ASCEND - Agency Growth & Leadership Summit January 9-12, 2020, Dallas, TX

8 Questions to Ask During Every Software Demo

When you invest in a new technology like an agency management system (AMS) to manage your life and health book of business, you’re investing in a partner. We can’t stress enough how important this is.

As part of the process, you’ll most likely do a demo with a sales rep, and this is an opportune time to ask questions. But what’s most important to ask? Your first thought is probably feature-based questions, but questions about the company behind the software are just as, if not more important.

To help you make the best decision for your agency, we pulled together some important questions we hear most plus ones we urge agencies to ask during demos.

1. What’s their history/story?

When forming a partnership, you want to ensure both parties are aligned. Ask about their history, how the company was formed, when, and why. Do some research ahead of time to get a better idea of who you might be partnering with.

2. Do they have ties to an agency?

Once you have discussed the formation of the company, it’s important to know if they have a potential conflict of interest. You may be leery about sharing your data with a potential competitor.

3. What type of software is it?

Is the software generic or industry-specific? Basically, is it built for your industry or is it made for businesses in many industries to use? If it’s built specifically for insurance agencies, it should have more of the functionality you’re looking to use right out of the gate. If it’s generic, there’s likely some work you’ll need to do to customize it to your needs.

AgencyBloc, The #1 Agency Recommended Management System, is an example of an industry-specific software made for life & health insurance agencies.

Next, is it hosted in the cloud or on-premise? On-premise solutions are ones that are only accessible in the office via your computer. Hosted (or cloud-based) is software which houses your information on remote servers all over the country. This allows you to access it anytime from any device and is backed up in several locations every few seconds.

4. How often do they release updates to the system?

When you partner with a software vendor, you want to ensure that they’re staying current. Technology changes, and it changes fast, so make sure the vendor is committed to consistently updating and enhancing the product to provide you with the most value.

5. What does their help/support look like?

You want to ensure you have enough support to help you be as successful as possible in using the new software. During your demo, ask your sales rep what training looks like and if they have self-help resources.

Ask about the process of calling support, too. Will you speak with a live person? Is email and/or live chat an option? These are important questions to know how quickly you’ll be given help when needed.

6. Do they have an open API and/or support integrations with 3rd parties?

For clarification, an API is a way for two different software platforms to send and receive information (or data). It’s similar to an integration, but with integrations, the relationship is typically deeper and more information is able to be passed from one to the other.

 

This is something you definitely want to ask about and understand how deep that relationship goes with any other software you’re hoping to use in tandem with the AMS.

7. Are they willing to provide client stories?

Client stories/case studies are a great way to get a feeling for the software from the eye of the actual client. Two types of content to ask for first are:

  • Video Testimonials
  • Case Studies

This helps you see how the software fits their various needs on a daily basis. Plus, with the case studies, you can see what the transition looked like for agencies who moved over from your current solution.

8. What does an exit plan look like?

This is always, always, always an important question to ask. You want to know before you sign any contract how easy (or not easy) it will be to get your data out of the system in the event that you’d like to leave.

So, while the tool itself has to check off items on your list functionality-wise, the company behind the software has to support you as a partner as well. Asking these eight questions on every AMS demo you do will help you get a better picture of the type of partner that company will be before you buy.

To learn more about AgencyBloc, The #1 Agency Recommended Management System for life & health insurance agencies, watch this high-level overview video. Or, schedule a live, 1-on-1 demo and bring this list of eight questions with you!