Navigating technology: How to measure agency technology
You have determined that technology will benefit your agency and have started vetting ideal enablement partners. You are well on your way to transforming your operations and client engagements and want to prove that your decision-making leads to a more efficient, performance-oriented business. As a final step in the process, it is important to develop a measurement plan that holds your agency and technology partners objectively accountable.
Below is a list of the components that comprise a measurement plan, which you can use when implementing new technologies. This beginner’s scorecard serves as a guide for judging the success of tools that replace manual efforts with automation, providing both your staff and clients with more seamless marketing, sales, servicing and renewal experiences.
State your objectives
First, you want to state the objectives technology is intended to support. Let’s assume you are purchasing a multi-line comparative rating platform that facilitates quoting for new inbound leads and customers upon renewal. Start by listing a few basic goals for the solution. For instance, you would anticipate an increase in sales team productivity, because automation typically leads to a higher number of tasks completed. Customer satisfaction should rise due to ease of doing business. Connectivity with carriers should improve overall underwriting accuracy. With an efficient intake process at the agency that compiles and even enriches data, you should expect to earn time back in the day compared to the past where you would enter data inputs manually. Now that you have your high-level objectives in place, you can drill into individual expectations by objective, getting closer to measurable data points.
Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Instead of the dictionary’s formal definition of KPIs, think of these as the “so what” to your objectives. Recall that your first objective with a new comparative rating platform is to increase sales team productivity. So what? Well, there are three performance measurements in this case that define achieving your productivity goal.
First, your producers must decrease the volume of outreach performed every time they need additional client information to provide a rate. Secondly, you should increase the volume of new sales, because the solution is eliminating wasteful time on manual processes. Finally, and using the same logic as you did with new sales, upsells upon renewal should rise now that you have technology which can quickly quote new product lines.
After finalizing the KPIs for your first objective, you would repeat the process to develop KPIs for the other three objectives in this scenario. Once complete, you are ready to define how you’ll measure each KPI.
Define the measurement
Simplicity is key to measuring success. Let’s use our ongoing example scenario, where we have three KPIs for our objective related to increasing sales team productivity. How should you measure success for the first KPI: decrease the volume of outreach performed by producers? You need to know the volume of outreach in aggregate and/or by producer from last year and begin tracking the same outreach tasks this year once the new rating technology is launched. Then you would simply compare the two data points at a given time this year versus last year to determine if the technology is impacting the reduction of tasks.
The purpose of this exercise is to begin comparing volume of tasks. Similarly, an increase in volume of new sales requires a before and after comparison of business your agency has won divided by total opportunities. Is the presence of the new rating technology associated with growth in the organization?
Determine target metrics
After identifying how you’ll measure key KPIs, you should determine reasonable targets that you hope to achieve with your new partner. In the case of the comparative rater, your task volume may have reached 350 outreach attempts annually before the tool and you want to achieve 275 outreach attempts per quarter with the tool in the first year. Determining a target metric for each KPI and sharing that with the solutions partner will give everyone a milestone marker to strive for. As a barometer, the target metric will ultimately be missed, met or exceeded at any given time. You should record true metrics, which indicate what your agency and new technology partner actually achieved with respect to your KPIs.
Every quarter, you should hold an accountability meeting with your vendor that references your measurement plan and calculates the percent accomplished.
Keep in mind that the technology is subject to uncontrollable variables inside and outside your organization. Your goal with having measurable KPIs is to keep the discussion of success as objective as possible. It also positions you as the measurement authority and ensures your technology provider is a collaborative partner in your success.
Developing a technology strategy and playing the role of investor while vetting and selecting solutions partners is alluring. Developing a measurement plan and holding your agency and your technology partner is arguably the most critical step—and often overlooked—in the journey. By maintaining a simple approach to measurement that requires a few key objectives, KPIs that support those objectives and defined targets that can that give definitive insight on what’s working and what’s not, your agency will be set on a path to ensure every decision is backed by data.
Read more of our navigating technology series
Part 1: How to simplify technology decisions by asking four fundamental questions about your agency
Part 2: Controlling the conversation with providers