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Our Winning Formula: Integrating Through Coaching and Collaboration

Fast-growing partnership network Keystone Agency Partners has a unique approach to developing sustainable growth strategies with new agency partners. Learn about the approach from KAP's vice president of integration.
Sponsored by Keystone Agency Partners
our winning formula: integrating through coaching and collaboration

Keystone Agency Partners has built a partnership model around the reality that “you can't truly understand a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes." As vice president of integration and the former owner of an award-winning agency for more than a decade, I have been in our partners' positions and know the hard work they have put in to get to where they are. I also know the passion and commitment needed to reach that next level of success. I am honored to work with our insurance agency owners in varying degrees to help them achieve this every day.

Coaching and Collaboration

KAP's partnership approach weds coaching and collaboration as the cornerstones of our new agency relationships. I view the concept of integration as an opportunity to partner with agency leadership to understand their objectives and deepest challenges and work with them to develop strategies that will position the agency for the next phase of growth.

Be it through leadership development, succession planning, organizational structure, offerings to market, acquisitions strategy—or some combination of these strategies—my role is to unearth the possible post-acquisition and set a roadmap for the future in collaboration with agency leadership and the powerful resources we have available at Keystone Agency Partners.

In my everyday interactions with agency leadership, I support our company's vision of “connected autonomy," wherein we expect our agency leaders to maintain their identity and growth objectives, bolstered by the capital investment and consultative resources that a partnership with us offers them.

Every agency is unique, so I spend time getting to know them, uncovering their pain points and identifying opportunities so I can provide a level of support that will build on their objectives and allow them to own the outcome.

As our CEO Jeff Turner wrote in his recent post: “We are not the owners of our partners' vision, their future or their drive. Instead, we provide whatever we can to engage their entrepreneurial spirit and support their desire to be even better than they currently are."

My interactions with agency leadership allow these manifestations to come to be and chart the future growth of our agency partners.

Helping our partners chart their course to even greater success starts on Day 1 post-close, but our connection pre-close is critical too. Our initial interactions during the due diligence process help to lay the groundwork in relationship trust that remains critical to our future success.

During the first weeks and months of our partnership, we embark on an exciting journey. This journey is tailored to each partner's needs, but the bedrock components always include three things:

1) Transparent communications. For owners, selling their firm is akin to selling a part of themselves. It represents much of the hopes and dreams they have realized over many years. Those emotions can run deep and should not be minimized. Agencies are very much like families and those cultures are what has driven—and should continue to propel—their success.

Through open and honest conversations, we work with our partners' leadership teams to assure them that through the acquisition process with Keystone Agency Partners, we will keep those cultural elements intact and employ them throughout their growth strategies. Transparent communications start before close, so we can truly assess the level of fit in our three-pronged approach of acquisition: autonomy, financial security and consultative services.

2) Open collaboration. Through a series of town hall meetings, one-on-one meetings and a two-day strategy session, our post-close integration process begins with a bang by ensuring everyone is on the same page and working together toward a shared goal. Our partner agencies are typically fired up following the transaction close and want to hit the ground running with their new goals, resources and strategies.

We only partner with agencies that have that fire in their bellies to make a great organization even better. The close serves as our first opportunity to begin to realize our collective and full potential. These initial meetings are fun and allow us all to dream big in a realistic way, adding more excitement to the potential for growth by adding a framework that will guide the agency to further success. 

3) Active engagement and coaching. Our support continues and, in some respects, ramps up after the two-day strategy session. From that session, a strategic course is developed. We then support the execution of that strategy with mentorship and monthly training sessions that can span a host of topics in the distinct disciplines that the bench of talent at Keystone Agency Partners provides to our partner agencies.

We tailor our partnership to the offerings needed for that agency to excel and do not bog them down with unnecessary components. We help to streamline backend efficiencies and free time and headspace for growth-oriented topics. We believe personal and professional growth are the keys to firm growth and we encourage all aspects our partners' development.

My innate ability to connect with our agency partners and understand their motives and aspirations drives me to the work I do collaboratively on behalf of Keystone Agency Partners. We are very proud of the results our partners have produced so far and look forward to also sharing their best practices and approaches here in the future. We believe a core reason for our success is the rigor of our integration process and the teamwork it elicits.

If you are an agency owner looking to grow your agency, we would love to talk with you about your goals and how KAP can help you reach them. Contact us to set up an introduction.

Bethany Snyder is vice president of operations & integration, Keystone Agency Partners.

Learn more at the Keystone Agency Partners website and connect on LinkedIn.

Our Winning Formula: Integrating Through Coaching and Collaboration

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Monday, March 14, 2022
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