Hello forums. I've been a long time reader here, and decided to start giving back to the community that's helped me so much. I'm an agency owner, and I've seen a lot of people posting in the past about the technology they use to keep their businesses running. When we started our agency, we looked at a lot different systems to manage our book of business and prospecting. We've gone through many of them, so I'm going to lay out a quick review on the ones that (in my opinion) are the best ones out there, for various reasons. Maybe this will help some of you find the right solution, as well. These are in no particular order.
This one was the first system we used when we got up and running. Agencybloc is a well-known name in the industry. It was developed by software guys, and provides a pretty broad suite of basic agency management tools. The bonus here is that it's industry-specific.
One of the biggest strengths they have is the reporting features. They have invested a lot of time into building detailed reporting on many different aspects of an agency. I personally feel that this is the area where they excel the most. The tracking features are nice, too. It's always good to have one place to watch your pending, see your written business, and track commissions. However, we stopped using the system because if didn't really offer enough for us. It's not the easiest system to use, either, but the support staff is very good at addressing issues quickly, and they have a lot of guides and tutorials. Price-wise, it can get very expensive when you start adding a lot of agents to it, but the basic package is very affordable.
Pipedrive is a very nice little system for what it does. If competing solely on price, their basic plan is $12, and that gets you the starter tools that will work for basic management. While it isn't industry-specific, it's very customizable. The main dashboard can be reconfigured to track opportunities based on our industry's language. It's pretty straight forward, simple, and doesn't take a lot of technical expertise to get up and running. Some of the highlights are:
Grouping features (organizations)
ARC isn't as heavy on the reporting features, like Agencybloc, but its array of tools is impressive and it's industry-specific. As far as working in the life and health market, it has tons of features that make life easier for our agents. So far, this is the most comprehensive system we've found. All the essential stuff, like client and prospect management is here, but a lot of everyday stuff that we use in the field, and the office.
The prospecting database alone is a huge feature, especially when you're in the field and get stood up. It's really easy to see other potential prospects in the same area and go canvas. Our agents really like being able to manage all their mileage, expenses, and so forth for tax season.
From the administrative side, I like that when an agent leaves it automatically flags all the clients, prospects, leads, apps, policies, etc, as orphans, and I can reassign them to someone else. The "Agency Central" dashboard makes things kind of fun, too, as we can chat, look at standings, and provide training. There's really so much here, that it would take pages to cover all the features. As far as having everything under one system, this is as close as we've found. The lady who owns the company is very visible and personable, as well, and it has more of a community feel to it than just a software system.
It's hard to ignore Sales Force, just because they're such a huge name. Like pipe-drive, it's not specific to the insurance industry, but it's very customizable to fit pretty much any kind of business you have. If there's one big downside to Sales Force, it's the cost. At least, when we were using it, the system can get very pricey. It seems like their target market is more the enterprise business, rather than the small business.
Sales Force is very good at doing what it does though, which is client management, and a wealth of various apps and integrations for just about every service you would ever need. Email apps, social apps, lead distribution, etc. They've also custom-built some systems specifically for some of the big insurance companies. I heard recently from an old contact that Bankers Life had a system designed for them by Sales Force fairly recently. Physicians Mutual, last I heard, was also using them. Ultimately, it didn't really have the solution we were looking for, which was everything in one place, but it's quality software and a well-known name in the business.
Your response to industry hot topics.
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