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Why your brokerage needs an online presence


January 15, 2019   by Jason Contant



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Brokerages looking to scale their expertise should focus their efforts online, says the CEO of a Vancouver-based company that helps brokers with automation solutions.

“Externally, the new standard of engagement is online,” Jeff McCann, CEO of Digital MGA Marketplace Ltd., told Canadian Underwriter Monday. For a brokerage, “having a mobile-friendly website is your digital front door.”

Canadian Underwriter asked McCann what types of technology do brokers need in general and where they are lacking.

“Even if a customer wants to call their broker, they’re likely to look up that number online. Can they find it?” McCann asked. “If a producer meets a prospect at a conference, or receives a referral, can they do some screening via the website or LinkedIn?”

Whether it’s financial, insurance, consumer goods, travel or even medical needs, the 2019 buyer of all ages wants to do their research online before engaging a professional, McCann said. Blogging, video, helpdesks and other content sharing allows a broker to scale their expertise and make it accessible on a 24/7 basis “and, most importantly, shifting the power dynamic to the client’s terms.”

Canadian Underwriter’s 2018 National Broker Survey asked producers if their employer has invested in certain initiatives over the past 24 months, including digital advertising, search engine optimization of their website, social media publishing (such as a Facebook page, Twitter feed or YouTube channel), marketing automation systems (such as HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot) and CRM systems.

Forty percent of producers polled for the 2018 National Broker Survey rated social media publishing as a best practice (8-10 out of 10). Even more (47%) of principals ranked it as a best practice.

Internally, brokers need to get off of the “outdated, inefficient and insecure” Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser, McCann advised. “It isn’t talked about a lot, but this is an epidemic in the insurance industry,” he said, noting that Microsoft stopped updated this browser, so it is not secure. “Many web apps don’t work on it, and many websites don’t display properly on it. Switch to Chrome or another browser that works, but if you aren’t using a web browser that is maintained regularly, you’re going to have a frustrating time navigating the internet.”

McCann also believes brokerages would benefit from a culture of front lines exposure to inbound sales calls and demos. “I personally take a demo a week of new technologies from various industries,” he said. “This is how we discovered HubSpot, Slack, Dropbox, Zoom, Atlassian and other fundamental tools to our business.”

The 2018 National Broker Survey found only 35% of producers and 31% of principals said marketing automation systems like HubSpot were a best practice (8-10 out of 10).