Best Practices for Insurance CRM
Is Your Agency Using These Best Practices for Insurance CRM?
There are three ways to foster insurance agency growth—cultivate business by cross-selling and upselling, acquire new customers and at the same time retain your current customer base.
The Battle for Customer Goodwill
According to Bain & Company, it’s difficult to be good at both customer acquisition and retention. Despite this, they assert that you can substantially improve your company’s performance in each of these sales areas by creating “a systematic program to earn customers’ goodwill, creating more promoters and eliminating detractors in the customer base.”
A little explanation. You can divide customers into three categories— promoters, passives, and detractors. Promoters are those who are loyal and likely to recommend your company when they chat with friends and family. Passives have little interest. They neither promote nor criticize your agency. Finally, detractors are those who are completely dissatisfied and will probably spread words that have a negative impact on your agency.
And that’s why CRM for insurance agents is so important. It’s the system that supports and organizes your insurance agents’ and service representatives’ activities, ensuring that all customers and prospects receive the service and support they need. Use it right and you can increase the number and percentage of customers who sing praises to your brand and reduce those who voice their complaints.
So how do you set up your system to maximize sales results? Follow these guidelines.
#1 Integrate Your System with Your Lead Sources
If your agency is like most, you probably receive leads from external sources. To be successful, you need to act on these leads as quickly as possible. So it only makes sense to integrate your insurance CRM solution with your lead sources. That way everything you need is in one place.
#2 Follow Up on Leads Early and Often
It may be a little cynical when you tell someone to vote early and often, but when it comes to following up on leads, it’s the right thing to do. Rapidly responding to a lead is not enough to cinch the deal. The prospect probably will not make their buying decision on the first call.
We tend to think through the marketing and sales process in a straightforward way. That’s not, however, how people buy. It’s more likely that prospects will take a step forward, a step sideways and a step backward. McKinsey & Company discovered that most people who shop for insurance would consider an average of four or five brands…but not all at the same time. The consumer might start to evaluate a new brand fairly late in the buying journey.
What does this twisting buying path mean for you?
To ensure consumers actively consider your brand throughout their buying journey, you must have a regular follow-up process. Assign follow-ups in your insurance agency CRM system, so your representatives will know when to contact prospects. And don’t assume that every follow-up should be a phone call. Customers want to be contacted via their preferred medium, whether it’s an email, a phone call or a text message.
#3 Track Interactions
When you follow up with prospects and customers, you want to meet them exactly where they are and to show that you know them. To do so, track the nature of communications and the questions that prospects are trying to resolve. By documenting all communications, you not only make it easier for the agent who is assigned the account to follow up, but also other agents who may need to lead the way in an emergency. You can also look at the big picture, ensuring that your level of follow-up is “just right”— not too little and not too much.
#4 Proactively Review Insurance Policies
It’s a mistake to take long-term customers for granted. Many insurance customers go years without any interaction with their insurance agents, leaving the door wide open for the competition.
While long-standing customers may appear to be happy and loyal, it’s more likely that they are inactive due to inertia. It’s just not a priority for them to switch insurance carriers. There may, however, be a trigger event in their lives, such as a move to a new home, which forces them to review their insurance. If you are not talking with them at the time, you likely will not know about this life-changing occasion. In the absence of communication from your agency, they’ll make the decision to switch to another insurance agency. Once they’ve done that, it’s too late to save the account.
So keep in touch. It does not have to be an arduous task. Just schedule policy reviews in your insurance agent CRM system about two months before renewal dates. At that time, ask questions to find out if the insured has had any life changes that may necessitate modifications to his or her policy.
#5 Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundle Policies
There’s a whole menagerie of options for increasing business with customers—upselling, cross-selling and bundling policies together for better pricing.
Of course, you know carriers offer discounts for bundling policies, giving you leverage to increase your annual sales with each customer. But did you know that bundling also substantially improves customer retention? McKinsey & Company discovered that when automobile policies were bundled with another policy, customers were almost half as likely to switch. The more policies, the more likely that customers will become bogged down by inertia!
So, use your policy review sessions as an opportunity to upsell customers, offering greater protection, and to cross-sell them on other types of insurance.
#6 Communicate Premium Increases Before It’s Too Late
It’s not only life changes that stoke someone’s interest in investigating other insurance options, but premium increases can also fan the flames of interest. According to McKinsey & Company, “The most common triggers for shopping were price increases (48 percent), life events such as moving to a new state or changing jobs (44 percent) and new coverage needs (32 percent).”
Since you cannot avoid premium increases, be up front about them. Talk to your customers before they receive the bill and review options, such as modifying coverage and increasing deductibles to reduce costs. Such communications show customers that you have their interests in mind and enables you to present options that fit within their budgets, keeping them in the fold.
Include conversations about premium increases in your annual review of policies. If you are not yet discussing all your policies yearly, make sure you make it a priority to contact all customers who are subject to a carrier rate increase. These accounts should be easy to identify in your system.
#7 Follow Up on Claims
If the customer has a claim, it’s likely a stressful time in their life. After all, they just had an automobile accident, a flood in their house, or some other disaster. This unfortunate circumstance is your opportunity to put the human face on your company. Agents should show their concern for the well-being of customers and call as often as necessary to answer questions and alleviate concerns.
#8 Establish a Referral Program
Bain & Company claims that insurance carrier promoters are worth seven times more in lifetime value than detractors. Given the power of word-of-mouth, you want to do everything you can to foster customer loyalty. Establish a referral program that encourages your customers to recommend your agency.
#9 Work X-Dates
When it comes to selling, the right timing is critical. You may not win the business on your first try. So, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Note the date that the prospect purchased their policy from the competition, and follow-up the next year two months or so before their policy renewal date. On average, 85% of contact information stays accurate from one year to the next, so you will likely be successful in reaching many of your contacts. They may have had a change of heart and be ready to switch.
#10 Analyze Results to Make Smarter Decisions
There is a wealth of information in your CRM system. You can track activities to determine which lead sources, marketing emails, phone scripts, mailers and agents are most successful. This data gives you the information you need to prioritize and optimize your marketing, sales and service activities.
For example, once you find out which agents are selling the most policies, you can find out how they are handling prospects and customers. You can ask them to share their secrets to success, mentoring reps who need a little help. And, of course, knowing which lead sources are most likely to convert into sales helps you determine where to spend your marketing dollars.
Make it Happen
There are many changes you can make to increase your insurance sales success. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew from this smorgasbord of options. Select small tidbits first. Get some quick results. Then, move on to meatier tactics, gradually optimizing sales with a systematic approach.
Claritysoft can help you to achieve agency success with insurance CRM software. To speak with one of our experts, contact us now.