A serial entrepreneur shares insights on agency streamlining.
A couple years later, I started my own agency, and I looked at the agency management systems that were available. What I wanted didn’t exist, and based on my prior experience of struggling with the systems, I decided to build one for my company. We built the first agency management system on top of [customer relationship management platform] Salesforce. At the time, people looked at Salesforce as just a CRM, and nobody really understood that it’s truly a platform that can be molded into anything.
Our agency was very successful. We turned it into a franchise company and opened up multiple locations. Because we were a franchise, we built the company to be a business in a box, and the technology had to be very scalable and intuitive. A few years later, Salesforce approached me about partnering with them and bringing that agency management system to market. That was about 2012. I had to rebuild the solution to more of a vanilla one that would work for all agency types, not just mine. I released the product in the third quarter of 2013 live on the Salesforce app exchange. At that point, I walked away from the agency business. I said to my partner, “You keep the agency. I’m keeping the technology.” I’ve been focused on that ever since.
Another one from owning my own shop, and prior to that managing one, is that everybody sells very differently. Just because they sell something doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. Being able to analyze data on sales and how these people are doing, you can fine-tune the sales process to help them sell better. In my industry now, technology sales, it’s very driven by data—who’s doing what, what are they doing, what are they saying, what is their conversion ratio and what is the retention, the attrition? In insurance, overall, people aren’t really doing that.
For the people that don’t want that relationship and don’t care, you need to offer them the technology to communicate the way they want to communicate. Without those tools, you’ve lost them. With technology for the modern age, people aren’t going to wait around for three days to get a quote. They want to call up, and they want it now, and it needs to be served up very quickly, efficiently and professionally. Technology really helps to give you that edge.