Right now, it’s possible that small business owners are re-assessing their recent Q4 2016 employee benefits decisions. After likely spending many hours back and forth, with lots of paper forms to fill out, and even more data entry work, they may also be wondering how and when the benefits process will become more efficient and yes, even enjoyable. For this reason, we are focusing on open enrollment tools this week.
As an early adopter of technology and former broker I’ve tried to implement a number of tools into my processes. Here are 6 organizational tools I’ve used to work more efficiently with business owners and make my life easier during the busiest of times:
Before any sales meetings happen, set aside time with your internal team to grab some whitespace, prepare, and plan. Strategize who does what and when and how the workflow will happen. Setup tools available for internal communication with your team, such as Slack, which provide a new way for your team to have flexible and interactive communication. This will enable you to keep up with the fast-paced environment of benefits, from either the office or on the go.
Many times, scheduling meetings with clients and prospects results in wasted time spent with back and forth emails and calls. Your calendar is an important asset to manage well. Let others schedule that perfect meeting time with you via a scheduling tool, such as Calendly, that allows you to free your calendar and allows your clients and prospects to easily look at your available meeting times.
It’s important to leverage the power of professional and strategic storytelling with presentation software, which has traditionally been in the form of the basic PowerPoint. New platforms, such as Prezi, have taken the presentation formula to a new level with artistic dimensions, motions, and transitions that can provide your clients and prospects with a far more enjoyable experience.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting, but sometimes that’s just not practical. Virtual “screen-share” software, such as Join.Me, is the next best alternative and can be a critical piece of the overall communication stack with clients and prospects. Being able to spread out face-to-face, with virtual presentations, and phone calls helps to provide a more efficient workflow that better serves your clients in making good benefits decisions.
Redundant data entry between quoting and enrollments from one system to another has become the accepted norm in the employee benefits eco-system, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Choose a technology platform that eliminates double entry, saves you time and energy, and also provides a better online customer experience. Much of the data used in quoting and comparing options is the same data used for employee enrollments. For example, Limelight Health’s QuotePad platform integrated with Ease’s online Benefit Administration platform automates much of the group setup from quote-to-enrollment. This not only provides a real-time online experience for making benefits decisions, but also cuts down on wasted time and money spent printing, collating, and binding paper proposals and enrollment forms.
6) Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can provide an efficient workflow that manages customer relationships from prospect all the way to client and everything in between. This can require focused time to map out how best to manage your customer relationships, but once implemented, it can allow your agency to properly grow and scale with new business while not missing a beat serving existing clients. There are many different CRM systems available, from the dominant SalesForce to Zoho. It’s worth understanding the available options that best fit your workflow and business needs. It’s also important to note that CRM is another system that can be integrated with quoting and enrollment platforms. Choosing tools that work together is the key to maximizing your time and efforts. Less redundancies, hours saved.
Final Thoughts About Open Enrollment Tools
Adopt a few of these (or all of these!) in your day-to-day and you will find you have more time to spend working with your clients, helping them build solid employee benefits strategies, and less time stuck in the office managing excel charts and endless stacks of paper.
This post is a contribution by Garrett Viggers, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Limelight Health
Garrett Viggers is a renaissance entrepreneur, currently co-founder/Chief Product Officer at Limelight Health. He began in the employee benefits industry in 2002 when “Consumer-Driven Health (CDH)” plans began a new era of decision support vs. traditional options. Garrett started two previous CDH companies, Veritas Health Systems and Inovius, where he oversaw product design for interactive proposal systems to easily compare traditional benefits with HRA and HSA options. Garrett is an innovator in quoting, renewals and decision support tools and continues to push the bounds of what is possible in a post-ACA world. He believes those who make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible to shop, compare, buy and enroll in benefits will win the day.