Agency Technology Guide
As an insurance professional finding the right equipment and software to use for your business can take up a lot of time—time that could be better spent making sales and working with clients.
At Senior Marketing Specialists, we understand that your time is valuable—so we’ve put together a list of what to look for in equipment and software for your business. Let us help you find the resources you need to navigate the digital world effectively.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Your CRM is arguably the most important piece of software your company will own. It houses client information and helps you keep track of leads. Without a solid CRM foundation, managing leads can be a cumbersome process and even cause you to lose potential sales!
Three great CRM options for agents include Radius, AgencyBloc, and Zoho. They’re some of the top competitors for CRM software at a reasonable price. You can read more in-depth about CRMs here (article by leadheroes.com).
Build Your Own Website (or let us build it for you)
Your website can say a lot about your agency. It helps establish your personal brand and can be the first impression to potential clients.
If you’re tech-savvy and want to take the time to build the site yourself, there are lots of free or lost cost site builders like Wix, GoDaddy, and WordPress. If you’d rather spend your time selling policies, we understand! And we can help. Let our tech experts build a custom site for you.
Digital Calendars & Scheduling Appointments
Making it easy for your clients to schedule appointments and easy on yourself to remember them can be tricky. You can use the calendar available from most free email servers—like the Google calendar that you can access with a Gmail account, but clients can’t interact with that.
Having appointment setting software that integrates with your website can get you more meetings scheduled and more opportunities to sell! Thankfully there are lots of great options for businesses with appointment setting needs. The five tools we think are worth looking into are Calendly, Setmore, Square Appointments, SimplyBook, and the HubSpot Meetings Tool.
Calendly is one of the most popular options. If offers calendar integration with Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud, has auto-detection for time zones—so if you’re selling products across state lines, you can be assured you’ll never miss an appointment because of a time zone misunderstanding. Calendly even offers payment solutions and can accept credit cards or PayPal.
Setmore also offers more than just appointment setting and includes a 1-click video conference option with screen share capabilities. There’s also a website booking feature that allows your clients to schedule meetings with you themselves.
Square Appointments offers a free customer booking website and integrated payment options. It has an easy to use app for scheduling appointments on the go—which can be really handy for busy business owners.
SimplyBook is another great appointment setting software. Not only does it have built-in payment options and accept direct online booking by clients—it also helps you make sure your client information meets HIPPA standards with top-notch security.
HubSpot Meetings Tool boasts itself as the “all-in-one sales software your team will actually use”—and they aren’t wrong. HubSpot offers basic CRM capabilities, appointment scheduling/tracking, and even the ability to create auto-generated emails to clients.
Communication Systems & Software
Being able to communicate with your clients virtually is more critical now than ever. With the right phone and computer systems in place, this can be a seamless process that makes doing business easier than you thought.
There are a lot of great phone systems you can take advantage of such as: RingCentral, Grasshopper, 8×8, Vonage, and Nextiva. Our recommendation for a more all-in-one solution is RingCentral. It offers more than just phones—bringing video conferencing and screen sharing into one software solution. And since it’s what your team at Senior Marketing Specialists use, our staff can help with questions!
RingCentral isn’t the only video conferencing solution. Many of our clients take advantage of Zoom’s free meeting software. Zoom can also supplement your business’s use of RingCentral—giving your clients a couple of conferencing options.
Note: every online meeting should have a password required for security.
Screen Sharing is a very useful feature during a virtual appointment. Having the capability to show clients a visual of their proposed policy can help them understand their coverage and can help you secure the sale.
If your business uses traditional landline phone systems and doesn’t need a software like RingCentral, then Zoom’s free video conferencing and screen sharing capabilities might fit your needs perfectly. LinkedIn also offers a great video on learning Zoom.
Headsets & Webcams
Once you’ve got your phone and conferencing software picked out, you’re going to need the right equipment to use it. You want your clients to be able to see and hear you clearly. Getting a quality headset and webcam can take a virtual meeting experience from frustrating to functional.
Wired headsets typically have better sound quality, but wireless sets can be a bit more convenient. If you’ll be conducting your virtual meetings from the confines of an office and won’t need to be moving around, we suggest going with a wired headset. This pair from Logitech offers great sound quality and a noise-canceling mic at an affordable price.
You could conduct all your virtual meetings simply over the phone, but adding video and letting a client see your face adds a personal touch. We guarantee that client engagement will be much more involved if you can see each other during a meeting. Make sure the webcam you invest in has HD quality video and a noise-canceling mic, like this one (which can eliminate the need for a headset entirely).
Protecting client documents is an important step to ensure your business is compliant and maintain client trust. Cloud storage options are more secure than ever and offer a digital environment to house information so it can’t be lost in a fire—or a desk drawer. There are three great cloud storage options for agents—Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
If you’re a one-person shop, Google Drive offers a free cloud storage option. If you want to offer document storage and collaboration for a whole team, Google also offers G Suite Essentials, which even includes some excellent video conferencing capabilities. Dropbox is competitively priced for the features they offer, and Microsoft OneDrive has a free option along with a paid option that includes all the basic office software you’ll need.
Regardless of which cloud storage option you decide to go with, we recommend having a strong password and 2-way authentication to keep everything secure.
Password Security Tips (probably the most important part of this article)
Use strong passwords! This may sound like simple and obvious advice, but SafetyDetectives.com did an impressive study of over 18 million passwords and found that the top two passwords used in the world were “123456” and “password”. No wonder cyber-crime is so prevalent.
Use 10+ characters for your passwords with a combination of letters (both lower and upper case), numbers, and special symbols. And make sure to use different passwords for different logins. If trying to remember lots of passwords seems cumbersome, we agree, but avoid writing them down! Instead, use a password manager—just make sure to have a very strong password on the manager itself. Three great password management options include LastPass (which your team at Senior Marketing Specialists use), DashLane, and Keeper.
Strong passwords aren’t the only thing you need to keep your documents and client information secure.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are basically a privacy screen for your internet activity. They encrypt the data you send over the internet, and some VPNs will also block unwanted ad pop-ups and malicious websites. The best VPN for your needs will depend on the device you’re using. iPhone users should use ExpressVPN, Android systems work best with IPVanish, Private Internet Access is the best VPN for Windows, and CyberGhost is the go-to for Mac users.
Computer Encryption is also extremely important in the digital age. Thankfully, both Windows-based systems and Mac computers come with basic encryption built-in. Mac is known for having better built-in encryption than Windows, but for added security, there are additional free encryption software Windows users can download. VeraCrypt, which you can read about in detail and download here, offers great open-source disk encryption that’s easy to install. AxCrypt is one of the most widely used encryption software for Windows and even offers cloud storage syncing for your documents.
Email Encryption is essential in protecting client data and shouldn’t be overlooked when building the digital security of your business. Zix and Identillect are easy to use, and two of the best free email encryption services available.
Navigating a virtual world can be complicated, but it can also help propel your business to success with the right tools and equipment. If you need help finding the resources you need to compete in the digital space, give your experts a call at Senior Marketing Specialists, we can help—because we’re the FMO that does more.
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