Money Matters: Our Best Insurance Accounting Software and Training Blogs

Money Matters: Our Best Insurance Accounting Software and Training Blogs

Small businesses point to accountants as some of the most important professionals for their business. That may be because 60% of small business owners say they don’t know the first thing about finance and accounting. As a small business owner, you can probably relate. Many independent agency owners find themselves in an accounting crash-course when they start or take over their business. How can you beat the odds to get a grasp on your agency’s finances and position yourself for future growth?

The answer is quality insurance accounting software and training. In fact, close to 65% of small business owners make use of accounting software. With the right technology, you can make your agency finances more manageable and even find a way to bring on an expert with the money you save. To get you started, here are some of our best insurance accounting posts.

1. Getting Your Insurance Finances in Order eGuide

More than just a blog post, this eGuide provides a wealth of tips on how to get your agency finances set up right. With a solid base, you’re ready to delve deeper into assessing your weaknesses and opportunities.

2. Integrated Insurance Agency Accounting

As the name implies, this post looks at the benefits of integrating your management and accounting systems. When all your financial data is stored in one place, you’ll be able to improve invoicing, reporting, and agency commission processing, among other procedures.

3. Ask a CPA: Insurance Agency Support for Perpetuation, Mergers & Acquisitions

Passing on, purchasing, or acquiring an independent insurance agency can be confusing and convoluted. We asked our partners at accounting firm Donovan, Sullivan, and Ryan to answer the tough questions.

4. Ask the Experts: Top Financial Questions and Best Accounting Software for Insurance Agents

Before we talked to our accounting experts about perpetuation and M&A, we looked to Donovan, Sullivan, and Ryan CPA and Partner Chris Ryan and our in-house expert, Director of Product Management Bryce Lee, to talk best accounting software for the independent agency. In this post, Chris and Bryce cover common accounting questions, how to face challenges and the best tools to manage accounting in insurance.

5. Five Insurance Agency Accounting Blogs to Add to Your Summer Reading List

We pride ourselves on bringing our readers the best agency accounting information, but we know we can’t contain it all. This post highlights some of our favorite blogs for the latest in insurance accounting and finance.

Get the Right Accounting Software and More from the Experts at SIS

Get more in-depth information about our insurance accounting software offerings and hear directly from our Partner Platform agency clients by visiting our website.

To see Partner Platform’s accounting in action, get in touch with our team to schedule a demo today.

No Business Too Small for Analytics: Get the Agency Software to Leverage Data in Three Steps

No Business Too Small for Analytics: Get the Agency Software to Leverage Data in Three Steps

Data isn’t just for “big tech” and major corporations anymore. Tech advances made data and analytics accessible to everyone – including your agency. Modern agency software kept pace with the rise of big data, and successful agencies now leverage data for everything from customer service to prospecting. In fact, data-driven businesses are five times more likely to make decisions faster than their peers, meaning those who ignore data are left in the dust.

Does your agency have what you need to keep up?

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Insurance Prospecting Software and Tips: Growing Your Insurance Family with Referrals

Insurance Prospecting Software and Tips: Growing Your Insurance Family with Referrals

If you think gaining insurance referrals is more effort than it’s worth, you’re underestimating both the ease of gaining referrals and the impact of the payoff. Nielson found 84% of consumers trust recommendations or referrals over all other forms of marketing, and people referred by a friend are 4x more likely to make a purchase. Deloitte found those referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate than other customers.

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Becoming A Digital Insurance Agent: How to Do It and Why It Matters

Becoming A Digital Insurance Agent: How to Do It and Why It Matters

Digital insurance matters. According to McKinsey & Company, agencies that “digitally transform stand to gain satisfied customers, lower operating costs, and achieve higher growth.” Going digital doesn’t mean moving all your operations to A.I. and forgoing a physical location; it simply means moving towards meeting customer needs, improving processes, and protecting your business.

What are the first steps to harnessing the digital insurance landscape? Below are the tools and training your agency needs to get started.

Learn more about customer demand for digital agencies on our blog

Your Top Digital Agency Tools

  1. Your agency website. J.D. Power found 74% of insurance shoppers used agency websites or aggregators to research and obtain quotes before purchasing insurance. You need to have a website that’s easy to find and navigate to stay in the game.
  2. Social media. You don’t have to post daily on all possible platforms, but you do need a presence. Social media gives you a way to connect with customers and prospects to hear what they need and give feedback on their concerns. And it boosts your visibility.
  3. Customer self-service options. This includes a Client Portal and mobile access. Self-service options increase customer satisfaction and reduce time and energy spent on assisting customers who can help themselves. Agency Nation found one agency that added a client portal, “…increased client retention to 93% and saved $70,000 in COI labor, printing and postage expenses per year.”
  4. CRM and marketing automation. Both tools are designed to streamline your agency’s operations and improve your ability to identify and convert leads and understand your customer’s needs.
  5. Paperless options. Digital lines download and digital document signing, sending, and storage not only get business done faster (downloads alone can save up to 60 minutes per employee per day), it can save hundreds annually in printing and postage as well.

Get more details on how to leverage digital tools to improve agency lead generation and conversion

Top Team Training for Digital Agencies

  1. Agency management system training. Your management system is your agency’s central processing tool and you and all your staff need to know how to use it in the most efficient, digitally-compatible way. Modern systems offer client portal, CRM, and marketing automation integration. You need to understand how each capability can best serve your customers and your agency.
  2. Website training. Your agency website is not a “one and done” situation – it should be dynamic. You need someone in-house who understands how to update information on your site to stay accurate and relevant.
  3. Social media training. This one may come as a surprise. Although social media is relatively easy to implement and understand, you should talk with your team about how their personal social media use reflects on your agency. Especially for independent, community-focused local agencies, when your team says something outside the office they could be construed as speaking for your agency. Be clear on what is appropriate.
  4. Cybersecurity training. With all the benefits of digital tools comes the threat of cyber-attacks. In an interview with Insurance Business Magazine, Ron Berg, executive director of Agents Council for Technology (ACT), part of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), said insurance is the fourth most attacked economic sector. Educate your staff on what risks exist, how to spot and avoid attacks, and what to do should your agency experience a cyber-attack.

Get our full guide to Cybersecurity for the Digital Insurance Agency here

Get the Right Tools and Training in One Place

We work with our agency clients and industry experts, like our partners at Agents Council for Technology (ACT) and IVANS, every day to identify the most powerful digital insurance tools. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, we’re confident our Partner Platform agency management system suite offers the best and most effective capabilities to help agencies better serve their customers and grow their business.

And we don’t stop at the “what” of digital tools but go the extra mile with the “how.” With targeted agency trainings and always-accessible online videos and guides, our Partner Platform agencies stay informed and equipped. We also offer regular webinar trainings, focusing on topics like cybersecurity and customer self-service tools.

Get to know more about the Partner Platform system, including our service and training, at sispartnerplatform.com.

Making Your Agency Website Your Own with Partner Connect

Making Your Agency Website Your Own with Partner Connect

How old is your agency website? Do you have a website at all?

If your answers are anything besides “Not very” and “Yes!” then it’s time for you to get working on updating or creating an insurance agency website. And one that works. Close to 40% of individuals surveyed said they would stop engaging with a site they found unattractive. Studies show it takes less than half a second for users to form an opinion about a website, so you have little time to make the critical impression that will get people to stay.

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Finding Your Niche for Insurance Agency Marketing

Finding Your Niche for Insurance Agency Marketing

It’s challenging to make a business stand out in any market. When it comes to insurance agency marketing, this can be particularly challenging due to the industry’s nature. How can you differentiate your agency when all agencies provide such similar services? While quality customer care, price, and ease of service are helpful, they can only so far.

How can you make your agency stand out? Consider finding your niche.

Why Finding Your Agency Niche Matters

A recent McKinsey & Co survey found agencies should focus on “well-articulated value propositions targeted at a small number of customer segments…that require more specific advice, tailored products and a greater degree of service.” Another survey showed close to 50% of “middle-market insurance agencies” specialized in products or industries, and that number is expected to rise to two-thirds by 2022.

Why have so many agencies turned to specialization? To make themselves stand out in a saturated market. When you’re known as “the agency that does ‘X'” you have something that makes you known. Specialization helps agency branding and Google ranking, too.

Targeting a niche market also improves service. With a niche market, you can focus more time on one area, learning the ins and outs of that product or industry. Greater expertise allows you to be nimbler so you can see what’s coming and adjust your coverage and services faster than others. And, it’ll speed up your workflow as you get to know client needs, processing coverage and claims quicker.

Get to know more insurance marketing strategies to gain website traffic here

How to Identify and Leverage Your Niche

For specialization to be effective, you need to be methodical in identifying and leveraging your niche. The steps are relatively straightforward:

  1. Identify your agency niche. Look at your book of business and determine specializations. Target a service or product in which you have a relatively high amount of business and one in which you see growth potential. Niche areas include:
    • Emergency vehicles fleets
    • Online commerce businesses
    • School districts
    • Family farms
    • Active military members
  1. Learn how to serve your niche. Analyze data from your CRM, marketing automation, or other data tools to identify marketing tools and methods that resonate with your niche market. You may also consider hiring an outside agency to conduct market research.
  1. Adapt your website. This is where your Google ranking comes into play. Add keywords associated with your niche to your website URL, include it in the homepage name, and create pages and posts devoted to your niche. The more related keywords you have on your site, the higher you’ll climb in Google.
  1. Market your niche. The final step is getting the word out about your specialty—leverage marketing automation to post on social media and create email campaigns around your niche. Get in touch with clients and ask them for referrals in your niche area and testimonies about your service. The more you can spread the word, the better.

See how to leverage marketing automation and your CRM to gain more business

Get the Tools You Need with Partner Platform

Whether it’s an integrated CRM, marketing automation, or website upgrade, the Partner Platform team has the tools you need to identify and leverage your niche for maximum market impact. With custom dashboards and reporting and targeted training and customer support, the Partner Platform team and system can help you understand your agency niche and help you better serve your customers.

Find out more about how our team can help your agency succeed. Get in touch at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.