No doubt everyone has heard the phrase “mind the gap,” a phrase first used in London to warn Underground commuters of the space between the station platform and train. “Mind the gap” is now used all over the world and in many different ways.
Paying attention to gaps is good advice in many scenarios, but there’s one gap that’s particularly dangerous in the mortgage industry. The gap that almost every lender experiences between its marketing and sales efforts.
More “fumbles” occur between sales and marketing than anywhere else in the mortgage process, yet the actual cause of these fumbles rarely see the light of day. This leaves sales and marketing teams scratching their heads wondering why they didn’t get the volumes of qualified mortgage leads and closed loans they expected. Fortunately, lenders with this kind of deadly gap have the ability to close it, and I’ve seen them do it. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Mind the Process Gap
Many lenders have invested time, resources, and technology dollars to improve their post-application and origination processes, often to address regulatory hurdles. Unfortunately, in this effort, optimization of the sales and marketing processes has been a bit neglected.
As a result of this process gap, many sales and marketing professionals are completely in the dark about why more mortgage leads don’t end up in their loan pipelines. The problem is lenders traditionally rely on their loan officers or sales representatives to convert leads, but they have little idea what strategies are being used. No two loan officers are the same—they all use different kinds of tools and follow different processes for lead follow-up, some more effectively than others. Let’s take a look at both sides of this story and what changes can be implemented to close the process gap.
Establish a Best Practice Mortgage Sales Process
Many mortgage executives have little to no visibility into the processes being deployed by loan officers, what works, and what doesn’t. As we all know, you can’t fix what you can’t see.
Therefore, the first step for sales, is to establish a best practice sales process by identifying the most important activities you need to consistently drive across your entire sales force. This could include a policy on how quickly new leads need to be called, or how many times a lead should be called before being sent back to marketing to be nurtured. At Velocify, our team of data scientists have researched a best practice contact strategy and published the results in a free paper – The Ultimate Contact Strategy – a good resource for any organization looking for a starting point.
Once an initial sales process is established, look for mortgage technology that will help you implement that process in an automated fashion, so all your lenders are following the same best practice sales process.
Follow the Mortgage Lead Beyond MQL
Similar to loan officers, mortgage marketing professionals need to first identify the most important activities to measure to better understand the quality of the leads being generated, and not just through to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) but all the way into the application and closed loan status.
Most marketers, for example, examine click-through rates and open email rates to judge the effectiveness of their campaigns, based on how much they are spending on different advertising mediums. But it’s important that marketers work closely with lenders to follow these prospects from initial campaign through to application accepted and closed loan to better understand the quality of prospects that are coming into the marketing pipeline.
Identifying what the higher qualified prospects are responding to and what channels they are coming through, can help marketing be more effective in their spend.
In the mortgage industry, there are many blind spots, and sales and marketing teams are no exception. To identify your blind spots, start by taking a critical look at your processes or lack of processes, especially in areas where there is lack of ownership between sales and marketing. This is where things tend to fall through the cracks.
In my next article, I’ll go deeper into the gaps that exist between marketing and sales in the mortgage industry. I’ll explore the often rough handoff that occurs between marketing and sales. For more insights on perfecting your marketing sales efforts, download the Mortgage Sales Playbook.