How do you measure success for your insurance agency?
Most likely, you look at your business results. And, you benchmark those results against the goals you set.
These might be revenue targets, lead close ratios, or website traffic increases. Or, something else that moves the needle.
Your goals matter. They provide context for the results you get. And they help you determine your strategy moving forward.
So, comparing your goals with your actual business results is critical. But if that’s the only way you measure success, you’re behind the curve.
Why a Results-Based Approach Won’t Work
Results are tantalizing for any business owner. But they’re irresistible to insurance agents.
Insurance relies upon probabilities and financial outcomes. Numbers are the backbone of the entire industry. So, results couldn’t be easier to track.
But that doesn’t mean success is easy to measure.
Insurance agencies are evolving businesses. Some are large conglomerates. Many others are small, emerging companies.
All types of agencies need to be agile and forward-thinking to survive. This point is pressing given the recent climate of agency consolidation.
Relying on benchmarks and results alone won’t help agencies meet these objectives. There are several reasons for this.
- Results are backward-facing and take time to collect.
- Benchmark goals might not be realistic or attainable.
- Changes based on results take longer to put in place than those made in real time.
- Performance analysis doesn’t account for an agency’s growth or decline.
- A deep dive into results doesn’t prepare agencies for what’s to come.
This last point is critical. Change can happen to any business, including insurance agencies. If your agency is not prepared to handle these changes, your operations will suffer.
At best, you will leave valuable business opportunities on the table by doing this. At worst, you will degrade your customer experience and lose revenue.
Either way, you’ll run into problems if you’re unprepared. A results-based approach won’t be able to save you from this fate.
The Case For Forecasting
Change can be exciting. But, it can also be unpredictable.
How can your agency prepare for the unexpected? How can it roll with the changes and continue to see success?
Enter business forecasting.
Forecasting is intelligent predicting of future business activity. It can help your agency redefine its goals to reflect its evolving nature. It can also help you scale your operations for your agency’s future needs.
Forecasting looks backward and forward. It combines the results-based approach agencies already use with strategic planning. And, it combines these results to provide an up-to-date view of success.
By adopting business forecasting, you can ensure your agency is meeting its objectives. Better yet, you can ensure your objectives are optimal to help you thrive.
Sound good? Let’s get started.
Digital Marketing and Forecasting
If you’re adopting forecasting in your agency, start with your digital marketing. This part of your operation is easy to track. Plus, digital marketing builds demand. So, incorporating forecasting can help you control the scale-up process.
Start by looking at your website analytics reports. Which devices are visitors browsing your website on, and what are they doing while on the site? Keep an eye out for red flags. For instance, a low average time-on-page could be a sign or a poor consumer experience.
But if you see issues, don’t rush to make fixes yet! Remember, you want to forecast future results to determine success. So, you will need to get some forward-facing information to make your forecasts. Those forecasts will determine if you need to make changes.
Check out Think With Google to see projections on future web browsing habits. Dive into the annual KPCB Internet Trends Report for even deeper consumer insights. And open Google Trends to see how search terms change over time.
This information won’t be as robust as what’s in your web analytics. It can’t be, because the future hasn’t happened yet! But you can still glean some valuable insights from it.
A great example comes from the shift toward mobile. As more consumers browse the internet on smartphones, their behavior continues to evolve. Consumers are now looking for interactive experiences. These include visual content, videos and voice search connectivity.
Your website might not address these needs at the moment. And that might not be a bad thing for your agency right now. But by comparing trends and analytics, you can forecast future demand for them. And you can adapt your website to meet that demand, if you so desire.
As you make these forecasts, don’t forget the big picture. When you market to changing consumer needs, you stand to grow your business. Your forecasts can tell you when you’ll need to scale up your staff to meet the projected demand. This can help ensure consumer satisfaction remains high as your agency grows.
Putting It All Together
Forecasting future-proofs your digital marketing. It prepares your agency for changes in consumer behavior. It helps you manage your agency’s growth process. And it allows you to maintain excellence at any size or scale.
In short, forecasting helps you define success, both for today and tomorrow. This can help you keep your agency’s doors open. And that can allow you to keep providing for your family and your employees.
It might take a little bit of extra work, but that work will pay off.
About the Author
Dylan Brooks helps ITC clients improve the visibility of their agency websites, working directly with them to improve their search engine rankings. Dylan has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Miami, and he is pursuing an Masters in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, watching football, and spending time outdoors in and around Dallas.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Dylan Brooks