The Best Insurance Sales Defense is a Strong Digital Offense

A strong digital strategy enables insurance agents to improve prospecting, customer service and more.
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With so many threats ahead, it can be overwhelming to consider all the ways your agency should leverage digital technology to remain competitive and continue to increase market share.

Rather than focusing on the many threats to your business and how to formulate defenses, consider building a strong offense, and taking advantage of opportunities to operate faster, reach more potential clients, and connect with them in new ways.

Sales are the linchpin of every insurance agencies’ growth strategy.  Though competition is fierce, independent agents have an important advantage: in-depth insurance knowledge.

Most customers are not just looking to easily obtain a policy; they want to obtain the right policy easily. They want a personal relationship with someone who can walk them through the policy options and coverage amounts and make recommendations.

But prospects will never know about an agency’s superior customer service if agents can’t attract them to their businesses if the first place.

By adopting digital sales solutions such as interactive websites, online raters and comprehensive Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs), agents can improve customer service and prospecting, effectively manage leads, and maintain current client relationships.

What follows are four key factors to help your agency incorporate digital solutions.

Intuitive Client Management

Sales success stems from effectively navigating both the external (the client) and the internal (client management). What happens after a prospect enters your front door may matter more than getting them to the door.

First, agents need to attract customers. Most prospects will do research before contacting a product or service provider.

An agency needs to have a website that is up-to-date, highlights all relevant information, has a clean design, and makes all necessary contact information easy to find. It’s a digital storefront, introducing a potential client to the types of services the agency offers and giving prospects a taste of your customer experience.

In addition to maintaining a modern, thorough, user-friendly website, having an active social presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms can drive people to your agency.

But all that investment in websites and social media can be wasted if leads aren’t managed, and prospects aren’t provided the care and feeding to close the deal.

Internally, agents should ensure they have comprehensive CRMs and Lead Management Systems.

Choosing the Best CRM for Your Agency

Keeping track of the many prospect and client variables that impact sales is difficult. Digital Customer Relationship Management and Lead Management systems make it easier for agents and brokers to track tactics and show what’s actually working.

The right digital tools also will increase sales velocity by ensuring a prospect doesn’t slip through the cracks. It will enable your producers to be in the right place at the right time, and to contact prospects when they’re ready to buy.

When evaluating CRMs, you should be asking key questions, such as:

  • Which sources are giving me the best return on investment?
  • Which website pages are prospects reading the most? What brought them there?
  • Where are people dropping out of the quoting process?
  • How fast are producers contacting the new prospects?

Training-Based Leadership

Anyone who has implemented a CRM or sales lead management solution knows it can be disruptive.

Convincing staff to use new technology can be a big obstacle.  Having a thoughtful plan and clear explanations about what’s changing and why, goes a long way toward getting the necessary buy-in.

It helps to facilitate conversations in which team members can voice their concerns or questions. Then, create a clear implementation plan that accounts for those concerns and clearly states potential implantation challenges.

Staff also should be a part of the selection process. Even if it’s a small role, it creates a feeling of ownership and accountability.

Take it one step at a time. This gives people the chance to evolve into the process and helps avoid change fatigue.

More often than not, traditional processes will be strengthened as more digital capabilities are added.

Humanity Trumps Technology

When incorporating digital tools, there is always the chance that an agency could become removed and lose the personal touch that attracts customers to independent agents.

Don’t do a complete digital overhaul all at once. Start automating routine tasks and activities that don’t need direct involvement such as quoting or answering simple questions.

Encourage producers to use the time saved from automating these processes to build relationships with clients and centers of influence, especially in larger commercial accounts.

Competition in the personal lines insurance market is fierce. To remain competitive, independent agents need to adjust their sales playbook. Agencies need to embrace digital solutions that can help them better manage sales.

Combining digital tools with superior customer service can produce a strong competitive advantage.

 

The Best Insurance Sales Defense is a Strong Digital Offense” originally appeared on PropertyCasualty360 and is reprinted here with permission.