You’ve likely spent some time in the last month or so locked in a room or a Zoom with the rest of the C-Suite, going over your growth goals for next year and setting loose guidelines for how you plan to reach them. If you haven’t had these conversations yet, you will in the next month or so.
Along with overarching projections and goals, your teams are also submitting requests for line items like technology. Some tech investments will be obvious from a cost/risk perspective: free trials and tiered pricing mean your company will ease into the expense. Make no mistake: The cost creep is real, and that line item in your FY2022 actuals will be different from what it looks like in your FY2022 projections.
You know the tech line items are important. So why is it so difficult to take the plunge when the concrete costs are upfront?
The reality is that bootstrapped, free trial, gum-and-duct-taped solutions can only get you so far. To meet your aggressive growth goals, you need to be able to critically judge what tech investments are actually worth the money you’re going to spend.
Priced to grow
Tiered pricing is hit or miss. Does your price depend on how many users or logins you have? Is it based on how many employees your business has, regardless of how many will use the software? Is the pricing based on software limitations, giving some users basic access and others a more built-out useability?
Regardless of what pricing model you’re using, make sure it’s predictable for both the upcoming year and moving forward into the future.
Delivering on value
Many softwares rely on a “you won’t really see how well it works until you’re using it” premise. You’re smarter than that. People selling software that’s worth the spend should be able to articulate use cases, ease of use, and the value it poses to you. Demonstrations should make its value clear – before you make the investment.
Let’s put it another way. If your most experienced team members find it difficult to understand how to use a potential software, and it takes them months to learn how to create records and navigate the system, how much more time will it take to train new team members?
Easily integrated with other systems
Watched any good detective shows? Clues to whodunit often revolve around items that appear out of place. Do some sleuthing in your own software stack and you may find some products that are like that – legacy tech that feels out of place, or where you find it difficult to get information from one system into another.
Looking ahead to the next fiscal year is a good time to audit your tech stack as a whole and decide if there are outliers – software that might be better replaced with something that communicates with more of your technology. To get scientific, the sum is equal to its parts. If you feel your software toolbox, taken together, is weak, time to start looking at how each piece works on individual and comprehensive levels.
Aligning people and process
Insurance fiscal year planning often involves negotiating headcount. We know that just because one of your managers increased headcount by two doesn’t mean they will actually be able to hire two more people. There’s a real tension presented by ever-increasing headcounts. Never in the history of business has the actual answer been “just hire more people.” Sometimes, a hiring spree is inefficient, sometimes you don’t have the managers in place to adequately train people even if you did hire. And sometimes – like now – there’s a lot of consternation because there aren’t enough people to fill the job openings we already have.
So, if you’re hoping to grow, hiring more people is likely a limited option. Instead, software and tighter processes are going to be the keys to your growth in FY2022. The right software will help you skinny up your processes and better-leverage your people.
You’ve heard it before: The Internet of Things and tech giant overlords are mining you for data and insight, using your smartphone, smartwatch, and stupid computer to piece together an overview of everything from your risk profile to consumer behavior.
Every system you use is collecting data on your business’s use of its applications or software. This should give you two concerns:
You don’t want your business or your clients exposed in a data breach, so it’s only natural that you ask questions about what protections any potential software offers. On the flip side of that coin, you should also ask, how can you benefit from the data being collected? If a software is collecting the information, then it likely can also be compiled into a view that shows your team how to gain efficiencies or reveal gaps in your processes.
Maybe you aren’t sure if this is the year for a big investment in new technology. But, if you’re looking at big goals on the horizon and wondering how you’re going to get there, you might also consider that part of the answer might be AgentSync.
AgentSync automates much of the operational side of insurance producer licensing. With a daily sync to the National Insurance Producer Registry’s Producer Database, your producer license information is always up to date. Using application programming interfaces (APIs – basically a data doorway between apps), AgentSync easily integrates with many of the relevant pieces of any agency, carrier, or MGA tech stack. The system is user-friendly, and takes the often-stilted processes of coordinating licenses across 50 states from being expert level to something a beginner could handle. Built on the backbone of Salesforce, AgentSync also has the same high bar of data protection and privacy – your team and your team alone can access your data, meaning it’s both secure and useful.
As some business guru said (probably), goals without plans are just dreams. When FY2022 is in the rearview mirror, you’ll be glad you’re planning for growth with AgentSync.