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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Quit using your CRM to manage applications


CRMs are primarily designed to assist with sales and data management.

CRMs are an essential component of a backend solution stack, however, it's easy to either overuse, or aspire to overuse, your CRM to solve every pain point within the organization.

They’re designed to move potential and existing clients through a linear “yes/no” sales funnel, and they’re amazing tools that work well for their intended purpose. However, they should not be mistaken for effective client-facing application management platforms. It’s hard enough for your team to learn and use a CRM. Is that really an experience you would want a client to go through while they’re considering other lenders?

There’s no denying the fact that off the shelf CRM tools are highly customizable. There are so many bells and whistles that one can easily assume an excellent CRM is just as good at the project management requirements necessary for effective application management.

While sales and marketing automations are wonderful tools, as a lender, the goal is for a client to begin their application. More clients saying “yes” to proceeding with their application means more impact! Once an application begins, however, the rolls are reversed. Your client is seeking a “yes” from you... and they want to hear it as quickly as possible!

Consider the differences, and where various points of customer and lending team frustration might occur!

Generalized Sales Funnel - End Goal: Client Says Yes

  • Email campaign to attract interest from as many people as possible

  • Personalized quotes and offers to attract more interest

  • Attempt 100% click through rate to ensure as many new leads as possible.

  • Provide minimal additional information (Click to move forward)

  • New lead created

Generalized Application Project - End Goal: You Say Yes

  • Require more than basic contact information to determine eligibility

  • Request for significant amounts of information, documentation, and clarification

  • Move all information around internally between departments for review

  • Multiple stakeholders weigh in on whether or not to say “yes”

  • Approve only a portion of all final loan packages

At the point where a new or existing client is ready to apply, you’re now working on a project with a "team member" who has little to no access to the same systems as your team. You’re having to relay information with PDF checklists, email threads that cover 5 topics, and phone calls that require additional follow-up via written communication.

If you’re using your CRM to manage client interactions once the application work has begun, you're destined for headaches and lost leads.

Regardless of your ability to quickly receive information and documentation, your CRM is not designed to facilitate interactive communications around key information with your client.

They can’t efficiently identify bottlenecks in application processes over time because a CRM doesn't collect the type of data that's useful for improving application processes. It’s not able to inform your client about internal tasks that may cause a delay, send personalized updates that are specific to the progress they’re making, provide real-time pipeline updates across multiple teams and products, or send a note to your client when it’s been a few days since you’ve heard from them.

Every organization should have a CRM and use it on a regular basis, however, a purpose built solution for managing applications and client expectations goes beyond creating more efficiency. A solution designed from the ground up for client-centric project management will also increase capacity.

If this article struck a chord, we'd love to connect!


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