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Meet Our Insurance Team: Expert Advice on Navigating Your CRM Journey by

At Hitachi Solutions we specialize in helping clients like you implement and utilize solutions that have been built specifically for your industry and business. One of our greatest assets and differentiators in the CRM space is our deep breadth of insurance industry knowledge. For this post, I spoke with some of our in-house industry experts who offer advice on getting started with CRM and making the most of your solution throughout every step of your CRM journey. 

Tip #1: Do not Underestimate the Importance of Integrating CRM with your Quoting Tool
Tip from: Joel Lindstrom

It is important to understand customer relationships early on, even during the quoting process. It is common in the auto insurance world for an agent to take a call from a prospective buyer looking for a quote.  The agent immediately goes to the quoting tool, generates the quote and delivers it to the customer.  Whereas this is quick and efficient, if the new lead never makes it into the CRM system then it is difficult to leverage the full capabilities of CRM.  For example, the contact could be added to a follow up call list or a nurture list in CRM.  If the policy is not bound then CRM can remind the agent next year to follow up with the customer to try to convert him, or better yet, have CRM automatically send the contact some information that might entice a switch from their current carrier. 

An additional benefit to having this integration in place is to enable some visibility into trends about how often this person has been quoted in the past.  Perhaps he is just a price shopper and that lets us know that he is not a good candidate to be on a follow up campaign.  When you expand this sort of insight across all the quotes over the past year you can gain some excellent insight into what is working and what isn’t and use that information to tweak your approach or perhaps target a different demographic altogether.

 

Tip #2: Make Sure Your Solution Has a CRM Product Specific for Insurance.
Tip from: Leah Bowling

There are plenty of CRMs on the market, but not all CRMs are created equal. Make sure you choose a CRM that has been built specifically for the insurance market. The difference between an out-of-the-box CRM and a CRM with insurance-specific capabilities that can be customized to your specific business is enormous and will have a huge impact on the value you receive from your CRM.

 

Tip #3: CRM Solutions and Marketing Automation Systems Should work Together, Not as Two Disconnected Systems
One of my own tips

Using CRM for marketing purposes may sound obvious, but for many businesses there is a huge disconnect between marketing and sales — which leads to underutilization of the CRM. CRMs have been around for quite a while now and so too have many marketing solutions such as email marketing software. However, more often than not these solutions are not being used together, which means companies are missing out on a massive opportunity to generate, nurture and close leads. I recently wrote a blog on this subject, called Marketing Automation — Back to Basics. This blog will tell you more about the importance of integrating your marketing efforts and systems with your CRM.

 

Tip #4: Not All of Your Insurance Agents Need a CRM System. But the Majority of Them Do.
Tip from: Earle Oxner

Most insurance agencies have a few agents who have been with them for what seems like forever. They are veterans, top sellers and they don’t need a CRM system to help them do it. They have been selling solo for decades. We understand that. But what we also understand is that for the majority of agents this is not the case. It is for those agents that a CRM can become a magnificently helpful tool — the tool that just might get them selling like those veteran agents.   

A CRM system will give agents a process to follow to help them optimize their chances of success. Just imagine if a CRM could incrementally improve an agent’s efficiency and performance by just 5 or 6%? What impact might that have on the overall annual sales results? Read more about how a CRM tool can help the majority of your agents sell more and drive revenue in our article, Optimize Selling; Minimize Weaknesses: What a Salesman Can Learn From a Short Order Cook.

Tip #5: User Training Matters.
Tip from: David Roe

User training is important. In fact, it is more important than most organizations realize when rolling out a new CRM and embarking on the CRM journey. In many large organizations today there are in-house training teams. When a new tool is rolled out the in-house team would be in charge of training agents and other employees. The problem is that these in-house trainers don’t understand the product as well as say a trainer from the CRM company. Why does this matter?

Well, for one, people are resistant to change. If a question is asked during a training and the trainer doesn’t know the answer, there is a good chance they have just lost that employee, who may have been resistant to use the new tool from the very beginning.

Second, thorough training will help employees make the most of the CRM and enable them to fully utilize all of the capabilities offered. Furthermore, a trainer who has deep knowledge of not only the CRM product but the industry itself can energize employees around user adoption by showing them how simple it is to use the many features of the CRM to bring in new sales.

Finally, and perhaps most important, having an expert supplement a company’s in-house training ensures that best practices are being followed and that change management is being executed well so that company culture is not affected and employee engagement remains high. 

Tip #6: Don’t Confuse a Claims System with a Comprehensive Customer Service Solution
Another one of my own tips!

Claims systems are built to handle claims…no surprise.  However, the claims system alone is not the tool that will help insurers truly optimize the customer experience.  Claims is one of many necessary technologies for an insurance carrier and it should be tightly integrated with the CRM system in order to enable a true 360 degree view of the customer.  Nothing is more frustrating to a policyholder than to spend 20 minutes on hold to speak to a customer service rep only to find out that that customer service rep can’t help because they do not have access to claims, so they transfer the customer to the claims department and the customer has to start all over.  When claims systems are integrated with the CRM solution these sort of frustrations can be avoided.

A properly deployed CRM system should be tightly integrated with the claims system so that anyone who is interacting with a policyholder has visibility into the complete profile and activity of the person on the phone. What policy(s) does this customer have? Who from our company last spoke to this customer? Are there any outstanding claims or issues with this customer? If the person answering the phone can’t answer this question then all the technology in the world isn’t going to create a positive customer experience.

Read more about why your CRM should be more than just a claims system in our blog, “Customer Experience” is Bigger Than Claims.

Looking for more advice or guidance on choosing and implementing your next CRM? Contact us to talk with one of our industry experts today!