You’re considering marketing and sales automation but wondering if it is a good fit. If it is, it could provide the boost your agency needs, but if not, it could mean wasted time and money.
We get it. That’s why we didn’t write a “5 reasons why you NEED automation” post. Instead, in this post you will see the benefits and the barriers of automation.
After reading this you will know if marketing automaton technology is right for you, or not, and how to find a solution that fits your needs.
The Two things to consider in your decision
As you explore automation there are really two considerations that will dictate whether it is right for you.
- The Benefits
- The Barriers
You will need to ensure that the benefits of the technology are going to help you take your agency in the direction you want it to go. Keep in mind that no matter how promising it can be, there are also barriers that can keep you from moving the needle.
The 12 questions we are about to explore will help you to compare the benefits with the barriers to see if a marketing and sales automation will be a fit for you. Let’s dive in.
Will you benefit from marketing automation?
The first step in knowing if automation is right is to consider the benefits. Will it be worth it for your agency? Do the benefits align with your agency’s goals and what you want to achieve?
Look at the benefits below. If they are in alignment with your agency’s goals, then marketing automation might be right for you.
1. Are you looking to automate repetitive tasks?
Does your agency have labor intensive processes that are hindering productivity? There are two common issues that plague many insurance agencies. These are:
- Repetitive tasks
- The effort it takes to close an account
Look at your staff’s and your own day-to-day activities. How many of the same tasks are repeated daily or multiple times a day? Things like email communication, social media posts, or renewal reminders can all be automated.
How much effort does it take to close an account? Some agents and producers spend so much time in the sales process that they rarely hit their sales goals. Being able to automate marketing activities, sales follow-ups, and the lead nurture processes can save time for marketing and sales.
Would your agency benefit from spending more time focusing on higher level tasks?
2. Do you need to streamline agency processes?
Has your agency hit its production ceiling? Most agencies grow until their service requests overtake their ability to find new business. This causes agency growth to stall.
Is this you?
Your agency is making enough to survive but your growth is stunted, and you want to grow but you’re bogged down with service work.
This is an indicator that you need to streamline your processes and get more time back into the day.
Here are a few examples of processes you can streamline with automation:
- Renewal, onboarding and referral communications
- Sending relevant marketing and sales communications at the right time
- Account rounding and cross-selling
The idea of streamlining your agency’s processes is to improve productivity without burning out staff. Is this something your agency needs to do?
3. Are you looking to maximize marketing and sales?
Could your agency’s marketing and sales efforts use a boost? Many agencies are putting in the time and energy to grow their business, but they are not seeing the fruits of their labor. Could marketing automation be the boost you need to improve sales and marketing results?
Let’s be honest. For most businesses marketing and sales is a guessing game. Does your business know where leads are coming from and the process they take to become a client?
Automated solutions can help streamline sales process, shorten the sales cycle, and can help salespeople focus in on prospects who are engaged vs the tire kickers.
Your team will be able to focus on higher level tasks, perform more duties with less time, and create more effective campaigns.
Could a boost to marketing and sales be what your agency needs?
4. Are you looking to make more strategic decisions?
How well did your last marketing campaign go? Which of your salespeople gets the best results? Do you know why they are performing better than the other salespeople? What’s the best way to spend your marketing dollars for the best ROI?
If you’re like most insurance agencies, the answer to most of these questions is “I don’t know.” Most agency owners have gut feelings about what’s working but there’s no hard-fast numbers. By utilizing the data available through marketing automation, your agency can make more strategic decision.
Here’s what access to marketing and sales data can do for you:
- Measure life-time ROI of all your marketing campaigns
- Compare sales performance
- In addition to comparing, you can also view conversion rates at each stage of the sales process.
- View individual marketing and sales metrics
If you knew the most profitable areas to spend time and money would it help move your agency closer to hitting its goals?
5. Are you looking to unify marketing and sales?
If your agency’s marketing and sales are on their own islands, then you are missing opportunities. Most agencies are stretched thin as it is, you don’t need your revenue producers working against each other. You need them working together.
Here is what most insurance agencies look like:
- Salespeople are prospecting and looking for opportunities, but they are only closing a very small percentage of leads.
- Marketing is “branding” and creating content, but you can’t see a clear picture of how it’s helping push your agency’s growth.
In this current business climate, businesses need both marketing and sales to work together. When marketing and sales are unified your agency will generate more opportunities, convert more leads, and do it with less effort.
The right automation software syncs your marketing and sales processes together allowing for unification and improved results.
6. Are you looking to shrink your tech stack?
How many different technologies are you using in your agency? As you step further into digital marketing and sales you quickly find that there is a piece of technology for everything. Before you know it, your agency has more technology than you’re even aware of.
- Social media publishing tools
- Web analytic tools
- A CRM
- Email marketing software
- A website to manage
- Video calling software
- And now we’re talking about automation
Having too big of a tech stack costs insurance businesses time, money, and productivity.
Fortunately, many automation providers realize this is an issue and have created “all-in-one” solutions. Systems like these include all the marketing and sales tools you’re currently using under one roof. With marketing automation, you can minimize the tools you’re using and improve efficiency.
Would your agency benefit from having one platform that houses all your tools and connects them together?
Consider the Challenges and Barriers
Marketing automation can help streamline your processes, save time, improve results, and round out your agency activities.
However, not everyone is in the position [right now] to take full advantage of it.
There are barriers that may lead you to the realization that marketing automation just isn’t right for your agency or isn’t right at this time. If you feel automation is right for you don’t let these barriers stand in the way.
You can still move forward with automation with the following challenges. But it’s important to be aware that they are there.
7. Are you an old school agency?
Implementing marketing automation in a traditional brick and mortar is challenging for a couple of reasons:
- The owner or staff is resistant to change.
- The employees aren’t used to technological processes.
- You likely don’t have or collect prospect or customer data such as email addresses.
Old school agencies are often unsuccessful at implementing marketing automation because they face resistance from their staff, and they aren’t positioned to take advantage of all the processes.
If your agency is “old school” and you have no intention of changing things, then automation may not be right for you.
8. Do you believe automation to be a magic pill?
If you believe marketing automation will magically transform your business, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Automation can do wonderful things for businesses but there’s plans to be made and work to be done.
Many providers offer done for you services, but your agency still must lean into the process. Automation implementation isn’t a matter of flipping a switch and poof, you have more business opportunities.
If this is what you want to happen, you may be better off saving your money for golf balls.
9. Are you thinking about automation because it’s trendy?
Why are you considering marketing automation? If it’s because your favorite expert says so, then you may want to pump the brakes for a moment.
Too often do agents fall into the technology trap and burn through a lot of cash because someone said they needed to try it.
Agents who buy based off trends instead of their agency’s strategic needs often run into brick walls.
Ask yourself, are you considering automation because of the benefits it can bring or because everyone in your circle is doing it?
10. Do you have a digital or automation champion?
When built, automation can run well on its own. But in the beginning stages, someone will need to champion the process.
Your agency will need someone to move data into the system and ensure things are correctly configured. It also helps to have someone who is willing to learn the system and who will be in it consistently.
When you don’t have someone to champion the process then you will end up paying for an expensive piece of software that goes untouched. Figure out who is going to champion the process and learn the system before you commit.
11. Do you have buy-in?
From our experience, agencies who don’t have buy-in from the rest of ownership or the staff find it much tougher to successfully implement sales and marketing technology
Here’s what normally happens when there’s no buy-in:
- The agency’s automation champion learns the system
- Any time they want to implement a new automated process or campaign the staff is resistant in providing the champion with what they need.
- Processes that can/should be automated are ignored as staff refuses to adapt.
- The moment employees are no longer being enforced to use the system they go right back to business as usual using old tools and outdated processes.
- The champion gets frustrated with lack of support and no improvements are made with the system.
What is your plan with marketing automation? If it’s something that requires the input of key employees, then those employees need to be bought in so that implementation is smooth and successful.
12. Are you actively marketing and selling?
Sales and marketing automation are tools designed to improve marketing and sales processes. If your agency has no sales activity and no marketing activity what is there to automate?
Too often do struggling agencies adopt technology as a saving grace but aren’t in the position to use it. Don’t get me wrong, you can still benefit from it without actively selling and marketing. But if you have no intention of creating sales and marketing processes in addition to your automation it may not be worth your time.
Don’t let these barriers stop you!
The above challenges can be a hindrance to many, but they don’t need to stop you from reaping the benefits of automation.
Our insurance agency fumbled through many of these barriers but were able to overcome the challenges.
Even if you fumble through many of the barriers above like we did, it’s still possible to successfully implement automation. The process may be tougher, or ROI may take longer to produce but it can still lead to a stronger future for your agency.
We understand that you may be like most insurance agencies. You want the benefits of marketing automation but you’re also trying to be realistic about the barriers. We’ve caught wind of this and have fine-tuned our automated solution to help agencies in this position.
So, if you’re thinking you want automation but are worried about the barriers, then look for a solution that can help bridge the gap.
Considerations for marketing automation platforms
Are you thinking marketing automation is right for you? Great! Before you go out and buy the most robust program or the cheapest, make sure you have considered what you need.
Even if automation is a fit for you, not every solution will fit your agency.
There are many considerations you should make when identifying an automation solution for your agency.
- Functions & Features – Does it do what you need it to do?
- Costs – Do costs make sense for what you need it to do?
- Ability to grow – Will the program grow with you or will you need to replace it if you want to do more?
- Contract terms – Are you ok with a full year commitment or would you like something month to month?
- Customizations – Does it allow you to change the program to your standards, build custom workflows and craft a message that’s personal to your brand?
- Integrations – Does it play well with other technology you have or will it lead to double entry?
Think about what the non-negotiables are for you in a platform. This will help make it easier to decide if an automated solution is right for you or not.
While reviews and peer suggestions are helpful, it’s important to look at solutions based on your personal specifications.
With the many benefits, barriers and different solutions, only you can decide if and what marketing automation solution is right for you. But of course, if you need assistance don’t hesitate to ask.
Do you believe marketing automation is right for you? Request a Demo to see once and for all if automation will work well for your agency.
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