~ Mark Rodgers, Owner and Agent at Trailstone Insurance
“We understood that if we got our [knowledge that was] scattered all over Google Drive and Dropbox into Trainual, we could document processes. And [those processes] could then be duplicated much easier.”
As an independent agency, Trailstone Insurance connects its clients to the best insurance companies. They operate across several states, including Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and Idaho. And they’re endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey for putting client needs before insurance carriers.
Mark Rodgers is the owner and main agent at Trailstone. And he says to grow the business, he consistently has to onboard new agents and effectively communicate the protocol.
“Because we operate remotely across 4 states, we really need to have processes identified and then followed,” Mark explained.
In the early days, the agency was manually onboarding agents. And they were using Google Drive and Dropbox to manage their company’s knowledge. But Mark quickly realized that this approach wasn’t effective or efficient if he wanted to scale his business.
Docs were disappearing
According to Mark, the biggest problem with Google Drive and Dropbox was disappearing documents. Because there was no way to limit user access, documents kept getting modified and often completely disappeared.
“Those tools have no admin or dashboard, where you can go in and say this person is a contributor, admin, or just a user,” Mark shared. “And if we weren’t paying close attention, all of a sudden, things would disappear.”
This was obviously an issue for keeping processes consistent and supporting his agents. So, Mark and his operations team came up with a temporary solution. They decided to make a duplicate folder to house (and protect) master copies.
“We’d make changes in the backup first, and then we’d update the published one in Drive and Dropbox,” Mark told us. But it turned out that saving two copies of everything – and keeping track of what or when something was modified – ate up a lot of extra time.
Mark needed a better solution. But he wasn’t sure where to find it.
The user-friendly tool
It wasn’t until Mark started researching knowledge management systems that he discovered Trainual. “It seemed pretty simple to start putting stuff in, so I signed up and started uploading [my existing documentation].”
Soon after, Mark began migrating the knowledge from Drive and Dropbox into Trainual. And thinking back, he noted how surprisingly easy it was. “I just had to copy and paste, make it look like a document, and hit publish.”
Because Trailstone agents work remotely (and may have questions at any hour of the day), Trainual stood out among knowledge management systems because it was searchable. And Mark saw how it could support his agents by providing easier access to processes and systems.
So, he took advantage of Trainual’s quick-embed videos and started recording the processes that most agents eventually run into questions about.
“Using Loom or RingCentral Meeting, I’d record a 2- or 3-minute video,” Mark explained. “Then, I’d upload it to Trainual under the [relevant] subject.” Now, his agents can see precisely how to execute each process.
Before Trainual, employees were lucky to find an unmodified process in Drive or Dropbox. And sometimes (when agents accidentally deleted items), they couldn’t find documentation at all! But now, agents can easily search and find whatever answer they’re looking for with a few keystrokes.
“Anytime [agents] want to know how to do something, they can search for it on Trainual.”
Marks says having the searchable SOPs on Trainual ensures consistency. And that helps drive sustainable growth across states and within the business!
Best part? Only employees who are managers, admin, or subject owners can edit content in Trainual. So, the company’s documentation is now always where it’s supposed to be, and there are no more surprise edits.
Once Mark finished documenting the company’s knowledge in Trainual, he started using the platform to onboard new employees. “When [agents] first come on board, they’re typically in Trainual every day for the first 30 to 90 days,” he explained.
A year and a half later, Mark has nearly doubled his team by bringing on 15 new employees. And a majority of them are agents, who are a key piece to growing the agency.
“[Trainual] has absolutely helped us to grow, especially [when it comes to onboarding] brand new agents,” Mark shared. Plus, he’s happy to see that agents are ramping up faster than ever before.
According to Mark, it used to take several days to train employees on Trailstone’s tech stack (which includes 18 different tools). But now, they’ve slashed that time in half.
“Before, it took 3 to 5 days. With Trainual, it takes one and a half days at the most!”
Since the onboarding is now self-guided and self-sufficient, Mark and his ops team no longer babysit new employees. “Trainual has been a time saver for my operations team and me.” Because now, new hires get themselves up to speed. And my ops team can use the newly freed-up time to focus on bigger issues instead.
Looking forward, Mark says he’s excited to continue growing his team (and his business) with Trainual. He plans to onboard 25 more agents in the next 15 months, plus a sales director. A growth plan that wouldn’t have been possible without Trainual.