Navigating technology: Sales innovation that increases efficiency
If you think about your customer lifecycle, it begins with sales. On your journey of technical transformation, reviewing solutions that help provide an opportunity to grow and sustain with the help of automation is the next best step after going through the process of building a technology plan and vetting, selecting and measuring solutions that enhance the business and client experience.
What is automation?
Automation is the performance of processes automatically. It doesn’t mean that humans are replaced by computers. Automation can be as simple as a trigger that prompts a person to perform an action. For instance, you may have developed a playbook for your producers that tells them how, with what frequency and when to engage prospects and clients. In this example, step one requires an outbound phone call and step two requires sending a follow-up email after one day. Some customer relationship management (CRM) systems allow you to program this process directly into the interface, providing triggers that prompt you to perform the next action. Upon hanging up the phone and waiting a day, the technology would either digitally remind you to send an email or provide the option to send the email automatically using communication templates that you have created and pre-populated. Determining how hands-on or hands-off you want to be is up to you; however, when you embrace automation on certain tasks that become repetitive and time-consuming for you and your team, you will immediately notice a burden has been alleviated and that time has been replenished to redirect on more pressing agency matters.
Which solutions use automation?
After grounding yourself on the benefits of automation using our simple example, now the real fun begins. Automation solutions are nearly endless for agencies. Insurance technologies seem to pop up daily telling you to give control—based on your best practices, of course—to a computer. Alleviate the stresses of redundancy in the sales process and do something that you enjoy. If you implement automations thoughtfully and responsibly, you will likely identify new areas within the agency and client journey that could use more human effort.
The best way to arrive at technologies that are available in the market to assist the sales process is by looking at your producer-self in the mirror. Which functions of the workday are consuming your senses and which of those senses could be assisted through technology.
Learn about automation solutions that are available today that can transform your agency sales life tomorrow.
Save time measuring performance
Can a technology monitor activity for me so I can avert my eyes? We are inundated with spreadsheets and data regarding our prospect and client activities. AMS and CRMs are the eyes of the agency, sifting through data, organizing the information and pushing it out to other solutions to generate follow-up action. We can confidently say that most technologies have a dashboard of metrics that monitor, report and react to client behaviors automatically.
Match clients with the right solution
Can a technology listen for me so I can provide helpful recommendations to my client? Comparative rating platforms and digitized versions of ACORD forms are great examples of solutions replacing the necessity to transcribe the history of our customers by hand. Innovation in this area has led to data platforms as well, where raters and forms digitally request additional information from the third-party data tools to populate fields that the client hasn’t filled. For instance, a personal lines rater can now pull the necessary underwriting information for vehicles (i.e. year/make/model, names of drivers in the household, credit data, etc.) and homes (square footage, number of floors, flood zone information, etc.) with only a name and address. In a similar vein, commercial quoting solutions have paired with third-party data providers to complete a company profile, including the proper NAICS code using only the business name and location inputs from the client. This requires less surveying and more time matching clients to the best policies.
Provide personalization and improve response times
Can a technology provide touchpoints that are required throughout the buying process and encourage the client to move forward? Take your pick of solutions or use them all to manage each leg of an interaction. Chat bots are continuing to evolve towards virtual assistants, going deeper in conversation using context as a guide; chat technology on your website and linked from your social channels can act in a humanized way to collect data from clients and guide them to agency resources based on lines of business and policy types.
In addition, email marketing has saturated the market and continues to become more sophisticated using data. Originally used in one-to-many communications, email marketing can now implement one-to-one communications, which are still automated and use unique client data to engage in a more intimate manner. This gives your clients the feeling of personalization while giving your producers the ability to scale up without feeling burdened by high volumes of activity.
Taking it one step further, SMS text platforms or SMS features baked into CRMs have been popularized, meeting clients on smart devices where they spend their time. Text messaging can be used in much the same way as email by scheduling distribution following events in your prospecting cadence and setting triggers that send the text accordingly.
Create a rewarding workplace culture
Can technology encourage and celebrate our producers and their productivity? The word gamification is widely used to categorize technology that tracks and celebrates the progress of individuals and teams. Creating digital scoreboards that challenge producers with attainable milestones, visualize peer performance and play theme songs every time a personal or team milestone is reached exists now and can be tied into your CRM. Celebration software encourages peak performance while automating acknowledgements that resound throughout the agency as producers approach a sale. This does not replace face-to-face praise and discussion; however, it enhances the sales experience and helps if portions of the team are remote.
A volume of prospecting activities are necessary to develop new and renew existing clients. Many agencies know what it takes to drive sales conversions, and with that winning formula and the addition of technology automation, there is an opportunity to produce incremental growth and catapult the scale of the business. Efficiency is created when you allow solutions to supplement efforts in communication, data gathering and submissions and measurement, including interactions with clients and performance within the agency. By adopting tools like CRM, chat, SMS texting, and gamification and connecting them to each other to ensure that each solution feeds off the other, you can establish a competitive advantage for your agency.
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
Part 3: How to measure agency technology
The information included in this article was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, including subject matter experts, to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2022 Nationwide.