What Life & Health Insurance Agencies Should Look for in an Agency Management System
One of the biggest things we hear when prospective clients are looking for a new agency management system (AMS) is that they want to find a technology partner. They want to ensure they’re entering a partnership that is about more than just the software itself.
To help you find the right technology partner for your agency, we pulled together the questions we hear most, plus others we encourage you to ask. Ask these questions during your sales demo and take note of the answers—they will be helpful when you come to the decision-making part of your journey.
Download our free PDF: 6 Questions To Ask During Your AMS/CRM Sales Demo for all of the questions and note pages together!
Question 1: What’s the history of the software company?
When forming a partnership, you want to ensure both parties are aligned. To better understand if your goals and ideas are aligned, you need to know the history of the technology vendor. We encourage you to ask:
- What is the story of the company?
- When was it formed?
- What are the goals of the company?
- What is the future they see for themselves?
The answers to these questions will give you insight into who they are and if they’re the right choice for your agency. Do some research ahead of time. For example, look at LinkedIn to get a feel for employee count and look at their website, social media presence, etc.
Want to learn even more? Check out our Vendor Research tool to help you know where to look and what to look for in your research.
Question 2: What type of software do they offer?
This question helps to answer two crucial questions:
- Is the software generic or industry-specific?
- Is the software hosted or on-premise?
Generic software (CRM) is built to adapt to many industries. They generally have lots of features but can also require a significant amount of time, effort, and money to make them function properly for your needs. A focused software, like an agency management system (AMS), is built for one specific industry or industry niche. Learn more about the difference between an AMS and a CRM.
The difference between hosted and on-premise boils down to two main components:
On-premise solutions are only accessible in the office via your computer and can have significant security risks. Hosted (or cloud-based) software houses your data on remote servers all over the country. Hosted software is accessible anytime from any device, and security is the responsibility of the vendor.
There’s a lot more on this topic, so check out our in-depth blog: On-Premise Software vs. Hosted Software: What You Need to Know.
Question 3: How many revisions/updates do they release a year?
Technology changes, and it changes fast, so make sure the vendor is committed to consistently updating and enhancing the product to provide you with the most value. Ask specific questions, like:
- Do they have a dedicated product team (Developers, Product Managers, Quality Assurance Analysts, etc.)?
- Do they have a team solely focused on upkeep, maintenance, and bug fixes?
- How many updates/releases/enhancements did they launch in the previous calendar year?
- What’s on their product roadmap for this year?
Another area to cover is integrations and APIs. Do they have integrations, and do they support client-built APIs?
Question 4: What does their help/support look like?
When considering support, some things you may want to consider are:
- A dedicated help section
- 1-on-1 training
- Onboarding specialist to help you with the initial transition
- Easy access to support (i.e., chat, phone, email)
- Ongoing webinars and training to help you level up your usage
- User meetups for additional learning, network, and support
You want to ensure you have the support you need. During your sales demo, ask your rep what training looks like and if they have a self-serve help section with instructional articles and videos.
Question 5: Are they willing to provide comparison content?
User-generated content is a great way to get a feel for the software from the eyes of actual clients. Two types of content to ask for are:
Reading user-generated content helps you get a feeling for how real clients use the software to fit their various needs. Do your due diligence and check other review sites, forums, and more to see how the vendor is being rated and what is being said.
Then, check out the case studies. Case studies give you even more insight into the value users have experienced with the software.
Question 6: What does an exit plan look like?
This question is super important.
You want to know BEFORE YOU BUY how easy (or not easy) it will be to get your data out of the system. If the process to get your data out of the system seems cumbersome, you may rethink the partnership
Some systems believe that if they house your data, they then own your data and will charge you a fee for taking it back out of their software. Before you buy, make sure to ask if your data will still be 100% yours.
Remember, every software is different, so make sure you’re having this conversation with each one you consider. Just because one does things one way does not indicate another will, too.
Take notes during your meeting to help jumpstart your memory of who the vendor is and their answers to your questions when it comes time for decision-making.
Looking for other resources to use in your search? Here are more vendor vetting pieces you may find helpful:
Take a Look at AgencyBloc
AgencyBloc is the #1 Agency Recommended Management System for the life and health insurance industry. Take a look and schedule your personalized 1-on-1 demo with one of our experts. Don't forget to ask them the questions above to help you decide if AgencyBloc is the right choice for your agency!
This blog was originally posted on December 18, 2018, and republished on December 23, 2021.
By Allison Babberl on December 23, 2021 in Technology
Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski More articles