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Top 10 Productivity Tools for Sales & Marketing Professionals

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, November 16, 2018

Top 10 Productivity Tools for Sales & Marketing Professionals

Orchestrating a team can be challenging. Whether you have a team of five or 20, every member has a unique personality and preferences. You also may have a host of processes and systems that you're using in the office.

When was the last time you looked at how you're getting work done? Are you being as productive as possible?

When you use the right productivity tools, your team's efficiency and collaboration will increase — resulting in more sales and better organization. there are a host of technologies, apps and systems out there that are designed to improve workflow.

Here are the top resources for insurance professionals:

  1. DocuSign: Incredibly popular in the insurance industry, DocuSign is an e-signature service that helps reduce inefficient paper processes and email contracts in record time.

  2. Slack: If your team is wasting time with inefficient communication processes, consider using Slack. It’s one of the most effective ways to instantly communicate and message your team members — and it works on both desktop and mobile. You can create “Channels” for specific purposes like marketing and only invite those on the marketing team.

  3. Google Docs: This is one of the most user-friendly tools out there for document collaboration. Think of it as a free online version of Microsoft Office. You can create and share word, spreadsheet, forms and presentation files (like proposals, pitches and sales letters) with other team members in real time.

  4. CamScanner: Download this app to easily scan any document and save it as a PDF. It will even enhance the scanned images and lift out important pieces of information like dates, titles and prices. You can also add notes and drawings to your scanned images.

    Note: If you have the Google Drive app on your phone, you can not only access your Google Docs but scan receipts and documents. You can share files immediately and access them later.

  5.  Trello: This collaboration tool helps you organize and prioritize projects and tasks. You can see who’s working on what, where something is in a process and what the next steps are for each prospect. Trello is great for delegating tasks, creating automatic to-do lists and keeping things transparent.

  6. CRM: You’re in a customer-centric business, so it makes sense to have an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system. It’s essential for growing your agency and managing leads and customers every step of the way. HubSpot has a free CRM, but if you’re looking for something personalized, consider Salesforce, Insightly, Zoho and Infusionsoft.

  7. SignOn Once by ID Federation: If you struggle with maintaining passwords and IDs, you’re not alone. It’s one of the biggest pain points among carriers and agencies. SignOn Once enables one identity to replace multiple logins for insurance system users. That way, you can spend less time resetting passwords and more time focused on serving prospects and clients.

  8. Evernote: This is the system for someone who loves sticky notes and keeps infinite tabs open in their browser. With Evernote you can take pictures, save websites and write to-do lists. It’s like your very own digital notebook. You can create different sections for different areas of focus and tag each document or idea — keeping everything you may need in one spot.

  9. Voice-to-Text: You may not think this would be helpful, but have you ever thought about how much time you spend typing something instead of saying it? Or have you ever had a great idea while waiting and didn’t have time to type a note? Voice recognition software has been around for a while, but the technology is finally advanced enough for the translation to be correct instead of jumbled. Consider a robust software like Dragon or start with a free app like Cortana.

  10. Zapier: If you have plenty of leads coming in but are getting bogged down with the follow-up process, consider an automation process. For example, if you get an email with an attachment, you can set up a “trigger” that copies the attachment into your Google Drive and then alerts you in Slack. You can integrate all of your systems like email, social media, email marketing and so much more.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Branding  business value  efficiency  email marketing  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  Social Media  teamwork 

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Why You Should Care about Facebook Ads

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, October 5, 2018


Why You Should Care about Facebook Ads

How can your insurance agency drive business with Facebook?

People spend an absurd amount of time on social media. That’s one of the reasons your agency is active on social media.

But Facebook’s algorithm changes have caused organic reach (the number of people who see your content without you paying for it) to drastically decline. This means that only a fraction of your page followers actually see your posts.

Have you seen that “Boost Post” button in the bottom right hand corner of your post? If you’ve tried it, that means you’re interested in getting more eyeballs on your content. But it’s the easy way out. If you’re looking to really target your core audience, increase brand awareness and eventually drive people to your website, you need to dig deeper.

How Facebook Ads Can Help

  1. Use data you already have. You already have a list of people interested and aware of your agency: You have an entire e-newsletter list worth of email
    addresses and data telling you who’s visited your website in the past few months. If you’re trying to boost leads and generate conversions, shouldn’t you focus on them? With Facebook, you can easily upload your email or data lists to seek out the same and similar individuals. A new target list will be created based on common demographic information found in your uploaded data — and voila! You have an audience that is much more likely to move through the customer journey.

  2. You can focus where your content goes. Hopefully you’ve already spent time looking at your current customer demographics or defining your ideal       customers. If you have this information, you can target specific Facebook users by location, age, gender, behavior, interests and connections. See what   we’re saying? For example, you can even get your agency in front of people who have recently purchased or gone through a big life event.

  3. You can test and repeat … and test and repeat. When creating a new Facebook ad, you can choose from a variety of “Campaign Objectives” based on what goals or results you want.

    • Clicks to Website: Targets people who have historically clicked on Facebook links that go to external websites.
    • Page Post Engagement: Aims to boost engagement with likes, shares and comments.
    • Video Views: Shows your video to the people whom Facebook knows are more likely to watch it.

    The beauty of Facebook advertising is that you can test one of these objectives this month and test another objective the next. With an open mentality, you can see what works and find different followers in the process.


  4. Budget friendly. The good news is that you don’t have to spend much to use Facebook ads effectively. But you do need to know what you’re doing. Start by limiting your promotions to one a week while posting regular content. Test your ads on a variety of audiences and objectives to see what works best.  

Remember, kicking off a Facebook ad won’t immediately give you tons of leads and website traffic. It takes time. If you want to learn more, check out Facebook Blueprint courses. It’s a great way to jump in and learn how it works.

Tags:  AIMS Society  algorithms  Facebook Ads  Networking  Social Media  Technology 

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What Can You Teach Me Today? Why Your Hiring Focus Needs to Change

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, June 15, 2018

What Can You Teach Me Today?
Why Your Hiring Focus Needs to Change

When you are searching for a new hire, there's an approach to the interview that could lead to a real transformation of your agency.

"As a #Millennial — I like to hire people who I know I can learn from." That comment, which was recently shared on Twitter, comes from Tyler Olson, founder of Modern Foundation, an analytics based social and search consulting firm.

Yes, it's just a tweet, but stop to consider the potentially profound impact that kind of approach could have. Of course, every new hire will require some degree of on-the-job training, and you are looking for someone you think has the initial experience required to come in and learn your agency protocols and move forward from there. However, this one-way view of the employer/employee relationship misses what could provide a tremendous payoff.

You do need someone who can learn. But what about finding someone who can also teach? And what if you deliberately explored the teaching roles of every single hire, even entry-level workers or those in more distant support roles?

You may argue that questions such as "Tell me about your experience" or "Tell me why you're the best candidate" gets at this very issue. But those canned questions will most likely elicit a canned response. Instead, dig deeper.

Start before the interview by thinking about your agency weaknesses and opportunities, not only those related to the position you're hiring for, but even more far-reaching. If your agency struggles with internal communication, ask some questions that explore the candidate's ideas or past experience with just that. "We're always striving to improve cross-department communication—ways to make sure everyone knows what's going on and are on the same page. Have you worked with another group or organization where either you or those around you had an approach that led to improved communication and fewer misunderstandings or dropped balls?" Who knows, you may be surprised to learn that the person sitting in front of you built an organizational app or started a weekly lunch group to improve dialogue.

Next interview, keep this approach in mind. As you focus on finding more potential teachers, you'll also be positioning your agency as a place open to change and innovation — and that sounds like an agency on the move.

Tags:  AIMS Society  efficiency  Leadership  Networking  Professional Development  self-improvement  Social Media  Technology 

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Are Brainstorms Washing Away Success?

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, May 25, 2018

Are Brainstorms Washing Away Success?

Play nice. Share. Get along. There’s no “I” in “team.” Collaboration is key.

We’ve been coached since childhood to collect everyone’s opinions and ideas, believing it’s the single best way to find the best solution. Although it’s true that businesses use teamwork as the foundation of success, has our propensity to brainstorm inadvertently crippled business in some ways?

Renowned Wharton professor and leadership expert, Adam Grant, thinks so. He maintains that when people work so hard to develop consensus — essentially going along to get along — originality suffers, threats are overlooked, and disaster can remain undetected until it’s too late.

Instead, he recommends “brainwriting,” which begins with each individual developing a list of ideas on their own. Only after everyone has thought through the issue privately and committed positions to paper does the team meet to discuss and evaluate. Why is this more effective? “The wisdom of crowds mostly comes when you put people in separate rooms and get their judgment independently,” Grant explains.

It appears he’s not alone with his hypothesis. In his book, 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Richard Wiseman says, “Over 50 years of research shows that people often reach irrational decisions in groups … and highly biased assessments of the situation ... strong-willed people who lead group discussions can pressurize others into conforming, self-censorship and create an illusion of unanimity.”

While Forbes contributor Natalie Peace sides with Grant and Wiseman, she believes there are still opportunities for brainstorming, albeit in new ways. She recommends:

  • Provide strong leadership and a process framework to follow. People often want to have "no rules" brainstorming, but that can quickly derail or stall.

  • Give everyone time to think in advance of the session (essentially following Grant's "brainwriting" idea).

  • Make contribution mandatory. No sitting in the room just nodding. 

  • Any idea can be shot down, but must be replaced with an alternative.

How do you feel about brainstorming? Do you love it or hate it and why?

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  efficiency  Goals  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  Social Media  teamwork 

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On-Line Content: Are You Annoying or Appealing?

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, April 27, 2018


On-Line Content: Are you Annoying or Appealing?

By now, the hope is that you're engaged online — it's quite simply a requirement for developing and building your personal brand as well as your sales contacts and leads. So, no preaching about why it's important to be online; the assumption is that you already are.

However, the question now is: Are you annoying or appealing? Are you adding to the digital noise (which can be significant), or are you actually leveraging the opportunity to create an actual relationship with clients and prospects?

Here are some tips to make sure you are putting your best you out there:

  1. Write about topics that interest your audience. Seems obvious, right? But most people write from their own perspective. Do a quick review of past postings. How many times do you use "I" and "me"? If the content doesn't work with "you" instead, it probably holds little interest.
  2. Focus on your strengths. If your post requires a lot of research or if it isn't on a topic you could speak about for three minutes or more unrehearsed, it's probably not in your wheelhouse. If it's a topic you'd like to be an expert in, take the time to become that expert before claiming the title.
  3. Don't complain. No one likes to spend their time with someone negative. Spin the content around and present a solution or a positive alternative.
  4. Don't be afraid to create controversy. Own an alternate position from the norm. You might be surprised how many people appreciate a new perspective.
  5. Know your goals. Don't write until you are clear about what you're hoping your reader will do. Are you trying to build likes and shares to boost your online ranking? Would you love to position yourself as a potential speaker for industry events? Do you want to increase your contact list and build off-line conversations? Once you have identified what you're hoping to accomplish, stay in that lane.
  6. Go above and beyond. Always look for ways to be helpful. If someone leaves a comment, you should reply quickly. Go the extra step and add some additional content that you believe will appeal to them, such as a link to an article or relevant resource, even if it's not directly related to insurance.
  7. Invite guests. A great way to build your own presence is by supporting others. If you worked with a great attorney, invite them to provide content that you post to share with your own audience. This can also be a great way to illustrate the quality of company that you keep.
  8. Track responses. Take the time to notice what drives reaction. If ending with a question prompts the most comments, make that a habit. If linking a video drives response rates, that's the route you should focus upon.
  9. Be yourself. Always. Enough said.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Goals  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  Personal Brand  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  Social Media 

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