If you’ve been tasked with modernizing your insurance agency’s tech stack of improving its customer outcomes, you’ve no doubt heard of Salesforce. The CRM has a dedicated product for financial services businesses (the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud), plus lots of workflows and out-of-the-box features designed to make life easier for insurance agencies.
But it’s also a major investment and would likely require everyone at your agency to change the way they operate day to day. Here, I’ll outline the essential considerations that can help determine whether Salesforce is the right solution for your agency.
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The Benefits of Salesforce for Insurance Agencies
Insurance agencies that adopt Salesforce can expect to enjoy five big-picture benefits:
- A single source of truth for customer data: Instead of having customer data spread out among many siloed systems, Salesforce lets you have it all – from underwriting information to policy admin details to claims information to billing – in one place. That means knowing exactly where to go to find what you need and not having to swivel between systems to cross reference.
- Better customer insights: The result of having a single source of truth is better customer insights. Salesforce calls this “Customer 360,” meaning you have a full, 360-degree view of your customers. This makes it easier to cross sell and upsell, which means higher revenue per customer. It also makes for better customer interactions: you don’t have to hand them off to someone in another department or spend time digging through multiple systems to answer their questions. This makes life better for both you and your customers, which can lead to better retention.
- Automation capabilities: Salesforce makes it easy to set up automated processes that can run in the background and help you do your job more effectively. In practice, this means every employee in the agency can focus on activities that drive value rather than on tedious tasks that software could handle.
- Low maintenance: Today, a lot of insurance agencies rely on outdated technology, much of it proprietary. That tech not only limits what employees can accomplish, it also requires a lot of time and energy to maintain. Adopting a cloud-based software platform like Salesforce means you don’t need as much in-house IT tech support.
- Recruitment and retention capabilities: Tech that empowers your employees to do more means not only better revenue for the company as a whole but also better commission potential for individual workers. Plus, as tech takes over more and more aspects of our lives, fewer and fewer employees will be satisfied with outdated systems that limit their productivity at work.
These are substantial benefits that any insurance agency should take seriously. But they’re not the whole story.
The Hurdles of Adopting Salesforce at Insurance Agencies
If Salesforce were all upside, every insurance agency would have adopted it already. The following three hurdles help explain why it’s not always a straightforward decision.
- Initial investment: Salesforce isn’t cheap. But then, neither is maintaining old software that can do less. Plus, while you do have to pay subscription fees every year, you only have to buy licenses once.
- Training requirements: In any industry – not just insurance – getting the full benefit of Salesforce requires dedicated training of your staff. The platform comes with a significant potential for increased productivity, but to get there, you’ll have to go through a transition period where people are likely less productive as they learn the new system.
- Setup and maintenance knowhow: While Salesforce does have insurance-specific functions and features, getting set up isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. To see the full ROI you budget for, you’ll need to set it up in a way that makes sense for your organization, make sure you train your team, encourage adoption, and have a plan for incorporating and training for the updates that roll out three times per year.
The Bigger Picture: Staying Competitive in a Changing Space
Thinking in a bigger way about the industry, the question for insurance agencies shouldn’t be about whether or not to adopt a CRM platform like Salesforce, but about which platform to adopt.
Right now, legacy companies face lots of pressure from insurtech startups that offer a streamlined, integrated customer experience. That pressure isn’t going away. What’s more, insurtechs have changed customer expectations about how easy and engaging it should be to work with an insurance company.
If you’re not meeting those expectations, you’ll likely lose customers
There’s also the reality that CRM platforms like Salesforce are constantly innovating and making their product better. Replicating that with in-house software is prohibitively expensive; you’d need a team as big as Salesforce’s team dedicated to coming up with ideas, making changes, testing, and ensuring uptime. It’s an enormous job – especially for a business in the insurance industry.
Get Expert Input before Taking the Leap
Adopting Salesforce is a big change for any insurance agency – and really, any organization. Because of that, it’s best to consult with experienced experts before taking the leap.
We’ve worked with lots of insurance agencies, and our team has helped deploy Salesforce Financial Services Cloud dozens of times. If you’d like a more definitive opinion about whether Salesforce is the right solution for your agency, get in touch. We can have a conversation about your goals, the state of your business, and what makes the most sense for your company.
As Saggezza’s Salesforce Practice lead, Jeff Pigatto oversees business development, drives customer success, and nurtures the company’s Salesforce alliance partnership to further support clients leveraging the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. Pigatto received an MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, a master’s from The George Washington University School of International Affairs, and a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Iowa.
Saggezza is a proven technology and consulting partner that delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.