Archive for December, 2012

5th

When it comes to insurance companies and large agencies, it’s common knowledge that, in general (yes, there are exceptions), there are three speeds of doing business: Slow, Really Slow, and Just Barely Moving. Sometimes these organizations move so slow that it’s like watching the progress meter of a 45-minute HD movie upload to YouTube. Kidding of course. You get the idea.

So one of the ways that Social Tech can be leveraged for ROI is by harnessing the power of the information flow to increase the velocity of the organization. Here are at least Nine Pathways to Increased Velocity. Without going into all the details, this will be skimming the tops of the waves. (Come to a Boot Camp, or schedule a private session, to drill into these.) Perhaps as you read this, others will come to your mind. I’d be curious what you think?

Part One, Number one, my personal favorite

1. Shortened Sales Cycles and Pathways to Revenue

Especially in this recessed/depressed economy, depending on what products you’re selling, sales cycles can stretch on for months. So it’s critical to cash flow to find any avenues to shrink those timeframes. For example, take the ‘check references’ stage of a sales process. Reference checking can take weeks as busy decision-makers play phone tag or exchange emails. And do people really trust them anyway? Enter Linkedin Recommendations. Not only can they provide immediate relief, but they are actually better in a few significant ways – clearly user generated content, click through to the source to see their credentials, etc. Heck, just starting your sales processes based on warm introductions from trusted sources rather than cold calls will shrink the sales cycle. By the way, did you know that because of Social, the old “6 Degrees of Separation” is now down to FOUR.

2. Research and Pathways to Advantage

Every enterprise, almost every job in an enterprise, especially in insurance, is knowledge-intensive. When the Web came along, research became somewhat easier. With search engines, Whoa! Mastering Google is now a skill in itself. Now with Social Tech, research can be automated. And so, as with anything, the better business leaders are at leveraging Social Tech for Research, the more likely they will drive their KPI’s in a positive direction. This applies to personnel, products, partners – you name it. As always, if you can efficiently research the data, you’re in a better position. The great thing about Social Tech is the incredible volume of guy-on-the-street data or User Generated Content. Yes, this puts more emphasis on Content Curation, but in reality, that’s always been there. And that can be automated as well.

3. Communication and Pathways to Nimbility

One thing’s for sure: I’ve observed countless insurance executives take WAY too much time to move information via their communication channels. This is not a function of how fast their brains move – quite the contrary. They are often extremely smart and savvy, just bogged down by simple technology. Windows-based laptops and desktops, Blackberry dumbphones, voice mail systems, no twitter, no text, and so forth, completely hamstring busy executives. If they only knew what they were missing. If I were to set-up an exec? Macbook Air 15”, iPad, Samsung Galaxy 4 for hardware, all synced together, Gmail Enterprise, and HootSuite for individual Social. The differences these simple technologies can make in the pace of communication flow is stunning. And when you increase the flow of communication, you become more nimble. Nimbility enables velocity.

4. Innovation and Pathways to Relevance

The twin brother of Research, Social Tech can definitely solve the Innovation conundrum. As I say in the Boot Camps, creativity is almost anathema to insurance. Creativity is driven out of insurance people at a very early age. “You know, we should have flavored coffee-mate in the lunch room.” “Hey, you can’t have those thoughts around HERE. We’re a conservative industry. Keep your wild ideas to yourself!” As a result, we not only lose the creative juices that inspire innovation, but we lose the people themselves. Our people, products, and processes then tend to stagnate, leading to irrelevance when it comes to insuring various risks in the lives of constituents in the dynamically changing world around us. But enter crowdsourcing “Ideation” via facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, instagram, intranets, etc. – as one of many examples. Insurance peeps will find significant pent-up innovation if they start using Social Tech to tap it.

5. Customer Response and Pathways to Satisfaction

Let’s face it – we live in an instant-gratification culture. Social Tech feeds that beast. I carry a Smartphone (HTC S1) in my pocket constantly. Obviously I’m not alone in that. Just like anyone else, when I have a pleasant experience, I want to share it. When I’m upset, I want the issue resolved, or at least reconciled. So via Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, etc., we now have access to Pathways that can lead to faster positive impacts and resolutions. It’s a sure thing. And that’s a good thing – we all know that festering problems only get worse. The faster we get to healing, the better. And since we all run in circles, good things can be spread faster and results gained more quickly as well.

Well, that’s all I have the time for now. Hope these concepts and simple examples are helpful. Velocity of doing business is critical as technology takes over. Like I say about Progressive in my home city of Cleveland – It’s a technology company doing insurance.

What are your thoughts? Drop a comment before you leave. We’ll all be richer for it. Please Like, Comment, and Share. Thanks.

Part 2:

Virtual Meetings and Pathways to Productivity

Education and Pathways to Competence

Recruiting and Pathways to Retention

Crowdsourcing and Pathways to Profit

Archives to 2005