Adopting New Technology
It’s no secret that many insurance agencies continue to use outdated, ineffective, and inefficient technology to help them manage their books of business. If you’re unfamiliar with why legacy technology can be a problem for your business, check out our blog that identifies the 5 major problems with using legacy tech.
For the purpose of this blog, legacy systems include:
- Homegrown solutions
- Outdated CRM software
- Excel spreadsheets
- Paper files
Even though many agencies know they need to change, the fear of adopting new technology still persists. Today, we’re going to dive into four of the major fears agencies face in new technology adoption and discuss how you can overcome each one.
We’ll tackle the big one first.
No matter the situation, the conversation will inevitably turn to finances and money at some point. Money is a big thing to think about and something you need to seriously consider, but it shouldn’t be the sole driver of your decision.
If your processes are inefficient and your growth is nonexistent, then you should be taking a hard look at your technology. It’s crucial to ask yourself if the system is truly working with you and for you.
If your answer is “it’s not”, then that’s when you know to start searching.
The reality of searching for a new technology partner is that you must see the value. If the software is truly going to help facilitate your growth and allow you to reach your goals, then the price point becomes less of a roadblock.
Yes, you should still discuss the numbers, but they don’t have to dominate the conversation.
Leveraging the savings vs. the cost
Another way to overcome the fear is to consider the time savings you could experience with an updated system. Those savings alone can make up the difference in price point.
For example, some agencies have found that since moving to AgencyBloc, they’ve cut down on their time processing commissions by 75%. That’s massive a time saver which could really make a difference in ROI against the cost of the new software.
These savings can come in the form of time saved or just simply allowing your associates to achieve more in their day (i.e. more sales, increased client retention, etc.). This can be especially handy during the high times of the year like Open Enrollment Period and Annual Election Period.
“AgencyBloc has an average one second page load time, allowing us to get work done quicker and stay on task. In employee time alone, we save $6,000 annually, creating a positive ROI, even without the additional cost savings or reclaimed commissions.”
— Joe F., Foy Benefits
As Cheryl Perez, President of BIG-HR, says: “Processes = Efficiency. Efficiency = Profit.”
Having efficient and effective processes in place by using the right software for your agency can save you money in the long run by helping you work smarter not harder in your day-to-day.
Another common fear for agents is what training will be provided with the new system.
Yes, whenever you buy into a new system there is a learning curve; but, it’s really no different than anything else you start. You start a new hobby, a new game, start selling another type of policy, etc., there is a learning curve associated with all of those.
“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”
— Abigail Adams
If this is a fear that’s holding you back, then ask your vendor the following questions:
- What do you provide for training?
- Are there additional fees associated with training?
- Is there a help section or place where I can go to learn on my own?
- Are there overview videos to go over certain aspects or parts of the system?
A good software provider will give you a variety of ways to learn and understand the system.
Remember, not everyone learns the same way, so the vendor should supply you with a few different paths for training. In addition to your initial personal onboarding, AgencyBloc provides a large help section filled with articles, images, videos, and more to give you either a high-level overview or step-by-step instructions.
This is essential for you to have at your disposal when there’s a new release or you simply want to familiarize yourself with one particular section.
Most software vendors will also provide expert-led trainings with one of their staff members to lead you through it all at the beginning. Regardless of how you learn, these options will give you the tools you need to utilize your system to the fullest.
Another fantastic way to master the learning curve is to appoint experts within your agency.
You can have many experts within your agency. Not only does this help with employee buy-in, but this is a great way to encourage intrapreneurialism and maximize your software investment.
The more self reliant your team is, the more empowered they will feel and the more efficiently they will use your investment.
This is a fear that plagues most who are moving from on-premise options like Excel spreadsheets, paper files, or a legacy CRM which is housed on your personal server. It usually occurs once they start considering modern systems that are mostly cloud-based. To get the whole lowdown on the differences, visit our blog On-Premise Software vs. Hosted Software: What You Need to Know.
This is a crucial conversation to have from the get-go as you’ll be using them to house your entire book of business, all of your client’s sensitive data, everything. Basically, your livelihood. But moving to cloud-based and hosted software is a good choice to help keep your business safe.
Here are some other resources you can utilize if security is high on your mind during your move:
It’s important to know before you buy into the software the standings of their security and, if they’re hosted, who they’re hosted by.
Change is scary. It’s true. But change is also necessary.
Many fear change due to complacency. You’re happy where you’re at and you’re unaware of anything that needs to be changed. For some agencies, change isn’t necessary; but for many agencies, it’s vital for survival. Ask yourself, are your just surviving or are you thriving?
As Henry Ford says: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
I would add to that by saying “you’ll always get what you’ve always got or less”. Not changing can cause stagnation and stagnation can either impede growth or completely reverse it. Both of which you don’t want if your goal is continued growth and expansion.
Knowing when to change
It’s hard to know when it’s time for a change, but understanding your business and keeping a pulse on the health of your agency is crucial to knowing when. This means running monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports on your business to see how each aspect is faring.
Using a dashboard like Dashboard Analytics from AgencyBloc gives you this information in real-time with easy-to-digest graphs that deliver the information in pictorial formation.
Some questions you should ask yourself are:
- Do you know which carrier is most profitable?
- Which policy or plan type is most profitable for you?
- Which agent is the highest performing and which is the lowest?
- Where are your least and most profitable leads coming from?
- What’s your in-force policy saturation?
- What is your sales cycle?
- What is your churn rate?
- Are you actually receiving all of your commissions from your carriers?
Knowing the answers to questions like these is vital to running a healthy and prosperous agency.
To help you start understanding the types of reports you should be running on a monthly basis, check out our free report templates and build from there. Also, check out our recorded webinar, The 13 Performance Metrics Your Insurance Agency Should Track (And How!), for more metrics you must be tracking.
Managing the change
To help you overcome the fear of change, implement some of the same ideas from the training section: appointing experts within your agency.
Identify those experts early on before you start the buying process so they can be in on the whole deal. This is crucial to getting their opinion and buy-in of the software, which will make the process of change substantially easier later on.
If you’re hesitant to get too many people in the room, check out our blog 7 Steps to Making Effective Group Decisions About Insurance Technology.
Overcoming Your Fears
All in all, it’s vital for you to cover these fears upfront with your sales reps while you demo, trial, and explore different technology options. It’s important for you to know who your vendor is and ensure they’re the right partner for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and use your gut feeling to vet their answers.
At the end of the day, the software must be your partner to help you achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself, your employees, and your agency.
Then, take the leap. Legacy technology and more manual products like spreadsheets are likely not going to improve nor enhance your processes. For the growth you seek, change is likely in your future.
What is AgencyBloc?
AgencyBloc is an agency management system (AMS) 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