In the early 90s, I began my professional career as an insurance agent at MAPFRE. If at that time Marty McFly and Dr. Emmet L. Brown had lent me DeLorean so that I could take a quick peak into what the future held for the insurance sales process…I would have thought I was in dream land, it was magic or I was indeed in a Sci-Fi movie!

Every detail of the sales process back then was carried out by hand or jotted down on paper. Whether that be a list of prospects, your call and visit log, daily agenda (a few scribbled times and meeting places in a white notebook) or copies of the insurance policies you were selling and the daily report sheet shared with the manager.

This is not to mention the countless number of filing cabinets stacked with notes, desk phones (we didn’t have mobiles back then, folks) decorated with brightly colored post-its, mountains of client folders and binders littered across the table with a few hastily stapled business cards attached.

A very “artisan” method of working shall we say, with a ton of room for improvement.

However, to be totally honest with you while I can’t help feeling a slight sense of nostalgia winding back down memory lane, it does make you wonder, how on earth did we survive with such inefficient sales processes? How to do a sales forecast report with such limited data available? Especially when entering a digital era so abundant in sales technology.

By a quirk of fates, decades after redirecting my career path towards other horizons, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand this technological “dream land”.

About a couple of years ago, I was part of a team consultants specialized in bringing successful change management tools and methodologies to several insurance companies. In one particular case we developed a training plan for a leading insurer in Spain with a goal of supporting the digital transformation processes and the daily management of all its sales staff.

We were pleasantly surprised to see how a traditional, established enterprise went all-in to update itself (we have encountered more than the odd board unwilling to change *sigh*) making a very powerful mobile CRM readily available to its entire sales network.

Fully adapted to their reality and needs, mobile sales management technology allowed them to track all broker sales activity, provide field sales agents with an adaptable tool while out on the road and store all sales data (updated policies, client/lead information, territory area etc.) in one central hub.

You have to bear in mind that just weeks before they used a system that was built by pen and supported by paper…I can’t even begin to tell you the changes they’ve seen as a result. I’ll try and list a few here below:

  • When agents and brokers found themselves face to face with a client they noted how impressed they’d be when presented with their account overview on a tablet or smartphone. Current policy(ies), holders and potential savings from new plans were all neatly laid out via this new sales management application. Not only that, but you come across as much more modern/professional by operating from a tablet which, rightly or wrongly, generates a lot more consumer confidence in your brand image.
  • Being able to accurately predict revenue over a set period of time is a critical role of field sales managers. The arrival of a mobile sales system allowed the team to follow the appropriate steps in sales forecasting as they now had real-time, live data from which to make their predictions.
  • Brokering different policies from various sources can be difficult to manage at the best of times, so by having real-time access to the constant cycle of change allowed agents to effectively match clients with tailor made plans. Cross-selling is so often one of the most underutilized selling skills training objectives used by insurance companies and mobile CRM goes a long way in securing this extra revenue stream.
  • With a largely field-based team, time management was a big concern for this particular client. We realized that field sales agents and brokers were coming back into the office to update their area/territory manager and file the relevant paperwork. Welly by simply having a mobile CRM you eliminate this problem. Data can be entered when out the road while simultaneously giving management a real-time window into what’s going on.
  • The great thing about all this technology is that (in most cases) it’s completely integrated. That’s to say you can exit your mobile CRM or sales management tool and still make calls, send emails or access the ERP without having to later go back in and update this activity – it’s done automatically. Many of the field agents noted this as a huge upside and time saver with them no longer having to head back to the office to make sure this stuff was all accurate.

The good news is that you no longer need the power of a DeLorean to travel to the future to witness this digital transformation as it has been a working reality for a few years now, and one that’s imposing itself with great consistency in the insurance sector.

Has your field sales team recently gone through a similar digital transformation? Does the mobile CRM technology used by your agents and brokers address some of the pain points mentioned above? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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