Sellers Need More Than CRM

Complementing a customer relationship management system with AI/ML-based solutions can harness the power of data within an organization.

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Stable, predictable…. These keywords were used to describe insurance organizations until a few years ago. But customer profiles started changing, and digitization enveloped the industry landscape slowly, until the pandemic hastened the pace at full throttle. The industry is now at a crossover point: Innovate and digitize, or perish.

Insurance carriers must improve customer engagement and experience, as it quantitatively affects top-line revenue. Brokers need to cater to a new customer profile that includes digital natives who have product information at their fingertips already. In addition, they demand their time to be valued and want personal interactions blended with self-service models. Millennials and Gen Z customers are looking for easier processes, swift turnarounds and a blend of digitized self-service models and value-added conversations. 

How can carriers innovate to deliver to this New Age customer? And how can brokers become truly customer-centric?

What Carriers Need to Do

A customer-relationship management (CRM) system is the foundation to deliver an optimized seller and buyer experience. But most insurance companies are struggling with deriving value out of their CRMs. Typically, CRMs fall short while:

  • Creating a single view of customer data and information. According to Forrester’s Global State of CRM Survey 2020, the largest pain point for 68% of organizations come in trying to create a single-pane-of-glass view for customer data and information. 
  • Optimizing customer impact leading to decision-making. 48% felt they weren’t able to do this.
  • Managing data quality. Is the right kind of information reaching the seller at the right time to help buyers? 39% didn’t think so.

Customer engagement begins with seller engagement. Sellers now live in the mobile app ecosystem -- from ordering a new laptop, to dinner takeaways or groceries -- and are accustomed to smooth journeys. So why should it be any different at work? A Forrester report finds that sellers are increasingly disconnected from their sales technology. Carriers must address this and create a technology environment that can provide sellers with:

  1. An easy-to-use, mobile-first, single-window interface
  2. Automated functions to swiftly assist with repeatable mundane tasks such as note taking and summarizing 
  3. Standardized processes and building playbooks based on actions of best sellers
  4. Nudges that guide them toward the right course of actions and behaviors
  5. Contextual customer information that allows them to sell
  6. Recommended next best steps, products or actions

See also: 6 Keys to Successful CRM Implementation

What Brokers Need to Do

Personalize. It is key. Although 39% of buyers used digital channels for complex purchases in 2022, 58% still made their initial purchase with a seller. Especially with insurance, customers seek expert advice, guidance and insights into what may be the right product fit at a particular phase in their lives. To build this kind of expertise, brokers must have in-depth information on products as well as the customer persona to build a bespoke personalized insurance plan. 

And this must be done in a timely manner. Studies show conversion rates of qualified opportunities were eight times higher when buyers are contacted within the first five minutes vs. six-plus minutes.

If the broker is interacting with one customer or maybe five, it is likely fine. But what if the numbers are much higher? Brokers need intelligent systems that help them deliver solutions at scale while helping them evolve into an advisory role. They need systems of insight that provide contextual information on a customer in real time, as well as suggest the right products and possible add-on options that address a customer’s need to the T. 

They also need tools that keep them agile and reduce their time spent inputting data into clunky CRMs, searching customer information, customizing content and doing tasks that are not revenue-generating. 

The New CRM Stack 

The CRM alone is not the right technology to help carriers and brokers meet customers' expectations of engagement, as they do not make it easy to capture interactions, automate repeatable work, get insights out of data and allow operations to evolve. 

Complementing a CRM with AI/ML-based solutions can help harness the power of data within an organization. Tools such as sales engagement platforms can extend the power of sales technologies and enable sellers to understand preferred engagement channels, identify missing contacts and surface important account, contact and opportunity insights so that they can focus on customers and work that moves the needle.

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