If you could picture your dream scenario as an insurance agent, it would involve reaching scores of people with your messaging. Of those thousands of people you connect with on an annual basis, maybe the supreme goal is to convert 40% of them to customers. Wow. What a book of business that would be.
Then you'd just have to track them all in an organized fashion. But that's the easy part. Right?
It wasn't so easy before the digital age. Not so long ago, you had to make room in the office for bulky filing cabinets that housed tons of customer paperwork stuffed into manila file folders. Fortunately, those days should be history for most agents with the advent of customer relationship management (CRM) software. All that information contained in those cabinets can now be stored on a mobile device, which you can use anywhere at any time to access mega-details on all your customers or prospects.
That's the power of CRM. But what is it exactly, and what makes a good one? Let's take a closer look at the key features of a good CRM, as well as our top picks.
Customer relationship management software does exactly what the name suggests. It helps you manage all the customer data you've acquired from day one or throughout the years. The solution helps keep your business organized with respect to customer info. Even more, though, it also helps agents and their employees become more productive.
CRM platforms can integrate with other systems or software packages to gather additional data and keep all your customer information underneath one roof. Any organization that needs to have sales departments connect with marketing, operations, or finance, for example, would benefit greatly from using CRM software.
You may have thought of a CRM as some large, sophisticated software suite that's only geared toward big companies. And they can indeed be customized to meet the needs of giant corporations. By the same token, it's a necessary tool for small agencies whose owners wear a lot of hats. It helps solo agents and smaller agencies stay organized and in the know when it comes to the company's most valuable asset: their customers.
There's little doubt you think of your agency as a sales-driven organization. You have to remain in constant contact with prospects whom you hope to turn into customers. Prospecting needs to be an everyday affair built into the essence of your agency. You must continually add new business to your books to meet sales objectives and replace customers you may have lost to attrition.
So, considering the fact that your agency is a highly transactional business involving numerous prospects and customers, a CRM makes perfect sense. The software allows you to leverage a pile of information that can help grow your business.
Naturally, your success will depend upon the nature of the data you choose to collect and retain. Let's say you wanted to start a campaign to market a new line of pet insurance to current home and auto customers. When you sold your customers, had you gone so far as to ask them whether they had a pet or not? If so, your CRM software can generate a target market in an instant.
The same scenario could apply to motorcycle, RV, classic car insurance, or any other line. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for an insurance agency using a CRM.
CRMs have become so specialized that many solutions cater to an insurance agency's needs. You'll want to do your due diligence before picking one. At a minimum, be sure that the software includes the following features. (Also know that software constantly evolves, and developers will add more powerful functions as time moves along.)
You're likely prospecting from many different sources: real-time options, lists, referrals, etc. The ability to consolidate all contact and follow-up information from emails, website visits, and phone calls is a huge plus. All the information you need should be at your fingertips.
For specific email marketing campaigns, you'll want to blast as many customers and prospects as possible. Look for a CRM that's capable of filtering prospects by certain criteria and then generating emails to that group. It's easier than having a separate CRM and email app interact with each other.
You'll likely be dealing with a few different policy management systems for several lines of business. Any CRM that integrates seamlessly with policy software will provide greater customer detail and allow you to take advantage of cross-selling opportunities.
If you go shopping for a CRM, you'll want to save some time by narrowing your selections. There are a lot of solutions on the market, and some apps are designed specifically for insurance sales businesses. Here's a look at five CRM software packages that work well for any agency.
The Radiusbob platform offers you sales and marketing automation functions that preserve a detailed history of each person you contact or do business with. Every customer or prospect has a profile that includes things like reminders, notes, and tasks related to that specific contact. The software includes a messaging program that can also generate mass emails and texts to anyone who provides you with contact info.
You can tailor the solution to your liking. Add custom fields to customer and prospect files and assign various temperatures to each prospective client so you can prioritize the next wave of phone calls or emails. Radiusbob integrates with websites, quote engines, and lead delivery systems.
Insureio allows you to see if your sales efforts are on pace to meet financial goals. You can use pre-configured reporting tools or design your own reports by selecting the specific output you'd like to analyze. All reports are accessible from a dashboard that also includes quick snapshots of critical metrics such as pending policies, premiums placed, and new leads received within a recent period.
To help you and your sales team along, the software offers call scripting if you'd like everyone to take the same approach to certain prospecting campaigns. Leaning toward life sales, Insureio gives you embedded quoting tools for various policy types along with state-specific applications and policy servicing forms. Underwriting guides give you the ability to answer medical questions on the fly.
By taking manual dialing out of the mix, the VanillaSoft CRM helps make prospecting efforts more efficient. The platform claims to significantly increase calling activity with auto-dialing systems. Callers can preview contact info with a click-to-dial approach or speed the process up in a progressive mode. The auto-dialing system integrates with desk phones, analog phones, and VoIP platforms, among others.
If you use telemarketers or have a sales team, the software's lead-routing function lets you first gauge the details about the prospect and their situation. After evaluating the temperature of your lead, you can choose to contact the prospect immediately or tag it as a lesser priority for future follow-up. The company states that this method lets you and your team quickly address the best opportunities.
In high-volume life and health agencies, a daily flurry of transactions results in a lot of activity to track. AgencyBloc's activity management systems let you document calls and discussions so that compliance standards can be met. Each activity is date-stamped and provides notated proof of changes or requests. This function helps shore up your agency against possible errors and omissions claims.
If you sell multiple products through numerous carriers, you understand the frustration of reconciling commissions. AgencyBloc's commission module can give you a look at aggregate payouts and also break them down by agent, carrier, or policy type. To help the process along, you can import external documents like carrier statements and manage internal split-commission agreements.
If you're a Medicare, accident and health, or property and casualty producer, you probably realize by now that finding new customers costs more than keeping current ones. With that fact in mind, AgentCubed gives you the ability to track customer acquisition costs from a dashboard in real time. To help cut those costs, the software lets you streamline digital sales and distribution methods so you can chip away at the average expense of securing a new policyholder.
From a compliance angle, the platform keeps you informed of any regulatory changes involving federal guidelines. This feature helps you to navigate the ever-changing environment of the Affordable Care Act. This CRM also helps establish general compliance best practices in the event you must satisfy audits across any applicable lines of insurance.
The customer is the lifeblood of any business. So, take good care of them once they've placed trust in you. CRMs can help you know more about your customers and strengthen those valued relationships.
Looking for a way to fill your CRM with fresh new prospects? Nectar's real-time lead generation program can help you connect with warm leads that are ready to become your next customers. Contact us today to learn more.
This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.