Archive for June, 2014|Monthly archive page

Top 5 Habits of a Database Power User

In ACT!, CRM, CRM Best Practices, Database Management, LinkedIn, Loan Officer, Loan Origination Software, Mortgage, Power User, Synchronization on June 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm


With all the time and effort required to close a loan, it is more imperative than ever to have a powerful and easy to use contact and marketing management database system with the most evolved and easy strategies in place. Below are the top 5 habits of database power users. A key measurement for determining a ‘database power user’ is an increase in business revenue in synergy with greater efficiencies and time savings.

1. Use a ‘Command Center’ type of database tool.
There are a multitude of systems available now claiming to be a ‘CRM’ aka Contact Relationship Management tool, however, most of them only provide part of an overall database and marketing strategy. Some are good marketing only tools, offering automated marketing as well as the ability to create and send your own marketing, but they do not have all the other components of a day-to-day contact management tracking and marketing tool. Power users use database tools that provide not only the ‘broad’ marketing components, but also modern day-to-day tracking components. Day to day tracking components include, but are not limited to: conversation tracking, central email history tracking, calendar and shared/team calendar capabilities, data mining and/or ‘lookup’ abilities, creating categories or groups, drip and targeted marketing (automated and/or manual) social media connections, mobile device access etc. There are tools available today that provide all your needs in what I like to call a ‘command center’ fashion. Whenever possible, it is the most effective and efficient to centralize your day to day tracking needs, as well as your marketing needs from one system. Not only do you not have duplicate data entry requirements for separate systems, you also have complete information visibility including individual contact information, follow up tools, calendaring, tracking, reporting, marketing etc from one central system.

2. Seek Expertise.
This is something you likely wish your own prospects would do more often. Would you recommend someone looking to refinance their house should get program and rate information from their dentist, a well-intended relative, or anyone who is not a professional mortgage planner ? Picking the right CRM /database tool with the right marketing automation solution is critical to increasing sales. Don’t get distracted with the ‘shiny database and marketing objects’ for mortgage professionals. Getting the right help from an expert is critical in making sure you do not get burdened with inefficient complex processes that can end up being incredibly expensive. These systems can not only be expensive ‘out the door’, but even more so because they do not work and/or are complex to manage, and then you have to start all over again with a different tool.

Two people at computer top 5 habits

Hand in hand with this is the willingness to get some training.   Top producing database power users include some level of training from an expert in their database management strategy. It does not take much, usually just one or two hours of training can provide you with a quantum leap in using your database tool to get new business, as well as effectively keep previous customers. An expert can be a professional consultant such as myself, or if you are lucky enough to have a database power user in your midst, they may be willing to show you the ropes as well.

Training videos and manuals are great as support to your abilities, but nothing replaces hands on training to bring together the mechanics (ie click here to create a template), but much more importantly, the strategies, for how to get the most from your database every single day.

3. Open Your Database and Use It All Day, Every Day.
Believe it or not, this is not stating the obvious. You should be opening and using your database tool every day. Here’s the power users morning regimen: coffee, open email tool, open database tool, open loan origination system. Some database tools, such as ACT!, interface seamlessly with your email system for even more synergy in your daily communications. Your database is your daily command center where ‘everything ‘ goes including new contacts, updates to current contacts, conversation logs, calendaring, marketing, tracking, reporting, follow up strategies etc.

4.  Be a “Grouper”.
Power users always have some type of database segmentation or grouping strategy. This not only provide a way for quick visibility to the various types of contacts, it also helps support smarter marketing efforts based on a customer’s profile. The only time an email blast to your entire database may be effective is if you are sending a major market update announcement, an announcement that you changed companies, etc. Please note that I did not mention newsletters. There is no market data to suggest a monthly mortgage newsletter is a business creating strategy in modern times. Newsletters via email used to be the new cool thing in about 2006 and for a few years afterwards. Statistics show that now they are tossed before reading in most cases, and actually can lead to an increase in opt outs. The information overload syndrome brought on by the Internet Age affects most of us and a newsletter is a more obsolete ‘mass consumption spoon feeding’ communication method. Consumers are much more sophisticated in how they get their information than even 3 years ago. Information sharing used to be all about publishing and pushing, now it is about publishing and delivering pertinent content to different groups, and/or consumers reaching out and seeking information that applies to them in a very specific way. If you feel certain sending newsletters are helping to drive in business, that’s great, but make sure you are monitoring results to see if it is still as effective as it used to be for you. The key is to keep the information flow from you to your contacts a positive experience overall. Consumers are just more apt to read about something you are sending them that is specific to their particular situation than a generic newsletter. With the right tools it is also a lot easier than ever before to segment your database so you can not only have visibility to contacts in your different categories, but also create or copy an email template and quickly send it to people in a particular group that will get the most from that particular content.

Some examples of database groups or categories in the prospect pillar alone includes, but is not limited to: purchase shopping prospects, first time home buyer prospects, debt repair prospects, investor prospects, apartment dweller prospects, etc. You can see how within just the prospect category alone, there are many segments that each would benefit from a different approach with specific and targeted marketing and follow up strategies.   For example, it is much more powerful to send your debt repair prospects tips on how to improve your credit score or tips on creating a budget etc, than it would be to send that same content to your investor prospects.

5. Stay in Touch.
Staying in contact with prospects, current customers, and customers that you have completed transactions for, is a proven path to increased and recurring sales opportunities. The sales and business advisory firm giant, Forrester Research, has quantified this by stating that those who excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost than those who don’t. A lead includes any contact that you have not done business with yet, all of your contacts currently in a transaction, as well as all of your closed transaction contacts. It is faulty to think that once you have completed a satisfactory transaction for a contact, that they are no longer a lead. A lead is a lead before and after a transaction. The attention in courting them should never diminish. A lead that you have completed a transaction for should immediately be one of your advocates. These ‘post close leads’ are now a virtual member of your sales team, not only coming back to you for their future transactions, but also referring other leads to you. It is a mistake to either let a ‘post close lead’ fall off your radar, or to just throw a ‘closed’ contact into a generic marketing campaign like your newsletter list, thinking this is all that is needed to keep you on their radar for the next transaction. The transaction needs to be one they were pleased with of course, however, you also need to begin to re-court them as a new lead as soon as the transaction is over.

So how do you approach this sometimes daunting task of creating, improving, and most importantly implementing your power user database and marketing plan ? As usual, the best approach is bite size pieces. Below are some important building blocks in your overall database and marketing plan. Hopefully these ideas will help you begin or fine tune your database management and marketing processes. Please don’t be a ‘deer in the headlights’, if you are not sure how to start or how to expand your current stay in touch activities, please seriously consider getting help from a marketing and database management expert such as myself. The time and money you save by getting your database and marketing plan actually implemented will far exceed what you thought you were saving by ‘tinkering’ with putting the pieces together on your own, reinventing the wheel, or not doing anything. Just as I seek out a mortgage professional when I need help with a property transaction, it is prudent for you to leverage an expert in this critical part of your business strategy.

Stay in Touch Plan Building Blocks:

  1. Have a central master command center database and marketing tool
  2. Enter all contacts into your tool, and/or have an automated synchronization from your other applications (ie LOS, web sites, email systems, smartphones etc)
  3. Learn Best Practices for your particular tool from an expert and/or peer
  4. Segment your database into specific ID types or groups based on their profile
  5. Obtain, review and modify marketing templates.
  6. Set up a follow up system and/or utilize an automated marketing solution
  7. Be CAN-SPAM compliant. For ‘mass’ emails, make sure your database tool has a professional white label email service component. For example, ACT! has an E-marketing option for sending CAN-SPAM compliant emails directly from your ACT! database.

We can help you with all of these elements, please contact us today for more information !

Donna Quisenberry is a Certified Consultant with Q2 Database Consulting Service. Q2 is a full service company providing complete solutions for your database and marketing management needs. Please contact Donna at donnaquisenberry@sbcglobal.net, or (760) 434-3431.