Choose customer relationship management that aligns with your business goals

Technology has both benefits and drawbacks. Usually, we claim we want technology to stop consuming our lives, yet there are times and places where it is necessary for success — like in business.


Key Points

Benefits of a mortgage-centric CRM platform
  • Track interactions with clients
  • Store client and business data
  • Automated follow-ups and emails
  • Integration with calendars and communications
  • Digital document organization


For mortgage originators, technology has many benefits: digitization of applications and documents, automated underwriting, income verification, and so much more. But no originator’s digital tool belt is complete without a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

The technology known as CRM enables mortgage companies to establish and maintain relationships with clients. It tracks interactions between the organization and the client, which is helpful when a business grows and take on more clients. Not all CRMs are equal, however, and many are geared for specific industries, so business owners must choose wisely.

Mortgage-specific CRMs

Mortgage professionals can develop client trust by using CRMs designed specifically for the mortgage industry. Mortgage CRMs assist lenders and brokers with a wide range of duties that support the sales process, including closing tasks, automated marketing procedures, streamlined client communications and maintaining connections with leads.

A strong CRM designed specifically for the mortgage sector should be able to store data, seamlessly integrate with other programs and, most importantly, sustain positive client relationships.

A mortgage company can find value from this technology, but so can individual brokers and loan officers. Since a CRM’s automation frees up your day to meet with potential and current clients, it is especially helpful for independent originators.

A strong CRM designed specifically for the mortgage sector should be able to store data, seamlessly integrate with other programs and, most importantly, sustain positive client relationships. Mortgage CRMs can remind you to follow up, track your interactions with clients, send automated and customized emails, and more. An efficient streamlining of these fundamental services can make or break a client relationship.

Keeping track of important documents is a major part of a broker’s responsibilities. Using a CRM reduces confusion and stress while sending documents to your various clients. CRMs aid your pipeline by providing automation features. Brokers and loan officers can spend more time developing relationships when a procedure is automated.

Types of CRMs

Understanding the three different types of CRMs — collaborative, operational and analytical — is crucial before taking the plunge on a specific software brand.

Collaborative CRMs focus on making sure each department in an organization connects. Marketing, sales, client support and other departments can access the same data, ensuring that no employee is left in the dark. With a collaborative CRM, any employee is able to help a client who calls in with a question about their loan.

An operational CRM places more of an emphasis on the entire borrower journey, from the moment a prospect visits your website to the moment their loan is closed. This CRM type typically offers better automation features, opening up more time in your schedule for personal or creative matters.

An analytical CRM does exactly what its name implies: it analyzes client data and assists you in using it. The capabilities included with this CRM type make it easier for you to identify the successful areas of your pipeline and where you can make any adjustments.

You might be wondering if there is a single CRM platform that can offer most, if not all, of these features without breaking the bank. It depends on the organization’s willingness to adopt and learn new technology, as many comprehensive platforms come with complicated deployment procedures and a learning curve.

Major players

Collaborative, operational and analytical functions, as well as many others, are offered by two of the most popular CRMs, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365. They can be quite expensive depending on the add-ons you choose to buy. But investing in this cutting-edge technology might be one of smartest choices your company ever makes.

Salesforce is one of the first companies that comes to mind when a CRM is mentioned — and for good reason. It offers tools for all mortgage companies, regardless of size, to flourish while maintaining client interactions and optimizing the sales process. It offers a wide range of customization options, allowing business owners to tailor it for any industry. Salesforce excels at integrating its processes with third-party applications and software.

The pricing for Salesforce is as follows. First, the Essentials package (which includes features like account, contact, lead and opportunity management, as well as seamless connectivity with Gmail and Outlook) costs $25 a month per user. The next level, Professional (which includes the same features as Essentials but improves on pipeline management) costs $75 a month per user. The third tier, Enterprise, which incorporates workflow and approval automation, costs $150 per user, per month. Last but not least is the final tier, Unlimited. It adds sales interaction and intelligence along with a 24/7 support team for $300 per user, per month.

Like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers features that are useful for businesses of any size and in any industry. Salesforce (hence the name) places a strong emphasis on the sales side of the organization, but Microsoft Dynamics has greatly expanded to handle nearly all facets of corporate management. With so many capabilities, Dynamics also comes with a steep learning curve. Even though it costs more, it is undoubtedly designed for companies that want to improve across the board.

Dynamics will always be pricier than other CRM choices. Sales and Service are the two main product packages they offer. There are three levels under the Sales umbrella: Professional, Enterprise and Premium, at $65, $95 and $135 per user, per month. Sales Professional offers Microsoft 365 and sales automation. Sales Enterprise adds industry-leading contextual insights and customization possibilities. And Sales Premium adds prebuilt, configurable AI solutions made for business managers.

The Dynamics 365 Service packages focus heavily on maintaining client relationships. There are two tiers: Customer Service Professional and Customer Service Enterprise. Features such as cross-platform chat and multiple marketing tools are available with Professional, which costs $50 a month per user. For $95 per user, per month, Enterprise adds extra client-service features and more sophisticated versions of the tools found in the Professional package.

Other options

If you want something more straightforward and less expensive, choosing a CRM that is more oriented toward mortgage originators will be most advantageous. Contactually, a well-known CRM designed for the real estate sector, formally closed its doors earlier this year. Many mortgage companies have looked for alternative CRMs as a result of this shutdown. Zendesk and Pipedrive are two options that work well for brokers and loan officers.

Zendesk starts at $49 per user, per month. It provides sales automations that are primarily targeted to small and medium-sized businesses with business-to-business and business-to-client needs, making it a viable contender for an organization that is unfamiliar with CRMs. It has robust sales pipeline features that boost lead conversion and sales efficiency. One unique feature of Zendesk is its mobile phone application, with built-in CRM capabilities that are convenient for busy days away from your desktop computer.

Another strong option for originators is Pipedrive. With prices starting at $14.90 per user, per month, this CRM platform focuses primarily on the client. The client portal offers real-time updates with completely customized dashboards and pipelines, and it effortlessly integrates with hundreds of well-known financial apps. Many users remark on how simple the site is to use, which is great for organizations that are too busy to sit down and learn something from scratch. The absence of text messaging, which other CRMs offer, is the only obvious drawback.

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Implementing a CRM system or switching to a new one can be worth the pain of setup. Take, for example, a private mortgage lender that recently switched from Contactually to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The lender worked with a partner of Microsoft to help implement and configure the processes that function behind the scenes. For instance, when someone submits a loan scenario through the portal, information about the broker and the borrower is automatically entered in the CRM.

The marketing application was an additional cost, but through drip email campaigns and preplanned social media posts, this add-on keeps the lender at the top of clients’ minds. Although there is a steep learning curve, using technology rather than hiring more employees turned out to be a cost-effective and time-saving strategy. ●