The most meaningful question for life insurance distributors right now isn’t, “how digital is your agency?” or “how complete is your digital transformation?”.
Regardless of where you are in your digitalization and automation project, it’s more important to understand how your digital transformation, or lack thereof, is affecting your ability to market and sell.
Which really means, the question you should be asking yourself is: How is it effecting your advisors, prospects and clients?
Given that all distributors are somewhere along the transformation curve and dealing with a mixed bag of processes that may include instantaneous automated steps alongside anachronisms like wet signatures, scanned docs and sometimes even faxes—marketing and sales processes have become uneven when it comes to efficiency and customer experience.
The opportunity for distributors, especially in times of significant change like these, is to help their advisors evolve their systems and the tech that supports them in order to remove obstacles and grow their practices.
How can distributors help advisors transition to more digital practices?
1. Improve D2C with advisor involvement
Advisors can help solve one of the great problems with D2C sales‒ low application completion rates. The reasons why potential customers abandon apps or drop out of the process are the things that advisors have spent their careers solving for: Lack of trust. Frustration. Confusion.
The pandemic has given many younger buyers a first exposure to mortality risk and interest in coverage is high. Many of those buyers are interested in quick online purchases that satisfy the need painlessly. But for those who fall outside the underwriting guidelines set out for guaranteed approval, straight-through processing turns into a frustrating slalom through questionnaires and parameds.
What many organizations are finding is that digital sales portals are a great way to funnel prospects into the sales process. But once they are there, having an advisor available to explain what’s happening, keep prospects interested and remove frustrations can significantly multiply the number of apps that turn into policies. And increase both advisor and client satisfaction.
2. Enhance advisors’ ability to meet more client needs
The early stages of the pandemic had an interesting effect on how advisors operated. The traditional quest to find prospects that can become new clients was made more difficult by social distancing measures and the pivot to remote connections.
For many advisors the marketing approaches they had relied on, like lunch and learns or seminars, became harder to arrange. The online experience wasn’t yielding the same results, in terms of generating leads and introductions.
That challenge spurred many advisors to look inward for new business‒ combing their existing books of business for opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell.
The change in behavior required a change in technology‒and this presents an opportunity for distributors. The distributor value proposition to advisors can be elevated if BGAs/MGAs are able to provide the integrated, CRM and planning solutions that will increase cross-selling effectiveness.
To support these types of advisor campaigns distributors can provide a systematized approach to cross-selling for advisors to follow, and deliver the right technology to support the process. Cross-selling systems that target specific client needs, combined with advisor-specific CRM tools that enable very targeted segmentation, can greatly increase advisor success.
How modern agency management systems enhance sales management
Managing and supporting advisor sales activity can be challenging for some distributors, if they lack an effective, modern back-office platform. These types of insurance agency management system platforms centralize carrier data making it easier for advisors to see all of their client’s insurance data in one view. They streamline and automate activity assignment and tracking. And they remove commission accounting headaches so that advisors are paid more quickly, more accurately and with less hassle.
Integrating front end sales and service solutions like advisor CRMs and financial needs analysis tools with back-office platforms has a multiplying effect on efficiency and sales. It makes it more possible for advisors and distributors to hyper-personalize marketing and streamline sales because of the increased access to centralized data. And the reporting and management features of a modern insurance agency management software enhance distributors’ ability to help their advisors transition from older sales approaches to more digital, advice-based models.