I have not yet met an agency that will admit that they do not have a growth mindset. This means that every agency wants to grow. How they grow is very personal to each agency. Few are heavy on buying leads and converting them, others are focused on referral activities, some go after BOR while others try to do all of the above. There is nothing wrong with any of these strategies. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying "Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax." The axis is the tool and a leverage multiplier. You may be the strongest lumberjack in the world, but with a dull ax you are in trouble! In the same way, you can be the best seller, but without smart tools, you are not used to your best advantage.
So, the question of million dollars is ̵
If done right, it will help achieve higher sales, better efficiency, customer satisfaction.
We have carefully looked at the 10 best CRMs – SalesForce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, Pipedrive, Freshsales, Active Campaign, Copper and unfortunately none of them have resonated with the needs and expectations of Independent Agent's business models. , data fields and process flows. You can claim that SF and Infusionsoft are possible challengers, but let me tell you if you are willing to go that route, it is a long uneven and expensive route. The smarter strategy would not be to try to recreate the wheel and look for CRM solutions that have been developed specifically for an insurance agency. Although they may not be a tool for everything like SF but it will spare you a lot of grief because you do not have to go through the process of building it one piece at a time. Some of the pain points include – integration with agency management system, other system integration (phone, forms etc), every minor change will cost you significantly, they are designed for lots not for your agency so customization will have its own costs. If all of these are good reasons for you to consider what is there for Insurance CRM, make sure you look for the following features in CRM. Some of the key features that you would take care of –
CRM & Sales Management
- Contact Profile – There can be no CRM without a contact profile or 360 view. It will be the center of all consolidated contact information including static information, transaction history, communication data and preferences, lifestyles and phases and more.
- Lead Management – A contact journey is triggered when he / she has little interest in doing business with you or meets the ideal customer profile requirements qualifies him / her as a leader. It is important to engage, understand and approach management and still manage all the information in the system to be traceable and generate insights that can be used to complete the deal efficiently and effectively. This will coincide with marketing automation when you set the drip to take care of the lead to the inflection point for sales-qualified leads.
- Deal Management – When management is ready to do business with you, this is where you track and manage business with a focus on communication and product positioning. Track their pain points and provide options through your service and product and expertise to resolve for it. Not having a system that will capture everything that will only slow you down because you have to track all this information in some form or form. This information will grow as your interaction and their development in the sales funnel occurs.
- Data Analytics : It's like knowing your vitals, if any system gives you analysis several layers deep, you need to run away from that system immediately. Data analysis is to help you understand what works and what does not so that you have a profile of what winning looks like. If these basic requirements are not met, the whole system would fail because you have no idea what works and if you win.
- Goal Management – We love all incentives and most of us are competitive. When you collect these two, it's just great for the agency, because you not only let people be competitive with colleagues but reward them for crushing it. Self-management as well as team goal management is the core of CRM and will not only allow you to use the power of the system but get the most out of the user of the system through goal management.
I can write twenty other functions in CRM but if you have some of the above you have a good starting point and it is super critical for success – ie small, quick gains. After reading the above segment, agencies should now be able to connect to what they need and how they will use it as CRM and Sales Management. Another module that is just as powerful in the CRM ecosystem, sales management, is marketing automation.
Marketing Automation in this content is limited in its application should not be confused with overall marketing management. Marketing Automation is only a function of nurturing leads, prospects or clients via e-mail / text / telephone, voicemail or e-mail sent at defined / scheduled workflows with triggers based on business rules, dates or sent manually. Marketing automation has received a lot of attention and has also delivered well for users as it switches very high frequency low value communication to automation so that the client can focus on more complex and 1: 1 communication as needed.
Drip campaigns : Drip campaigns are the low hanging fruits in automation that almost everyone should benefit from, especially to nurture certain very specific goals for business use, including – growing up campaign, welcome campaigns, lost customer campaigns, cross-selling campaign, etc. Drop campaigns are serial email, text, phone, voicemail or mail mail scheduled at specific intervals to please the customer and add value to the content.
Because communication with your customers is based on your style, culture, expectations and more, it's important to edit, update your marketing automation to meet your branding needs. Depending on your audience that will receive messages, edit the messages in email, text, voice, manage phone scripts or postcards to add your color to it. It is not a good strategy to just get started with what is offered to you by the CRM company. Start a campaign and keep growing and keep doing shared tests to learn what works and what needs your help!
Security : It is assumed that the software we buy is secure enough or they invest enough to ensure that my data is secure. Some of the key elements that you should ask your software provider include:
- How is data encrypted and protected?
- Do third parties make security assessments of their products
- Do you use automated security testing or code review tools?
- Who owns the information?
- What happens to data if the partnership ends?
- How is data recovered in case of loss?
- Will any third party have access to my information?  What do you actively do to prevent violations?
- What best practices for cyber security are followed?
- How often do you search for vulnerabilities?
- Can you provide the results of your latest external security audit?  Have you had any violations or security issues before?
- What are the system monitoring procedures?
- How do you inform customers about security issues?
- Do you have a disaster recovery or business continuity plan?
- Do you have cyber security or liability insurance?
It really is a list. Yes it is ! But the idea is to give you clarity about what kind of security issues may exist and how they may affect you? Does your software company think about each and every one of them and if not … run!
So let me summarize my thoughts mentioned above.
If you are an agent – you can not afford to run an effective agency with a growth tank without having sales, CRM, marketing automation but at the same time make sure that the system has good security and you ask the right questions to validate these.
Additional reading- 7 steps to guide you to success!