Growing any business can be difficult, but it’s been especially tough for the insurance industry of late. Studies show the insurance sector’s growth rate is slowing, moving from 12.5% in 2006 to a predicted 3% to 5% seven years later. With such a significant growth decrease, agencies must do all they can to overcome growth obstacles.

What are some of those obstacles, and how can you combat them? We take a look at the common issues facing agencies and the best agency management system capabilities to break down barriers to success.

Challenge #1: Cost-Effective Marketing

Agencies are seeing more marketing competition direct from carries, and less support from the carries themselves in the marketing realm. This raises concern about how to stand out when you’ve got less to spend.

Data is the answer. The more you know about your customers and prospective audience, the better. With more knowledge, you can spend your dollars wisely, targeting audience segments and content with the highest ROI for your agency. Marketing automation and CRM software are essential in helping you collect better data, analyze more effectively, and deliver results faster.

Challenge #2: Industry Tech Advances

There are dozens of new methods and mechanisms in the industry. The key is to focus on those that matter and attack them first. Process digitization should be your first.

By digitizing processes, you can save time and money and deliver better service to your customers. A recent Harvard Business Review study found process digitization can deliver up to a 65% reduction in cost, 90% reduction in process turnaround time, and as much as a 20% increase in conversion rates. Plus, moving to paperless processes means decreased E&O issues.

Great digitization resources include integrated proposal creator, esignatures, and email in your management system. The more you can do without mailing, printing, and faxing, the better.

Are you up with the tech trends for the industry? See if you’re leveraging the best agency software

Challenge #3: Customer Barriers to Entry

Insurance is already a hard sell as it’s not seen as a necessity. Add to that a cumbersome underwriting process, and you’re making it less likely for leads to convert. Again, paperless or digitized processes and integrated systems will alleviate much of that pain.

In addition to paperless and integration, a client portal makes it easier for customers and prospects to do business with your agency. A client-facing portal allows constituents to make changes and get the information they need instantly, making them much more likely to come back again.

Challenge #4: Fear of E&O

Errors and omissions are always on your mind, but even more so with increasing security threats and more stringent industry regulations. You can put these fears at ease with paperless processing of information and integrated systems as well.

By digitizing documents and processes, you can be sure you won’t misplace or be unable to understand documentation. Integrated systems like email and texting help you accurately track customer interactions so you can go back and confirm information easily. Both are designed to keep you and your customers safer.

Challenge #5: Customer Expectations

Tech advances have amped up customer expectations across industries. A Salesforce.com report found more than 70% of customers expect businesses to change their service based on customer interactions. That means you need to understand customer expectations and adjust your services to meet them.

The good news is J.D. Power already did the work for you: a 2018 Auto Insurance Study found customers with the highest auto insurance satisfaction cited access to self-service tools and mobile apps as the top two things that make them happy. Start with these two customer-focused tools and you’ll be on your way to keeping up with expectations.

Dive deeper into what customers really want on our blog

Challenge #6: Lead Generation

You knew you’d find lead generation on this list. It’s the number one issue for most businesses, and insurance is no expectation. The best and most effective tool to increase your leads is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool). CRMs are built for lead management and provide you with a host of data to help you target and grow leads more effectively.

One way you can leverage a CRM is to identify your agency’s niche markets. For example, maybe you see you’re providing coverage to multiple emergency vehicle fleets or that you have a knack for serving those with lifelong health conditions like diabetes. Refine your services to meet these niche areas and you’ll find great success in targeted markets.

Gain more insights on Insurance Prospecting as an Independent Agency here

Getting Ahead of Roadblocks with Partner Platform

Our Partner Platform Community is focused on identifying obstacles and working towards solutions to support our agencies. Our most recent Partner Platform additions, Partner Connect and Producer Results Manager, are just a piece of what we have to keep our agencies equipped for whatever comes next.

Hear from the agencies themselves on our client stories page and see for yourself when you view a demo at sispartnerplatform.com.