Inventor and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is known for many things. One of which is knowing the value of planning. It is Franklin that both said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Clearly, Franklin owed some of his success to the art of thinking ahead.
So, too, should you with your agency, specifically during an agency management system conversion. This seemingly overwhelming task is manageable: if you break it down and make a plan. We’ve heard time and again from our partner agencies how strategic thinking and planning made all the difference in their transition.
Below are the areas they considered, along with their advice on how to make the switch as painless as possible.
People and Processes
“We started with online, do-it-yourself training to get familiar with the system. That was really helpful…and a team of three folks came out for a week to assist us. It was hands-on, in-person training. That was icing on the cake. It helped us become comfortable with the system so we could use it on our own. – Jeff Cole, Cole Harrison Insurance
The first areas to target are your processes and the people related to them. Get your staff on board by allowing them to test the system and take their opinions on what works and what doesn’t. Next steps include:
- Determine how elements like checks and invoices will look on the new system
- Audit your workflows and define the most efficient ones
- Get your team trained: plan regular, weekly sessions four to six weeks before your switch
- Empower staff as super users, using them as resources during the transition
“One thing we tried to do was clean up our data before we moved it over. We knew if we put garbage in our system, we’d get garbage out. The SIS team was great in working with us to make that happen”. – John Horvath, Neverman Insurance
Data is a huge part of your agency. You want your data to be clean and complete once it’s in your new system. Get your data to transfer by following these guidelines:
- Clean up your data: get rid of duplications and old accounts and ensure currents records are accurate and up-to-date
- Reiterate good data entry practices to keep data clean
- Communicate with your new provider to learn what will convert smoothly and what won’t
- Create a back-up of your data! This an important safety net
“(W)ere there a couple of things we had to edge around or plow through? Sure. Were they insurmountable? No. Going from a frankly archaic agency management software to Partner XE, we saw way fewer hiccups than I ever anticipated”. – Andrea Nelson, Unisource Insurance
Anyone who has been though a management system transition knows that it takes some work, but the effort is worth the pay-off. The key is preparation and being clear with expectations:
- Be honest with your staff: remind them successful transition is a team effort and it’s about how you tackle hiccups together
- Have patience – with yourself and your team – knowing there will be growing pains, but this, too, shall pass
- Pick the right time, paying attention to when you’re less busy and can dedicate time and effort to a successful transition
- Take advantage of support and training
Get to Know Your Provider
“The training has been top-notch…there was a whole team that came out and worked with us for multiple days and stayed in contact after…they were in constant contact…That is a huge compliment to SIS.” – Britt Linder, Peterson Insurance Services
Who your provider is makes a huge difference, especially during your agency transition. Look for a provider who will:
- Walk with you through the conversion process
- Be available before, during, and after your transition
- Communicate the transition process clearly and honestly
- Provide varying levels of support and training depending on your needs
Want more tips to ease your transition? Check out our Conversion Checklist eGuide and other resources at sispartnerplatform.com.