The Evolution Of The CRM In Lending

Articles/Blog | July 1, 2021

It’s essential now more than ever to figure out how to create customers for life. What do lenders need to do to make that a reality?  Before we get there, let’s take people through the journey of what was the primary purpose of a CRM when it was first introduced to the mortgage industry years ago?

If you think about the first CRM it was a Rolodex, it was a card.  Then it turned into an electronic card on a computer.  People thought it was great technology. They would send you a reminder, “Josh, don’t forget to call Bill.” And unfortunately, there’s still a lot of systems out there that haven’t evolved much past that.

The next area in customer relationship management that lenders started to address was lead management.  I was working at IndyMac Bank; it was called Loanworks at the time. Loanworks was the first consumer-direct call center, and we were getting leads from Intuit or Quicken before there was a Quicken loan. They started selling leads. We’d print up all these leads, and we would hand out stacks of paper.

“Harry, go grab your ten pieces of paper, grab your ten pieces of paper,” and just kind of really quickly, “Well, wait a minute. That’s not that effective.”  What’s happening with those? Who knows what’s going on with those 10? Then I went inside my first mortgage company in 2003, and I had the same thing.

Every time a lead came in from my lead provider, I printed it, I’d hand it to the loan officer.

Eventually I put it in a spreadsheet. I tracked conversions, and I updated everything. Three times a day, I would walk by every loan officer’s desk look at their clipboard to make sure they called every one of their leads.  And if they hadn’t contacted their leads, I could take it out and put it in an open Q, open pool, and anyone else could come and grab that piece of paper and start calling on it.

Eventually it turned into building my own software because just as time went on, it became more and more evident that you have to manage these customer’s interactions, the rate of transactions, how many loans each one of these customers can represent, or how much your reach is now extended.

If you don’t call a lead right away, you’re in trouble.  And then how many times are you going to call a lead? Lenders out there don’t understand they need a system that can actually automatically distribute a lead, make a phone call, if it doesn’t get called, report and track the lead , and give it to someone else to call, then automate messaging around that. If you’re going to get more business, lenders have to automate lead management.

The next evolution came with email marketing, which some have extended into marketing automation.  The engagement channels of how you interact with people are very different today. 

People want to do business with people and brands they trust. When you see someone in the marketplace over and over again, guess what? It seems like you trust them because there’s something, why, they’re still here, they must be doing something right. The key is to reach people where they’re at, whether they’re on social media, whether it’s through email, whether it’s direct mail, or whether it’s tied to their lead management, and they can pick up the phone. Therefore, lenders are quickly realizing that they need more than just an email system.

In addition, lenders don’t often know what to send, and they don’t know when to send it. When I was a lender, even though I like to say I was very good at marketing and very systematic, we didn’t have nearly the amount of outreach to our past customers, referral partners or prospects.  And the reason was it’s a lot of work to know what to send, when to send, who to send it to, especially, if you want to do something relevant.

It’s not just an email that says, “We do great purchases and refinances VA loans and FHA loans, and we’re your lender for whatever you need.” That’s not engaging a customer because that doesn’t speak to them.

It starts with having data. Something of value that borrowers want to look at.  Something about the value of their home. Something about the value of the houses in the neighborhood.

So that’s going to engage customers. And then it’s, what’s the frequency of what lenders send to people? How often do they send them to people? What’s the message? And then how do you manage consistent messages across all platforms?

How do you have a Facebook ad that resonates with the same email ad, that resonates with the same text message, which resonates with the same sales pitch that your loan officer gave?

Having all these channels now that interact is critical. And the challenge is that there are many decision trees, there are many touchpoints, and for lenders to sit there and go through it’s a costly process.  It’s challenging work. So having that pre-built content and strategy within your platform puts you on top of your competitors quickly because now you’re communicating to your customers at a rate that your competitors aren’t. So, there’s enormous value in being able to use a mortgage specific content library that’s already been created.

One of the essential things that we have to realize is that some systems have just stuck with what they do during this evolution.  We’re a CRM, we’re marketing automation, we’re an email platform, but really where things are evolving is it’s combining all of these into one platform that is going to be able to have the most significant impact for lenders.   

A CRM doesn’t handle all those functions. It doesn’t coordinate all that. So, lenders need a platform that can manage all of that.

The whole evolution of a CRM is to a Customer Experience Platform (CEP). Today’s modern CEP should deliver CRM & Lead Management, Sales Enablement, Engagement, a Robust Content Library, and Data Intelligence all in one comprehensive platform.

The solution should seamlessly fit into your tech stack and allow you to communicate through multiple channels: text, social media, email, Direct mail, phone, ringless voicemail, and retargeting.  Providing you with the ability to give your customers and referral partners timely, relevant information based off of data intelligence to build repeatable outcomes at each stage of the customer’s journey.  This will allow lenders to, Close More Business, Improve Conversions and Enhance Retention.

Lenders need a comprehensive platform that’s going to route a lead-based off of state licensing and availability of loan officers. When a lead comes in you either have to find out whom it belongs to, the original loan officer, or if no one’s available, the original loan officer is not there, you have to distribute that lead, send it to someone, alert them, and automate phone call.  That’s the power of one platform that can handle all of this outreach.

In addition, the CEP needs to provide a robust mobile application, not just a web application. Lenders need a dynamic mobile application to access their information to become more valuable.

Lenders, I can tell you if you want to get higher user adoption from your technology, it starts with a dynamic mobile app, you’re going to get a lot more adoption amongst your loan officers because they will instant access to their borrower and referral partner data.

Many of these outdated systems that claim to be experts in engagement say that you can text, but you can only text from their desktop system. Well, who the hell, if I’m a loan officer is texting from their desktop?  They’re not. If they can’t do it from their cell phone compliantly , if they can’t do it from their tablet when they’re at their kid’s soccer game, or running to the store, or doing something, they’re not responsive, and at the end of the day, your loan officer loses if they can’t compliantly respond quickly to any of these borrowers inquires.

It’s the most effective form of communication, but if they can’t access it, how can it be effective.

It’s not easy to be a lender these days. Margins are down, rates are fluctuating, and new competition is right around the corner. Acquiring a customer is getting more costly, and keeping a customer engaged is key. As a lender, how you engage prospective borrowers can determine your success in today’s digital mortgage environment.

Grow Your Business, Nurture Every Opportunity to The Close and Beyond

Transform your customer’s journey by serving up relevant, timely, content through multiple channels to maximize engagement.  Partner with Insellerate to transform the customer journey from transaction to relationship with the industry most innovative Customer Experience Platform.

Insellerate is a highly scalable, configurable, and modern CEP platform that accelerates the sales process and generates repeat business.  Built by mortgage professionals, the Insellerate platform has full CRM functionality with built-in lead management , sales enablement, a robust content library and data intelligence with automated marketing. Lenders can improve the borrower, loan officer and referral partner experience with multi-channel communication, leveraging tools such as phone, SMS text messaging, email, direct mail, and retargeting.

The Insellerate Customer Experience Platform CEP draws new prospects, boosts customer loyalty, and helps you grow revenue.

Josh Friend

Josh Friend began his career as a loan officer and soon moved on to open six mortgage call centers. Over the past 21 years, he has grown to manage and train thousands of loan officers, processors, and marketing managers. That experience has helped him market to millions of consumers,  with that experience he has dedicated himself to building software for the mortgage industry since 2004.  With a keen eye for developing best-in-class sales processes, he leveraged automation & engagement software to build a better loan cycle. Combining the best from both a CRM and lead management system, Josh now enables lenders to achieve higher revenue goals with Insellerate’s award-winning CRM & Engagement Platform.


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