Before you start entering data into NextAgency it's good to think through how to organize your data. This article helps you to that by asking three questions:
- Who pays the premium?
- What is this case to my agency?
- What's happening with this case?
Definitions and Structure
Insurance agents use a lot of terms. Sometimes different words for the same thing. Which can get pretty confusing. For the purpose of this article, let’s agree on the following:
Cases refer to your customers and potential customers. They may be individuals or groups. Active or inactive. Leads, prospects, or clients. They buy coverage from you – or you hope they will.
Market Segments describes whether the policy or product your selling is for individuals or groups. To determine the market segment, ask “Who pays the premium?”
In NextAgency we provide three market segments: individual, small group and large group. For technical reasons, the market segment options are one of the few items that cannot be edited.
Sales Statuses defines your relationship to the case. Is it someone who you already work with or someone you hope to work with? To determine sales status ask, “What is this case to my agency?”
In NextAgency we start you off with two sales statuses: prospects and clients. For many agencies this is enough. However, you may add as many other statuses as you want.
Sales Stages describe what is going on with the case. Stages vary depending on a case’s status. For example, you may be trying to reach a prospect for the first time or you may be showing them a proposal. Your clients may be doing fine or they may be having a service problem. To determine sales stages ask, “What is happening with this case?”
You can group stages into processes called pipelines. We provide some default pipelines, as identified by the color associated with each stage. Again, however, you can quickly edit these or make your own.
Fine-tuning Statuses and Stages
Knowing the questions to ask enables us to begin shaping how to organize your case data. You know the kind of answers you’ll get to these questions. Use this knowledge to create the statuses and stages you'll need before entering your data. Let’s see how.
Market Segment: Who pays the premium? Either an individual or an organization of some kind. An individual, for example, may buy a Medicare Supplement or an individual commercial policy, but they're still an individual. When companies pay the premium it's a group plan. You can draw the line between a “small group” or “large group.” Just be consistent.
Sales Status: What is this case to my agency? If the case is already a client, do you have different kinds of clients? For example, some agencies describe all potential clients as prospects. Others distinguish between those they haven't met with yet ("Leads") and those they have ("Prospects"). Choose statuses that make the most sense for your agency.
Sales Stages: What is happening with this case? If everything is going well with a client, everyone on your team should know. Similarly, if a client is having a service issue, your team needs to know that, too. For prospects, your team should know if an appointment has been set or if the case is in the process of enrolling.
About current and former cases. There’s a difference of opinion among NextAgency’s brokers as to whether “active” versus “inactive,” (or “closed” or “termed”) should be a status or a stage. There’s no right answer. By default, NextAgency includes active and closed as stages. However, if you prefer to use them as statuses, it only takes a minute to make that change. Active/Inactive are one of the few items that can go in either category
Keep it Simple
Remember, NextAgency already includes dozens of built-in fields to help you organize and manage your cases. And you can create as custom fields -- as many as you like. If you want to assign each case a Dewey Decimal System number, go for it. (Although really?) But keep your statuses and stages simple.
Keeping things simple means everyone in your agency will understand how your data is organized. This means they'll enter the data consistently. This makes it easier to find what you need and for new hires to get up to speed.
And you can always add statuses and stages down the road after you use the system for a while. The simpler you structure your data in the beginning, however, the faster you’ll get up-and-running. Which means the sooner you’ll be saving time, money and clients.
This article originally appeared in the NextAgency blog.