The Tennessee Insuror Jan/Feb 2020

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Daniel Talks Agency Technology: Agency Management Systems pt. 1 Where Should You Even Start When Picking A New One? What are the key pieces of technology for the modern agency? How should you implement them and train your staff to use them? In this series I will look into agency technology and specific systems and how you can implement them at your agency. One of the most common discussions I have with our agency members is along the lines of, "What agency management system should we be using?" They may already have one, they may be in the middle of a transition or they may not have one at all. In any case, they want guidance on where they are versus where they should be. With that in mind, let's begin to look at how to find the system that's right for your agency.

The Initial Concerns What do you want and need your agency management system to do? Sounds like a simple question, but I'm amazed at the number of agents that work the problem out starting with the solutions instead of this question. Do you need a scaleable system that you can build pieces around for your $15 million revenue agency? Probably not, so why not start with where you are and where you want to be. What does your system need to do? These are the items that the system must be able to accomplish for your agency to viably convert to it. Do you need marketing integration, rating, automation, accounting, cloud access, mobile access, reporting, etc.? Once you've answered the "needs" portion, rank their priorities to narrow down the features that will matter


written by Daniel Smith, CAE

most to you. Now you have a checklist of your needs that you can compare across platforms. What do you want your system to do? Wouldn't it be great if your system just renewed the business for you? That might not be realistic, but many other features that would have been unheard of a few years ago are now commonplace. Want your system to text your clients, allow them to respond to your phone and keep a log of that in the data? It's a possibility. Want to be able to pull up a client's info for the last three years on your phone while you're sitting in their office? It's a possibility. But these features generally cost more and require more training – so prioritize how much you need them. How does "ease of use" factor in? How big of a factor is training, converting and utilizing the new system? How much staff time are you willing to dedicate? Do you have a "key user" who will be your expert on this system? Knowing these answers will help you convey to the potential system partners what your level of assistance will need to be. What's your budget and desired ROI? The most common complaint I hear about agency management systems is along the lines of, "We spend so much money on this and I'm not even sure we use half of it." How can you measure how much you use? Think about some metrics that you can actually determine value from. Is the new system going to provide you faster entry, quoting, etc.? Find out. Do some tests of your current process, and then follow up with measurements of the

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