Residential Magazine

Get the Best Bang From Your Tech Buck

Take these steps to encourage widespread adoption of new systems

By Mike Gulitz

Technology will revolutionize your mortgage business but only if you use it. Adoption of new software by the people doing the front-line work at a company is one of the biggest roadblocks to successfully leveraging technology.

Although customer relationship management (CRM) systems have been widely implemented, many salespeople don’t use this tool. Only 47% of surveyed businesses reported a CRM adoption rate of at least 90%, according to CSO Insights, an independent research arm of the Miller Heiman Group. Many salespeople only use some of the features included in their CRM. 

Whether you’re interested in implementing a new CRM, a loan origination system (LOS), a point of sale (POS) system or any other new software system, the stats regarding adoption are similarly dismal. Without complete user adoption, not only will you be wasting the money invested, you’ll also be missing out on the potential return on investment that a powerful software tool can bring to your business. 

Everyone from the decisionmakers at a mortgage company to the just-in-the-door originator needs to understand this. This is how you can successfully integrate new technology into your business. 

Research extensively

Asking the proper questions and preparing for your upcoming software purchase will lay the groundwork for a great experience. The first step to a successful technology adoption is choosing the right technology, but that decision may not come immediately. 

Do your research to determine what your company needs. Does your team need a more robust marketing solution? Is your current loan pipeline management process out of date? Does your company require better communication in order to grow? Software does not solve a company’s problems, but it can bridge the gap between current processes and future goals. Spend time talking to everyone involved and tracking the faults in your current system. 

It can be easy to think that adding another piece to your software stack is the right thing to do, even if you can’t say exactly why. Purchasing technology is a big decision that requires time, resources and employee buy-in. Because of this, you shouldn’t purchase software simply to check a box on your business plan. 

It may seem like a given, but just like any business purchase, buying software requires a budget. It can be difficult to set a price range if you’ve never been through the technology purchase process before, so this is another chance to do your research. 

Request pricing for the different systems you are considering. Talk to others in the industry and ask for a ballpark figure of what they spent. Discuss with your company’s decisionmakers what you can afford to spend and how to best deploy these resources. For instance, would monthly, quarterly or annual payments best fit your needs? How many user licenses will you need to buy? What are the setup fees or other costs involved? 

Commit companywide

Choosing the right software for your company isn’t just about the best technology. You are aligning yourself with a partner, so it’s important to consider their values carefully. The integrity of your vendors and partners is just as important as the quality of their technology. 

Once you’ve decided on a software partner, it’s time to choose your champion. This team member is extremely committed to companywide adoption and is knowledgeable about the software’s deployment. Choosing a dedicated team member to drive adoption internally will ultimately increase your return on investment. 

Don’t think that the work is done after signing a contract. That’s just the wedding ― the real work happens on both sides afterward. After all, software adoption is not a passive activity. You, your team and your partners have to show up and work. 

The first step to successful software adoption is committing to companywide usage. Although your adoption rates may never reach 100%, making adoption mandatory is critical to success. Adoption will be directly related to your level of commitment. If you are 100% committed, your adoption rates will be the same. If you’re not committed and you make usage optional, you can expect low to no adoption and thus no return on investment. 

Commitment from leadership plays a substantial role in top-down adoption. The most successful tech integrations occur when the organization commits at the C-suite level, with each department then integrating the technology into their culture, processes and ongoing conversations. 

Expect complications

Establish a plan that will cultivate consistency and continuity throughout your organization. If you have 100 mortgage originators, you don’t want 100 different processes for using your new technology. Set the guidelines before the full rollout and be clear about the expectations. During implementation, enforce your plan and follow up promptly on any early discrepancies in software use. 

With proper education, not only will your team know what the technology is capable of, they will have the knowledge to leverage these capabilities. Training also will highlight some critical factors that will increase user adoption, such as how the software will benefit the individual employee. You won’t have to fight your employees to use a new software platform if they learn that the technology will help them advance in their career, make their job easier or improve their efficiency.

The months directly after a tech rollout are often the most focused, but your adoption strategy should extend past the three-, six- or nine-month mark. After all, the true results and lasting implementation habits only occur once a considerable amount of time has passed.

Although your plan should be enforced and fairly strict, your company needs to be constantly reviewing and updating it as you move through the process. Great implementations are not based on a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. Instead, the most successful leadership teams are constantly reviewing and improving processes.

Failures and problems aren’t just a possibility when adopting new software ― they are a guarantee. In fact, if you’re not experiencing failure, you’re not improving systems. Because of this, you should focus on encouraging your team to learn and change from failures, instead of seeing these setbacks as a reason to stop using the new system.

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Follow these steps and your company will be well on its way to widespread adoption of your software, which is a huge step up in today’s technology-driven society. With successful user adoption comes strong return on investment, so get ready to start seeing the payoff in your company’s numbers. ●


  • Mike Gulitz

    Mike Gulitz is founder and CEO of Jungo, the developers of the mortgage industry’s first tier-one customer relationship management (CRM) application. His years of industry experience and professional mission to change the way business people work led him to creating high-performance, cloud-based CRM applications. Jungo offers a best-in-class marketing and CRM solution designed for mortgage and real estate professionals.

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