Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software offers an array of benefits. It enables agencies to improve customer relationships, optimize daily operations, close more deals and make better decisions. However, before implementing an insurance CRM system, it is crucial to understand that the software does not solely benefit the business’ relationships with prospective and existing customers. CRM also aids in communication and collaboration among various departments.
To seamlessly deploy a new CRM system, businesses must ensure proper implementation.
Step-by-Step Guide for Implementing Insurance CRM Software
Implementing insurance CRM software requires a lot of planning, budgeting and effort. Without due preparation, it can end in failure. Here are the six steps insurance agencies must follow when implementing a new insurance CRM system:
1. Identifying the Needs and Requirements
Before embarking on the journey for software selection and implementation, businesses must first identify their goals and needs. Hence, the first step involves identifying the reason behind implementing a CRM. Businesses must monitor their existing processes and systems and find areas that can be improved and challenges that can be resolved with a CRM system.
Ascertaining the scope of the project is crucial to ensuring its success. Businesses that do not remain focused on specific workflows and requirements have a hard time choosing the right CRM software. Once the business has identified the challenges and built a convincing case for change, it can kickstart the process of CRM implementation.
2. Creating the Implementation Team
Insurance CRM implementation requires skill, time and resources. Hence, it is crucial to have key players in the implementation process. The arrangement of the CRM implementation team depends on an array of factors such as the size of the business, expectations and customizations.
See also: How to Choose the Right CRM Package
The implementation team must consist of representatives from different departments, such as sales, marketing and customer support. The different perspectives help the team members better understand and adapt to the processes. When building a team, make sure to define proper roles and responsibilities for the team members. Ideally, the insurance CRM implementation team must consist of:
- Project owner
- Project manager
- Subject matter experts
- Department heads
- Cross-departmental users
- Technology resource
3. Finding the Right Insurance CRM Vendor
Nowadays, there is no dearth of vendors dealing in CRM software for insurance companies. However, finding the right vendor is key to ensuring a successful insurance CRM implementation. Here are some questions that businesses can ask:
- How long have they been in business?
- How often do they release software upgrades and updates?
- Do they keep pace with the rapidly changing needs and requirements of the industry?
- What kind of after-sales support and training do they offer?
- What is their standard implementation roadmap?
- Can the insurance CRM software be customized to meet the business' unique needs?
- Do they offer a free trial or demo of the software?
4. Setting a Realistic Budget
Irrespective of the scale of the implementation or the level of research, unforeseen costs are unavoidable. For instance, the insurance CRM implementation cost may increase according to the level of customization required by the business. When setting aside a budget for the software implementation, a number of businesses often overlook onboarding and training costs. The total cost of ownership for CRM typically includes:
- Monthly or annual subscription fees
- One-time implementation costs
- Data handling and migration costs
- Software licensing costs
- Testing and retesting expenses
- Customization and process re-engineering
- Software support and maintenance expenses
Apart from setting a budget, businesses must also set a realizable timeline for the implementation. They must bear in mind that not all CRM systems work identically. While small agencies can easily implement a CRM within one to two months, larger corporations can take four to six months.
5. Developing an Implementation Strategy
After setting the budget and selecting the vendor, businesses must formulate an insurance CRM implementation road map. The business must gain an understanding of how the different team members will participate in the software implementation process. After that, the business can equip them with the right training.
Businesses that are overhauling legacy systems can also improve and integrate their existing CRM workflows. The CRM implementation strategy depends on the type of deployment, be it cloud-based or on-premise.
Once the insurance CRM implementation strategy is set, businesses can start the deployment. They can also plan a phased rollout and change to the new software in increments over an extended period. This helps in ensuring that any problems or challenges remain isolated from business processes.
6. Post-Deployment Support and Upgrades
The insurance CRM implementation process does not end with deployment. To get the most out of the investment and achieve long-term benefits, businesses must nurture their CRM implementation. The CRM implementation team must now shift its focus to gathering feedback from the end-users and tweaking the software.
Modifications or customizations may be required as more features are rolled out. Businesses will also have to make provisions for onboarding and training new employees. On-premise insurance CRM software users will have to install updates and even upgrade the hardware when needed.
Finally, the business can evaluate the success of its implementation and assess if the insurance CRM system meets its expectations.
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When implementing CRM software, insurance companies must also pay attention to the software selection process. Small and medium-sized insurance agencies can opt for cloud-hosted CRM systems, as they are quicker to implement and easy on the pockets. On the other hand, businesses with a significant budget and infrastructure capabilities can go for on-premise insurance CRM systems. Irrespective of the deployment, businesses must apply the above-mentioned best practices to ensure a successful software implementation.