Insurance agencies have numerous choices for marketing automation solutions. After exploring several options, it can get a little overwhelming and sometimes you can lose focus on why you started looking to begin with. With all the options it is quite easy to get swept up in the shiny features or feel you’re missing out by not having certain features.
While every marketing and sales automation platform will have their own specialty features there are certain non-negotiables that insurance agents should look for when finding the right marketing automation platform.
In our blog discuss today we will highlight the 11 features I believe no insurance agency should be without.
1. A CRM
Insurance agencies need more than an agency management system. A CRM is necessary for any marketing and sales activity but especially so for those who want to utilize marketing automation. When it comes to automation you need a system that centralizes and helps manage the data coming in.
CRMs come in all shapes and sizes but there are key requirements that you need for your automation:
- Houses detailed lead data
- Easily integrates with the rest of your marketing and sales data
- The ability to add or remove a contact from an automated campaign
- Includes sales management capabilities
- Gives you an overview of results allowing you to better make decisions.
A CRM is more than a place to store data. It’s not just a replacement for static spreadsheets or policy management. It gives you insights and the ability to maximize the ROI of your marketing and sales investments.
Having a CRM built into your marketing automation is a key component to successful launches and management of automated campaigns.
When thinking about automation for your insurance agency, it must come with the ability to integrate. Not having these integrations will lead to siloed databases, scattered analytics, compliance issues, big headaches and ultimately missed opportunities.
What types of integrations should your automation platform have?
- Data integrations
- Integrations with your favorite marketing and sales tools
- AMS integrations
Marketing automation is just one piece of the puzzle. If it doesn’t integrate with the rest of your data and programs, then your processes will be inefficient and ineffective.
3. Email marketing capabilities
Email marketing plays a big role in marketing and sales automation. Nurturing campaigns, automatic follow ups, task reminders, and email follow up templates are all examples of ways email helps you improve productivity and sales production with automation.
A major portion of your automation strategy will revolve around email in some capacity, so it’s essential that you have the right capabilities to get the most out of your strategy.
What type of email marketing capabilities do you need?
- A Standard email marketing tool
- Email marketing workflows
- Automated trigger emails
- Smart Mail for easy one to one communication
In addition to the capabilities the email tools should also be customizable and easy to use.
Automation should save you time and energy. This could be by automating standard follow ups your team sends daily or setting up referral campaigns that send X days after a prospect becomes a client.
Whatever your automation goals are, email will likely play a big role so make sure the system provides all you need.
A key to marketing and sales success is getting the right message to the right client at the right time. This can’t happen when your strategy revolves around mass messaging. Instead, your automation program must have segmentation capabilities that allow your automation to send the right message at the right time.
In what ways do you need to segment data?
- Account owners / producers
- Lead status
Segmentation allows you to send the right message at the right time but also allows you to better examine your data. This improves your marketing and sales strategies and gives you a more authentic view of what is really happening.
How you need to segment data and lists all boils down to your marketing and sales strategies. So, take a look at your needs and it will help you identify necessary forms of segmentation.
5. Marketing Tools
Insurance agencies who dive into digital marketing and automation quickly get bogged down in the number of tools they are required to use. As a warning to those getting into automation, this means your team is going to have to learn another, and in some cases more complicated, marketing tool.
However, many marketing automation platforms come packed with their own marketing tools. This means your team can focus on one piece of technology and your agency only has one bill.
What marketing tools should your automation program include?
- Content creation tools
- Publishing and scheduling tools
- Email marketing
Remember, implementing a automation platform means one more tool your marketing team has to manage which is why it should include as many essential tools for your team as possible. Automation platforms with the right marketing tools can help your team lighten their tech-stack and become more efficient in their operations.
6. Sales Tools
Automation is more than email marketing follow-ups. It can empower your sales team just as much as it can empower your marketing team. When adopting automation don’t just think about the improved marketing efficiency but also think about the improved sales results.
There a couple essential sales tools your automation should provide:
- Automated sales follow responses
- Simplified meeting scheduling
- Task management
- Lead notifications
- Contact and Pipeline Management
Being an insurance producer has gotten tougher of the past several years. Automation should improve the sales job, not make it harder for salespeople to sell.
Use automation to help your sales team spend less time on redundant tasks and more time on profitable items.
7. Lead scoring/ profiling
It’s not enough to just drip a marketing message to leads. You need to know when leads are becoming hot and what type of leads are most likely to buy from you compared to others. You can do this through lead scoring and lead profiling.
Lead scoring can take a lot into consideration:
- Lead behaviors
- Company or account type
- Type of content they’ve engaged with. i.e. important pages vs blog posts
- The Persona
With lead scoring you will know at a glance which leads are ready to buy, which ones are warming up, which ones will likely buy, which ones are tire kickers and which leads are not right.
There’s only so much time in the day. Your automation should automate communications but should also help you better manage who you are communicating to.
8. Social media management
Social media has played a big part in the marketing strategies of many insurance agencies. As you look at different marketing automation programs, consider how it will help you with this major strategy.
There are a few ways automation software can help with your social strategy:
- Posting and Scheduling
- Social monitoring (leads and accounts)
- Content calendar management
If social media is an important aspect of your marketing, then don’t leave it out on its own island. Simplify the process and improve results by integrating it with your automation tools.
The data you collect is the lifeblood of your marketing and sales initiatives. Without proper reporting you don’t have a true understanding of how well your investment is working.
- Success of Individual campaigns
- Total marketing campaign ROI
- Sales pipeline analytics
- Lead sources
- Customizable reports
These are just a few of the many types of reports that can and should be included in your automation’s reporting feature.
Most automation platforms have reporting features but think about your marketing and sales in its entirety and what data you need to have.
We have heard the stories from many insurance agencies who stepped into the unknown world of automation with no assistance. Unfortunately for these agencies nearly all their stories end the same. Frustrations, becoming overwhelmed and lack of success are all symptoms of implementing automation without support.
Adopting automated technology is possible without support but having someone to hold your hand through the process or pick you up when you get stumped is the key to a successful implementation.
There are a couple different types of support that can help you through the process:
- Technical support
- Strategic support
Look at your team and their level of automation experience. This can help you determine what type of support you need and how much your team may need.
Having support at the start and when you get stuck is essential to getting the most out of your automation. We believe this to be true and have built it into our own marketing automation solution model. While it may not be something most people think about before signing a contract, knowing what type of support you will get, and the costs should be a deciding factor in your automation purchase.
Having the Right Features in Your Automation Platform
Above are the 10 features I believe every insurance agency should have. However, I realize that every insurance agency is different, and needs may vary. That’s why it’s important for you to have the ability to identify what features you need.
Don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging. Let’s tackle how you can determine
- What are your automation goals?
- What marketing and sales strategies are, and will you implement?
- Where are inefficiencies or potential improvements for your marketing and sales?
Taking the time to address these types of questions will help you identify the right features for your marketing automation. If a potential feature sounds great but it’s not in alignment with your goals and strategies, then it may not be a necessary feature.
Lastly, if you’re really not sure what the future will look like, but you want to have all the necessary tools in your arsenal then consider an all-in-one marketing automation platform.
Take the Next Step in Finding the Perfect Automation Platform