BRM vs. CRM: Successful selling through brokers

For many insurance companies, selling through brokers is the most important or sometimes even the only sales channel. Therefore, customized support for independent brokers and sales partners plays a crucial role in sales success. We asked Oliver Hechler, insurance expert and BSI Community Manager for Insurers, about the differences between BRM and CRM solutions. In this interview, find out about the hallmark of successful B2B sales partner support.

In this interview, the insurance expert at BSI explains the difference between broker relationship management and customer relationship management.

Oliver Hechler, BRM and CRM – aren't they the same?

Oliver Hechler: (laughs) In general terms, when you talk about broker relationship management and customer relationship management, it’s all about managing relationships, as the term implies. Providing support to and advising independent brokers, however, is defined by some unique attributes that are not mapped in a conventional CRM solution.

What are the attributes that make a BRM solution different from a CRM solution?

With their agency system (CRM), insurance companies want to optimize the support they provide to their customers. With a broker system (BRM), however, they optimize their sales management with the goal of providing customized, effective, and intelligent support to their brokers. After all, happy and well-informed brokers sell more and are better messengers!

What does a BRM system include that a CRM solution does not have or need?

At first glance, you see individual entry pages for broker advisers and managers. The 360-degree views of brokers or contact partners and sub-agents in broker companies are also unique to the BRM. Task and contact management is handled in direct interaction with the sales-support units or the office. Main activities and broker comparison programs are also available in a BRM system.

Those sound like B2B-specific features that fit the world of independent brokers...

That’s exactly right. With a designated BRM solution, insurance companies can gain a competitive advantage. A BRM system contains information on the classification of brokers, target groups, and insurance types. You can see everything with a single click: brokered contracts, requested quotes, and canceled contracts. The BRM solution also displays the broker status and type. This makes it possible to easily select specific brokers or contact partners when doing a search. With large brokerage firms, you can also see the sales hierarchies in the BRM solution.

What is the greatest benefit of a BRM solution?

The greatest benefit is the personal broker support, more service, and customized broker approaches. After all, brokers mainly want to provide good support to their customers and do not want to spend valuable time with the broker support personnel from various insurance companies. They appreciate receiving information that exactly meets their needs. An insurance company, on the other hand, is clearly supported by the BRM solution with efficient sales management and sales goal comparisons. The security situation (cancellation reserves, property loss liability, AVAD [Public Information Office for Insurance Field Sales and Insurance Brokers in Germany]) as well as sales signals are all mapped in the BRM solution. Yet, our insurance customers, such as ERGO, HDI, and Gothaer, also appreciate use cases such as the simple implementation of marketing campaigns involving event invitations, for instance, and automated review processes performed by broker advisers, as well as the addition of continuing education credits in accordance with the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). In a BRM solution, you can even support brokers of interest as part of the initiation process. Guided processes are meant for the standardized processing of business transactions and the mapping of approval processes, for example, as part of the creation of commission agreements. All of that is needed in the broker industry only - and it’s needed on a daily basis!

What do insurance companies with broker sales partners like about the BRM solution from BSI?

Insurance is in our DNA. The insurance community is the fastest growing community at BSI. From the beginning in 1996, we have devoted ourselves to dedicated insurance solutions for selling through agencies and brokers.

As a software provider with an insurance focus, we have established a new standard for broker sales. ERGO, Rhion, die Bayerische, Gothaer, HDI, Nürnberger, and ProTect are some of our customers.

Oliver Hechler

Many of them use our CRM solution for the insurance industry – the BSI Insurance Suite for several sales channels. In addition to the efficient sales management, our customers particularly like the optimization of the synergy potential in the service provided to brokers, the seamless broker advisory service, the enhanced support for brokers, the say in the road map, and our experience with and passion for product development. We love a good solution that benefits everyone and is liked by its users!