Residential Magazine

Tilt the Game in Your Favor

Traditional CRMs may offer bells and whistles but often fail to engage both clients and originators

By Dan Harrington

We’ve all spent money on a fancy new kitchen gadget or state-of-the-art app, only to have it wind up unused and forgotten. Despite all their bells, whistles and promises of ease and efficiency, it’s usually not worth our time to figure out how to use overly complicated products. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that don’t meet a mortgage originator’s needs and fail to clearly show a return on investment are no different.

As any mortgage professional knows, relationships are foundational to this business. The key to building long-lasting relationships — and generating valuable referral-based leads and repeat business — is through consistent, thoughtful and personalized engagement with the client. Although this industry is essentially about sales, that doesn’t mean a generic sales-based CRM platform is a good fit.

On average, one-third of all CRM projects fail, according to a 2017 CIO Magazine report. Business consultant Scott Edinger noted in Harvard Business Review that among his clients, “the failure rate is closer to 90%.”

To get a mortgage originator’s buy-in and engagement, a CRM platform must be super easy to use and automate whenever possible. If the system doesn’t make it blindingly evident to originators what’s in it for them, the system stands a strong chance of failure.

Mortgage originators need to immediately see and understand the value of a platform in order to use it consistently. And they’re wondering one thing: How will this tech help me close more loans without using up a bunch of time I don’t have?

Industry professionals, however, are starting to understand the value of a new model in automated marketing, one that’s more authentic and data intelligence-powered. By fostering strong, engagement-focused relationships that can weather market turbulence and provide clear, immediate value to salespeople, these newer platforms deliver results where generic, corporate-focused CRMs fall short.

Mortgage originators need to immediately see and understand the value of a platform in order to use it consistently.

Practical needs

Early CRM platforms were designed to collect data in the field, provide information upstream and help C-level executives make decisions. These tools weren’t built to make life easier for the people who actually interface with clients.

CRMs that don’t cater to the practical daily needs of originators and allow them to capitalize on the valuable client data they compile are a waste of time and money. In fact, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Administrative work becomes more significant when you consider that, on average, reps spend only 11% of their time actively selling.”

The only clear benefit to many CRMs is for corporative initiatives. So, they don’t ring true to the originators who burn through valuable selling time to help the corporation reach goals they view as dubious at best. Today’s new platforms need to address more than the needs of the buyer or the outside client: They need to engage audiences up and down the food chain, from sales executives and marketing professionals to compliance experts and originators.

Proven success

New platforms need to employ a two-pronged approach: engaging both salespeople and their clients. When originators tap into the power of these new platforms, the dividends grow quickly for both the individual user and the sales team as a whole, thanks to intuitive formats and data intelligence that build on proven successes.

Because everyone approaches technology tools differently, providing multiple formats that are easy to understand and access facilitates team engagement throughout the organization. These formats may include mobile-device systems, providing one-touch access to making calls or texts, and “brand-true, compliance-approved” automated marketing campaigns.

These platforms also should elevate the ability of the whole team to succeed by looking to top producers for successful habits, then duplicate them for other team members using technology that automates the process. This also means that the database is utilized more thoroughly and efficiently to increase client satisfaction throughout their life cycle (lead, prospect, loan in process, customer for life).

Personalized marketing

The best platforms supply customized, automated content that speaks to clients’ needs: Where are they in the purchasing process? Are they a cold lead or a prospect? They need information that will keep them engaged at every stage, from their initial inquiry to their closing date. Each client has different needs and pain points, and having more data intelligence (where they live, whether they’re a first-time homebuyer, an investor or someone refinancing, etc.) facilitates more customized and localized messaging.

Clients respond to personalized content marketing that keeps them informed and is relatable to friends and family, be it refinancing, home maintenance or local real estate market news. This is a conversation that comes up frequently among past clients and their personal network when life gets complicated — anything from a sibling going through a divorce and looking to buy their own home, to a co-worker with a growing family due to elder care or a new baby, to an old friend reestablishing their credit and finances after a medical hardship.

These are perfect opportunities for a past client to forward a platform-generated e-mail newsletter or share a postcard they recently received from their mortgage lender. Because word of mouth is the holy grail of this business, modern platforms are designed to engage customers for life.

Reaching out twice a year isn’t enough to maintain a relationship. Salespeople need automated marketing software that helps them stay on a client’s radar with recognition of birthdays, loan anniversaries, reminders of local market updates, community events and other useful information. Nurturing these past client relationships is invaluable but can be immensely time-consuming and difficult to track, which is why salespeople need platforms driven by data intelligence that enable them to automatically follow up, maintain contact and provide ongoing value.

Salespeople need to be engaged as well. The benefits of giving mortgage professionals tools that simplify their lives are well documented.

Long game

Because the majority of all mortgage transactions come from repeat and referral business, keeping clients engaged is absolutely essential. Whereas traditional CRMs may let former clients go after a year, newer ones never stop talking to them. The long game is what matters here, as well as speaking to clients about their needs and avoiding self-promotion.

Salespeople need to be engaged as well. The benefits of giving mortgage professionals tools that simplify their lives are well documented. Happy, more productive employees result in less turnover. Platforms that deliver value can increase staff retention rates and reduce churn. So, any business looking to retain talent needs to think ahead about providing salespeople with intuitive, actionable solutions that streamline their workflow and make it easier to maintain relationships.

Losing touch with a client’s needs is costly. When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 as interim CEO, Apple was working on more than 350 different products filled with bells and whistles, yet was struggling to keep any edge on its competition and was operating in the red. He halted production and directed all of Apple’s energy into creating 10 products designed to be so accessible and intuitive that they require no training whatsoever to use and enjoy (just ask the 6-year-old next to you as she busily works away on her iPad). Apple’s about-face illustrates the power of streamlined tech — and the same applies to an easy-to-use CRM platform’s ability to engage salespeople and facilitate their success.

• • •

Maintaining client relationships while trying to build your business is no easy feat. Modern mortgage professionals require frictionless, user-friendly tools that enhance sales. And new-school platforms designed specifically for the mortgage industry take the drudgery and headache out of engaging the client network. The right technology not only simplifies day-to-day life, it helps users and management strengthen relationships that can yield benefits for years to come


  • Dan Harrington

    Dan Harrington is CEO and co-founder of Usherpa, a customer relationship management-relationship engagement platform that empowers mortgage lending and real estate professionals with intuitive automated marketing, engagement tools and customized content. He has more than 25 years of experience in integrated fintech relationship management, developing state-of-the-art CRM platforms combined with automated content marketing services.

You might also like...