Prospecting in any industry takes a combination of
the right “stuff” (technology, data, people) and the right execution (systems
and processes). Though it may be tempting, purchasing the best insurance
prospecting software isn’t a solution on its own; you and your team need to
understand how to leverage it.
We’ve worked with countless agencies to help them get their insurance prospecting software to work with and for them. Here are some common pitfalls we see in agencies struggling to put their software to work.
1. They’re not gathering the right data
What you put into your prospecting software matters. Quality data brings quality results, and outdated or incomplete data brings poor outcomes. Information like your customer’s age ranges, marketing preferences, and what they value most in their coverage is essential to understanding who you should target in your prospecting. The days of blindly calling or emailing hundreds of contacts are over – you need the right data to narrow down lists to the best fits for your agency.
2. They’re not putting data into action
Gathering the correct information is just the beginning – it’s what you do with it that affects your growth. Your agency needs to interpret data and determine how to use it. When you understand your customer’s contact preferences and pain points, the next step is to schedule marketing automation to send targeted content addressing their needs via the methods they prefer at the times that work best. You can also see opportunities for cross-selling and referrals in your data, capitalizing on your established relationships to grow your book of business.
3. They don’t have the right people in the right roles
Mismatching people and their roles in the agency is
a common misstep. Especially in independent insurance agencies, staff take on
multiple roles and do a lot of learning on the job. While these are valuable
skills, it often means people are stuck learning or doing something that doesn’t
fit their strengths.
Communicating with prospects is a delicate dance, and each group or individual is different. A common mistake salespeople in all industries make is using the same tactics on every prospect or lead. Personalization, especially around outreach, is highly valued in today’s sales landscape. Again, data comes into play, informing your team of how often to reach out to their contacts to keep them engaged enough without overwhelming their inboxes.
5. They’re staying stagnant
What worked last year, or even last quarter, won’t
necessarily work today. It can be tempting to set up a workflow for contacting
a specific group of prospects and letting it run for perpetuity, but you’ll
soon find your results will wane. Habits and preferences quickly change in our
digitized world, and your agency needs to stay vigilant. Update your database
regularly, reevaluate processes, and continually adjust to improve results.
Make Prospecting Work for You with Partner Platform
Our Partner Platform team stays updated on prospecting in insurance, adding a host of essential technology over the years. Each enhancement comes with testing and training to find the best tools that integrate seamlessly into agency life.
With in-person, custom training, always accessible online tutorials and FAQs, and a responsive customer service team, we are confident our Partner Platform agencies have the best tech and training to make effective prospecting a part of their daily lives.
surveys found the average insurance agent is just shy of 60
years old. That means two
things: there are a lot of experienced agents out there, and there are a
good number of agents reaching retirement age. As these agents retire, they’ll
take their experience and wisdom with them. Don’t let that valuable asset leave
when retiring agents do! While investing in insurance agent software, you
should also invest in insurance agent talent.
As Millennials and Generation Z take over the workforce, get them into your agency before your experienced agents leave. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to attract young talent to keep your agency growing for years to come.
What to Look for in Agency Talent
The independent insurance industry is unique: it
has a small business, community feel and relies on technology to navigate a
complex system that affects people’s safety and livelihood. Such a multifaced
industry requires unique people. When
hiring for your agency, look for people who are:
Flexible, meeting people where they are
in their insurance needs
Resilient enough to hear “no” multiple
times before getting a “yes” on signing a policy
People-driven as the drive to serve
others is a major motivating factor in the business
Great communicators whether listening to
a customer during a crisis or working with their team to resolve an issue
Tech-savvy enough to understand the
latest in insurtech
Ultimately, you want someone who wants to help
others and can handle the challenges and opportunities of a service-oriented
industry. At the same time, you also want a team member willing to learn
and grow in this evolving market.
tech use is important to the next generation. Highlight how you’re using
technology and emphasize your focus on leveraging tech to improve communication
named one of the top 2021 global talent trends “an increasingly
diverse…workforce.” Diversity in your office is important to new hires, so you
should also start taking it seriously.
Training: The best way to keep hires
around is to prevent burnout. That starts at day one with training, equipping
them to understand their role and your agency. The more prepared they feel, the
Mentorship: Beyond training, new hires
are more likely to stay if they feel supported. One of the best ways to show
is through targeted mentorship – a dedicated person who walks them through
new situations and provides advice on tackling new challenges.
Culture: According to Cordia
Resources, more than 1/3rd of Americans say they would “pass on
the perfect job” if they didn’t fit with the culture. Culture is a crucial
differentiator in independent insurance and something you can highlight in your
agency as a significant asset.
And we work each day to improve our system and
training to make it that much easier for your agency to grow. Notably, our Partner Platform Community offers a wealth of educational opportunities
and chances to connect, mentor, and grow with other like-minded agents. Find out
more about this innovative system: get in touch at
[email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6, to request a demo today.
When your focus is community-minded, personalized
insurance, it can be challenging to translate your skills to sales, marketing,
and lead management. It can seem like a herculean task to figure out an
insurance CRM and how it can help you identify and gain your ideal customers,
growing your book of business.
Our Partner Platform agencies can attest that it’s
easier than you think. With our integrated management system and insurance CRM,
we take the guesswork out of creating and managing customer and lead profiles
in a CRM system. When everything is linked in one place, you can leverage the
sales and marketing power of an insurance CRM with relative ease[SD1] .
Identify Your Best Customers
One of your insurance CRM’s jobs is to help you
identify your ideal customer. The data in your CRM can answer questions like,
who has stayed with us for years? Who continues to grow as a customer? And
what do each of these people have in common? Once you have a handle on your
ideal customer profile, you can use your CRM data to determine critical factors
like their common coverage needs, ideal price points, and barriers to purchase.
This customer knowledge also helps determine your niche market. A niche could be anything from serving a specific geographic area to specializing in insuring a particular type of business. Once you know your niche, you can explore ways to expand on it for other opportunities. For example, if you specialize in serving residential real estate, can you pivot to providing coverage for individuals who are Airbnb and VRBO hosts? Test out these new opportunities, gathering data along the way to determine what to pursue and what to rethink.
Understand How to Reach Your Ideal Customer
Part of discovering your ideal customer is
understanding how to reach them. What are their preferred contact methods? How
did they find you? And how can you translate that information into a strategy
to find more long-lasting customers just like them?
Your insurance CRM has all this data. Start by
discovering where most of your ideal customers found you. Whether it be an
online search, postcard, review,
or referral from a friend, start capitalizing on that method. Investigate
which outreach methods secured the sale – phone call, email, text, or other –
and how many times you needed to follow up on average. Armed with this
information, you can construct a winning strategy that fits your agency.
Keep Track of Your Customers’ Journeys
You may notice that a big part of leveraging your
insurance CRM is that it needs to have data on your agency and customers. That
means your team needs to track each customer’s journey. When you have customer
data, you can get the big picture on your agency’s clientele, showing how they
found you, when they engaged with your outreach, and the exact sequence of
events that led to them signing their policy with you.
Get your team in the habit of recording their
contact with prospects and customers. And, do targeted outreach to your ideal
customers to find out what “secret sauce” brought them on as a customer and
keeps them around. This outreach can be phone calls, email surveys, texts –
whatever is best for your customers. Perhaps you include a few questions in
your annual check-ins around renewal time. Just keep in mind it’s better to
keep your questions short to get a response – people are more likely to respond
to something that takes ten minutes rather than twenty.
Be Ready for Change
Your ideal customer and their preferences are not
the same today as ten years ago, nor will they be the same ten years from now. The
most important part of your CRM management is
keeping up with data and continually checking how your strategies are working.
Stay on top of the market’s evolution with regular re-evaluation of who your
ideal customer is and how they’re responding to your outreach.
That constant re-evaluation is a central tenant of
our practices at SIS. Our Partner Platform team is always on the lookout for
how the industry is changing and stays engaged with our Partner Platform
agencies to understand how their needs evolve. Most recently, we expanded
our business insights reporting to allow for greater report customization.
That’s just one of the many ways we’ve continued to put our agencies’ needs
If you’re still wondering how to improve your
insurance agency marketing, the answer is: data.
While that one-word answer is simple, the process
of gathering, analyzing, and acting on data isn’t so easy. But if you put in
the effort, it’s worth it; that’s why Everest Company found data analytics use
in the industry could quadruple in just one year.
With over 70% of consumers looking for insurance quotes online, the data is out there for you to capture. Get your team started with honed marketing by breaking data analytics down into five parts.
#1: Who are Your Customers?
As always, you start with the “who.” Who are your
customers? You may think you know, but there
is always more to learn. How old are they? Where do they live? Where are
they in their careers? How do they like to communicate with you? These are just
a few of the questions you can ask to get a picture of who you’re serving.
You want to know as much as possible about your
customers so you can determine different ways to categorize them. Customer
segmentation is a critical factor in executing a successful insurance marketing
campaign. The more groups you can create, the more you can personalize each
#2: What Do Your Customers Want?
Part of understanding who your customers are is knowing
what they want. Once you pay attention, it’s not too difficult to determine
your customers’ preferences. Marketing automation data can show you different
groups of customer communication preferences, and you can see what content
resonated with them based on engagement. With that information, you can change
your marketing tactics to coincide with their choices.
#3: Where are Customers Finding You?
Your insurance CRM and marketing automation can
answer this question. Different customer segments will likely come to you from different
places, and you’ll need to make yourself known in those spots. Possible origins
could be a Google review, family or friend recommendation, or marketing email.
Make sure you’re tracking and asking each new customer how they found you – the
more you know, the better you can maximize your marketing presence.
#4: When is the Optimal Time to Contact Your Customers?
Once you know who you’re connecting with, where to
find them, and what methods to use, you can further hone your outreach by
understanding when to reach out. Again, each segment will have different preferences.
For example, customers who like phone contact may prefer evenings and weekends,
while those who like texting might want to get in touch weekday afternoons. The
best times to reach out are not limited to the time of day and days of the week.
It also includes the time of year or period in their policy cycle.
#5: Why do Your Customers Choose You?
Essentially, the last question to ask is, “Why us?”
With so many options out there, what is it you offer as an agency that makes
you stand out to your customers? You can gain this information through
online surveys, but the best way is from personal outreach, asking the question
(yes, people are still involved!). To make it easier on your customers, give
them options – like “customer response time” or “personalized policy” – to
increase the likelihood they’ll respond.
Gain and Process Data Better with Partner Platform
Gathering and analyzing data can seem overwhelming without
the right tools. We equipped our Partner Platform agency management system and
insurance CRM to simplify data collection and interpretation for our clients. The
last thing you need as an agency is one more complex system with a litany of steps
– Partner Platform is one robust system with straightforward, streamlined
You know data is valuable. It’s what we use daily
to make decisions, and it’s what we use to measure our successes. But are you
using data effectively in your agency?
of insurance tech is available to capture and manage data, and the
coronavirus pandemic accelerated data use in the insurance industry. According
to a survey from Insurity, over 80% of
agencies plan to “invest more heavily in data and analytics” following the 2020
pandemic outbreak. And with good reason – Willis
Towers Watson found that over 66% of agencies say data analytics helped
them reduce expenses, and 60% say it helped increase sales.
How can you better use data in your agency?
How to Use Agency Data
There are multiple ways you
can use your agency’s data to overall improve processes and positively
impact your bottom line. Some of those areas include:
Fraud prevention: Fraud claims amount to about
$80 billion lost in the U.S. annually, and about 5-10% of insurance claims
in the U.S. and Canada are fraudulent. By tracking and analyzing your claims
data, you can minimize these fraud attempts.
Policy decisions: Predictive analytics
can help you decide what policies to write, which to deny, and when to gain
more information to make a better policy decision.
Policy pricing: Better data means better
pricing for you and your customers, leading to improved customer retention and
Claims management: Predictive data
analytics can signal which claims need immediate attention, helping you better
prioritize claims and improve service.
Customer retention: Quality reporting can
signal customers who may be close to lowering or canceling their coverage and
help identify ways to improve their experience.
Cross–selling and up-selling: Reports
can show you opportunities to increase coverage, benefitting your customers by
keeping them safe.
Marketing and personalization: Customer
data can tell you a lot about which marketing methods work and how different
types of customers like to receive information. Leverage that data to improve
The Insurance Tech You Need
Before you put data to use, you need to capture
and effectively view it. The second half of that sentence challenges
most agencies: data is abundant but can be challenging to organize and
Quality insurance tech solves this issue. Modern systems
are designed with data input and output in mind. Some of the top tech elements
you need are:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
Marketing automation system
Business insights reporting
Along with these essential pieces, you also need
an agency management system that can connect with modern agency tech. Cloud-based
systems are much more effective in integrating with new systems and provide more
robust data security than in-house server-based systems. As you focus on
gaining more data, you should focus on protecting it, too.
Put Your Data to Work with Partner Platform
At SIS, we’re always looking for better ways to
gain and interpret agency data for our customers. Our forward-thinking Partner
Platform agency community told us they needed better data integration and
business insights reporting, and we delivered. Our integrated Partner Platform
agency management system and insurance CRM brings cloud-based
security, data systems integration, and custom business reporting together
in one system.
The insurance industry – like others today – is understaffed. In late 2021, an insurance labor market study showed that 53% of agencies planned to “aggressively hire” within 12 months to fill vacancies. The same study also showed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill open positions. As an owner, your insurance agency management relies on knowledgeable staff, but it can be challenging to fill positions in today’s market.
With hiring season just around the corner, your agency needs to focus on how to recruit new talent for your team. Past tactics may no longer work on a younger, more tech-driven workforce. It’s time to expand your outreach, position insurance differently, and look for diverse qualities to keep your agency growing.
Mike Maranda has been in the insurance business for over 40 years. He’s guided his agency through many seasons, but his recent journey to find the right agency management system for his team was one of the most painful.
After many years with a system they loved, Quality Insurance Service was forced to make a change when one of the big-name providers acquired their original system. Mike and his business partner decided to pick one of the big-name systems to avoid needing to make a change again anytime soon.
Yet, after selecting one of the dominant providers, they were frustrated to move through a cumbersome system with unresponsive service. After four years, they’d had enough and started searching for a new system, eventually joining the Partner Platform community.
As the insurance industry grows more competitive, the particulars of your specific insurance agency management will make your business stand out. Those particulars could be location proximity, ease of doing business, or even something as simple as how your website looks. Though price still matters, changes in cost can only go so far.
The true test of what makes your agency the best choice is the overall customer experience. Seemingly small touches that make each interaction easier, more personable, and leave each customer with a positive feeling have a real impact. Today it’s about more than the best price and the latest tech; it’s how you use these tools to empower, differentiate, and create the best experience in your agency.