TPA Best Practices #3: Selecting technology partners

The Importance of Technology Partners

Choosing a technology partner is increasingly becoming a more critical strategic decision for TPAs. In Accenture’s Technology Vision for Insurance 2017, 76% of respondents agreethat “competitive advantage will not be determined by their organization alone, but by the strength of the partners and ecosystems they choose.” Identifying technology solutions that support the company mission and differentiate your organization from the competition is an important part of developing an effective business strategy.

Utilizing “The One Number You Need to Grow”

In a 2003 Harvard Business Review article titled The One Number You Need to Grow, Frederick Reichheld at Bain & Company introduced the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS measures the percentage of customers that would recommend a company’s services to others. It also appears to be a primary indicator of growth. Reichheld stated, “Remarkably, this one simple statistic seemed to explain the relative growth rates across the entire industry.” TPAs can use this metric to identify technology partners that deliver superior levels of service and are on a growth path.

Bill Macatis, CMO of Slack and former CMO of Zendesk, pointed out the NPS gap between the top tier of software providers and the rest. “Best in class companies achieve a score of 70 on a scale of 100, but according to Zendesk data, the typical B2B software company achieves only 29. NPS is a leading indicator of future growth.” The 2016 Advisen Review compared NPS scores across RMIS solution providers. With an NPS score of 93, more than triple the nearest competitor, Origami Risk not only outpaced all peers, but achieved a score that tops renown brands such as Apple (89), Starbucks (77), and Amazon (61). Including NPS scores when selecting technology partners can help identify best in class vendors with the most potential for long-term growth.

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Employing Technology During the Sales Cycle

Technology partners directly affect how TPAs compete and grow their business. The ability to effectively demo customer-facing technology is another key differentiator. Research shows that most buyers want this to happen much earlier in the sales process than most organizations expect. In the 2016 study “Buyers Speak Out: How Sales Needs To Evolve”,  HubSpot published data that showed that most businesses are giving demos at the wrong time. “Often sales organizations peg the demo as the final closing action. Our data shows that a third of buyers want the opportunity to see a product in action very early on. They want a very tangible understanding of what they’re potentially buying, and they want it right away.” To move up the demo process to early in the sales cycle requires a highly adaptable infrastructure.

Origami Risk and Claimwire (an Origami Risk company) provide TPAs with the flexibility to customize a demo quickly. In a recently published case study, Emily Kephart, Claims Operations Manager for Athens Administrators, spoke about the need for clients to see the system first hand. “We wanted to make it easier for our sales team to demo and show prospective clients, ‘This is how easy it is to enter a claim.’” Athens was able to quickly configure Claimwire to match the specific needs of each prospect. “As a TPA, we know that what clients want is personalized service… We’re always looking for ways to make our service unique.“ Both Origami Risk and Claimwire allow TPAs to quickly tailor the system for a demo and let potential customers see for themselves how their specific challenges are solved.

Moving to Best-in-Class

Technology partners are critical components for TPAs looking for a strategic edge. Metrics such as the NPS scores found in the Advisen Review can help identify those partners offering best in class service and those most likely to be on a growth curve. Additionally, high performing TPAs need to be able to offer customized demos earlier in the sales cycle, when buyers prefer them. With these strategies, the technology ecosystem that high performing TPAs choose can become a competitive advantage.

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