It’s planning season and our annual planning guides are available for download! If you haven’t started your annual planning yet, it’s time to get going. Regardless of your agency's size – a couple people or a couple hundred – all insurance agencies and their producers need strategic plans for the coming year.
Without a plan of what you want to accomplish in key areas, how do you know if you’ve had a successful year? How do you know if you’ve made progress? How do you know if you’ve had growth and achieved goals? Wishing, hoping, and winging it are common approaches, but not ones used by growth-focused organizations.
Start with the producers
Assign each producer to reflect on their role and their pipeline and how they will bring strong, if not record-breaking, new business into the organization. Benefits and insurance agencies are sales organizations – or growth organizations as we like to call them – and should always be striving to share your message with people who can benefit from the work you do.
A producer’s role, by definition, is to produce new business. It’s not to produce business until they’re personally comfortable and then turn into a highly-commissioned account manager sitting on a book of business.
It’s your agency and your call on how you manage this dynamic. Our recommendation is that producers are responsible for always producing and bringing new revenue and new opportunities into the organization.
Wrap it up into the agency plan
Insurance agencies are often led by a highly productive salesperson, which is great for growth but not always the best for leadership. The two skill sets just don’t naturally come together. No shame in it; just create a plan to manage around it!
Either commit to following a planning process yourself as the leader, or have a team lead the planning process with your involvement. Both can work as long as you get the planning done and have procedures to ensure consistent activity and follow-through on the plans.
The agency plan consists of five key elements:
- Net revenue – What revenue goals are your producers going to achieve? Wrap up their individual plans into the agency plan. Does it add up to what you want as an organization? If so, great! If not, factor that into the balance of your planning and determine what changes you need to achieve higher revenue numbers.
- Marketing – How will you use marketing to support new business activities and help attract the attention of the businesses you want in your agency portfolio? What will a successful year look like if you intentionally focus on a marketing presence?
- Sales – How will you approach the sales team and sales process this year to support the agency's appetite for continuously attracting and closing new business? What will a successful year look like if you intentionally focus on the sales team and promote their ability to grow?
- Service – How will you deliver on a consistent experience that delights your clients and not only makes them want to stay with your agency but recommend you to others? What will a successful year look like if you intentionally focus on processes for your client experience?
- Leadership – How will you lead your team this year to ensure everyone knows the company plan and goals and how their roles contribute? What will a successful year look like if you intentionally focus on leading your team and communicating with them regularly?
Focus on this one year. Don’t try to make your plan into the ideal scenario of what you ultimately want to accomplish. Instead, be very honest with yourself about where you are today as an organization, and select the few most important changes you can implement THIS YEAR to start moving the needle.
You don’t need perfection, and you don’t need to do it all at once. Take everyone along on the journey with you and have them help carry the load. It’s much easier when you don’t need to be the only person doing all the thinking and work to make change and growth a focus for the agency.
But you do need to get started.
Download our producer planning guide and agency planning guide to get your producers and your agency on track for an excellent year of growth and improvement at a manageable and achievable pace. What you’ll find are the basics of a good plan:
- Take inventory of your current situation.
- Include a projection of what you want to accomplish in the coming year.
- With those two endpoints, you can create a plan of how to move between the two.
Happy planning! Have questions? Feel free to reach out and ask.
Photo by tatomm.