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3 Keys to Becoming an Insurance Business Elite Agency of the Year

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

What makes an elite insurance agency?

Each April, Insurance Business Magazine releases it's awards for Elite Agency of the year, highlighting the best of the best in the insurance industry. 

As an insurance agency, making it to the elite category takes treating your clients well and knowing your industry inside and out, or as IBA mag puts it, "agencies that showed efficiency, innovation and the goodwill of their communities." I've narrowed down a few key elements I think elite insurance agencies share and added a few simple ways that you can add these elements to your agency as well. Get ready to join the elite!

Insurance Business Magazine Elite Agencies

1) Manage your relationships better

Have you ever talked to a sales representative who had no idea who you were, tried to sell you something you didn't need, or  just didn't seem to care about what you were looking for? 

Managing sales is difficult, there's no question about it. Memorizing individuals names and companies, keeping track of where the last conversation left off, and remembering what features someone was particularly interested in are all part of the process. But now, because technology is so widely available and product features like email integration are becoming commonplace, customers expect to be treated in a personalized way. Your customers and prospects have set a high bar when it comes to expectations because they've become used to dealing with companies like Amazon and Netflix, both of which offer a seamless customer experience. As consumers, we've become accustom to things just working. Page loads should take less than a second, that's just a given now (remember when you used to have to wait 10 seconds for a page to load on the internet?). We expect sales professionals and customer service representatives to know our names when we call in before they even say hello (You do have caller ID, don't you?).  All of these advancements in technology in our day-to-day lives have made us very quick to negatively judge poor experiences. The battle for retention has begun, and in order to win, you're going to need to make sure you're not only meeting, but exceeding customer expectations. 

One of the easiest ways to do so is to use a sales CRM (customer relationship management) system. Salesforce is one of the most widely used CRM's, as are SugarCRM and Microsoft Dynamics. If you're looking for something a little more customized for insurance agencies, Salestrack is a good choice that's actually built on top of Microsoft Dynamics.  

Providing a personalized customer experience is table stakes in 2016. If you aren't using technology to manage customer relationships, you aren't going to make it into the Top 5%. But that doesn't mean you can't get started on the right path today. Do your research and figure out what CRM system is the right fit for your agency. Try talking with other agency owners of a similar size and get their feedback.  

Looking for more information about the benefits associated with investing in sales automation and CRM tools? Check out these blog posts that dive deeper into the data:

Electronic signature

2) Expedite your documents

Waiting for signatures and document reviews is by far one of the most time-consuming and aggravating processes in the insurance industry. Scanning files, losing folders--it's all a hassle that shouldn't exist in today's computer-driven reality. Thankfully, there are a number of document management systems out there to streamline and speed up the signature management process. 

Docusign is one of the best and most popular options, along with competitors like Adobe's eSign (formerly EchoSign). Many of these systems integrate into apps you may already use to run your business, like Salesforce or Google and Microsoft products, and they can be accessed on any device.

No matter which company you choose, the point is, time is money, and no one likes wasting either of these precious commodities.

Especially your customers.

Again, when we talk about table stakes, millennial customers are not going to want to work with an agency that doesn't have e-signature capabilities when these features are standard for other organizations they're doing business with in their personal and professional lives. Elite Agencies go out of their way to make it easy to do business. Remember, your competition isn't just the agency down the street. You're competing with anyone that has an internet connection and the drive to wrestle your customers away from you. 

Customer relationship management

3) Streamline your licensing

From speaking to clients, to getting rate quotes, and submitting applications, it's important to remember to make sure your agents are authorized to sell. Managing insurance licenses and renewals is an important part of being an elite agency. By utilizing software to take care of licensing for all of your producers, you free up time for them to focus on your customers needs. 

While there are many different license management software options available, it's important to seek out features that will decrease the amount of time you spend on licensing. For example, find a software that utilizes alerts to make sure you'll be reminded of upcoming renewals and requirements. Also, try to find a solution that covers all of the states or areas that your agency operates.

So what do all elite agencies have in common? Efficiency.

 Your agency should adopt a larger mindset that proactively rewards this type of thinking. Ask your staff or the people you work with to share their best efficiency tips. You might be surprised how differently everyone in the office completes their daily tasks, and in turn, how a simple conversation can help save everyone hours of productivity.

Being an elite insurance agency is more than just the tools you use--it's also about the culture within your agency and the willingness of your agents to go above and beyond in the pursuit of helping your clients. That being said, a large part of your time is still consumed by paperwork and the natural back-and-forth of the industry. This is where technology and software can come into play and help you run your business more efficiently. By choosing the right tools, you can streamline many of your day-to-day processes and leave more time to do the important things, like helping your customers.

Guy Weismantel

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.

Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.




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