To achieve consistent, predictable growth, insurance agencies need to create a strategic plan and an action plan for both operational and financial goals and activities.
All insurance agencies and advisor firms should create annual strategic plans to guide their sales, marketing, clients, vendors, and hiring decisions. A quality written plan includes a description of what your agency looks like today and where you want to take it tomorrow or three years from now. The three core elements of an insurance agency's strategic plan are outlined below.
1. Where are you today?
Analyze your business book to look for healthy and unhealthy trends.
2. Where do you want to go?
Write a description of what you want to see for your agency three years from now (or another timeframe). Describe needed changes to existing systems as well as potentially new items.
- "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."
Specific items to consider:
- What services/products/solutions do we deliver to clients?
- What do our revenue numbers look like?
- How are we getting paid (fees/commissions)?
- What is our profit margin?
- What does total staffing look like?
- What resources/skills have we developed internally?
- What is our core marketing message, and how/where is it being shared?
Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which are operational metrics you track throughout the year that are critical for diving the results you want to achieve.
Establish your baseline for each metric, and then project what you intend to achieve for the next three years. Set realistic, obtainable stretch goals.
Identify both financial and operational goals you intend to achieve year-by-year.
3. How are you going to get there?
Think about each operational area of the business and develop plans to achieve the goals you have laid out.
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.)
The only thing that matters is the client's experience with your team. This cannot be left to chance. Everything needs to be planned for: traditional service issues, problems you can help them with, advice you can give, the results you deliver, and even the feel of working with you.
Net growth goal
Simply writing new business is not enough; however, it is also dangerous to overly focus on keeping what you have. Plan for net growth and do so at a level that generates team energy and gives you the confidence to make the additional investments vital to your success. Use the aggregate growth goal from above.
It is important enough that you need to be specific about what prospecting looks like in your agency. Prospecting activities focus on putting the right opportunities into the pipeline on a short-term basis.
Marketing is an area that needs specific focus. The marketing world has changed, and despite the approach many agencies take, it is not an optional activity; it is a critical daily function of running a successful agency.
Everything ties back to your conversations with your prospects. Old methods of just showing up at renewal, spreadsheeting, and showing off a capabilities binder no longer works. Your discussion must focus on the buyer's story and determining what that story looks like now, what they want it to look like in the future, and how you will help them improve.
Plan what you want to achieve. Review that plan, use it as a guide throughout the year, and hold your team accountable to the plans you've laid out. When you do this, you will find your agency meeting and exceeding financial and operational goals.