4 Technologies You Shouldn't Work Without

November 17, 2015 Becky Schroeder

Since 1983, our goal at ITC has been to help independent agents succeed. Whatever goal our agents set, we want to help them achieve it. For some agencies, that might be improving sales and saving money. For others, it might be selling the agency or expanding to more locations.

For more than 30 years, we've done this through providing great technology and services. Today we're taking this goal in a new direction with a new blog series: The Modern Agency. This blog series will cover more than technology. I'll discuss a variety of topics, including sales, marketing, management and leadership. You can look forward to a new post once a month with information and practical tips you can use in your agency.

This blog series is for you. These posts are not meant to be one-way but an open conversation with you. If you have a question or a topic you'd like me to write about, leave a comment below. I want to hear from you.

Let's get started with the four technologies that are having a big impact on agency success. And thanks for reading.

Becky Schroeder
Vice President of Marketing

Opportunities for agency success found in technology

4 Technologies You Shouldn't Work Without

In a survey of more than 1,000 agencies, we found that many agencies aren't using some vital technologies. We discovered that those agencies that are heavy users of technology are two times more likely to have better sales processes. Those agencies that use sales and marketing technologies had greater revenue growth and sold up to 43% more insurance policies per producer.

ITC President Laird Rixford said, 'Agencies who commit themselves to adopt and then actually use technology are successful. Consumers have high expectations of the companies they do business with. For an agency to have success today and continued success in the future, they need to invest in technology throughout their organization.'

If you want your insurance agency to grow and succeed, you still have a chance. You have an opportunity to take advantage of the technology available to you, which will help you compete. Take a look at what you're currently using in your agency. Is it working? Are you using your current tools to their fullest potential? If you're not, would that make a difference? (Probably.) What aren't you using right now that maybe you should be?

So what technologies are having a real impact on an insurance agency's success? What tools should an agency resolved to grow and succeed not be without? Websites, marketing automation, comparative raters, and agency management systems.

Insurance Agency Website

Where did I go when I was looking for a new independent agent? Like many other consumers, I turned to Google. A website should be the hub of everything you do as it will be the first place new prospects will go to learn more about you. If you don't have an insurance agency website, you need one. You don't have to have a big budget or technical expertise to have a great website.

If you do have a website, does it look good? Does it have clear calls to action? Is it easy to navigate? Is the content up to date? Are you happy with it? If the answer is no to any of these, it is time to make a change.

A great insurance website must have some important features:
* Contact information clearly displayed
* Easy-to-complete quote forms
* Strong, visible calls to action
* Customer service options like make a payment or file a claim
* Blog
* Links to social media profiles
Marketing Automation

Ever forget to follow up with a lead? You can't close a sale when you forget to call the prospect about the quote you gave him. Our study found that agencies using marketing automation sold 10% more policies per household than agencies that don't use this technology.

Marketing automation is software that automates the follow up process. You can customize this process for your agency to help you nurture and convert prospects into clients.

These marketing automation systems can send a sequence of emails and reminders that is triggered by an event, such as when a contact is added to your database. The system will then send a predetermined number of emails over a specified time. You can set this sequence to coincide with your agency's sales cycle and the product of interest. You can write these follow up emails to give more information about your agency and the proposed policy.

When you automate repetitive follow up tasks, leads don't get forgotten, and your sales process improves.

Comparative Raters

Are you rating more than one company when a consumer requests a quote? You need a comparative rating system. The best insurance raters these days are more than a rating system. They're a sales system that helps agents close more leads and increase sales.

How can a rater help you sell?
* Through reporting that shows you quote counts and closing ratios by producer as well as reasons why policies aren't bound. This information helps you review your sales process and improve any weak areas.

* Through integration with a marketing automation system for automatic follow up on every quote you do with the rater.

* Through workflow customization where you can default answers, hide questions and set fields as required.

* Through online quoting and binding via a rater you can put on your insurance agency website.
Agency Management Systems

Management systems make agencies more efficient. Using accounting software, a comparative rater or Excel spreadsheet to keep track of client and policy information is ineffective. There is a common misconception that agency management systems are expensive. While it is true of some systems, you can get a proper agency management system and all the features and functionalities at an affordable price.

What a good agency management system can do for you:
* Create consistent, repeatable processes that improve your efficiency and protect your agency from E&O issues.
* Download policies from the Internet so you have the most up-to-date client information.
* Track sales, commissions, producers and carrier performance.
* Integrate with your agency marketing and comparative rating systems.
Bottom Line

Agencies that are investing and using technology are seeing more growth and success. If you haven't adopted some of these important tools, it's not too late. You have an opportunity to get ahead of your competition. But you need to pay attention to the technology that works and invest your budget wisely.

About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As Chief Marketing Officer, Becky Schroeder is responsible for driving ITC’s overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and developing marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.

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