Life Insurance professionals need to leverage technology to engage with existing and prospective clients directly or indirectly. Growing sales and placing more business today requires consumer-facing insurance tools, and the integration of agent sales tools with quoting and electronic applications (eApp). There are new technology sales solutions for agents to use and new models like eRetail selling and social media marketing. However, an agent’s sales and marketing technology foundation must begin with subscribing online to a customer relationship management system.
CRM For Agents
The power of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool serves as the backbone to your practice. Your success depends on making your clients better off so that they place a high value on your services. And to do that, you need to understand their finances and needs better than they do. You can gain that understanding with an intelligent technology CRM solution that helps you analyze, serve and communicate with your clients in the most efficient way possible. There are many benefits to a CRM for an insurance agent or advisor, starting with contact management. You can store comprehensive contact information, demographic data and notes about your clients. You can keep track of their financial goals and personal and professional milestones.
The work involved in prospecting and the cost of customer acquisition requires you to maximize every contact. A CRM also helps you manage your calendar and drive your day with extensive task and appointment management features. You can record outcomes to activities, create follow-ups, and receive text or e-mail reminders. Most CRMs offer reports out of the box and custom reporting capabilities. You can mine your client data for marketing and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Generate clear, attractive reports for your clients to help them understand their finances. CRMs are known for their sales leads and opportunity-tracking capabilities for prospecting. You can create multistage opportunity processes to help you systematically identify, contact and follow up with prospects. Link opportunities with marketing campaigns to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Sales tracking is also an important feature. Most CRMs today have a dashboard as soon as you log in that shows your sales metrics, appointments and follow-ups, with graphics and easy navigation for your day-to-day interactions with your clients. There are mobile app versions of CRMs or browser optimized for your smartphone or tablet for when you are mobile.
The difference between a business agnostic CRM like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 compared with a CRM already set up for life insurance agents and financial advisors such as Ebix SmartOffice and AgencyBloc is policy and investment tracking. You also want to exchange data easily and automatically with your CRM and other trading partners in the life insurance sales process. There are models where a CRM may be available by your upline general agency, in which they can feed your CRM pending case status on your submitted business. Some CRMs are set up to receive data from carriers and broker-dealers, in which you can get data imported into your CRM on in-force information on placed policies and investments. Another benefit of data exchange with your CRM is to integrate it with life insurance quoting and illustration systems as well as pre-populating your client information with an eApp platform for applying and submitting business. This reduces the amount of data entry and provides tracking information on proposals and submitted business. Vendors such as iPipeline offer these types of integrations like with iPipeline’s LifePipe term insurance comparison quoting tool and its iGO eApp platform.
eRetail Tools For Agents
There is a new trend in the industry where quoting and eApp are offered by agents for consumers to use. These consumer-facing tools are not for a carrier direct-to-consumer sales model, but a way to market insurance products online and in social media while still maintaining the agent ecosystem. It frees up agents to focus on sales and marketing. Prospective customers can buy insurance anytime 24/7, and you get paid your commission. Millennials, for example, who are or are soon to be the biggest insurance-buying target market, prefer self-service purchasing but still want the agent available for expertise as needed.
For example, BackNine insurance agency offers agents consumer-facing tools for an agent’s website called “Quote & Apply,” where the consumer can run a multi-carrier term insurance quote from top carriers such as Protective Life, American General and Banner Life on simplified term insurance. The client then chooses a carrier, completes a simple questionnaire, schedules an exam and e-signs. This works on a laptop or mobile device. The agent’s contact information, or even in some cases a chat feature, is available for assisting the client as needed. Another example is Nimbus Insurance “Click-To-Buy.” Nimbus is an agency that offers some alternative insurance products like term insurance (up to $1 million without an exam), final expense guarantee issue, AD&D and HMA insurance from top carriers. The agent gets a unique URL that they can market in social media such as Facebook and Google. In both agencies, once the agent gets contracted and appointed, the software is free for them to use. As clients submit and pay for business in the self-service quoting and eApp insurance tools, the agent gets paid their commission. You, as an agent, are acting as an eRetailer of insurance.
Hybrid Agent To Customer Self-Service
There is another new model that is being offered by life carriers to independent agents. For example, ApplicInt is a vendor that has a quoting and eApp platform called U*Complete. The agent will run a multi-carrier quote, and then select the carrier and complete a drop ticket. The agent then emails a link to the client. The customer is securely authenticated when they click on the link. The customer then completes the rest of Part A of the life insurance application, and Part B with medical questions is optional. The next step is e-signing the forms. Live chat with a call center is available for assistance. There is a warm transfer to the call center. An exam will be scheduled if needed. The forms and the data are then automatically sent to the carrier. The U*Complete software is offered by the carrier and free for the agent to use.
With COVID-19, remote-selling life insurance is critical. There is an acceleration of consumer-facing sales technology solutions for remotely prospecting and engaging with customers from a sales and marketing perspective to applying for insurance. Using a CRM to track and manage your prospects and clients is where you must begin as an agent. You should then partner with general agencies and carriers that offer tools to help you engage directly or indirectly with consumers for marketing, quoting and applying for insurance.