Like most consumer businesses, many of the practices that worked well 20 years ago are ineffective in an increasingly digital world. For mortgage brokers, the old ways of attracting leads, brokering a loan, and keeping clients informed have become antiquated. With large banks slow to implement change, innovative and nimble brokers can leapfrog competitors with SaaS solutions designed to: (1) capture and nurture leads; (2) respond faster to clients; and (3) give clients a transparent, 360-degree view of the mortgage process.
Shopping today rarely begins in stores. Whether buying clothes, electronics, or a car, the buyer journey frequently starts online. According to a consumer survey by Retail Dive, “two-thirds of respondents said they research products online — at least occasionally — before shopping for them in a store.” The same is true for consumers looking for a mortgage or a mortgage broker. Therefore, capturing a fair share of online leads is critical for growth.
With the rise of Amazon prime and the ongoing customer service “arms race” in the retail sector, consumers have come to expect better service levels across all purchase categories.
As service expectations have risen in the consumer world in general, service expectations for mortgage brokers have increased as well. Financial Services Consumers have grown accustomed to real-time on-demand tools to check portfolios and perform transactions. In this new paradigm, consumers would expect to have a mortgage portal with full visibility into loan status and documentation requirements.
Also, speed is a critical factor for home buyers, who often needing pre-approval to win a bid. The faster broker wins.
The good news for mortgage brokers is that tools exist today to provide better leads, faster deal cycles, and more transparent service. In fact, nimble mid-market brokers are capable of leapfrogging larger competitors who face more significant challenges and switching costs when enhancing technology. Following is a review of 3 ways mid-market mortgage brokers are staying ahead.
A Salesforce blog post, 5 Lead Generation Tricks from Trailblazers in Mortgage, articulated the current state accurately – “the management of leads and referrals suffers across a disjointed network of loan officers, loan processors, brokers, and real estate agents. Too much can get lost in translation, and the customer is the one who suffers.”
Savvy mortgage brokers are implementing new solutions to leverage all of their advantages.
A broker can target existing customers using their CRM data. For example, one can identify and reach out to mortgagees who would benefit most from refinancing – based on the timing of their balloon payment, the difference between their rate and today’s rate, or even based on factors indicating they may need to take some equity out of their home. Interest rate changes and life events can automatically trigger email campaigns.
Cross-channel lead nurturing can dramatically improve the number and quality of inbound leads. Mortgage brokers use remarketing to stay top of mind with a consumer who is shopping multiple sites. After a consumer has visited the site or a specific page, they will see ongoing display ads across websites, based on your criteria. Or you can target Facebook ads only for one particular group of email addresses (e.g., those who downloaded a specific article, or who have signed up for a newsletter). Drip email campaigns are another effective approach, sending an automated series of emails to an individual, triggered by an action on your website. When the time is right, your firm will be top of mind.
Technology can accelerate lead capture, too. For example, Jungo, a Salesforce.com plugin, pulls fresh leads from Zillow®, Trulia®, Lending Tree®, and Informa Research Services – based on zip code or zone.
FAST TURNAROUND TIME
The mortgage lending process can feel like an unending workflow of document submissions, corrections, and resubmissions. It’s a process that, for the consumer, can become a pile of checklists and post-it notes with no clear finish line. For a broker managing multiple originations, the journey is even harder. CRM systems, such as Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, extracts the most important tasks to accomplish today across all of the originations and tasks in progress, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.
Home buyers can enjoy the benefits of a digital mortgage experience too. Faxing is replaced by uploading documents. Phone calls to verify that documents have been received and approved is replaced by logging in and checking status. Consumers feel less anxiety, require fewer phone calls, and enjoy a faster overall process.
The mortgage process includes numerous organizations and roles within them who partner to originate a new loan or refinance an existing one – the mortgage broker, the loan officer, the compliance team, and more. It’s easy for everyone involved to get lost in the system. Even within a single bank, different stakeholders are using different systems to approve and originate a loan. The data for a single loan inevitably scatter across numerous entities and systems.
Cloud-based millennials demand more transparency, according to Terry Moore, the senior managing director of credit services at Accenture. In a New York Times article, he said, “they want to know where their loan is in the process. Some companies are coming out with digital dashboards so that customers can track their loan. Things like that will serve all customers, but it’s driven by millennials.” At the leading edge, some brokers and lenders have launched omnichannel portals, enabling collaboration and visibility among loan officers, borrowers, brokers, and real estate agents.
Mid-Market Mortgage brokers have a rare opportunity to gain share against larger competitors, as SaaS solutions in CRM, Digital Marketing, and Customer Service enable companies to implement solutions that were previously too expensive. They are nimbler and face lower switching costs as they migrate to modern solutions. A transition is underway, and we believe that the mortgage brokers that act soon will be the ones we are still writing about in 20 years.