The additional pieces of the efficiency puzzle
Creating an efficient back-office may be about saving time, money and effort for your business, but that's only part of the story.
According to benchmarking research conducted across Macquarie's small business clients, having the right staff mix – and the technology to support them – is key to increasing sales, capturing new business and maximising your profits.
Staffing mix – focused on new business
Macquarie's most recent benchmarking report1, released in 2014 for the insurance broking industry, showed that while overall staffing levels remained largely steady across the industry, the staffing mix in many firms had evolved.
David Gonano, National Head of Sales for Macquarie Business Banking, said, "A key finding of the research was that business development manager (BDM) hires went up from 42 per cent in 2011 to 58 per cent in the 2013-14 financial year. This really tells the story of where these businesses are looking for their future growth."
In an industry that may not be growing to any great degree, getting an edge on your competition may mean employing someone who is trained and focused on acquiring new business.
"A BDM plays this acquisition role much more than traditional client services manager, who tends to be focused on existing client relationships, repeat business and retention. We found that a key characteristic of high net profit businesses included a reduction of client servicing staff in favour of BDMs, driving additional revenue and creating leaner and more efficient businesses" said Gonano.
Focus on technology
Having the right staff in place to drive new business is important, but supporting them with the right technology can make all the difference in whether or not they are successful.
Ninety-six per cent of businesses who took part in the 2014 Insurance Broking Benchmarking survey believe new technology is critical in improving profitability - and the focus in the next two years is likely to be around Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
"In the past, a lot of insurance brokers have used pretty basic systems, such as Microsoft Excel, to keep track of who their clients are and what business they have with them. If you are a BDM and your focus is on acquiring new business, understanding your market, knowing where potential clients might exist and targeting and managing interactions with them, the first thing you will need is a CRM system," Gonano said.
3 tips to improve efficiency
- Create specialised roles within your business, such as dedicated BDMs. Allowing staff to focus their skills in one area can result in improved productivity
- Create a standardised approach to client management. This will allow your business to maintain a high level of individualised support with less effort
- Integrate your software to minimise the time you spend handling data and maximise the time you spend servicing your clients. For example, use an integrated payment and reconciliation solution, or an integrated document management and storage solution.
Macquarie's recognised benchmarking research provides in-depth industry information that will allow you to measure your performance against your peers.
Best practice tips:
- create specialised roles within the business
- create a standardised approach to client management
- integrate software to minimise the time spent handling data and maximise the time available to service clients.