5 Key Things to Look For in an Agency Management System
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.
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
- 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.