How to Crush Your Goals in 2022

The new year is upon us. It’s a time where independent agents, like yourself, set their sights on the future. Strategic goal-setting is typically the name of the game, allowing agents to focus their efforts in the right direction.

The issue is, you can’t just set new goals and hope for the best. Instead, you need a solid plan to achieve them. While that might sound tricky at first, it doesn’t have to be a challenge. By using the right approach, you can crush your goals in 2022. Here’s how to get started.

Choosing Goals as an Independent Agent

First, you can’t crush your goals in 2022 if you don’t have a target in mind. While you ultimately want your objectives to be well-defined, you don’t have to start that way. Instead, begin with a basic brainstorming session, jotting down ideas as they come to mind.

Whether a potential goal seems small or wild, give it a fair shake. The idea is to get a better grip of what you actually want, allowing ideas to flow unrestricted. Even if the target seems inconsequential at first, write it down. If a goal is meaningful, its size doesn’t matter.

Similarly, if a target is incredibly bold, capture it, too. You’ll never know if it’s achievable if you don’t give it a chance.

If you’re genuinely struggling for ideas, here are some basic options that work for many independent agents:

  • Boost growth
  • Speed up response times
  • Set up a referral program
  • Update the agency’s online presence to increase traffic
  • Explore a new marketing technique

As you consider your choices, above all, be reasonable. It’s okay to make a target challenging, requiring you to stretch a bit. However, you don’t want to go too far. If a goal feels impossible to achieve, it’s incredibly demotivating. The purpose is not to create fear that you’ll never get where you want to go, but to inspire success, so make that your priority.

Refining Your Goals to Make Them Actionable

Once you have some basic goals outlined, you need to refine them, ensuring they’re actionable and measurable. In most cases, that means adopting a sound strategy.

By choosing a known framework for your goals and updating all of your initial objectives to align with them, you’ll have an easier time refining your targets. Here’s a quick look at some tactics that can make this part a whole lot easier.

SMART Goals

When it comes to the quintessential goal-setting strategy, look no further than SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, outlining all of the characteristics of a well-defined target. Here’s a deeper dive into what each point means:

  • Specific: the goal is well-defined, giving you a clear indication of what you want to achieve, why it’s an important target, and what it takes to make it happen
  • Measurable: the goal has an endpoint that marks success, as well as an associated metric that allows for progress tracking.
  • Achievable: the goal is realistic and doable on a practical level, making attainment possible.
  • Relevant: the goal applies to your agencies in a meaningful way, making it inherently motivating and valuable to pursue.
  • Time-bound: the goal has a deadline for completion, creating a sense of urgency based on the presence of a time constraint.

For example, instead of using “boost growth” as your goal, you’d adjust the target to align with the SMART framework. You could end up with an objective like “boost organic growth by 10 percent in the next 12 months by refining our value proposition and implementing data-driven changes designed to increase customer satisfaction and secure new referrals through our updated referral rewards program.”

With that updated version, you know precisely what you’re trying to accomplish, how to measure your progress, and when you want to get it done, making it an actionable goal.

Objectives and Key Results

If you’re looking for a simpler option that also comes with a degree of agility, the objectives and key results (OKRs) strategy could be a better fit.

You start with a simple target, like “update the agency’s online presence to increase traffic.” Then, you outline the deliverables or actions you need to take to make that goal a reality. One key result might be “perform an SEO analysis and integrate new keywords to boost the agency’s site’s position in search results.”

Essentially, you’ll create a to-do list that aligns with the initial goal. This option works incredibly well if a target isn’t easy to quantify or is inherently hard to define, as it lets you bring more detail into the equation through the addition of supporting key results, making the goals actionable.

Create Your Goal-Crushing Roadmap

Now that you have defined actionable goals, it’s time to take it up a notch. You’re going to create a goal-crushing roadmap, giving you a path to follow to achieve success.

Essentially, you’re outlining a step-by-step process that will take you from where you are right now to where you want to get by the end of the year. In some cases, this is pretty easy. You just consider what you need to do now to get on the path and then outline what comes next, continuing on until the roadmap is done.

If you find that approach difficult, then working backward could be easier. Focus on your goal and then determine what needs to happen right before that to make it happen. Then, figure out what occurs before that step, and so on, and so on until you work your way back to where you are now.

As you outline a step, take a moment to determine any resources you need and the amount of time it’ll take to complete. That way, you make the path as easy to follow as possible.

Additionally, don’t view your roadmap as rigid. Things happen over the course of the year, and you might have to pivot. By thinking of your roadmap as a living, breathing document, you’ll have an easier time adjusting it down the line if the need arises.

Track (and Celebrate) Your Progress

After creating your roadmap, it’s time to get moving. Start with the first step, working diligently to complete it within your set timeline. As you make progress, note it on your roadmap. Additionally, when you complete a step in full, cross it off the list, taking a moment to recognize the achievement, as that will help you stay motivated.

Ideally, you want to check your progress regularly, such as once a month. That way, you’re reminding yourself of your target and ensuring you remain committed to your goal. Plus, you’re creating opportunities for adjustments if the unexpected happens, ensuring you can keep moving toward a critical objective strategically.

Apply the Process to Other Goals

The process above mainly focuses on agency-oriented professional goals, but it can work for personal or career-oriented ones, too. Simply choose the angle you want to explore, and apply the strategy to it. That way, you’ll be able to crush any type of goal in 2022.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, the OKR approach is how we crush our goals each and every year. It lets us work from the top down, ensuring our objectives are clear and everything remains in alignment.

If you’re looking for more tips about goal-setting for independent agents, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

Updating Your Tech Stack for 2022

Today, technology is at the heart of nearly every insurance agency. Independent agents rely heavily on a range of systems, allowing them to organize operations, manage client data, attract new customers, and work more efficiently.

While your current technology may have served you well in the past, new advances emerge seemingly every day. If you don’t update your tech stack regularly, you’re missing out on cutting-edge features and capabilities that can take your agency to the next level.

Luckily, updating your tech stack for 2022 doesn’t have to be difficult. If you aren’t sure how to tackle it, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Tech Stack?

Generally speaking, a tech stack is a set of technology tools that helps you manage your independent insurance agency. Usually, it features a combination of solutions, ensuring all of your major needs are covered by an effective and efficient tech system.

Precisely what you’ll be in your tech stack can vary from one agency to the next. However, for independent agents, most of the solutions are going to be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, allowing you to get robust tech at a fraction of the price of managing it on-site.

Updating your tech stack lets you tap emerging trends and harness cutting-edge technologies. You’re creating an opportunity to get the best of what the SaaS landscape has to offer, ensuring you aren’t held back by old-school software that isn’t designed to meet the needs of today’s leading agencies.

How to Choose New SaaS Technology

When you’re selecting new SaaS solutions, your main goal should be to simplify your technology and automate as much of your workflow as possible. It’s all about enhancing operational ease while simultaneously boosting the quality of your work.

If you aren’t sure how to begin building your tech stack for 2022, here’s a step-by-step process you can follow.

Understand the Tech Stack Categories

Updating your tech stack shouldn’t be a haphazard undertaking. It’s all about ensuring your critical bases are covered. One way to make that as easy as possible is to take a moment to learn about tech stack categories.

Each tech stack category is essentially a single functional business area independent agents usually need to manage. Here’s a quick overview of each one, as well as some example solutions.

Sales

Sales solutions make it easier to manage prospects, qualify leads, and pursue new clients. They provide opportunities for task automation, allowing you to streamline workflows, boost the efficiency of your sales team, and generate better results.

Some popular sales tools include:

  • Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive
  • Meeting Software – Calendly, Google Calendar, GoToMeeting
  • Tracking and Analytics – Google Analytics, Tableau

Marketing

With marketing software, it’s all about generating highly qualified leads, crafting personalized purchasing journeys, and creating meaningful interactions that move contacts through the funnel.

Some widely used marketing tools include:

  • Email Automation (MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo)
  • Social Media Management (Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite)
  • Social Media Presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok)
  • Digital Advertising (Google Marketing, Google Ads, AdRoll, AdHawk)

Collaboration

Collaboration SaaS solutions ease communication between your team members. These support messaging, file-sharing, video conferencing, and more.

Here’s a list at some popular collaboration tools:

  • Messaging (Slack, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams)
  • File-Sharing / Document Collaboration (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)
  • Virtual Work / Video Conferencing (GoToMeeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts)
  • Task / Project Management (Trello, Asana, Google Calendar, Accelo)

Client Experience

Client experience solutions make it easy for people to do business with you. They simplify contact, payments, and similar needs, ensuring you can offer an optimal customer experience (CX).

Some widely preferred client experience tools include:

  • Payment Gateways (ePayPolicy, PayPal, ApplePay, etc.)
  • Website (Browser/device compatibility, website building tools)
  • Data Security (McAfee, DUO Security, Oracle, IBM Security, LastPass)
  • Client Referral Management (Rocket Referrals) 

Customer Support

With customer support tech, it’s all about boosting CX. These systems focus on critical areas like client communication and customer interaction, ensuring you can be reached whenever the need arises.

Here’s a list of popular customer support tools:

  • Live Chat (InterCom, Zendesk, Podium, LiveChat, Drift)
  • Self-Service (Chatbots, Online FAQs)
  • Phone-Based Support (VoIP, Text Messaging, RingCentral)

Review Your Current Tech Stack

After you get to know the types of solutions present in an independent agency tech stack, it’s time to review what you have in place today. Consider whether each system you have actually meets your needs, as well as what category it represents.

Essentially, you want to audit your tech stack to identify missing segments and to determine if it’s the best setup for you. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with a system, including because of clunky operation, a subpar toolset, or anything else, then it could be time to make a switch.

Keep It Simple and Effective

When you’re building your tech stack for 2022, keep it simple. It isn’t about getting every solution; it’s about choosing the right mix of systems based on your needs and goals.

When you decide to add a new piece of tech, or replace an existing solution with something better suited to your operations, create a roadmap for implementation before you begin. You don’t want to overwhelm your team by bringing in a ton of new systems all at once. Instead, pace yourself, bringing in new solutions after your team has had a chance to get comfortable with the last implementation.

By using that approach, you can update your tech stack efficiently, keeping everything simple and boosting your agency’s effectiveness every step of the way.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the power of a great tech stack. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can update their tech stack for the new year or how they can boost their business, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Best Practices for Promoting Your Payment Page

“If you build it, they will come.” That worked for Kevin Costner, but for the rest of us, there’s one more step – promote it.

We’ve been helping our clients (insurance agencies, MGAs/brokers and specialty finance companies) promote digital payments for insureds for years. And we want it to be just as easy for our customers as well as yours to start going digital, so you can stop the check chase and bind policies with speed and security. 

People appreciate the convenience of paying via credit/debit card or ACH — they really do. But they need constant reminders that they can pay online (and in some cases, some persuasion). 

Here are five simple actions to announce and remind customers about your new payment options. We’ve also put together a Client Toolkit with ready-to-implement ideas, templates and content to help you spread the good news about accepting digital payments.

  1. Add a PayNow button to your website to let clients access your ePayPolicy payment portal with a simple click of a button. When your clients see “Pay Now,” they don’t consider it a prompt to go get their checkbook. They know they can quickly and easily make the transaction right then and there, online. You can download one of our distinctive, colorful PayNow buttons here, or have your website admin design your own (it’s simple).
  2. Link your invoices directly to your payment page. Clients simply click the hyperlink and voilà — they’re in the payment portal. When clients can “click and pay” instantly, it encourages them to do so instead of postponing payment. If they do file the invoice away to pay later, the hot link instantly takes them to the right place to pay online.
  3. Email your clients to let them know they have the option to pay online. Check out the email template in our Client Toolkit here. Be sure to Include a Pay Now button/email signature badge in your email signature (also found in the toolkit). That way, every email you send becomes a visible reminder that digital payments are just a click away!
  4. Leverage social media. Meet your clients where they’re at and post friendly reminders regularly on your social channels. Our Client Toolkit includes graphics and captions for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram posts. You can even get creative and run polls or contests to engage clients around their intent to use the platform, to measure adoption rates, and to learn what might be holding clients back from converting. Not to mention, clients will rave about their online payment experience, providing quotes you can use across other marketing channels!
  5. Share content. This one should be very familiar, since you’re in the business of selling insurance. You know how to recognize and overcome resistance.

Some clients will be early adopters. Others will be unable to use your payment page because their accounts payable go through a centralized accounting department in another city or state. Still others are “old school” or “tech-averse.” But never say never! We live in an increasingly digital world, and momentum is moving away from checks.

Our Client Toolkit includes a Cost of a Paper Check infographic that breaks down the money and time they will save by switching — not to mention that digital payments through ePayPolicy are safer and more secure than checks. 

Be persistent in your promotion of digital payments, but also be patient. We’ve talked with several ePayPolicy clients about their clients’ response rates. One thing we can say with confidence: agencies that actively promote digital payment see higher conversion rates in the first year than those that don’t. 

Best of luck with your client outreach. Start with our helpful Client Toolkit. If you have questions or need further assistance, contact your Account Manager.

How Digitalization Can Reduce Costs for Agencies

The world of insurance is incredibly traditional. At times, this is a good thing. Independent agencies believe in the personal touch, forging deep, lasting relationships with clients. But, in other ways, relying on what’s tried and true is a hindrance, especially when it involves a lack of digitalization.

Many independent agencies are slow to incorporate new technologies. While you don’t necessarily need to embrace every emerging solution that arrives, a lack of digitalization can hold you back. Not only can it cause you to spend more than you need to; it can also mean missing out on revenue-boosting opportunities.

If you are wondering how digitalization can reduce costs and increase revenue, here’s what you need to know.

What Is Digitalization?

Digitalization – also known as digital transformation – is the process of introducing technologies into your business that provide you with new opportunities. This includes capturing cost savings, increasing revenue, or boosting value, all through the use of technology solutions.

While the most obvious incarnation is digitizing paperwork, that only scratches the surface. Digital transformation includes implementations that boost efficiency, accuracy, and profitability through technology.

How Digitalization Reduces Costs and Increases Revenue

Better Customer Experience

Today’s customers don’t just want excellent service; they want convenient solutions. The population gets more tech-savvy by the minute. They rely on technology tools to make their life easier. Whether it’s communicating via chatbot, setting up automatic payments, or gathering information, being able to handle their lives online is a priority.

By embracing digitalization, your independent agency can offer more of what customers are after. It’s a quick way to improve the customer experience. With technology, you can make it easy for them to review their policies, track payment due dates, and pay on time, simplifying their lives as well as yours. That’s all good stuff, and it can help cement your reputation as a tech-savvy provider.

Less Paperwork and Manual Input

Let’s face facts; manual data entry and physical paperwork are tedious to handle. Re-entering information into computer systems takes time – time you could otherwise spend on other activities.

With digitalization, you can reduce the need for cumbersome data entry, relying more on digital forms that customers can complete themselves or scanning technologies that automatically upload the data. Time saved is money saved (or earned), making it worth exploring.

Increased Accessibility

When you embrace digitalization, you have the opportunity to increase your accessibility to critical information. By using cloud technology, you can access your data at any time from nearly anywhere. As long as you have an internet-ready device, you can handle everyday tasks while in the office, on the road, or from home.

Plus, it keeps your data centralized. You’re using one platform no matter where you are, keeping everything consolidated at all times.

Lower E&O Risk

Errors and omissions (E&O) can spell trouble for independent agents. Not only can it mean working with inaccurate information, but it may also lead to E&O claims. Claims of negligence, breach of duty, or similar issues hurt your reputation and bottom line; it’s a double-whammy.

With digitalization, you can reduce E&O risk. You don’t need to enter data from paper records or transcribe conversations. Instead, the tech can do the bulk of the work. All you’ll need to do is a quick review, allowing you to ensure important details are captured, and the highest level of accuracy is achieved in less time.

Independent Agencies: Looking for More Great Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of reaching your peak potential as an independent agency. If you’d like to see more tips about how independent agents can reduce costs and increase revenue with digitalization, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

6 Reasons Why Independent Agencies Need a Strong Website

Standing out as an independent agency can be surprisingly challenging. While you may not think that your website is a crucial part of that equation, that genuinely isn’t the case.

To put it simply, without a strong website for your independent agency, you are missing out on opportunities. If you are wondering why having an exceptional site matters, here’s what you need to know.

1. First Impressions Matter

In many cases, your website is the first interaction a client has with your independent agency online. It acts as a digital handshake, introducing the visitor to what you have to offer. If your messaging, aesthetic, and information fall short of expectations, you may miss out on a new client.

Similarly, if you don’t have a website at all, today’s digital-savvy consumers won’t even know you exist. That leads to more missed opportunities.

But if you have a well-presented, highly informative website, you create opportunities. You draw visitors in through this exceptional first impression, keeping them engaged longer and increasing the odds that they’ll reach out or move forward as a client.

2. Bolster Your Brand Credibility

If you don’t have a website, you’re hurting your brand credibility. Without a site, your independent agency doesn’t seem as legitimate in the eyes of prospective clients.

Similarly, a poor-quality website harms your reputation. It makes it seem like you don’t care about the details or take your online presence seriously, both of which work against you.

Even a simple but well-crafted website makes your independent agency seem more credible. It creates a sense of longevity while also showing that you care about quality.

3. Showcase Your Company and Products

A website is, first and foremost, a resource brimming with information. When you spend time creating a standout site, you can highlight the best of what you have to offer, both as a company and in the way of the products.

Without a website, clients may not know where to turn for helpful information. If your site is poor, they may struggle to navigate it or otherwise finding the details they are after.

By focusing on the quality of your website, you can showcase your company and products with ease. The information they are after will be right at their fingertips, whenever they want it.

4. Increase Brand Visibility

Without a website, many prospective clients won’t know you exist. It’s akin to not having a sign on your company’s office, something that an independent agency would never dream of skipping.

Since so many people head online to find out about businesses, you need to make sure you’re represented. Your website makes you visible to those clients, ensuring they know you’re there and ready to meet their needs.

5. Boost Your Online Marketing

If you aren’t marketing online, you’re missing out. A great website opens this door wider. You won’t just have an online presence, but you can also embrace SEO to place your site higher in results lists. This can increase traffic levels to your site, making it more likely that anyone looking for an independent agency finds you before your competitors.

Plus, if you decide to pursue other online marketing options, such as using Google Ads or a similar network, having a website is crucial. It gives you a place to direct people who see your advertisement that offers more than you can get those a social media profile alone.

6. Increase Accessibility

Today, shopping online is the go-to approach for many consumers. They can tackle research, make purchases, and more at any time, day or night. Plus, they can do it all while on the go, thanks to mobile devices.

If you don’t have a reliable, well-put-together website, you’re missing out on these digital-first prospective clients. By having a fantastic site, you’re essentially increasing accessibility, making it easier to do business with you.

Independent Agencies: Looking for More Great Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of standing out from the crowd as an independent agency. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can boost their online presence, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

How Independent Agents Can Communicate with Today’s Digital Consumers

Today, the business world is increasingly digital. Consumers constantly turn to online resources to find information, and independent insurance agencies need to be part of that landscape if they want to connect with clients.

The sheer volume of options can make developing an online strategy challenging. After all, as an independent agent, your time is valuable, so you need to know which approaches are more likely to yield results and resonate with your clients.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some standout options for communicating with today’s digital consumers as an independent insurance agency.

How to Communicate with Today’s Digital Consumers

Facebook Groups

While traditional Facebook posts and comments can allow you to connect with your clients and prospects, adding a Facebook Group into the mix is beneficial. With a Facebook Group, you still get to communicate directly with your clients, but you also create a space where clients can help one another.

It provides a simple platform where clients can ask questions and share experiences. Along with getting responses from your team, they can also gather insights from other insureds.

Facebook Groups also make sharing major announcements simple. The information is accessible to an engaged audience who gets notifications, increasing the odds that it’ll get noticed.

Client Toolkits

A client toolkit is an online central repository of helpful information and tools. This can be anything from how-to guides, checklists, FAQs, or other resources that clients may find valuable.

With a client toolkit, selling isn’t the primary goal. Instead, it’s about positioning your independent insurance agency as a go-to resource for helpful tips, tricks, and insights, drawing clients in with the wealth of handy information, increasing engagement, and bolstering your brand.

Videos on Social Media

Today, video is the content-sharing approach du jour. It’s one of the most popular mechanisms for enhancing engagement on most social media platforms and is a solid option for developing your brand’s voice.

Video can be a great way to share updates and/or helpful resources. Plus, most social media video formats are embeddable on websites, allowing you to add valuable ones to your client toolkit with ease.

Email Newsletters and Surveys

Email newsletters are a classic option for sharing information with clients. One of the simplest approaches involves sharing an overview of a blog, announcement, or similar content and then including a link that directs the reader to the actual post to learn more. Not only does this let you keep your newsletter short and enticing, but it also boosts traffic to your other pages.

When it comes to follow-up, emailed survey links are one of the easiest options. You can use them to gauge the client experience, giving you the ability to find any areas where improvement is beneficial.

How to Increase Engagement with Your Online Resources

At times, if you want to boost engagement with your online resources, independent agents should consider incentivizing participation. By, for example, sending swag, an eBook, or something similar after a client signs up with your newsletter, you’re rewarding them for engaging with your agency.

The incentive doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. As long as it is helpful or useful — providing value over being part of a sales pitch — it can potentially be a winner.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of engaging with your clients. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can connect with today’s digital consumers, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Creative Ways to Connect with Leads

As an independent agent, you’re always on the hunt for new leads. But lead generation can be surprisingly tricky. Many of the classic techniques are a bit tired. They won’t help your small insurance agency stand out from the competition, causing you to miss out on potential new clients.

Luckily, by using some creative approaches, you can do more than boost lead generation; you can start genuinely nurturing leads. Not only will you get more interest, but your conversion rates will also improve, allowing you to turn more leads into customers.

If you are looking for fresh, effective ways to connect with leads, here are five outstanding options.

5 Creative Ways to Generate and Nurture New Leads

1. Create Engaging Content

Today, we live in a content-driven world. Videos, blog posts, infographics… they all help you connect with an audience, including new leads.

The key to content, though, is to focus on making it engaging. The quality of what you produce matters, as many prospective clients will view what you share as an indication of your attention-to-detail, knowledge level, and more.

Your content also establishes your independent agency’s voice. Make sure you define the personality of your agency’s online presence and work to align everything you do with that perspective. That way, where you post on a single platform or several, it all feels cohesive.

2. Share Thought Leader Insights

A thought leader is a recognized industry expert that’s usually seen as being on the cutting-edge of an industry. Along with being well-informed, they share unique, powerful insights with the masses. They may answer questions on forums, post informative social media or blog content, guest write for high-authority websites (with a backlink in the piece), and more.

By positioning yourself as a thought leader, you boost your independent insurance agency’s reach and standing. It allows you to establish your expertise in a way that can connect with new leads, driving interest and online traffic toward your agency organically.

3. Become a Knowledge Hub

While social media posts and blogs tend to focus on timely issues, not all of that content is evergreen. Some of the topics become less relevant as time passes, making it less likely to keep generating leads.

Luckily, by using a secondary approach, you can overcome that challenge. By establishing your independent agency as a knowledge hub, you’re viewed as a resource that’s worth returning to over the long-term. Make sure to publish certain evergreen content like white papers, informative articles, eBooks, and other pieces that will be as valuable today as they will be tomorrow.

If you want to go the extra mile, offer some of it up on your website, but harness the best pieces’ potential by using them as lead magnets. For example, send the eBook only after a person signs up for your email newsletter. That way, you can get contact details for new leads.

4. Leverage Your Client Base

Your existing clients can be a great resource when you’re focusing on lead generations. Customer reviews are great for generating positive buzz, while webinars can keep clients engaged over the longer term. Case studies can also be powerful, allowing you to show others how your current clients benefit from your services.

When you go this route, you’re making your agency more authentic and tangible. Plus, it can bump up your relatability, humanizing your agency just a bit more.

5. Provide Useful Templates and Checklists

Simple templates and checklists can be great options for drawing in and nurturing leads. They provide the current or prospective clients with immediate value by helping them accomplish a task or handle a situation.

For potential clients, a quick checklist that helps people make sure they have all of the insurance bases covered could be a great start. Budgeting spreadsheets, how-to guides for choosing insurance plans, and similar options are excellent, too.

Just make sure that the templates and checklists are about providing value above all else. It isn’t about being salesy; it’s about being helpful. That way, your content is supportive and caring, a position that can work in your favor.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of lead generation and lead nurturing. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can capture new leads and increase conversions, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

Updating Your Tech Stack for 2021

Today, technology is at the heart of nearly every insurance agency. Independent agents rely heavily on a range of systems, allowing them to organize operations, manage client data, attract new customers, and work more efficiently.

While your current technology may have served you well in the past, new advances emerge seemingly every day. If you don’t update your tech stack regularly, you’re missing out on cutting-edge features and capabilities that can take your agency to the next level.

Luckily, updating your tech stack for 2021 doesn’t have to be difficult. If you aren’t sure how to tackle it, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Tech Stack?

Generally speaking, a tech stack is a set of technology tools that helps you manage your independent insurance agency. Usually, it features a combination of solutions, ensuring all of your major needs are covered by an effective and efficient tech system.

Precisely what you’ll be in your tech stack can vary from one agency to the next. However, for independent agents, most of the solutions are going to be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, allowing you to get robust tech at a fraction of the price of managing it on-site.

Updating your tech stack lets you tap emerging trends and harness cutting-edge technologies. You’re creating an opportunity to get the best of what the SaaS landscape has to offer, ensuring you aren’t held back by old-school software that isn’t designed to meet the needs of today’s leading agencies.

How to Choose New SaaS Technology

When you’re selecting new SaaS solutions, your main goal should be to simplify your technology and automate as much of your workflow as possible. It’s all about enhancing operational ease while simultaneously boosting the quality of your work.

If you aren’t sure how to begin building your tech stack for 2021, here’s a step-by-step process you can follow.

Understand the Tech Stack Categories

Updating your tech stack shouldn’t be a haphazard undertaking. It’s all about ensuring your critical bases are covered. One way to make that as easy as possible is to take a moment to learn about tech stack categories.

Each tech stack category is essentially a single functional business area independent agents usually need to manage. Here’s a quick overview of each one, as well as some example solutions.

Sales

Sales solutions make it easier to manage prospects, qualify leads, and pursue new clients. They provide opportunities for task automation, allowing you to streamline workflows, boost the efficiency of your sales team, and generate better results.

Some popular sales tools include:

  • Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive
  • Meeting Software – Calendly, Google Calendar, GoToMeeting
  • Tracking and Analytics – Google Analytics, Tableau

Marketing

With marketing software, it’s all about generating highly qualified leads, crafting personalized purchasing journeys, and creating meaningful interactions that move contacts through the funnel.

Some widely used marketing tools include:

  • Email Automation (MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo)
  • Social Media Management (Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite)
  • Social Media Presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok)
  • Digital Advertising (Google Marketing, Google Ads, AdRoll, AdHawk)

Collaboration

Collaboration SaaS solutions ease communication between your team members. These support messaging, file-sharing, video conferencing, and more.

Here’s a list at some popular collaboration tools:

  • Messaging (Slack, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams)
  • File-Sharing / Document Collaboration (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)
  • Virtual Work / Video Conferencing (GoToMeeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts)
  • Task / Project Management (Trello, Asana, Google Calendar, Accelo)

Client Experience

Client experience solutions make it easy for people to do business with you. They simplify contact, payments, and similar needs, ensuring you can offer an optimal customer experience (CX).

Some widely preferred client experience tools include:

  • Payment Gateways (ePayPolicy, PayPal, ApplePay, etc.)
  • Website (Browser/device compatibility, website building tools)
  • Data Security (McAfee, DUO Security, Oracle, IBM Security, LastPass)
  • Client Referral Management (Rocket Referrals) 

Customer Support

With customer support tech, it’s all about boosting CX. These systems focus on critical areas like client communication and customer interaction, ensuring you can be reached whenever the need arises.

Here’s a list of popular customer support tools:

  • Live Chat (InterCom, Zendesk, Podium, LiveChat, Drift)
  • Self-Service (Chatbots, Online FAQs)
  • Phone-Based Support (VoIP, Text Messaging, RingCentral)

Review Your Current Tech Stack

After you get to know the types of solutions present in an independent agency tech stack, it’s time to review what you have in place today. Consider whether each system you have actually meets your needs, as well as what category it represents.

Essentially, you want to audit your tech stack to identify missing segments and to determine if it’s the best setup for you. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with a system, including because of clunky operation, a subpar toolset, or anything else, then it could be time to make a switch.

Keep It Simple and Effective

When you’re building your tech stack for 2021, keep it simple. It isn’t about getting every solution; it’s about choosing the right mix of systems based on your needs and goals.

When you decide to add a new piece of tech, or replace an existing solution with something better suited to your operations, create a roadmap for implementation before you begin. You don’t want to overwhelm your team by bringing in a ton of new systems all at once. Instead, pace yourself, bringing in new solutions after your team has had a chance to get comfortable with the last implementation.

By using that approach, you can update your tech stack efficiently, keeping everything simple and boosting your agency’s effectiveness every step of the way.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the power of a great tech stack. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can update their tech stack for the new year or how they can boost their business, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

Jumpstart Success: How to Crush Your 2021 Goals

The new year is classically a time when independent agents, like yourself, look to the future. Goal setting is typically a part of the equation.

Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions, career goals, strategic objectives, or anything else doesn’t matter; the purpose is the same. It’s all about identifying where you want to go and making it your mission to get there.

The thing is, goal setting alone isn’t enough. If you want to jumpstart success, you have to go further. Luckily, it isn’t as hard as it may seem on the surface. With the right approach, you can crush your 2021 goals. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s what you need to know.

Define Your Personal Goals

You can’t crush your goals if you don’t pick one to go after. After all, you can’t achieve success until you envision it, so let your imagination run a bit wild.

Spend a little time considering what you want to achieve. Jot down ideas as they come to you, even if they seem tiny or outlandish.

The purpose is to really reflect on what you want. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea, don’t be afraid to start small. Goal setting doesn’t mean you always have to go for broke. As long as the objective matters to you, keep it on the table.

Implement a Tactic

Once you’ve got some solid ideas, it’s time to refine them. If a goal is too broad, odds are you’ll run into trouble. That’s why you need to get a bit granular.

So, how do you get detailed goals? By implementing a reliable tactic.

SMART Goals

If you want to go with a classic goal-setting approach, try SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By going this route, you use the meaning of each letter as a guiding principle, empowering you to drill down into your ideas and refine your goal. Here’s a quick overview of what each point means:

  • Specific goals are well-defined. You need to know what you want to accomplish, why it matters to you, and what it might take to get there.
  • Measurable goals have a clear point of success. It’s a metric that lets you know you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do.
  • Achievable goals are realistic objectives. You want to make sure attaining it is possible.
  • Relevant goals feel worthwhile. What you’re trying to achieve needs to matter to you personally. Otherwise, staying motivated is going to be tricky at best.
  • Time-bound means having a deadline. It’s giving yourself a time constraint, creating a sense of urgency that can keep you focused.

Objectives and Key Results

The objectives and key results (OKRs) approach is another goal-setting tactic that may work for you. It’s a fairly simple (and incredibly agile) framework for creating meaningful, well-defined goals.

First, you identify an objective. Ideally, this will be a specific target that you can express concisely. They should be ambitious but reasonable. For example, “Improve work-life balance” is a potential personal objective.

Second, you determine the key results. Usually, these are deliverables or actions that allow you to achieve that goal. Using the “work-life balance” example again, a key result might be to “Stop responding to email at COB” if you tend to keep working after-hours.

The key results are what you’ll do to achieve the larger objective. They are crucial overall, but especially for goals that aren’t quantified or could otherwise be a bit vague.

Be Reasonable

As you set goals, make sure they are reasonable. While stretching a bit is fine, if you reach too far, you may topple well before you get there.

Make sure your objectives are challenging but technically doable. That way, you’re promoting growth and positive change in a way that’s inspiring, not frustrating.

Build a Roadmap for Success

Once you make achievable goals, it’s time for a roadmap. Essentially, you want to create a step-by-step process that gets you from where you are to where you want to be in the end.

In some cases, finding the lowest common denominator works. It can be a suitable beginning point, allowing you to envision what has to come next.

For others, working backward is ideal. You look at your final goal and figure out what has to occur right before you achieve it. Then, you identify the step that has to happen immediately before that one, and so on.

As you proceed, identify and align the proper resources. Additionally, treat your roadmap as a flexible framework. Obstacles do happen, so embrace the idea that you might need to pivot along the way.

Track Your Progress

Once you have your roadmap, it’s time to get to work. Start working your steps, moving ever closer to your goal.

Additionally, perform regular progress check-ins. If you’re working on personal goals, pause once a month to see where you are and what needs to come next. If you’re focused on team or company goals, have high-value meetings each week or month to sync up.

Either way, determine if you’re on target. Then, if you aren’t, start problem-solving to get back on track.

Rinse and Repeat

The approach above can be used for all kinds of goals, including on personal, career, and company levels. Work one angle and then repeat the process on another. In the end, you’ll have well-defined goals that can help you move forward in 2021.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we embrace the OKR approach. It lets us work from the top down, keeping our objectives and alignment clear.

If you’d like more tips about goal setting for independent agents, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Receivables with ePayPolicy

I’ve never heard an insurance agency say, “We really need to slow down receivables.” Have you? Of course not. Your cash flow depends on prompt client payment. Ultimately, speeding up receivables hinges on changing client behavior. 

Today I’ll share five tips to get paid faster, and how ePayPolicy can help.

Accepting digital payments is a giant first step. But I want to make sure you’re aware of all the ePayPolicy features to turbocharge payment collection (and reduce those dunning process tasks that are no fun for anyone).

Tip 1: Make sure clients know they can pay you digitally

Paying insurance premiums via ACH or credit card is easy, convenient, secure and (drumroll, please), instant. Yet some ePayPolicy clients tell us they’re still collecting too many checks! 

The key to geting more payers to break their check/cash habit is awareness! Here are some easy ways you can promote digital payment and increase client adoption:

  • Use the co-branded flyer in your dashboard to send out with your invoices and newsletters
  • Access the client marketing tool kit containing custom graphics and copy
    • Let your clients know you’re now accepting digital payments via social media
    • Send an email blast or include your new offering in your newsletter
  • Include a PayNow button in your email signature and on your website
  • Make digital the #1 payment option on your invoices

Tip 2: Make payment foolproof

Paying bills is a hassle. No wonder payers drag their feet. 

But we have the perfect antidote: Prefilled ePayPolicy Payment Pages. In the dashboard you can send a payment link that contains your payer’s information already filled out to simplify the process. The hard work’s done for them! This is convenient for all clients, but extra valuable for those who need that “extra nudge” to complete their payments on time. 

Tip 3:  Promote player-friendly features

As noted in #2, we want to remove obstacles to prompt payment.  Reduce (or eliminate) clients’ time and effort with features like save payment information and autopay.

When you pay the same vendor regularly, it’s a drag to re-enter your payment information every time. Many policies require multiple payments per year. Let policyholders know they can securely save their payment information (we use tokenization). They can even store more than one bank account, credit card or debit card.

For clients paying a variety of invoices throughout the year, AutoPay offers the ultimate convenience*. Just set it, forget it, and wait for the e-receipt confirming the payment was made. 

*Only available for integrated payment pages.

Tip 4: Create positive client touchpoints

Our new feature lets you send automatic invoice reminders for due and past due invoices on your behalf*. When the client clicks the link, the page prefills with their due invoices. And you score points for being so thoughtful. 

*Currently available with AMS360, Sagitta, AIM & MGA systems. (More coming soon.)

Tip 5: Integrate ePayPolicy with your management system

We typically think of management systems in terms of its benefits to agents and staff. But having everything in one place, including payment processing, creates a seamless user experience. Clients don’t have to search for invoices, they’re pulled directly from the management system integrated with ePayPolicy.  How easy is that? 

Let’s review:

The key to speeding up receivables is to get more clients to pay digitally. Digital payments are easy and convenient for them, and they put money into your account right away — when they pay. ePayPolicy is designed to make the entire process a breeze. Payer-friendly features like prefilled payment pages, automated invoice reminders, auto-pay and more make paying you a positive, convenient experience — and almost impossible to be late. All of these factors combine to encourage prompt payment, leading to better cash flow and smoother business for you. 

Try these tips and let us know the effect on your clients and your accounts receivable! Contact support if you need help setting up any of these features.