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Selling insurance is kind of like farming wheat.
Wait, before you run off screaming “I didn't spend 4 years getting a finance degree just to be compared to a farmer”, let me explain.
If a farmer wants to grow wheat, he needs to buy a bunch of wheat seeds. These are your prospects.
Then, he plants those seeds in nice fertile soil that's packed with nutrients. Said nutrients are your sales activities: your calls, your texts, your emails.
Of course, the soil isn't quite enough; the wheat needs water, too. So, our busy farmer goes and installs an irrigation rig so his wheat seeds can quench their thirst.
This is your sales and marketing collateral:
- Policy documents
- Customer testimonials
Once his seeds have grown their spikes (yes, that's the technical term), our farmer grabs his combine harvester and gets all that wheat grain ready to sell.
Here, the harvester is the looming threat of whatever it is you're insuring customers for; the possibility of an accident, break-in, or illness.
Here's the thing:
None of this goes well if our farmer doesn't have a process on his side (plant the seeds before watering), and a giant shed to store all of his seed, nutrients, and equipment.
As it relates to you, this system for growth is your insurance CRM.
And, like Farmer Joe here, if you don't have your CRM game sorted, you probably aren't going to grow much wheat.
Which, of course, is a metaphor for closing insurance policies. The point is, you need an insurance CRM, and we're going to show you why.
In this article, we're going to look at the 13 ways an insurance CRM can help you scale and close more deals. But first, a little 101.
Insurance CRM Software 101
Implementing a CRM software solution can be a real game-changer for insurance agents, but you'll only be able to really take advantage of a CRMs vast feature set if you understand what they're designed to do.
Let's take a look.
What Is a CRM For Insurance?
The acronym CRM stands for customer relationship management.
It's the process of managing and maintaining relationships and interactions with all of your customers, and your potential customers.
As a practice, customer relationship management has at its core the principle that developing a meaningful relationship with your buyers will result in business growth through better customer retention and increased new customer acquisition rates.
It's so vital to business operations that the process has spawned an entire breed of software platform, known as the CRM system.
In fact, when most people refer to CRM, they're actually referring to the software platform rather than the process, such as when your sales manager sends your team a Slack message asking them to update their CRM already.
An insurance CRM, then, is a software platform that allows insurance agents to maintain and develop customer relationships.
So, what does a CRM actually do?
Every CRM is different, but the majority of them allow users to:
- Create customer accounts to store all related information (such as contact and policy details)
- Move prospects through a pipeline as they progress through a sales process
- Send and receive emails and SMS
- Add notes and activities to customer accounts, documenting the history of interactions
- Call directly through the platform over VoIP
These all seem like desirable features, but it's possible to imagine other ways to manage each of these activities.
What makes a CRM so important, then?
Why Use a CRM for Insurance Agents?
Implementing a CRM offers these 7 benefits to insurance brokers:
- Improved access to customer data
- Shorter sales cycle
- Increased sales volume
- More reps hit their sales quota
- Improved customer retention rates
- Reduced labor costs
- Strong ROI
And we've got the numbers to prove it.
- Improved access to customer data
74% of those who have implemented a CRM system say that it has put customer information at their fingertips (quite literally for those who have mobile CRM apps).
- Shorter sales cycle
Salespeople have found that the data accessibility provided by CRMs can shorten their sales cycles by up to 14%.
- Increased sales volume
Using a CRM to manage customer interactions, sales pipelines, and prospect relationships can increase sales volume by up to 30%.
- More reps hit their sales quota
Using a CRM with mobile access, as many as 24% more sales reps achieve their annual sales targets.
- Improved customer retention rates
Customer retention is one of the key concerns for insurance providers, and implementing a CRM for insurance brokers can have a huge impact on this metric, say 47% of users.
- Reduced labor costs
Insurance CRM systems can not only lift sales volume, they can actually reduce your brokerage's labor cost by as much as 40%.
- Strong ROI
For every dollar spent on CRM solutions, the average return on investment amounts to $8.71.
Tips for Choosing the Best CRM for Insurance Agents
Not all insurance CRM solutions are designed with the same features and workflows in mind.
If you really want to get the best out of your new investment, we'd recommend prioritizing these 5 features:
- Well-developed mobile apps
- Strong automation capabilities
- A wide variety of integrations with other software platforms
- High ease-of-use
- Dedicated and accessible customer support
Types of Insurance Agency CRMs
There are two main categories of insurance sales CRM.
The first is a system that has been specifically designed for insurance agents, and nobody else. The second is a CRM platform that is built to serve the needs of sales and support agents in a variety of fields, not just insurance brokers.
Here's the difference:
Specially-designed CRM for insurance companies
Only includes features that are specific to the insurance industry
Has a wide feature-set that is relevant to all industries, typically encompassing more than insurance-specific CRMs
Usually desktop only
Most often cloud-based, enabling access from anywhere
Often includes policy management functionality
Document management may exist but isn't likely to be policy-specific
Typically requires less customization (but often offers less as a result)
Typically requires more customization (but often offers more as a result)
11 Ways Insurance CRMs Can Help Your Business Scale Up
We've already looked at some of the major benefits that can be gained from implementing an insurance brokerage CRM. Now let's turn our attention to 13 scenarios in which such a software package can assist in your business growth.
1. Create a Single Point of Truth
Many insurance agents have faced this challenge:
It's time to call on a prospect and follow up on the policy proposal you sent through last week. You spend 15 minutes trying to find their phone number (you're sure it was in an email somewhere) and plug it into your phone.
Before you hit the dial, though, you question yourself: Did they say it was better to call in the morning, or in the afternoon?
Was it this guy who was going to discuss it with his partner, or the other guy? What was it that was stopping him from moving forward again?
Agents who aren't using a CRM tend to be seen by their prospects as disorganized, forgetful, and ill-prepared to close the deal.
On the other hand, those using insurance sales software have a centralized point of truth. That is, all of their data is in one place, and easily accessible at all times. And so they are viewed in a more positive light by prospects and maintain a higher closing percentage.
As they prepare to call on a prospect, they have at their disposal:
- Customer contact information
- Notes regarding sales objections and contact preferences
- History of email and SMS communication to refresh themselves with
This is particularly helpful as brokers start to scale up, as the number of clients they have on their books quickly surpasses the threshold where they are able to remember every detail of every client.
CRM software for insurance agents solves this problem by putting all this data at an agent's fingertips.
2. Save Time By Automating Activities
One of the biggest challenges that insurance brokers face is that they often get bogged down in repetitive, manual tasks that take far more time than they should.
Rather than being able to focus on valuable activities such as client meetings and policy creation, many insurance salespeople find that nearly half of their day is spent doing one of three things:
- Manually typing email and SMS messages
- Administrative tasks such as updating spreadsheets and other information storage systems
- Researching company hierarchies to identify key stakeholders and influencers
All of this leads to sales reps only spending about 35% of their time actually selling.
How does an insurance agent CRM solve this problem then?
By allowing agents to build custom automation rules to take care of these repetitive (and often mundane) administrative tasks.
Here's how it works:
Let's say that your sales process dictates that after you get off your initial qualification phone call with an insurance prospect, you are to send them an email thanking them for their time and letting them know that you'll come back to them shortly with a quotation.
With automation, your CRM can be instructed to send this email automatically (using a template you've created that you've had time to fine-tune), as soon as you get off the phone, and even move the deal forward to the next stage in your sales pipeline, all without you having to even touch the mouse.
Sounds pretty helpful, right?
Well here's the kicker: as much as 30% of sales-related activities can be automated. We probably don't need to tell you what it would mean to your bottom line if you could spend 12 hours more each week selling.
3. Sell On The Go with a Mobile App
Agents using manual client management solutions like spreadsheets and, god forbid, post-it notes, are stuck with a problem:
They're stuck in one place.
You can't very well update your whiteboard from the other side of town after a client meeting, can you?
A high-quality insurance broker CRM should offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices, allowing you to keep your system up to date while on the go, and access all client contact info and communication history remotely.
This has a strong and easily quantifiable impact on sales. 65% of reps using a mobile sales CRM app are hitting their sales quota. Compare this with only 22% of those who don't, and it's pretty clear that a mobile-ready CRM is the way to go for your insurance brokerage if you want you and your sales team to succeed.
4. Streamline Your Workflow with Integrations
Few salespeople use just one software platform to manage their workflows and sales processes.
In fact, the typical sales stack looks something like this:
Gathering prospect information that enhances your ability to sell
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Providing sales reps with the resources they need to close deals (such as content and product knowledge)
Tools for communicating with customers
Pipeline, analytics, and measurements
Tracking key sales metrics such as sales velocity and average deal size
Management and coaching
Learning management systems for improving sales rep productivity and output
With all of these software platforms, not to mention the likes of email providers and social media, insurance agents can very easily find themselves in a deep tech hole.
An effective CRM for insurance agencies removes this friction by providing native integrations between different software platforms.
For example, Ringy integrates seamlessly with Google Maps, allowing you to easily access customer location data from within the CRM dashboard just in case you've been dropping in for visits.
This makes it easy for agents preparing home insurance policy documents to gather the data they need without having to switch between hundreds of browser tabs.
5. Speed Things Up By Sending Email from Within Your CRM
An average sales rep sends close to 200 emails a week.
That's a lot of time spent switching over to your email client, typing up an email, and then making a note somewhere (hopefully) of what you sent them.
A great insurance company CRM can save agents hours each month by allowing them to send emails from within the software itself.
Agents can choose from pre-written templates or craft their own message from scratch and send it from the CRM interface. This would then store the message as part of the customer interaction history.
That way, every time you go back into the lead profile, you'll have a record of all previous communications at your disposal.
6. Leave Your Phone Alone with Desktop SMS
Just as prevalent as email in the insurance industry is the use of SMS messaging (or text messaging) to follow up with prospects and send meeting reminders.
Rather than reaching for their phone to send that text message (and inevitably getting distracted by Instagram notifications), agents using insurance agency CRM software can send SMS from the interface itself.
This also allows them to easily copy and paste text or use pre-written text templates. Some CRM platforms even allow you to automate your SMS reminders, making the process even more seamless.
7. Stay Top of Mind with Drip Campaigns
Not every insurance policy prospect is going to be an instant sale.
Every rep has heard the words “We're going to hold off for now” from a potential customer. But that doesn't have to be the end of the story.
The best CRM software for insurance agents is one that allows you to create drip campaigns that can automate this for you.
What is a drip campaign, you ask?
Also known as lead nurture campaigns, drip campaigns are automated communication campaigns designed to send automatic messages to a prospect at predefined intervals.
For example, a drip campaign might look like this:
- 30 days - follow up email
- 60 days - SMS message describing a special offer
- 90 days - notification to the sales rep to set a phone call activity
- 120 days - second follow up email
The content of your messages, as well as the communication type and cadence, are set by you.
The beauty of a drip campaign is that it's completely automated, and requires no effort from the agent whatsoever (unless you're adding a phone call to the sequence).
Companies with well-developed drip campaigns tend to perform much more strongly, generating 50% more sales-ready leads than those who don't nurture their leads.
8. Use Local Numbers to Increase Answer Rates
Put yourself in your customers' shoes for a second. Sure, they might not be as well-crafted and highly-polished as your Italian leather brogues, but you'll survive.
If You receive a phone call from out of state, and it's one that you're not expecting. What's the likelihood that you're going to answer?
Now, imagine that phone call comes not only from within your state but from the city you live and work in.
As it turns out, your prospects are 4x as likely to pick up the phone if you're using a local number.
A well-heeled insurance agent CRM software makes all of this possible, by providing you with a selection of local numbers to use when calling your customers and prospects.
This is known as local presence dialing.
When you call a prospect in, say, Chicago, your prospect sees a 312 number. When you call your new client in San Francisco, however, they'll see the Chicago 415 area code.
Insurance agents who use local presence dialing will see an increase in their answer rates, resulting in shorter sales cycles and an uptick in the conversion of new policies.
9. Manage Your Process with a Sales Pipeline
Following a well-developed and defined sales process is one of the most important keys to success for every top-performing insurance agent.
However, even those with the most finely-tuned procedures and process documentation find themselves struggling to implement them without a system for visualizing these processes with actual leads.
That's where CRM software for insurance companies comes in.
An insurance CRM allows teams to build custom sales pipelines that accurately reflect their sales process, empowering agents to visualize their leads in sequence.
This affords agents the ability to:
- Prioritize prospects that are close to closing
- Engage with new leads to ensure pipelines don't become empty
- Report on and analyze key metrics, such as the average number of days spent between stages
Sales pipeline software also allows sales leaders to see at a glance what their agents have in play, without having to disturb their team and break their focus.
Speaking of sales management...
10. Keep on Track with Sales Reporting and Dashboards
One of the most valuable features that insurance sales tracking software offers is the ability to generate in-depth reports on virtually any sales metric.
Using an insurance CRM, both agent leaders can instantly pull a report to understand the average deal size, sales velocity, and stage-specific conversion rates, and even compare metrics on an agent-to-agent basis.
Without a CRM in place, such reports would take insurance brokers hours each month, costing them valuable selling time.
What's more, most CRM platforms allow you to create your own custom dashboards. These brokerage-specific dashboards are updated in real-time, and available from your mobile app as well, allowing you to check in on progress anywhere, anytime.
11. Prioritize Important Prospects with Lead Scoring
As insurance agents scale up, take on new clients, and receive an influx of new leads (yay!), they inevitably face a problem:
Which actions should be prioritized?
Some insurance CRMs allow you to get around the issue through a practice called lead scoring.
Lead scoring essentially measures various aspects of a new lead against specific criteria (provided by your organization) and then ranks that lead based on its value to your business.
Insurance agents can use lead scoring to bring more lucrative deals up to the top of their to-do list, allowing them to prioritize large policies or prospects that appear to be close to closing.
Clearly, a CRM can be a game-changer for insurance agents.
Insurance CRMs can help brokers scale their outreach, better manage customer support, work remotely, reduce costs, and even keep in touch with low-priority prospects without lifting a finger.
Of course, not every insurance CRM is built the same, so it's important that you do your due diligence before diving headfirst into a solution.
Ready to leverage a smart CRM to scale your insurance business? Talk to one of our CRM experts to find out how Ringy can help skyrocket your growth.