I partner with a variety of clients to help them sell more & be better leaders. Sales director for $1.2 billion US contractor. Lead transformations around sales strategy/management. Developed and implemented sales and operating models through large company mergers and acquisitions.
Read Allan Weiss - he has sales processes for consultants - one of which is getting speaking engagements.
Specialize - specialize - specialize. Be really clear on what people get out of your speaking that is special to you (they can't get it anywhere else). Join associations and give a free 20-minute teaser and then at the end that you go into more detail at your speaking sessions (which you can rent a location and charge admission or solicit companies to have you come in).
Some affordable marketing options may be with your local college - one with an MBA program. Talk to some professors and see if you company can be a project the class works on and provides you some ideas. It won't be expert - but it will be free.
If you cannot afford it - do you have time to study it?
Get clear on what you need - if you need overall strategy I am sure that there are plenty of people on this site that you can get 30 minutes to bounce some ideas off of..
If you need technical work completed - again maybe a paid internship. My son was paid $10/hour - but needed to be told what to do...
I've worked with about every major consulting firm in the last 5 years (I work for a large publicly traded company that has gone through mergers, re-organizations, etc.)
Interesting concept - like fivver on an upscale market? In my experience CEOs don't typically browse the internet to hire high quality consultants. They read an article or see a speaker that speaks to an issue their business has and then starts a relationship with that person that will then lead to a possible consulting engagement. When companies hire consultants they are seeking a solution that is tailored to their situation or company. I don't know if they will start buying in a more on-line less interactive mode or not moving forward; but I would spend some time on how companies buy what you are trying to sell.
As far as getting top consultants - many are paid 25% of an engagement they sell and another 25% of the engagement they deliver (workshop, speech, assessment, etc.). That is what you are competing against + their company provides research, copy, content, editors, etc. So they would lose that too since they could hardly go on their own while also working for a Bain or McKinsey.
What does your product do for the insurance company? What problem does it solve or what opportunity does it create?
What questions could you ask to determine if that particular insurance company had that problem or could gain that particular opportunity from your product.
Example - let's say you are selling expense tracking software and you are targeting an insurance company. Let's say that your current clients state that they save on average 30% of time in the accounting department on processing expense reports due to moving from a manual expense reporting system to your software. In this instance you would want to find insurance companies with a lot of people submitting expense reports manually - because your product has the greatest value for that target customer. You would then ask very early in the process how many expense reports they are processing in a given time and how they are submitting the reports today.
Who would it help; who would use your product/service; & who would pay for it at the insurance company? Those are the people you would talk to in order to sell your product. Then you would connect how it would help them in their current job or personally (like make them look good to their boss or give them more time with their kids).
Many entrepreneurs start a business because of a passion around an idea, product, or service. They usually have great ideas and can connect that with a customer need or problem. I also see that many entrepreneurs are really good at that passion; but may lack some skills or understand of the "running the business" side of the equation.
An example would be if you want to open your own manufacturing business - have you ever worked in a manufacturing business? I highly recommend working in a business that is similar for at least a year so you learn what works well or what doesn't work well on another person's dime. This is especially true when working with high start-up costs or a very limited initial cash flow which cannot tolerate costly mistakes.
Go work for someone or a business you can learn from is my answer :)
Focus on why they are asking. Ask them specifically what their concerns are - financial stability, response time, availability of your key people for their business, etc. Once you understand the why you can talk to how your company can address it - they really don't care how many people are there - there is another reason they are asking.
Have your client create it! Have an outline of the types of costs/time it saves your client and have your client tell you the numbers while you are meeting with him/her. It is believable because your client created it - very powerful tool! Contact me if you want to learn the method