgency starts now. We can and will get it done.

Remember, due to the MLK holiday, next week's call will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Have a great week, everybody.

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