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5 Key Things to Look For in an Agency Management System

5 Key Things to Look For in an Agency Management System

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Your agency management system is the hub of your operations, so considering a change of system is a big deal.

We’ve helped over 700 agencies make the transition smoothly and have learned what goes into a successful selection of and transition to a new agency management system

Whether you are making a change because you need more capabilities, are under-utilizing your current system, or are frustrated with ever increasing costs, this guide will help you ask the right questions to ensure your selection and transition to a new agency management system is smooth and successful

1. What’s driving the change?
First and foremost, it’s important to consider what are the underlying motivations for change. These may not have even been articulated yet, so take the time to understand them and discuss if needed.

Ask

What are the factors that are influencing the desire to change?

  • How do you articulate those?
  • Is it the need for more capabilities, the fact that your current system is too complex and difficult to use, or are you frustrated by ever increasing costs? (These are some of the top reasons why agencies move to Partner

Next, consider which of these factors is most important.

  • How do you prioritize these factors among other things?
  • You may have other competing priorities such as legislative changes, agency perpetuation, or other changes within the agency that complicate things.

Finally, begin with the end in mind

  • If you were to change, what’s the outcome you want? How would you articulate it?
  • It’s got to be more than just saving money. There are plenty of things you could do to cut your cost, but if it doesn’t perform, then you’ll be left with a less than desirable outcome.
2. What capabilities are required? What’s vital? What’s nice to have?

Resist the urge to run immediately into demos with a number of different vendors. Without understanding deeply what you need—that time is likely to be unproductive

Consider

  • Who are your current clients?
    • Is your current mix Personal, Commercial, Life/health/benefit
  • Who are your desired clients?
  • What are their expectations?
  • What are my perceived barriers to growth
    • System is too complex. It’s hard to hire and get staff up to speed quickly
    • What capabilities do you need in order to serve that client-base?

Make your list of vendors to assess based on which systems best address those needs.

3. What are the expectations of your staff ?

No well-run agency makes such a significant change in a vacuum. Expect some initial resistance to the idea of change. However, change is possible with the right mix of

  • Ease of use—How quickly can the system be learned and optimized for the agency?
  • Initial Training—What training is available to support my agency’s learning curve?
    • What formats are available? Online, onsite, webinars, phone support, written guides, user-group meetings
    • People—what professionals are available to provide the training, conversion, and project management for a successful transition?
  • Ongoing Support—How responsive is the provider?
    • Do they seek your feedback, and incorporate it into product improvements?
    • Have you met the leadership that will help you in the transition?
4. What are your expectations as an Owner?

In addition to knowing what your staff wants. Know what you want as an owner and how you want to run your agency.

  • How do you manage financials?
    • Do you want them all integrated into one system for real time most accurate information, or do you intend to use a third-party software?
    • Do you require Insurance Trust Accounting? If so, that will narrow your list of vendors
  • How do you measure the health of your business
    • Are you able to access the reports you need to understand where you’re at?
    • Look for Retention Rate, Sales Pipeline, Win Rate, Mix of Busines
  • What do you look for in a partner?
    • Who are your best vendors today? What characteristics do they have?
    • How do your best clients describe your agency
5. Dollars and Sense

Look at the big picture and consider your total cost of ownership over time.

  • What are the initial rates?
  • What is the expected increase over time?
  • What are your peers being charged if they’ve been on the system for 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?
  • As your agency grows, what are the costs to add employees?
  • If my agency shrinks, what are the costs to remove employees?
Once you’ve narrowed down the software to partners you like, consider the full implications of change:

Which partner has the best combinations today of . . . ?

  • Software Capabilities
  • Cultural Fit
  • Training & Support
  • Economic Fit

And whom do you trust will have those as your business evolves? If you’re wondering how you will plan for the transition, see the follow up guide for our agency management system Transition Success Plan.

About Partner Platform

Easily manage the entire life-cycle of your agency’s client relationship from pre-sales to servicing to renewal in a unified system that has sales and marketing, client, policy, and financial management, agency-branded mobile app, integrated text messaging, data analytics, web solutions, and integrations with third-party tools and industry partners.

Supporting downloads from over 400 carriers, real-time interaction, built-in insurance trust accounting, and much more, Partner Platform is a full-featured agency management system at an affordable cost for the independent insurance agenc

For more information, please visit www.sispartnerplatform.com.

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Who You Hire Matters

Who You Hire Matters

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The How and Why of Hiring Great Producers and Leaders

“Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. And yet, nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people in the field. All the clever strategies and advanced technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without great people to put them to work.” —Jack Welch

How Your Producers Sell Matters

As a rule, 20% of team members are responsible for 80% of sales volume in a given industry. The same is true for insurance. That means how your top producers perform matters: it’s what keeps you competitive in an increasingly competitive market.

In their 2001 book How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer, Herb Greenberg and Patrick Sweeny noted, “As our service economy shifts into high gear, what it takes to succeed in sales is a little more complicated than it once was… What the best people truly sell are solutions—solutions that uniquely meet the particular needs of each client. ”1

What customers want and how they buy has continued to evolve, and your agency needs to bring in the right producers to serve those shifting desires. You need people who understand how to use data to increase personalization and improve sales and service. As an agency owner and leader, you need to redefine who you hire to create a successful agency, moving your business from surviving to thriving

Personalization in Sales Matters

66% of consumers said they would share “significant data” to obtain personalized services (up from 54% two years ago)2

20% of customers said a “lack of personalization” was the “main reason” they switched insurance providers3

Agencies that increased personalization have an over 80% customer retention rate4

What is the Job?

The first step in redefining your producer hiring is answering the question: what is the job? What exactly do you want your producers to do, simply answering ‘write business’ isn’t enough—where should they focus? How do you plan to support them? The answers may seem obvious, but be explicit in your communication.

Be specific about the tools you provide, the sales methodology you use, how your agency works, and the types of clients you serve. Include information around education and training, compensation, room for growth, and what constitutes success to craft a clear image of who you want in the job.

Areas to Define

  • What are your target industries and ideal customer profiles
  • How to move from building a pipeline to consistently closing business
  • How leads are generated
  • What type of mentorship and support you offer
  • How they can grow personally, in your agency, and in the community
Who is Doing Well and Why

Part of understanding who you want in the job starts with who is already there. Who are those 20% of producers bringing in 80% of your sales, and what makes them so successful? Get feedback from those individual producers, their team members, and customers to help discover their “special sauce.” Ask yourself what you like about working with them, too. It’s important to understand how successful team members work with each other and how they interact with customers.

What You Find in a Great Producer

  • Empathy for the customer’s needs
  • Solutions-orientation
  • Drive to succeed
  • Resiliency in the face of rejections
  • Motivation to serve
What to Ask For

Once you have a job description and idea of who will succeed, determine what to ask for in your job posting and what to look for in your hiring process. Be careful about focusing on industry knowledge and skill—these can be taught over time. As successful businessman Jack Welch said, “When hiring, you have to make a trade-off. Do you hire someone to get a job done fast, or do you hire based on potential for growth? My advice is: try to pick the second option.”5 Look for someone who has the personality and skills you defined a successful producer has. Industry and agency knowledge will come with time

Traits to Look for in a Producer

  • Honesty & Trustworthiness
  • High-energy
  • People-driven
  • Superior active listening
  • Confidence
  • Sense of Risk / Adventure
  • Creativity
  • Curiousity
Equipping for Success

The work of hiring doesn’t stop the moment you sign a contract; it continues for as long as the candidate is a member of your team. Hiring is relatively easy compared to retention. Ensure you’ve set up your agency with: opportunities to learn and grow, strong leaders to define success and guide your team, and the right tools to help your team work efficiently.

Our Partner Platform agencies find that the ease of use of the Partner Platform agency management system makes a difference in helping their team work better and faster. With an intuitive design and hands-on training, we ensure each agency team member sees Partner Platform as an asset to their work. And with a built-in insurance CRM, personalized contact cadence, and customizable outreach content, Partner Platform is fully equipped to bring leads from contact to a lifelong customer. Plus, our Partner Platform Community offers a wealth of educational opportunities and chances to connect and grow with other like-minded agents.

Find out what our Partner Platform agencies have to say about this innovative system and get in touch at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6, to request a demo today.

Essential Elements for Success

  • Strong leadership & communication
  • Training & educational opportunities
  • Mentorship & room for growth
  • Top-notch tools for growing sales
  • Dedicated community to support growth & learning

Sources:

  1. Greenberg, Herb, Harold Weinstein, and Patrick Sweeney. How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer. New York: McGraw Hill, 2001
  2. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/insurance/guide-insurancecustomers-safety-well-being
  3. https://www.eisgroup.com/2020/11/17/eis-customer-compass-report-finds-lessthan-half-of-consumers-trust-insurers-to-respond-to-their-basic-needs/
  4. https://blog.dataart.com/how-insurance-companies-can-adopt-personalizationin-2021
  5. Welch, Jack, and Suzy Welch. Winning. New York: HarperCollins, 2005

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It’s Not Me It’s You: Signs It’s Time to Let Your Agency Management System Go

It’s Not Me It’s You: Signs It’s Time to Let Your Agency Management System Go

It’s Not Me It’s You: Signs It’s Time to Let Your Agency Management System Go Hero

Is it time to have “the talk”?

You know when it’s time to get out of a bad relationship. Things aren’t working, and you need to move on. You may be there with your agency management system. Fill out the form on the right to download our eGuide and find out if it’s time for you to have “the talk” with your provider.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Management System

How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Management System

How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Management System

It’s been said nearly every two seconds a new malicious URL is created for use in a cyber attack. Statistics like these should give pause, knowing your agency’s data is constantly vulnerable to such risks. In this guide, we’ll give you the tools and information you need to defend against cyber threats. We start with some of the most recent tactics, so you and your staff can be alert for suspicious happenings. Next, we look at how to inform and protect your clients and staff. Finally, we explore how to keep your data secure in the power of the cloud.

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Managing Technology Costs for Your Independent Insurance Agency

Managing Technology Costs for Your Independent Insurance Agency

Managing Technology Costs for Your Independent Insurance Agency

From mobile websites to efficient document signature software, technological advances can help an agency grow in leaps and bounds. But, just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s something your agency needs. In this eGuide, we’ll walk you through some of the need-to-have vs. want-to-have items, and how to make both fit in to your budget.

What’s Inside

  • The Essentials
  • Finding the Best Fit
  • Budgeting for Your Needs
  • Partnering Right

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