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What is a Conversion

What is a Conversion

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Not all conversions are created equal.

“Auto Insurance is auto insurance—as long as you have it you’ll be OK.”

You’re not foolish enough to believe that—so why would you assume all conversions are alike?

Whatever your past experience was— that will not happen converting to Partner.

Many agencies have scars from previous conversion experiences, which may cause hesitancy or reservations about what will happen and how your agency will get through it. That’s normal.

At Partner we have helped 1,000+ agencies make the transition safely. You won’t walk through this alone. You’ll work with an experienced team that provides hands-on training and support to ensure a safe transition and that your staff is productive quickly.

A proper conversion involves several moving parts, so you should know what it involves—what is required of your team, and what we will do to ensure your success.

Let’s take this journey together.

Knowledge is Power

Other agency management systems talk a big game about conversion but few back it up with clear details about what is involved and how it compares to your other options.

You should know that a conversion is NOT:

  • Your team having to map data fields into the new system— We’ve already done this for every major AMS in the market.
  • Just an initial load, CSV file, or “snapshot” list of your current clients—If you’re asked to pay for someone to do this that’s a bad sign. We’d do this for you for free.
  • You having to keep your old system up for reference—That’s not a conversion . . . It just isn’t.
The Partner StartRight conversion experience makes it possible:
  • Over 1,000 successful transitions from every major system
  • A dedicated team with a proven track record
  • Accounting set-up by CPA-accredited third-party firm
  • From Initial preparation to your Go Live Start Date, your dedicated team will be side by side with you.

Prepare – Partner Set–up & Training Plan

Learn – Agency completes online and in-person training

Convert – Current system data is converted to Partner

Support – Dedicated start date support for agency success

What we do

Plan with you for the appropriate Go Live Date. We have already mapped conversions from:

  • Epic, TAM, AMS 360, HawkSoft, EZLynx, and more
  • You don’t have to do the
    work.

We will receive your data and package it so that it comes into the system properly. We promise to complete this within 5 business days of your back-up.

  • Check the details of what data is converted in your conversion documentation.

We provide online training so you can learn the system well in advance of your Go Live date.

  • Partner is easy to use, but this helps your team learn it more quickly so they can be productive from day one.

We will come train you in person immediately following your Go Live date.

  • You will receive more valuable learning because we schedule our training a few days after your Go Live.—You’ll find your questions more meaningful and your training more “sticky” for this reason.
What you need to do
  • Know when your contract ends—schedule an appropriate Go Live Date with the Partner team.
  • Order your backup at the appropriate time— timing varies by system. We’ll tell you when you need to ask for it.
  • Encourage your team (and if needed challenge them)—change can be hard. The difficulty of a successful conversion is not the data. It’s adapting to change. Your leadership makes the difference!
  • Do your Training—Learn how the new system will work so that you don’t lose any time and hit the ground running on day one.

Come to us with questions— we are here to help. WE ARE PARTNER.

About

SIS

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Strategic Insurance Software (SIS) is the team behind Partner Platform—an innovative web-based insurance agency management system that helps independent agencies streamline workflow and grow their business. Built on a foundation of strong technology and exceptional service, we’re moving forward with a constant eye on innovation that will make independent agents’ lives easier

Partner Platform

Easily manage the entire life-cycle of your agency’s client relationship from presales 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.

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Agency Management System Transition Success Plan

Agency Management System Transition Success Plan

Agency Management System Transition Success Plan

If you’re considering a change in Agency Management Systems, it’s probably for one of the following reasons:

  • Affordability
  • Lack of capabilities
  • Too complex
  • Poor service

This guide is designed to answer questions around the major issues involved in making an agency management system change and to provide a framework that will set your agency up for a successful transition

Transition Planning

When forming a transition plan, focus on these key area

  1. Team – Make sure to know the people you’ll be working with and that you are comfortable with the support you’ll receive and are clear on the details of what is expected from the provider and from the agency.
  2. Data Conversion – Ask about whether your new partner has experience converting data from your current system. If so, get names of agencies and call them to learn from their experience. Make sure you know what will come over and what won’t. Get it in writing.
  3. Training – To prepare your agency for the learning curve ahead, it is important to determine where training will be offered. Will it be held on-site, via phone, or self-service.
  4. Timing – Understand the key milestones, associated timeline, and the effort required from your agency.

Having reviewed the Team, Conversion, Training, and Timing are you confident of your success? How well do you understand the obstacles and what your provider will do to address them?

Team

Do you have a dedicated team that will manage your transition? You should know your point people on a first name basis. Make sure that you are clear on the details of the process and are comfortable with the support you’ll receive.

Conversion

Preserving the integrity of your agency management system’s data is critical in the conversion process.

Ask your potential provider how they plan to deal with data transfer and processing. Make sure you know what will come over and what won’t. Get the details and get them in writing. For items that don’t convert, where in the new system are they stored? Confirm there is a place or you may be wondering what happened to that information.

You current AMS vendor will provide a data backup. Some vendors offer different “versions” some of which can cost several thousand dollars. Understand what back-up your new provider will require and don’t overspend.

In addition to the type of back up, ask how many back ups you’ll need. This will also influence the cost of the transition.

Training

Getting the data converted is only one piece of a successful transition—learning to effectively and efficiently use your new system is just as important.

Make sure you understand the learning resources available to you and the expected learning curve of the new system. A quality provider will not only offer an intuitive and easy to learn product, but will also supply multiple formats for learning, including:

  • On-demand videos, webinars, and training content with
    • Guided curriculum by role
    • Self-directed topics
  • Live onsite training with professionals

How does my agency get additional training and what is the estimated cost? What type of training is included as part of the monthly fee?

Timing

Understand the key milestones, associated timeline, and the effort required from your agency to complete the transition.

Look to the provider for the proper steps and timeframes—they should be the experts here. A good provider will have managed many conversions and have a clear outline of the milestones and timelines involved. Work with them to select a start-date that works well for your agency.

Your agency will also have work to complete to make the transition smooth. Make sure you understand what steps and effort will be required of you and your staff. This may include:

  • educating your staff on why you are making a change
  • ensuring they are equally committed to a successful transition
  • cleaning up data in the prior system before the backup
  • watching initial training videos

The new provider should also outline expected challenges and ideas for how other agencies have addressed challenges.

About the Partner Transition Experience

Not all conversions are equal.

Partner Platform has successfully managed over 800 conversions from every major system. Detailed planning and execution reduce the stress on your agency and help you enter the process confident in a successful outcome.

Partner StartRight process

  • a dedicated team with a proven track record
  • ability to convert data from every major system
  • accounting set-up by a CPA-accredited third-party firm
  • from Initial preparation to your StartDate, your dedicated team will be side by side with you

We’d love to talk with you about how Partner Platform can meet your agency’s needs, and how our dedicated transition team can ensure your data and your staff make the switch with ease.

Transition Success

Questions to Consider

  • Who will guide your agency through the conversion?
  • Will they remain with your agency afterwards?
  • How have other agencies prepared?
  • What issues can happen during conversion?
  • What guarantees are offered for data integrity in the conversion?
  • Is the conversion done by the provider or outsourced to a third party?
  • How is communication managed if outsourced?
  • Where is the outsourced resource located?
  • How long will the conversion be once the new provider receives the data back-up?
  • When will the conversion take place?
  • Does your agency have input in timeline?
  • What is the transition timeline?
  • How will you ensure we stick to this timeline?
  • How much data is actually converted?
  • What type of documentation is provided as to what will convert and what won’t convert?
  • Will you work directly with my data or do I have to provide csv. files and spreadsheets?
  • Will you run a test conversion?
  • What back up do I need to order?
  • How many back ups will be required?
  • Will my agency be directly involved in data processing? To what degree?
  • What are the most effective ways to help my agency learn?
  • What type of training will be provided for the transition? Online? Onsite? Blend of both
  • How many trainers will be onsite? For how long
  • If additional training is needed what are the costs
  • How will you tailor training to my agency’s specific needs?
  • Will you work with me after the conversion if I want to make any adjustments post-initial conversion?
  • Will additional training be offered as updates are made? At what cost?
  • What additional transition supports can you provide? User groups? Personalized troubleshooting?
About

SIS

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Strategic Insurance Software (SIS) is the team behind Partner Platform—an innovative web-based insurance agency management system that helps independent agencies streamline workflow and grow their business. Built on a foundation of strong technology and exceptional service, we’re moving forward with a constant eye on innovation that will make independent agents’ lives easier

Partner Platform

Easily manage the entire life-cycle of your agency’s client relationship from presales 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.

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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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My Agency Management System Can Do That

My Agency Management System Can Do That

My Agency Management System Can Do That?! Hero

Your agency management system is a staple of operations, but is it living up to its full potential? Don’t get stuck in the routine or afraid to test out your system’s capabilities. Go beyond data entry to make the most of your management system and boost agency productivity.

Check out all the ways to utilize your system in our latest infographic, My Agency Management System Can Do That?!

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