Set Your Agency Up for a Successful Open Enrollment Season
The few months that encompass the Open Enrollment (OEP) and Annual Election Period (AEP) are always busy for insurance agencies. Agents are pulled in a ton of different directions every day—from staying abreast of industry trends and changes to managing relationships with insurance companies, carriers, and business owners, to providing excellent customer service, and beyond. This makes it even more important to ensure you have a strategy in place when the busy season starts.
Here are our top four tips to help you stay efficient and effective during the OEP and AEP.
1. Analyze Your Previous OEP and AEP
Before you start strategizing on your approach, take a moment to look into your agency’s past OEP and AEP performance. If you are already using an agency management system (AMS), run some reports to get clarity on how many leads your team closed, what policies and carriers were most popular, earned commissions, and more.
AgencyBloc's real-time graphs and custom reporting, for example, give you a quick look at where you are and where you're headed—or you can dive deeper for more in-depth analysis by looking into the profitability of your lead sources so you know where to focus your efforts. You can also see who your top-selling agents are so you can reward high performers and coach those who need more support.
Source | AgencyBloc
In addition to running reports, you should also meet with your agents and discuss what went smoothly and where there is room for improvement. Discuss common client questions, hesitations, and friction points in the sales process. Brainstorm together to problem solve and strategize. Ensure you are all on the same page when it comes to company processes and expectations.
These reports and conversations will give you valuable insight that can help you create a solid selling strategy for the upcoming OEP/AEP.
2. Stay Updated On Industry, Carrier, and Policy Changes
Ensure your team is in the know when it comes to any regulatory changes, important dates, and industry trends. This will allow you to provide your clients with top-notch, relevant advice that reinforces your expertise and fosters a trusting relationship with clients.
Compliance rules are also a critical issue to stay informed on. Here are some blogs with the latest compliance updates:
3. Create an Informed Sales and Marketing Strategy
While servicing current clients is likely your first priority, every insurance agency must also keep new leads coming. Use the learnings you’ve taken from the previous two tips to guide your sales and marketing strategy for the next OEP/AEP.
Prepare your marketing materials and strategy well in advance. Address any trending topics, audience pain points, frequently asked questions, and important issues. These are a few ways insurance agencies generate leads:
Lead generation and marketing are just one piece of the puzzle. You also need a way to track the leads as they come in and move them through your sales pipeline—this is where an AMS can help.
4. Get Organized with an Agency Management System
Staying organized is the key to saving time and energy during the OEP. An AMS can help you and your team do this efficiently while also setting your team up for a successful, stress-free OEP. This is because it acts as your insurance agency’s hub, storing all of your important records in one intuitive, easy-to-navigate system. Say goodbye to disorganized paper records, lost files, tedious data silos, and wasted time.
In addition to housing your records, the right agency management system should have tools that help you manage and sort through them and streamline your business operations.
An AMS Can Help You Efficiently Manage New Leads
When an insurance agency is organized, the data agents need is only a few clicks away, allowing them to service clients with ease.
Because an AMS is industry-specific, records often already have industry-specific fields available to fill out, like policy number, carrier, coverage type, and group policy information (if applicable). What’s not there that might be unique to your agency can be created and tracked with custom fields.
Plus, if you choose a cloud-hosted AMS, like AgencyBloc, your data is always backed up, secure, and accessible to your team from anywhere, any time.
Optimize Lead Tracking & Follow-Up
Timely and consistent sales follow-up is critical. With a lot going on, it can be hard to keep track of where all of your leads are at in the sales process, not to mention, remembering to follow up with them consistently.
Automate your lead follow-up with AgencyBloc. Using Lead Forms and Automated Workflows, you can automatically assign a task to agents to reach out to new leads and send an automated email letting the lead know you've received their information.
From there, be sure you never miss an important touchpoint. To do this, you have to always know where your leads are in the sales process. Using AgencyBloc's Lead and Sales Management Tools, you can track leads and opportunities, forecast potential revenue, and close more deals.
Without an agency management system, it can be difficult to know where your leads are at in the process and who is doing what. This can lead to poor prospect communication and double the work, which is unproductive for your agency.
Learn more in our free guide: The Insurance Agency’s Guide to Lead & Sales Management: Methodologies, Processes, and Tools That Work.
Streamline the Quoting and Proposals Process
Gathering quotes and proposals can be a tedious process. Utilizing tools like Quote+, an AgencyBloc solution, you can save up to 50% of the time you’d normally spend on the quoting and proposal process. How?
This insurance quoting software gives you exclusive access to a private, broker-controlled online marketplace. In this marketplace, you can gather and compare quotes from multiple carriers and view real-time pricing for full benefits packages. Shop quotes for community rated, medically underwritten, and ancillary plans in the same space. Then, you can seamlessly turn these quotes into client-ready proposals.
To streamline the process even more, your client’s employees can select which policies they want, and Quote+ will map this information to the appropriate election sheets, which are then securely sent to carriers. This helps expedite and organize the enrollment process.
Learn more about the 6-step quoting process in Quote+: The 6 Simple Steps to Quoting Small Group Insurance in Quote+.
An AMS Can Help You Serve Your Current Clients Well
Retaining your current clients boils down to great service and communication. In fact, 68% of people would pay more to work with companies that provide good customer service. In the insurance world, this means friendly service that’s quick and effective.
This goes back to being organized—is your agency able to quickly pull up client information and answer their questions on the spot? Does your agency have a way to proactively communicate about what matters to your clients most? Do you have the right tools in place to do this?
Communicate With Clients Strategically
Providing a great experience and servicing your clients well requires regular communication. With this, you're better able to address issues before you lose a client and keep client retention high.
Before OEP/AEP, reach out to your clients and share the steps they need to follow to re-enroll or update their coverage. Let them know of any important dates and changes, and how they can contact you if they have questions.
Don’t let your communication stop once OEP/AEP ends. There are several reasons to stay in touch with your clients throughout the year:
- Send them additional resources on products you sell that you haven’t spoken with them about yet (cross-sell)
- Send a newsletter that helps employees get the most out of their health benefits
- Send a survey to ask how they’re enjoying your products and ask for referrals
- Send coverage updates (like when carriers make changes that may affect them)
- Send notifications regarding any special enrollment periods that pertain to them
- Send reminders for Open Enrollment next year
- Send a “Happy Birthday” email each year
Check out these email templates to get you started: Client Retention Emails & Workflow Recipes.
Does your agency have a way to automate these messages to clients? They can be easy to forget to send, if not. With AgencyBloc you can automate important emails and send mass emails.
Insurance agencies need to track policies at a detailed level, including things like application stage, coverage type, co-payment details, benefit options, providers, deductibles, dependents, enrollments and elections, and much more.
With AgencyBloc, you can manage policies tied to individuals and groups with ease, and maintain incredible organization and efficiency across your team.
Source | AgencyBloc
With this thorough, up-to-date information at your fingertips, you can adequately service clients.
Your probability of selling to an existing client is higher than closing a deal with a new lead. Your current clients have already bought from you; they already trust you. So, try to find areas where they are missing coverage with you and chat with them about the options you provide.
Here are a few cross-selling examples that are Open Enrollment-focused:
- A client has health insurance coverage but doesn’t have life insurance
- A client has employee health coverage but doesn’t have a comprehensive dental plan
- A client has health insurance but doesn’t have critical illness coverage
Depending on what you sell, you can probably think of plenty more examples of where to look for cross-selling opportunities. Just make sure you have an easy way to identify them. For example, you can quickly pull up this information with the help of an agency management system. Without one, you may spend a lot of time manually sorting through your records.
Within a platform like AgencyBloc, individuals and groups are linked to policies, so our system knows who has what coverage. Then, you can run AgencyBloc’s Cross-Sell Report to search all of the coverage types in your database and instantly single out cross-selling opportunities. Here’s what this report looks like in AgencyBloc:
Source | AgencyBloc
Another way to find cross-selling opportunities within AgencyBloc is directly through our Email Marketing software (screenshot below), where you can identify the coverage gaps and contact them all in one step.
Source | AgencyBloc
Interested in AgencyBloc?
AgencyBloc is a comprehensive suite of solutions that can do all of the above and more, in seconds.
This blog was originally published on September 15, 2021, and was updated and republished on August 29, 2023.
by Kelsey Rosauer on Tuesday, August 29, 2023