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So. You’ve been tasked with finding new mortgage marketing tools for your team. And not just any marketing tool for any kind of company. You need to find the very best CRM for mortgage brokers and bankers.
And you need it fast. Why so quickly? Because you know in today’s environment, the right CRM will not only help you manage your data base but will also give you a competitive edge in the market.
Like most of us planning any kind of purchase—whether for a new car, updated kitchen appliances or any random gadget we may need to buy—you probably started with Google. And typing in any variation of “best CRM for mortgage brokers” and “top mortgage CRM” brought only more confusion. All of the mortgage CRMs out there look like they have a lot to offer. How do you determine which will match your company’s particular way of doing business?
We’re here to help. Based on almost two decades of helping clients adopt and manage mortgage marketing tools, Top of Mind team members have gathered the basic steps we see companies taking when adopting not just any mortgage software, but THE mortgage CRM software that will bring them more borrowers, more referral partners, more LOs and, ultimately, more profit.
New First Step: Consider why you want mortgage CRM software.
It’s time to back away from the Google search. If it helped you find this article, it’s accomplished its purpose for now.
Instead, start making a list. What results is your company expecting from your new system? Do you expect to see more closings? Are you consolidating systems for easier use and better cost efficiency? Do you need to enforce new compliance laws? Will it be easier to attract more loan officers to your company? Will you free up time with set-it-and-forget-it marketing and better, integrated data management? Will it enable you to capture leads and respond instantly? Will you increase repeat business by better identifying refinance opportunities?
Your list should include your overall goals—the optimal outcomes your company will experience with implementation of a new mortgage CRM.
Second Step: Take close look at your business.
At this point, you’ll want to look in your company’s metaphorical mirror.
Think about your customer’s typical life cycle, from the time they find you (through social media? an agent referral? online search? email campaign?) through their first closing, onto subsequent closings. How is your team currently bringing them in and supporting them through each stage? Write down the stages and your efforts at each, then assign a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
Now, think beyond the outbound communication the customer sees to the behind-the-scenes scrambling—database management, content development, recruiting of new LOs, relationship building with real estate agents. How is your company currently performing in these areas? Write them down and assign a score.
Where does your company excel, and where are you struggling? The best mortgage CRM for your organization will help you support the strong areas while transforming the background scramble into a quiet hum. Your business will not only operate more smoothly, but it will also have room to grow.
Third Step: Think about goals for roles.
When shopping for your mortgage CRM, consider different roles in your company and how each will use and judge your new platform. Here are some common roles and the CRM features that will be important to them for selection, adoption and continued use:
- Proven results (ROI for time, money, effort)
- Enhanced team performance (time management and closed loans)
- Across the company appeal (not just LOs)
- Risk management against compliance in different parts of the U.S.
- Top producer booster
- Strong LO recruitment tool/attraction
- Flexible billing solutions
- Replacement for extra services/software/lead generation tools (cost and management savings)
- Set-it-and-forget-it automation
- Multi-channel marketing (text, phone, email, web, mobile, social, print)
- Measurable results (click through rates, open rates, Google analytics, etc.)
- Out-of-the-box solutions that respect company colors and branding
- Tools for creating custom marketing content
- Ability to migrate current content library into new CRM system
- Unique, fresh and timely mortgage industry content
- Targeted messaging for different audiences (leads, in-process borrowers, past clients, referral partners)
- Targeted messaging for different life cycle stages (prospective purchasers, prospective refi clients, in-process borrowers, post-close clients)
- Ability to control and monitor usage and outgoing messages
- Enhancements for other marketing portals (e.g., embeddable calculators for website)
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- Access to compliance-related reporting
- Set-it-and-forget-it licensing information added to marketing material automatically
- Opt-out capabilities to meet CAN-SPAM, DNC and TCPA compliance (related to emailing, calling and text messaging)
- Value sharing with cobrand partners to address RESPA requirements
- Approval capabilities to assure compliance in all communications
- System integration capability
- Clear system integration roadmap
- Secure data transfer
- SOC2 compliance and auditing
- Ease of use
- Ease of use
- Reminders of important client-related check-ins, such as birthdays or loan anniversaries
- Alerts for refi or other opportunities
- Mobile functionality
- Automatic and immediate responses to leads
- Set-it-and-forget marketing functionality
- Opportunities to build relationships with referral partners, such as cobranding or single property site creation
- Ability to notate and respect client preferences (e.g., call, text or email)
Other Users (Sales Managers, Support Team Members):
- Ease of use
- Single sign-in for multiple tasks
- Integration with other systems to prevent duplication of data entry (e.g. LOS, lead generators)
- High level of support and training
Think about other roles in your company. Will they be involved with the implementation of a new system? How will it affect them? What will be important? Add those roles and any other considerations to your list.
As you consider different roles, identify individuals who can help with your search. Go to them with questions along the way.
Fourth Step: Map your tech stack.
We’re already at the 4th step, and you’re still thinking about your company. Trust us, we’ll start looking at different providers soon. Now, take a moment to document your existing tech stack. Write down services and integrations you are currently using. This list will come in handy when you’re evaluating mortgage software systems because you can think about how the new system will work with those you want to keep, how it might enhance those that could work better, and how it might replace others.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Current CRM system
- LOS - Loan Origination System
- Lead capture
- Lead purchases
- Online calculators
- Content development and management
- Marketing system
- Flyer production
- Website tools (including single property flyers)
- Rate feeds
- Document collection and storage
Next to each service you’re already using, place a check or an x to note whether it’s currently meeting the needs you’ve identified for your company. Write your preference of what you’d like to or be willing to do–replace with the new system, integrate/feed into the new system, maintain separately.
Fifth Step: Consider Mortgage CRMs in general.
CRM software for mortgage brokers can help in the following areas (at least). Against the backdrop of what you’ve discovered about your company in the previous steps, consider each of these areas for your company and rank them in importance:
- Lead Generation and Tracking
- Database Management
- Mortgage Pipeline Management
- Compliance Awareness/Auditing Support
- Opportunity Alerts (refi opportunities, for example)
- Task and Calendar Management
- Automated Marketing for Prospects, In Process Borrowers, Post Close Clients, and Referral Partners
- Content Development
- Multi-Channel Marketing (e.g. text, phone, email, web, social, print)
- Real Estate Agent Partner Marketing Support
Sixth Step: Finally! Resume your search!
Based on your new understanding of what the best mortgage CRMs provide and your company’s needs and priorities, take another look at providers. Remember to stop by Top of Mind (link to www.topofmind.com). STRATMOR Group has named our Surefire CRM the #1 Most Used Mortgage CRM for two years running.
Don’t be shy about talking to vendors. Hop on some demos. Sales teams welcome your questions and the opportunity to talk with you, and they won’t have their feelings hurt if they’re not the right fit in the end.
As part of your process schedule at least three to five discovery calls. This is where the vendor’s team talks with your key staff members about your priorities. During this call and as part of their follow up, vendors will provide specific recommendations about how their product will work for you.
Two things to look for here: honesty—no CRM can be everything to everyone, and vendors should be upfront about any shortcomings related to your goals—and a focus on your needs. If the vendor is more interested in showing off their features than in talking about how their system can work for your company specifically, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Gather your team with representatives of each of the roles you identified earlier. Your success in selecting the right CRM platform for your business will depend their cooperation in adopting it. You’ll want them to be part of the decision making.
Review the notes you made in the first several steps of this process, including the preferences for your existing tech stack and your priority rankings for CRM functions. Rank the CRMs you’re considering based on those priorities. Determine which CRM can meet the most important needs for each of the roles you identified.
Beyond the mortgage CRM’s functionality, here are a few key considerations.
- What is the vendor’s experience, both overall and in the mortgage industry? You’ll want a vendor with enough years under their belt to help you avoid common “rookie” mistakes, like sending emails at 1 a.m. And you’ll also want someone who’s knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the mortgage business. A successful vendor should already have hundreds of mortgage customers so you can benefit from their learning curve, not be subject to it.
- Can the vendor share blueprints for success using their system? Talk with them about their clients of similar size and the most impactful actions you can take through the system. Again, you can take advantage of someone else’s experience so your marketing and communication will be top-notch out of the gate. You don’t want to waste time or resources on unproven strategies.
- What’s the typical timeframe for implementation? Establish expectations for going live. What commitment will the vendor make to meeting those goals (in terms of staff and training resources)? What sort of commitment will it take from you to go live on time?
- How much will this cost? Consider set-up fees, ongoing costs and add-on expenditures. Is a multi-year agreement required? Under what circumstances can LOs be billed separately? Allow the vendor to talk with you about areas where you can save and about measuring the return on your investment.
- What commitment will your company need to make in the start-up and ongoing maintenance of the system? Can current staff members realistically handle the load? If not, does the CRM offer options for assistance or will you need to hire someone?
- What type of training and support does the vendor provide? Will this meet your staff members’ needs and expectations?
- Does the CRM meet your needs for branding? Is the style of content something that represents your style? Or can it be edited to match your corporate voice?
- Is there enough marketing content (or is it easy enough to make your own) so that your messages will stand out? Or will you be sharing the same canned content that blends in with the crowd? Consider categories of content. You’ll want options for keeping in touch with your clients throughout the year for non-mortgage communication like birthdays and holidays, and you’ll also need options for educating them before they pursue a loan, during the loan process, and after a close. For best results, content should be personalized for the recipient and branded for your company. You should have options for interactive or static content, and choices for distribution (email, text, social sharing, print).
- Will the CRM help you manage relationships with ALL of your customers throughout the customer life cycle? Remember, real estate agents and other referral partners are your customers, too. How will the CRM facilitate those relationships? Best-in-class mortgage CRMs will offer automated communications for prospect, in process, and closed clients, as well as referral partners.
- How responsive can you be with the CRM, in terms of both the method of your response and how quickly you respond (automatic text responses to inquiries are the optimal answer here).
- Is the vendor invested in future development? The industry and its requirements change. Preferred forms of communication evolve. Graphics and communication styles shift. Your vendor should be able to show that they are invested in their platform’s future growth. In this partnership, your organization’s growth will depend on it!
If you have concerns about vendors, don’t hesitate to express them. You’re entering a long-term relationship, so make sure you feel comfortable with their long-term plan to support you. Your mortgage CRM is your competitive advantage. You’re going to want a vendor who is open to discussions and to making the relationship work.
At last, you can get back to work!
Now that you’ve determined the best mortgage CRM for your company, you can relax in the knowledge that your customers are getting better service; your LOs are happier; your compliance and IT departments are feeling more secure; your marketing department is well-supplied with materials and tools; and your executive team is seeing corporate growth.
It’s time to sit back and enjoy the value you just brought to your organization as you followed all those steps. Or, more likely in the mortgage industry, it’s time to get back to work doing your other jobs (which you can now do more efficiently!). Let your mortgage CRM take over on this one!
When you're ready to get started, be sure to schedule a demo of Top of Mind’s Surefire CRM. We can’t wait to show you around!
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