Before You Upload Case Data into an Agency Management System …

Agency Management System

Congratulations. You’ve signed-up with NextAgency. (At least, I hope you have!). Now you want to use it and that means getting your client data into the system. Immediately.

I don’t blame you. The sooner you start using your new agency management system, the sooner you’ll have a more effective and efficient agency.

Before you enter your data, however, may I suggest a little planning first? Thinking through how you want to organize your data before uploading it will help you get the most out of NextAgency (or any insurance agency software). This post helps you do this by asking three questions

Definitions and Structure

Insurance agents use a lot of terms. Sometimes different words for the same thing. Which can get pretty confusing. For the purpose of this post, let’s agree on the following:

Cases are your customers and potential customers. They may be individuals or groups. Active or inactive. Leads, prospects, or clients. They buy insurance from you – or you hope will.

Market Segments describes whether the insurance policy or product your selling is for individuals or groups. To determine the market segment, ask “Who pays the premium?”  

In NextAgency we provide three market segments: individual, small group and large group. For technical reasons, the market segment options are one of the few items that cannot be edited.

Sales Statuses defines your relationship to the case. Is it someone who you already work with or someone you hope to work with? To determine sales status ask “What is this case to my agency?”

In NextAgency we start you off with two sales statuses: prospects and clients. For many agencies this is enough. However, you may add as many other statuses as you want.

Sales Stages describe what is going on with the case. Stages vary depending on a case’s status. For example, you may be trying to reach a prospect for the first time or you may be showing them a proposal. Your clients may be doing fine or they may be having a service problem. To determine sales stages ask, “What is happening with this case?”

You can group stages into processes – sometimes called pipelines. We provide some default pipelines, as identified by the color associated with each stage. Again, however, you can quickly edit these or make your own.

Fine-tuning Statuses and Stages

Knowing the questions to ask enables you to organize your data. You know the kind of answers you’ll get to these questions. Use this knowledge to create the statuses and stages you’ll need before you enter case data. Let’s see how.

Market Segment: Who pays the premium? Either an individual or an organization of some kind.  An individual, for example, may buy a Medicare Supplement or an individual medical policy, but they’re still an individual. When companies pay the premium it’s a group plan. You can draw the line between a “small group” or “large group.” Just be consistent.

Sales Status: What is this case to my agency? If the case is already a client, do you have different kinds of clients? For example, are you a sub-agent of another agency on some cases? Or do ever act as GA? You may want to have separate statuses for each type of client. Or you may want to distinguish between hot and cold prospects. Choose the statuses that make the most sense for your agency.

Sales Stages: What is happening with this case? If everything is going well with a client, everyone on your team should know. Similarly, if a client is having a service issue, your team needs to know that, too. For prospects, your team should know if an appointment has been set or if the case is in the process of enrolling.

About active versus inactive cases: There’s a difference of opinion among NextAgency’s brokers as to whether “active” versus “inactive,” (or “closed” or “termed”) should be a status or a stage. There’s no right answer. By default, NextAgency includes active and closed as stages. However, if you prefer to use them as statuses, it only takes a minute to make that change. Active/Inactive are one of the few items that can go in either category

Keep it Simple

At NextAgency, making it easy to personalize our agency management system to fit the way your insurance agency works is an important part of our design philosophy. But don’t get carried away. Keep it simple.

This is especially true with sales statuses. Some agencies tend to get extremely granular with this list. Yet there’s no need.There are dozens of built-in fields to help you understand and identify your cases. Plus you can create as many custom fields as you like. If you want to assign each case a Dewey Decimal System number, go for it. (Although really?) You probably don’t need sales statuses

Keeping it simple means everyone in your agency will understand how your case data is organized. This means everyone will be entering the data consistently. They’ll be able to quickly find what they need. And new hires will find it easier to get up to speed.

Best of all, you can adjust things down the road. The simpler you structure your data in the beginning, however, the faster you’ll get up-and-running. Which means the sooner you’ll be saving time, money and clients.

NextAgency is an agency management system with CRM and commission management tools for health, senior and life agencies. Our goal is to help agents and brokers save time, money and clients. To learn more, please visit www.NextAgency.com.

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