When choosing an agency management system, it can feel like you’re sitting at the poker table. Livelihood and legacy are on the line.  If you pick the wrong system, you stand to lose efficiency, time and money. If choose correctly, you win a partner that will help your agency grow to new heights. How do you know which is the right choice?

Does the system have the buy-in to sit at the table?

Management system capabilities like fully integrated accounting, document management and commercial and personal lines download are the buy-in to sit at the table. There may be other capabilities, like email integration or a customer portal, you may also want.

Step one is determining if the system has those capabilities. Step two is testing them out in a demo to see how they function. A system may have a whole host of potentially useful features, but they’re only useful if you and your staff can use them without memorizing a user manual.

The bet in choosing an agency management system comes from things you can’t see on a demo.

What tells should I look for in a management system provider?

There are ways to tell if a management system provider has the right hand for your agency. Three common tells for a quality system and provider include:

  • Financial transparency

You want to choose a management system that supports agency growth. That means being upfront about management system costs and providing value equal to or greater than its cost. When looking at a provider and system, ask yourself:

  • Will the system provide efficiency to lessen workload?
  • Does the system have annual price increases? If so how much are they?
  • Do you have to pay for improvements to the system?
  • Quality customer support

You want a management system provider that holds themselves to the same high-level customer support standards as your agency. Consider questions like:

  • How long does it take to receive an answer to a question?
  • Do you talk to a real person or an automated system?
  • What type of onsite training is provided?
  • How much does training for new employees or continued training cost?
  • True partnership

You know your customers and they know you. You want the same from your agency management system provider. Determine how you’ll be seen by your provider by answering these questions:

  • Can you call the c-suite officers to talk about long-term projects and the future of the business?
  • Do they have a product roadmap and do you have input in it?
  • Can they provide custom enhancements for your agency?

How do I make an informed bet?

The best way to get the answers you need about a new system and provider is to talk with other agencies who have made the switch. Connect with those that have about the same book of business, organizational structure and future goals as your agency. Talk with them about their decision-making process and experiences with the different providers they tried.

Once you have a short list, ask for references. Evaluate if their answers align with your agency’s needs and put an offer on the table. Your thoroughness will ensure you’ll cash out a winner.

Thinking about stepping up to the table? Take the betting out of it with SIS and our Partner XE management system. Our customizable system, dedicated service team, and engaged Partner XE User community are a sure win for you and your agency. Get in touch with an SIS team member today to get the conversation started.

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