Have you ever wondered what “improved tech” for your agency really means? Or where you should make investments to build a better agency management system or sales enablement system? How about which solutions offer the most seamless experience?
I'm tackling these questions and more in this article, so stay tuned.
Here’s the problem: You don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to technology, and you can’t spare the extra time to research all solutions out there—not to mention feel confident about which system would work for your agency.
Of course, the salesperson will tell you it solves all your agency problems—but I’m sure you’ve been burned by that pitch before—just like so many others, including me.
Running an agency myself, we went through many CRMs and so many iterations. Each time, we thought we were getting the technology that would accomplish what we wanted and more.
But each time, we were disappointed and found ourselves having to buy add-on features that just felt clunky, and in some cases, still didn’t take care of all the tasks.
And I see the same issues in my work with hundreds of other agencies.
This is a very common problem in our industry. Part of that is because our business is unique and part of it is believing technology salespeople when they tell us it will work for our industry.
If you’ve been in this space long, you know how different our structure is.
So, what might work for others, doesn’t work for us.
But none of this is your fault. As an agency owner, you are strapped for time and have capital restrictions too, so once you’ve made a purchase, you’re often stuck with it.
The reason you’re trying to work with a cobbled together tech stack and haven’t achieved a unified technology ecosystem between agency management and sales enablement is because the ideal solution Does. Not. Exist.
Take commission bonuses, for instance. I worked with [well-known cloud-based software company that shall remain nameless], and the sales executive convinced me it could handle commissions reporting. Maybe so, but it didn’t work with our complex hierarchy structure that recognizes multiple layers of value. This is an area that can’t be inaccurate or ignored.
So, you’ve looked high and low and we have too —if there was one perfect solution out there from a third party vendor—somebody would have found it.
Now before you leave this page thinking, James, you had me read this far into the article just to tell me there’s no answer to my agency’s technology problem? Rest assured, there is a solution…
To set up a technology infrastructure that offers agency management, i.e., basic CRM, commissions, contracting and licensing, case management and suitability capabilities AND sales enablement, i.e., promotion, positioning, policy fulfillment, and policy management and analytics…
You need to think differently…
As author, Dan Sullivan, puts it—you need to switch from How to Who.
Instead of asking, “How do I solve this?”
A better question to ask is, “Who has solved this before?”
Here are three simple steps to my process for solving this problem:
- Let me know what challenges you’re facing. I told you about our issues with commission reporting… well, we ended up creating our own solution because one didn’t exist, so maybe we can help you. Let me know what you’re up against, like the agency that told me they wanted to manage their sales team more efficiently now that they’re remote, but didn’t know how.
- Give me a list of your current tech solutions. I’ve been in this industry since the late 90s and worked with hundreds of agencies during that time—if you have it, there’s a good chance I’ve heard of it.
- Share what’s most valuable to your business now, mid-term, and long-term. I’ll match your needs with viable options that will help set you on the path to success.
You could do this yourself, but most agencies don’t have the time or desire to do the legwork, do the vetting, make all the technology mistakes, plus figure out what other agencies are using successfully. But I’ve done that, continue to learn more, and you benefit from it.
We’re entering a new era where technology and AI that helps your agency, your marketers, and your agents and advisors be successful is table stakes.
Agencies will not survive without it.
For example, did you know there’s an AI program that’s able to collect tons of data on prospective clients and then feed that back to you so you know who’s in the market for life insurance? And all you need to do is provide one small piece of information.
This is a game changer.
It allows you to provide timely, relevant communication. And the impact and ability of AI will only grow exponentially from here. You want to use it—at least in some areas of your business. But there are other phases to sales enablement than just prospecting…
In other areas, it’s still critical to have the human element, as well as other tech solutions working together because what AI can’t do (yet) is position your products, fulfill on the policy, or track and analyze in-force business.
Managing and coordinating tech solutions is complex but necessary to bring together the best options and create a seamless, smooth process.
So, what if you could take advantage of what’s available when it comes to technology (among other forces that can hold your agency back like finding top talent), so you could streamline your business and grow sales?
Obviously, this is easier said than done, right?
Normally, you can’t just put together a tech stack without tons of effort and struggle.
That’s why we’ve created Escape Velocity that helps agency owners overcome the five forces that hold them back from reaching new heights in their business—with technology infrastructure being one of the biggest precursors to an agency’s success.
If you’d like to hear more about these five forces and how they might be affecting your agency, start by checking out my on-demand webinar: 5 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Agency.
The five signs point to areas that need to be assessed. If you discover some potential areas to work on but aren’t interested in making an investment to upgrade those areas, you’ve likely reached the highest value for your agency and may want to consider selling.
But many who listen to the webinar realize it would be productive and profitable to address one or all five areas to stay relevant into the future—and increase agency value for when you do want to sell (if ever).
If after listening to the webinar, you’re interested in joining a network of agency owners focusing on solving common challenges and overcoming the 5 forces that hold them back, we can hop on a call.
But first, I encourage you to take 20 minutes and listen to my webinar. It’s going to be a good use of time for the independent agency owner who’s wondering: Should I sell? Or do I want to rediscover the thrill of a growing, thriving business?
Regardless of where you are right now in your business, you have the power to choose whichever feels right for you. I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Fill out the form to watch the on-demand webinar.