For most companies, the problem isn’t data collection. It’s what to do with the data they have. After all, what good is data if it just sits there and does nothing?
Why Data Is Not Enough
Numbers and data are like Miracle-Gro for sales, but you need to have something already planted in the ground if you want to succeed. Moreover, you need to tend to your “sales garden” if you want to all that effort to pay off.
The mistake most brokerages make is they collect mountains of data and just sit on it. It’s warehoused in computer systems that aren’t connected to anything but maybe a few other internal computer systems. Mostly, these are for archival purposes instead of being used to inform and increase future sales for the company.
New digital analytics tools can pull that data out of the warehouse and dust it off; however, you need to be prepared to make serious changes to your infrastructure and the way you currently do business if you are going to use your data to its fullest potential.
How you can turn your data into quality data:
There are a few reasons why data goes unused. If you want to leverage your data to it’s fullest potential, begin implementing the following steps:
1. Advanced Preparation
Before diving into the data you have, prepare and determine what questions you need to answer — what your goal is. The more specific you can make your goals, the better. Generic questions rarely lead to the kind of outcome you want, while more specific questions give direction and purpose to your data analytics.
For example, if your question is "How can I make my agents more productive?" , you know you need to look at data points such as:
- How much time do my agents spend on customer maintenance tasks?
- How much time do my agents spend on each client? <li">How many policies has each agent closed and renewed in X time period?
By analyzing the above data points and gaining actionable insights, you’ll be able to set a specific goal for your team to achieve, such as: “Increase sales of X policy by 20% by December 31st”
If you find a client takes up a lot of an agent’s time relative to the money you make from that client, you can decide between terminating your relationship with the client or streamlining your policy servicing to reduce the time spent on customer maintenance.
However, keep in mind that goals should be challenging, but not too challenging that they’re impossible for your agents to achieve.
In the 1960s, Dr Edwin Locke and Dr Gary Latham pioneered research in goal-setting. During their research, they interviewed loggers for a logging company that was having trouble increasing its output. At first, the loggers were given generic goals like, “try as hard as you can.” This did not result in more trees felled. In some cases, it made loggers frustrated because they didn’t know what was expected of them.
When specific goals were given to them, production increased. When goals became more challenging, production increased further up to a threshold where production fell off. Keep this in mind when setting goals for your own brokerage.
Some managers go overboard with benchmarks and sales goals. All that does is demoralize the sales force. It may take some trial and error to find the right level of challenge for your agents.
2. Integrated Data Sources
Data easily overwhelms most people. It’s normal. This is especially true if you’re collecting it from several different sources. The problem is data gathering can become a full-time job in and of itself, leading to myopic thinking about that data (i.e. that it’s being gathered for its own sake). This leads to data silos and data overload.
The solution is to realize data is a means to an end. Only collect data you need and can use to make a sale (or keep a customer). A smart digital management platform, like Novidea's, can automate a lot of the data gathering process for you and integrate it across your entire business.
You can then control:
- Collection (integrations, elasticity);
- Management (data quality, governance);
- Analysis (data exploration);
For example, Novidea’s platform can grab data from a variety of sources, including 3rd party email applications and databases and then organize that information into actionable insights for your agents.
Because Novidea is not just another “big data” company, rather a highly advanced insurance management platform, it is capable of taking advantage of the existing data you have and transforming it into relevant sales information, targeting your insurance prospects.
If you’ve collected information on your prospects like age, where they work or if they own a business, number of children, and where they live (postal codes), then you have enough information to make intelligent suggestions about life insurance, auto, home, and even liability insurance.
3. Real-Time Analytics
A digital management platform using real-time analytics is powerful. Imagine having information fed to you during a meeting with a client. For example, let’s say you’re meeting with a client and he or she wants to know whether they should increase their liability coverage.
You take a look at your customer’s information and have real-time access to key pieces of data like their income, current coverages, and more. This enables you to make an intelligent recommendation based on hard facts rather than subjective guesses. You also don’t have to tell your customer you’ll get back to them later.
Or, suppose your client wants to buy more property insurance but you notice they live in a high-crime neighborhood. Which carrier offers the best pricing for adverse risks?
Without this information, you would be stabbing in the dark.
The insurance industry is currently undergoing a dramatic change unlike anything it’s ever gone through before. Brokers have an amazing opportunity to capitalize on these changes by using data analytics to increase sales and commissions for the brokerage (and agents).
However, this window of opportunity won’t stay open for long. Brokerages who get ahead of the curve by adopting innovative technologies will have a competitive advantage over everyone else.
So, what are you waiting for?