Software implementations have a certain reputation for being expensive, slow, and difficult. If you’re getting ready to implement AgentSync, the great news is, it doesn’t have to be like that!
We’ve written previously about tips for a successful license compliance management software implementation, and those still hold true. If you haven’t read that blog, we recommend you start there for a solid foundation. In this piece, we’ll get more specific and talk about what we’ve learned from our actual experience implementing AgentSync with numerous customers including insurance carriers, independent agencies, MGAs, MGUs, and BGAs of all sizes.
Every organization is different but we’ve noticed some patterns among those customers who have the most seamless implementation experiences. Here’s what we’ve learned that can directly benefit your organization as you prepare to go live with AgentSync.
And, if you’re not at that stage of your AgentSync journey yet, don’t worry! You can still benefit from the knowledge we’ve gathered from past implementations.
The recipe for AgentSync success
We’ve collected some of the best advice from our customer success and customer delivery teams to bring you real-life tips from the front lines of AgentSync implementation.
Ask yourself why you’re implementing AgentSync
There are a variety of good reasons to invest in AgentSync. The customers who have the most success are the ones who report they’re purchasing AgentSync as a solution because:
- They want to get a full picture of what all downstream producers’ compliance statuses look like today
- They want to have real-time feedback on whether all sales are in compliance and eligible for commission payouts
- They want to eliminate paper recordkeeping
- They want to get producers onboarded more easily and selling more quickly
- They want to grow faster than they could before
- They want to repurpose headcount for higher-value roles instead of repetitive and manual tasks
- They want to create an exceptional employee and producer experience
- They want to eliminate data and workflow silos and create a single source of truth across the organization
On the other hand, customers who tell us they “want to automate everything” may not really understand what that means or have a firm grasp on what AgentSync can and can’t do. This mentality is often referred to as looking for a silver bullet, and is a common pitfall that impedes the success of software implementations across the board.
Get your finance team involved early
In any implementation scenario, you’ll get the advice to involve stakeholders from across the company at an early stage. This couldn’t be more true than when it comes to your finance team. We probably don’t have to tell you that insurance compliance and billing are complex areas with many nuances. Being in lockstep with your finance team, meaning bringing them into the conversation about a producer license compliance management system as early as possible, is vital to your success.
Start small and be realistic about your goals
If there’s one thing you can do to set yourself up for success, it’s this. One of the biggest challenges to successful implementations we see is when an organization dreams big and wants to go from zero to 100 in two seconds flat.
And it’s not just us. Experts at McKinsey agree that “going small is an answer for all.” It boils down to starting simple, looking at where you’re at and where you want to be, and splitting a much larger project into smaller phases. The smoothest implementations are the ones where customers start small and focus on doing one thing right, instead of three things as fast as possible.
Prepare your producers for the move to a new portal
Creating an amazing producer onboarding experience is one of our customers’ favorite parts of AgentSync, and we think your producers will love it, too. Still, no one likes surprises when it comes to their day-to-day routine. Make sure to give producers advanced notice of the move, along with details like how the new experience will be better than what they’re used to. Remember to lean on your internal communications team (if you have one) to best illustrate the new process and how it will differ from the old one. AgentSync can provide you with supportive training collateral, but only your internal experts will truly be able to prepare producers for the switch and how it will impact their workflow.
Evaluate your processes
When implementing AgentSync, some of your processes and workflows may change. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Our most successful customers take the opportunity around implementation to examine and evaluate their current process. This can include what types of questions you’re asking producers during their onboarding and how many hands need to touch each producer’s license or renewal application. There’s no better time to think about “the way you’ve always done it” than when you’re implementing a new system.
Clean data. Clean data. Clean data.
We can’t overstate the importance of clean data. The quality of your data will be the difference between a dream implementation and a nightmare. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out,” and that’s never more true than when speaking about your data. We know it’s human nature to get creative with software that doesn’t exactly meet your needs. But (to use an oddly specific example) if your producers have been co-opting data fields for their own special needs because a field didn’t exist for an important piece of information, you’re going to have an issue when you try to bring your data into a new system.
For more information on this specific topic, check out our blog on taking the pain out of data migration.
Take time to understand the real costs
When you’re shopping for a licensing compliance management solution, you’ve obviously compared prices. But understanding the real costs, both the forcastable ones and the variable ones, is a best practice that leads to higher satisfaction with the product you’re paying for.
With AgentSync, forecastable costs may include the number of NPNs you’re tracking each month. Variable costs, those you won’t always know, might depend on the seasonality of your business like if you onboard a large number of new producers and then offboard them a few months later. Understanding both of these costs, including the range of variability you might expect, can help your bill-paying team members have fewer financial surprises and lead to greater internal harmony at your organization.
Attend our onboarding webinars. Seriously.
AgentSync provides four onboarding webinars each month specifically to help customers learn what they need, when they need it, as they’re getting started with their new producer license compliance solution. We know how few hours there are in the day, but we speak from experience when we tell you that attending these sessions will set your AgentSync users up for success post-implementation.
Get your users involved early
Here’s another sub-point of “get stakeholders involved early.” We’ve seen things go awry when the decision makers at an insurance carrier or agency run the entire research and purchasing process, only to loop in the actual software users late in the game. Given a certain level of customization and configurability that’s possible within AgentSync, it’s very important to get your end-users involved early in the process. They may spot hiccups that leadership and executive sponsors won’t. And it’s much easier to iron out those kinks when they’re addressed early.
Of course, the opposite is also true. It doesn’t work to have end-users solely driving the process without the buy-in from leadership. This is why a collaborative effort from the start between everyone who will ultimately be involved in the process, at the very least a representative from each stakeholding team, is the best way to go.
Keep integration top of mind
We’ve seen some unnecessarily rough bumps in the road when customers are in the middle of changing multiple pieces of their tech stack at the same time and don’t think about which products will best integrate with one another. For AgentSync, integrations are a strong suite. Since we’re built on Salesforce (the Force.com platform) and are part of Salesforce’s AppExchange, we’ve got seamless integration capabilities with some of the best complementary solutions available. It’s still a good idea to think about your integration wishlist early in the process.
Also, while you don’t need to be a Salesforce expert, or even customer, to use AgentSync, here are some great resources for those who do want to brush up on their Salesforce knowledge.
Recognize that change is hard
The only constant in life is change but that doesn’t mean everyone loves it. Even when a change is for the better (like modernizing your producer licensing and compliance management with AgentSync), people can still find it hard to let go of the way they’ve always done something.
Recognizing this and preparing for it is a key ingredient for success in your AgentSync implementation, or any implementation for that matter. We’ve seen the most successful customers practice these steps:
- Create personalized materials for different users or teams that speak to how they’ll use the new technology and how it will improve their lives specifically, compared to the old way.
- Get buy-in from managers and supervisors to encourage adoption in users’ day-to-day work.
- Start the change management process early.
- Acknowledge that change can be hard for some people and you can help them embrace new technology by learning about their specific barriers and addressing them.
Prioritize your software delivery
We’ve found it’s extremely difficult to do many things right at the same time. Software implementation is no exception. Successfully implementing one solution is a challenge, but doable. Successfully implementing multiple solutions simultaneously is just asking for trouble. Organizations can get bogged down with conflicting projects and priorities, and that doesn’t benefit anyone. You only have so many resources to help implement a new solution, so set yourself up for success by choosing a priority and focusing on one piece at a time.
Let AgentSync be the expert at AgentSync
Not to brag, but we’re really good at what we do. Our team loves providing modern, high-tech solutions to the entire insurance distribution channel. And we know how to get your organization up and running with your AgentSync solution in the most efficient way possible.
On the other hand, we don’t know your entire suite of business software product lines. We’re not really here to help you troubleshoot your wifi network (but have you tried rebooting your router?) And we’re not experts at computer repair when your cat spills coffee on your laptop. We can promise a much more successful implementation when you let us focus exclusively on implementing AgentSync and call in backup for your general IT needs.
There you have it! Our guide to a successful AgentSync implementation based on what we’ve seen work for countless others. If you’d like your insurance producer compliance management system implementation to be as easy as reading this blog, see how AgentSync can help. With a net promoter score of 70, and a customer satisfaction score of 97.5%, our customers and their satisfaction are proof that we can make implementation significantly less painful, and more successful, than you think.