AEP is behind us, but as an independent Medicare agent or agency leader, you know your work is never really done – you are always looking for ways to be more successful and grow your business. This means reviewing how the year went as well as planning for the year ahead. There are some specific steps you can take to accomplish both. It’s beneficial to analyze your business from two perspectives: front of the house and back of the house.
Front of the House
Marketing, Client Relations, and Retention
In our previous article, we discussed the importance of following up with clients and staying in touch throughout the year to demonstrate your value and keep clients engaged. This helps with client retention and helps build your referral business.
But what else should you be doing? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Therefore, to know how you’re doing and where you can improve, you need to keep track of your marketing efforts and results.
√ Marketing: Did you track your return on investment for mailings, email, and phone calls to figure out which marketing channels were the most successful?
√ Client Retention: Do you know what percentage of clients you’ve retained? Do you know why you lost clients?
√ New Clients: How many new clients did you enroll? What was the source of those leads?
√ Goals: Did you set specific and realistic goals for client retention and new enrollees?
Back of the House
Behind the Scenes of Running Your Business
√ Market Research: Are you aligned with carriers who offer the plans your clients want?
√ Certifications and Contracts: Did you allow enough time for certifications, carrier contracts, and training? Can you improve timelines for the coming year?
√ Licensing: Are you current with all your licensing requirements
√ Maximizing Efficiency: Do you know where you spent most of your time this past year? Was it time well spent? Are you using all the tools available to help you maximize efficiency and productivity? Do you need to invest in new technologies?
If you need to improve any of the above, now is the time to position yourself for even greater success in the coming year. Also be sure to complete all the key housekeeping tasks below.
Key Housekeeping Tasks
Track Your Enrollments
It’s important to track your enrollments both to ensure you’re being paid correctly and in case of an audit. Since commissions are your livelihood, it’s crucial to verify that each enrollment has been processed and that you are listed as the agent of record.
There are a variety of methods for tracking enrollments and commissions, including spreadsheets and commission specific software. Perhaps your CRM tool even offers this function. Ideally, you want to be able to run reports on your commissions to gain insight into which products are generating the most income. This gives you a better understanding of where you should be focusing your time.
Whichever method you choose, you must store information in a HIPAA compliant manner. Choose to download information to a remote server (Cloud) verses on your computer’s hard drive, where it could be lost or stolen. When working with PHI, you must keep files confidential and secure, which means using strong passwords and encryption software. If you are storing paper documents, they must be in a locked location. You must shred any papers that are no longer relevant and need to be discarded.
Complete Archive Requirements
CMS requires you retain all enrollment applications and SOA (Scope of Appointment) forms for 10 years. As part of the new CMS ruling effective October 1, 2022, you must also store agent call recordings for 10 years. All your storage methods must be HIPAA compliant.
Leverage Your CRM Platform
A good, HIPAA compliant CRM platform is essential to managing your business. Most CRM tools allow you to automate processes and workflows, including lead management, appointment setting, tasks and reminders, and running reports. But your CRM is only as good as the information you enter. Make sure you document all your client interactions, including notes from client meetings and post-it notes from your desk. You should also track any correspondence, including thank you cards you’ve sent and any referrals you’ve received.
Make sure all client contact information is up to date. Make a note of how your clients prefer you to contact them, whether that’s by email, phone, or text. Any CRM tool you use must be HIPAA compliant to ensure this sensitive information stays safe.
If you have questions or would like to discuss additional planning and business building strategies, we’re here to help. Contact us today.