Your customer relationship management (CRM) system could be the secret weapon your business needs – if only you could figure out how to use it. MPA asks IT professionals about the biggest mistakes brokers make when it comes to utilising their systems
“People rarely implement 100% of any software,” explains Chris Mills, managing director of Linx Software, “but there are a lot of things that people should be doing with regard to their CRM systems to improve their business.”
It’s a sentiment that is echoed across CRM providers and aggregators alike. FAST managing director Steve Kane recently complained that despite investing more than a year’s worth of profit into its CRM system – which was also adopted by PLAN and Choice – many brokers are simply using their CRMs as “static repositories of information”. While a variety of different systems are available through aggregators and direct from IT companies, there are some commonalities between the systems that brokers could be capitalising on to improve the success of their business.
Here are some aspects of CRM systems that will not only help you manage your clients more effectively, but they could even generate leads that boost your bottom-line.
According to Stargate CEO Brett Spencer, data mining is the single biggest area of a CRM system that brokers fail to use effectively. “Brokers are not using the data for simple things such as keeping in contact with customers on an annual basis, and the classic example that we use with the Symmetry platform is an annual letter around settlement,” he says. “If a loan settles in September, then they can data mine their system every October to find what loans settled the previous year in September and it gives them the ability to keep in contact with their customer at least annually. It may also give them an opportunity to review a fixed rate expiry period or a honeymoon rate period.”
Spencer also indicates that many brokers are choosing online bank e- lodgement systems rather than the electronic gateway provided by their own CRM package. “CMS systems have got e-lodgement partners generally and if a broker is not using that e-lodgement partner then the amount of time they’re losing in double data entering their applications, or spending time on the phone calling the lender, chasing down all of those sorts of follow-ups is really a waste of their time,” he points out. “If they’re not using their e-lodgement platform, then they’re not getting the benefit of back channel messaging, of live updates, of instant feeds from the lenders on the statuses of their loans. And it costs them hours per loan, and if they look at the time that it takes from a cost perspective – how many extra loans could they write?”
Using your CRM system to help you diversify your business should also be a no-brainer, according to Linx Technologies’ Chris Mills. “I think this is one of the most important areas of a good CRM system,” Mills states. He advises brokers to look for a system that at least caters to risk insurance – a go-to area of diversification that many brokers are now adding to their business.
Using your CRM system to verifying commissions could not only save you time, it could save you huge amounts of money. Mills points out that some aggregators have substantial orphan accounts – misplaced money that belongs to brokers. While you could check your commissions manually each month, the complexity of this exercise and the time involved means most brokers just rely on the lender and aggregator to sort it out. But according to Mills, one broker reported that by using his CRM system to make the calculations he was finding an average of $500-$600 in unpaid commissions each month.
SELLING YOUR BUSINESS
Another huge advantage to effectively using your CRM system is the increased value it adds to your business – particularly when it’s time to sell. “Your business will have a lot greater value if the information is neatly organised and not in a broker’s head,” Mills says. This last point is of greater significance to the older generation of brokers, who may be on the cusp of retirement. According to Mills, older brokers are more likely to under utilise their CRM system, than the younger, tech-savvy mortgage professionals.