Create a successful 2018 by Starting with a Plan
Having a plan of what your agency looks like today and where you want to take it tomorrow or 3 years from now is a challenge for most insurance agencies.
Get started developing your plan with our Q4i Agency Annual Planning Guide.
- Where are you today? Book of business analysis & Vision
- Where do you want to go? Goal planning & KPIs
- How are you going to get there? Agency operations
Want to know what's in the download document before committing? Here's a sample:
Review of your Current Situation
A good plan always starts by taking careful stock of where you are today. Spend some time thinking about the following questions, and write a narrative of your thoughts. This is excellent information to get on paper today to help you create your move-forward plans. Reference it as a reminder of your motivations for your goals and actions, and then use it as a gauge to see how much progress you’ve made against those goals.
Book of Business Analysis
Step 1 | To get an overview of your book of business, start first with a list on a spreadsheet of all your group/commercial accounts, including their agency revenue. Order them from highest revenue to lowest revenue. How many accounts do you have? __________
Step 2 | Perform the calculations below to get an overview of your account distribution. In a new column on your spreadsheet, write the corresponding tier letter from below (A, B, or C) next to each account. Use this information for the remaining calculations on this sheet. Write answers in the boxes below.
Vision: Describe what you want your agency to look like in three years. Describe needed changes.
For example, “Double our book of business while reducing the number of accounts by 25%.” “Increase average account size to $10,000 by handing off smaller accounts and targeting larger accounts for new business.”
Some more detailed areas to consider should include: What services/products/solutions do you deliver to clients? What do your revenue numbers look like? Ho are you getting paid (fees/commissions)? What is your profit margin? What does total staffing look like? What resources/skills have you developed internally? What is your core marketing message and how/where is it being shared?
Ideal Client Profile
Knowing who you want to work with helps eliminate the belief that “any client is a good client” because that’s just not true. As you grow as individual producers and as a collective sales team, your ideal client will adjust as well. Review this profile each year and make adjustments as necessary.
Describe your Ideal Client here. Provide a holistic view of the person and business you’d like to work with, including demographics such as size of business, industry, location, position in company, position and participation in community. Also include their personal/business values and their attitudes toward employees, safety, training, engagement, growth, vendors/advisors, etc.
Determine your annual new revenue goals based on your ideal clients and your ability to make strong connections with that audience. In your planning, use annualized revenue to the agency.
An arbitrary goal rarely motivates a producer. Instead, put some planning into creating a goal that is meaningful for your individual circumstances and current capabilities. Follow the steps below for each individual producer and then aggregate the results to set the collective agency goal.
Step 1 | Define Gold-level prospects
Given the largest accounts you have written in the past, the resources you have access to through your agency, the market in which you compete, and a general sense of self-confidence, what is the largest account you can see yourself writing this year? While this would be your “sale of the year”, you truly believe you can write an account of this size.
Where your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are today and where they need to be in 3 years
Our list of what we want, and need, to improve is usually long. But, a focus on everything usually results in almost nothing getting accomplished. The key is to focus on 2 – 3 priority items in key operational areas at a time. Once one is accomplished, then move to the next.
Targeted area | Agency processes It is critical to develop consistent processes for all key operational areas of the agency. What 2 – 3 areas would the agency benefit from most by being more systematic and managing in a process-driven fashion? (ex. Sales process, renewal process, onboarding process, etc.)
- Targeted area | Client experience In the end, the only thing that really matters is the experience your clients have with your team. This cannot be left to chance. Everything about their interaction with you needs to be planned for, from traditional service issues, to the expanding and complex problems you can help them with, to the advice you give, the results you deliver, and even the feel of working with you.
Targeted area | Net growth goal Of course, it’s not enough to simply write new business. But it’s also dangerous to focus too much on just keeping what you have. It’s critical to plan for net growth and to do so at a level that generates team energy and gives you confidence to make the additional investments critical to your success. Use the aggregate growth goal from above.
Targeted area | Prospecting You likely mentioned prospecting as part of your net growth goal above, and it is critical enough that you need to get into the details of what prospecting looks like in your agency. Prospecting activities are focused on putting the right opportunities into the pipeline on a short-term basis.
Targeted area | Marketing You may have mentioned marketing earlier in this exercise, and it is an area that MUST be given specific focus. The world of marketing has changed as much as any other aspect of business. Despite the approach taken by many agencies, it is NOT an optional activity; it is a critical daily function of running a successful agency.
Targeted area | Sales Conversation Everything ties back to the types of conversations you have with your prospects, EVERYTHING! Showing up at renewal, spreadsheeting, and showing off a capabilities binder is an approach whose time has passed. Your conversation must focus on the story of the buyer, determining what that story looks like now, what they want it to look like in the future, and a formal plan of how you will help them drive the improvement.
Create an Agency Annual Theme
It may sound a little hokey at first, but creating an annual theme can provide that extra reminder/motivation of why you are doing what you’re doing.
For example, every year at Q4intelligence, we choose a theme for the year. In recent years, we focused on relevance, we spent a year committed to simplify everything we do, and we strive to help agencies become more intentional with all their actions.
Our themes aren’t a random, feel-good idea. They are all born out of our observation of what is needed in the industry and our commitment to helping the industry be more successful.
The theme drives our actions for the year.
So, as you look back over your plan and think about what you need to do and, more importantly, why you need to do it, what overriding theme comes to mind? It doesn’t need to be an obvious connection; if the theme resonates with you emotionally, reminds you of what/why, and gives you that needed motivation, then it’s the right theme for you and your team.
Brainstorm ideas and then include the final theme on the cover of this document so that it is the first thing you see each time you review your plan.
Communicating to the team
The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw
We communicate every day without giving it much thought; we communicate without a plan. Planning to communicate may not be something we think of doing, but it is the single most important thing to plan for during times of change. And, you might be surprised at how many factors must be considered as part of that plan.
We must plan around:
- Priorities – To know we are communicating the right things
- Data – To know we are communicating accurately
- Audience – To know we are communicating to the right people
- Rhythm – To ensure we are communicating consistently
PLAN IT OUT
For the Annual Kick-off Meeting and each Quarterly Meeting set your agenda:
Who will participate in leading the session:
What will be shared: