I’m always surprised when I hear agents admit to not knowing their close ratio or retention rate. Or to have no clear idea of how their leads found them.
To me these are questions any agency owner should want to know about their business. Data is a game changer for any agency.
Why You Should Care About Data
Data is important to your business. Why? Because you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
It doesn’t matter how large or small you are. You have data available to you that when you understand it can have an impact on your agency.
Data can tell you how you’re doing and where you currently are. That helps you better plan where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. You’ll see trends and be able to shift towards what is most effective.
Consider how other industries are using data to better understand their customers. They then use that understanding to better serve their customers, which inspires loyalty.
Amazon uses your order and search histories to recommend products you’re more likely to buy. This is why the home page looks different for you and me. Netflix does the same thing with what you watch.
The more you know about your customers. The more you know about your agency. The more you know about what works, the more successful you’ll be.
What Kind of Data to Collect
You can track data on your customers. Like emails, dates of birth, locations, current carrier, lead source, etc.
You can track data on your agency performance. Like revenue by line of business, carrier, location. Closing ratios. Loss ratios. Retention. New business written.
You can also track by producer performance. Like quotes made or bound. Number of calls made or taken, etc. Quality of data entered.
How You Collect Data
You have technology in your agency that can give you all this data and more. You just need to pull it out and review it.
1. Your agency management system data can tell you about the current state of your agency. You’ can also learn about your agency’s sales and service activities. You can pull a report to see how much new business you wrote last month and then compare it to the same time last year. You can see cancellations and expiring policies. Monitor your agency fees and reconcile your commissions. You can also set certain fields as required so your producers have to enter data into them. Reports don’t help you if you’re missing the data.
2. The data in your comparative rater can give you insight into your sales process. Where are your leads coming from? How many quotes does your agency do in a day or month? How many of those quotes do you bind? How did the prospect contact you? Like the management system, you can make certain fields required.
3. Your insurance agency website data can tell you about how your marketing is working. How did visitors find your website? How much time did they spend? What pages did they visit? How many converted on a quote form?
4. Don’t forget about your phone system. Use your phone system to track number of outbound and inbound calls. How much time does each producer spend on the phone per day? How much time per call?
The critical part of all these systems… You need to train your employees to collect data. Setting fields as required only does so much. If an employee chooses a value at random, that data still doesn’t help you.
Share with your team why you need this data and how it’s going to help them and the agency. Make sure they know what type of data you need, what questions to ask and where to put that data when they have it.
Then start tracking and hold them accountable if they’re not entering data or entering bad data.
What You Can Do With Data
When you use your available data, you can uncover opportunities to round out accounts. You’ll identify customers of one line of business that you can then market and sell another line of business to.
It’s cheaper and easier to market to existing customers because they already know and trust you. If you want to increase revenue, start with the reports that will show you cross selling opportunities.
Let’s say you’ve got 1,000 customers who have an auto policy with you but not a home policy. A few more assumptions:
• The average premium for a home policy at your agency is $700.
• Average commission is 12.5 percent.
• Average close rate is 15 percent.
For this example, you will have added about $13,125 to your agency’s revenue.
Worth it, right?
Know Your Data!
Data is a critical part of any plan to grow. You have so much data available to you in the systems you’re already using.
Take a look at the reports in your comparative rater and agency management system. Check out your Google Analytics. Ask questions about the data and what is affecting those numbers. Then make small changes and watch to see if they change.
Make sure you educate and train your employees to help. Their contribution to gathering and entering data is important. Incomplete data doesn’t paint a clear picture.
The Modern Agency monthly blog series discusses various topics related to the success and growth of independent insurance agencies in the modern market.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky 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 two daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder