Automating Your Agency
When we talk to insurance agents and agencies, we find one of these to be the main goals they have:
- Work Less
- Sell Your Agency
*Generally, if maintaining existing status quo is your goal, you may be fine using paper or spreadsheets to continue to run your agency day to day.
However, to achieve any of these, you need processes in place that help make your agency more efficient, more effective, and, ultimately, more prosperous. Many agencies are finding this through automation.
When we discuss automation, we don’t mean robots or fancy AI equipment. Instead, it refers to implementing software that can automate those daily tasks that can sometimes feel more akin to busy work. Think administrative tasks, lead follow-up, policy application monitoring,and more. These redundant tasks can also include client services that include tasks like new client onboarding, policy renewals, etc..
Did you know these redundant tasks can consume upwards of two days every week of your time? You could be using those hours to focus more on revenue generating opportunities or using that time for more personal-focused activities.
Simply put, automation allows you to do more work in less time with less effort. Work smarter, not harder!
Automation is beneficial in many areas of your agency and will surely bring efficiencies you never knew you could have. It simplifies client and prospect communications while also making them more efficient, helps you maintain compliance with industry standards and E&O, and ensures you never forget a task.
It’s a crucial element to have in your insurance agency. However, you have to have the right system for it. Excel spreadsheets and paper files foster no ability to automate your current process. They are manual, time-consuming, and can be quite tedious at times.
Additionally, using software that isn’t built for your niche industry like generic customer relationship management (CRM) systems can give you a similar outcome. Although they may have automation capabilities, if that automation isn’t created with you as the end user in mind, then it could easily cost you more time and effort.
If you want to integrate automation into your process, then your best bet is an industry-specific agency management system or AMS. AMSs are built with you, an insurance agent, in mind. These are often “out-of-the-box” solutions that require little to no customization (although flexibility to customization as needed is important) since everything you already need is there. However, you must note that even though AMSs are built for their specific industry niche, they are not all built the same
A prime example would be AgencyBloc. AgencyBloc is an AMS built specifically for the life and health insurance niche. It’s customized for users who are life and health agents providing them with an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing platform, and integrated business and marketing automation. P&C-specific agents won’t find AgencyBloc to be much help as the requirements and set up isn’t best suited for them.
It’s also important to note that not all AMS software boast the same capabilities. They will not all offer automation. For your clarity, AgencyBloc does provide automation capabilities. We call it Automated Workflow. To learn more about the feature, check out our product release broadcast about it. With other solutions, make sure to ask your sales rep prior to the sale to ensure they can provide you with this essential capability.
Full disclosure: every scenario we discuss for the remainder of this blog will be with the assumption that you are using AgencyBloc to help make your sales cycle more efficient and effective. If you want to try Automated Workflow out for yourself, sign up for our free trial. The trial will give you access to the entire software so you can explore the industry-specific CRM, commissions processing platform, Automated Workflow, and more!
Using automation as a sales stimulator
We’ve talked a lot about what automation is and, at a high level, how you can use it, but let’s actually see it in play. Sales cycles can be a huge time suck when it comes to your day-to-day; but conversion doesn’t necessarily have to require so much from you. In this blog, we’re going to discuss how automation can help you simplify your sales cycle and make it more effective. Plus, it’ll be more efficient since the automation takes care of some of it for you.
Speed to contact is a very real thing when it comes to insurance, and frankly many other types of sales. Here are some stats you should be aware of:
As our world becomes increasingly digital, these facts become even more prevalent.
So it begs the question of how to capture these leads, get to them quicker, and convert them. It seems impossible, but this feat can be accomplished by integrating your lead forms with your system’s workflow automation.
With AgencyBloc’s customizable lead forms, you can create a lead form that’s tailored to your agency. Just choose the information you want to capture (name, phone number, email, etc.), then place the lead form on your website. Keep in mind, you don’t want too many required fields because it could shy away your audience. Stick to 3-4 fields tops so you can capture necessary information while not exhausting your lead. For most companies, this is first name, last name, phone number, and email. It may be wise to also add an optional comment box that they can fill out if they desire but aren’t required. The rest can be added in later during the preliminary conversation.
Lead Form Builder in AgencyBloc
Then, set up a workflow in AgencyBloc that triggers any time a new lead comes in. To increase that speed to contact without actually having to call them, you can have the workflow trigger an email that sends immediately to the lead. Here’s what you could say:
Thank you for considering [agency’s name]. My name is [your name], and I will be in touch with you soon to see how we can be of service. If you require more immediate assistance, please call me at [phone number] or email me at [email].
I look forward to speaking with you,
On your end, you can set up a workflow to do one (or both) of the following:
- Send you an email alerting you to the new lead
- Set a task to reach out on your “to-do” list (your opening screen in AgencyBloc)
Automated workflows and the lead forms work directly together to ensure your leads never fall between the cracks. They help you to improve your speed to contact, thus boosting your odds of conversion.
You can do this the same way with leads you’ve purchased from lead vendors. AgencyBloc currently integrates with a number of reputable lead vendors that you can leverage to grow your book of business.
Use a combination of Advanced & Saved Search function and Custom Reporting to get an in-depth look at your leads. See how many you’re bringing in, how they are converting, and where they’re coming from, so you can make more informed decisions when it comes to improving your lead generating strategy.
You’re well aware of the fact that 80% of conversions require 5+ follow-ups. There are many that require upwards of 15 follow-ups. It’s heavily dependent on your prospect, the timing, and your approach.
For many prospects, the crucial part of conversion is the agent’s willingness “to work for it.” AgencyBloc helps make your relationship with prospects more meaningful. Keep notes on your conversations with the prospect, so you’re always prepared whenever you speak with them. Use the Activities function to store these notes so that they’re date and time stamped. After your conversation, easily create a workflow to set a reminder on your to-do list.
Activity List in AgencyBloc
Use the notes section connected to your prospect to keep tabs on their life. Are they married? Have kids? Just bought a home? What are their hobbies? These notes give you a snapshot into the life of your prospect so you’ll be able to recall past conversations and stay connected to them as an individual instead of just a policy.
Remember, 52% of insurance consumers are relationship buyers. And that relationship is heavily built on trust and their gut feeling about you. Having informed conversations about their life with them instead of asking them the same questions over and over will not only warm them to you as a prospect, but it will make them feel special and more apt to stay when they become a client.
The notes are revisable, so as situations change and their lives progress, you can keep your notes current to the person they are now rather than working off of old information. Activities give you a clear view of what happened and by whom. They are also permanent so you never accidentally delete essential information.
Awesome! You’ve sold the prospect, they like you, you’re all done, right? Well, maybe not.
How often do you have policies sent back for revision during the enrollment period? Stay better connected to the whole process with automated updates as to the status of your new client’s policy.
Policy Status Workflow in AgencyBloc
This ensures the process of getting your client’s policy approved is a bit faster. Set a workflow to notify you of any of the following updates for policies:
When the policy goes active, you can have it alert your client simply by setting up a workflow. The email could read something like:
Congratulations! Your policy [policy number/name] is now active. I will be in contact with you shortly.
If you have any questions, please call me at [phone number] or email me at [email].
Thanks for choosing [agency name],
Another benefit you’ll find with a system like AgencyBloc is the fact that it’s a contact-based system. With a contact-based system, you can add as many policies to any given individual (contact) or group, and they’ll all be housed together under that one entry. This helps to speed up your process of identifying policies a client or group has and saves you from digging through all of your files. (Plus, it helps with cross-sells, which we’ll discuss later.)
Think of contact-based software this way. There are options out there that are policy-based so for every policy you have to make an entry. If Tom has five policies with you, it means you have Tom in your system five separate times. With a contact-based software, if Tom has those same five policies they are all housed in one unit under Tom and Tom is only entered once. To learn more about the benefits of a contact-based system over policy-based, check out this blog: 3 Major Benefits of a Contact-Based Agency Management System.
To help make the enrollment process more streamlined, AgencyBloc has integrated with various enrollment platforms.
Once you convert your clients, you want to keep them. AgencyBloc offers a host of features to help you achieve just that! Let’s take each section in turn and discuss how you can make the process more effective.
Retention is essential to the health and longevity of a book of business. To reach your goals, you need to have a retention plan in place. A big portion of retention rides on the continued service the client receives from you after the sale.
This is where activities and notes come back to the forefront. Track your client communications regarding benefit questions, adding/deleting employees, claim payment questions, etc. all in AgencyBloc so all of your notes and information are in one singular secure unit. Track the client communications via activities (remember, they’re permanent and cannot be edited) so you have a detailed, indisputable record of engagement. This is critical for compliance issues and E&O.
The notes section (remember, they can be edited) is a good place to track genial information. How are the client’s kids? Their puppy? How’s married life going? It’s also a good place to note topics NOT to discuss. Did they recently get divorced? Probably shouldn’t mention the ex-partner’s name. Did the dog die? Don’t bring that up, either.
These sections help to keep you top-of-the-class with your client communications. They’ll be impressed you remembered, and it’ll mean a lot to them that you took the time to care.
Another way to make them smile is to wish them a happy birthday. AgencyBloc has a workflow just for that! Set it up once and it’ll email all of your clients (and prospects!) a happy birthday greeting every year.
Birthday Workflow in AgencyBloc
It’s the little things that really help you to stand out.
Renewals are hectic and are a serious time-consuming task. Sending out emails one-by-one is exhausting and doesn’t foster the growth you likely want to see for your agency.
But they don’t have to be this hard.
AgencyBloc’s policy-specific workflows have a section just for policy renewals. You can set it up on any time table with any action (email and/or task).
A popular set up includes an email sent to both the client and the agent alerting them that the policy will need renewed in 3-months time. From there, you can set up any additional notifications to the client and/or the agent as the date approaches. This helps to get everyone on the same page, and put insurance back as top-of-mind for the client.
Group Policy Renewal Workflow in AgencyBloc
Automating your policy renewal reminders can drastically cut down on the amount of emails you send out and gain you back valuable time you can use to help you get closer to your goals. Agencies have found that they can save upwards of 100 hours every renewal period by using AgencyBloc’s Automated Workflow feature to send out renewal reminders to their clients.
Cross-sells are an extraordinary opportunity for you to capitalize on your current data and build your book from within. Plus, they are a heck of a lot easier, too. Your likelihood of selling to an existing client is at least 40% higher than trying to sell a policy to a new prospect. Why? Because they already know you and have already built that trust with you. Plus, acquiring a new prospect is 6-7 times more expensive than keeping one you already have.
Identify these possible “gold mines” quickly with AgencyBloc by running a simple cross-sell report. The report itself is already populated, so all you need to do is clarify what kind of cross-sell you would like to target. Some options would be:
- They have life insurance with you but don’t have health insurance
- They have health insurance with you but don’t have life insurance
- They are a group health insurance client but don’t have add-ons like dental and vision
- They have life insurance with you but don’t have any annuities
- They have life insurance with you but don’t have short-term disability coverage
Once you’ve determined the type, press run, and the report will be there near-instantaneously (depends on how big your book of business is and the size of your report). Then start reaching out. Call them up or cover it the next time they’re in the office. Discuss it at their policy renewal meeting. Whenever you find the time. Just make sure you take advantage of this opportunity.
Not only will it be more money coming in, but an extra policy or two will help boost your retention because the client is less likely to leave with so many coverages from you.
Working automation into your process
Automating your daily, redundant tasks can help you improve your client communications, save you substantial time, and allow you to focus on building towards your top-level goals. If your goal is to grow, then you can focus your time on more revenue generating opportunities; or you can work less and spend more time doing what you love with those you love since you’re saving so much time and money.
From prospecting to selling, onboarding, retaining, and growing, AgencyBloc can be your partner to help you reach those goals you’ve set out to meet. It will save you time, help you stress less, and allow you to put your resources towards more profitable endeavors.
Automated Workflows is something I’ve wanted for a number of years, but didn’t know what it was called. Basically, it allows you to set up tasks and activities to happen based on a trigger point that happens with a client or policy. It allows me to keep in better communication with my clients—which they so much appreciate; and it allows me to not have to remember everything I have to do on a daily basis as it keeps track of all of this for me.
Brian G., Avenue Insurance Planners
To learn more about how automation, especially Automated Workflow, check out these free eBooks:
What is AgencyBloc?
AgencyBloc is an agency management system that helps life and health insurance agencies grow their business with an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated business and marketing automation.
Watch the Overview Video