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CRMs for Canadian Mortgage Brokers: Is it time to break up with your CRM?

If you have been “investing” in a CRM it’s probably a good time to find out if you’re getting a good return on that investment. To do that, let’s run an experiment together. Like all good experiments we need to start by defining what we’re analyzing.

We’re going to begin by putting your CRM on the spot. Here’s the thesis we’re going to test: Your CRM is bringing you substantial value and it’s worth your time and money.

So now we can test to see if that conclusion is valid (hooray team CRM) or reject it (sorry CRM, but you’re letting me down).

Our test is going to run like this: We can accept that our CRM is worthwhile if the following is true:

  1. Our CRM is filled with complete records (no missing critical information)

  2. Our CRM has accurate information (the mortgage values entered match what the actual mortgage in the origination system)

  3. Our CRM originated the correspondence with every client prior to closing (a good test is how many of them have contact email as a complete field)

Now it stands to reason that you could still be receiving value from your CRM if not all of these conditions are satisfied, or if your system is only partially out of compliance. But there is a really good chance that you are wasting your time and money on your CRM if the outcome of the tests show poor results.

If your CRM isn’t a source of good and accurate information, then it isn’t really helping you. That is the classic garbage in, garbage out scenario. The first two things we’re testing will validate if we’re collecting valuable data or if we’re gathering garbage. A little bit of garbage is to be expected, but if there is too much garbage then our CRM won’t have enough reliable information for us to use it for effective analysis, marketing or process flow management.

The third test helps us determine if your CRM is a passive observer in your work as a Mortgage Broker or is it actively contributing to your success. If your website is automatically putting your leads into your CRM, and your communication with those leads is initiated from your CRM, and the follow up with your client’s is triggered by your CRM, then your CRM is actively contributing to growing your business. On the other hand if you primarily use your email inbox to manage your clients, and you just log that communication, when you think of it, in your CRM, then your CRM is just along for the ride. It could be helpful if someone is out of the office and you want to see what the last client communication MIGHT have been, but unless it was the source of all communication then you’re going to have a lingering doubt about its accuracy.

So onto our test.

As a statistician, I’m always happy when a person conducts their tests looking at the entire population of data, but I’m not going to put you through that exercise. Grabbing a quick look at 20 to 30 records should be all you need. If you want to be a bit more scientific, I recommend you use a random number generator to pick which ones you’re going to look at for your analysis, but then after that be brutally honest.

Take a look at your results for the first two tests to see if more than 20% of your records exhibit failure, and if they do, be concerned, but march on and immediately implement an adjustment to your process to get that number down.

If more than 40% are out of compliance, you should probably have the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and end it. You own a CRM, but you’re not using it correctly. Unless you just started your business, and there are hardly any records in there, you’re going to have to declare CRM bankruptcy and start over. In fact, you need to ask yourself if you’re really committed to using a CRM because you’ve been operating your business without it so far, and maybe you and CRM were never meant to be together. If you break 50%, you should have never been in that relationship and shame on you for leading that CRM system into thinking that you were committed to it in the first place!

When you’re done there is a chance you had great results from your test. If that’s the case, congratulations. According to CSI Insights, you’ve actually bucked the trend. By their numbers less than 40% of CRM customers have adoption rates over 90%, and over 83% of executives report that their biggest challenge is getting their staff to use it. Just remember that a CRM that is incomplete or full of garbage is a growing waste of time with diminishing returns. All of those promising statistics about the wondrous returns of CRM systems just won’t materialise if you aren’t committed to it.

So what do you do if you’ve failed to prove the value of your CRM? Well I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s probably you and not them. If you just need to adjust your behaviour a bit, then you can probably simplify how you’re going to use your CRM system, fix it, commit to change, and then reap the benefits. But I’m going to guess if you could have done that, you would have already done that.

Know when to quit.

In productivity theory, you may have heard of “declaring inbox bankruptcy”. That’s when you have so many old, unread, unresponded to email that if you ACTUALLY went to the effort to respond to them you’d be wasting your time. Most of them by now would be out of date, irrelevant, moved on, or it would just be downright weird. In that case you just mark everything as “read”, commit to never responding to those emails, and move on with your life. If your records are really bad, it’s probably that point for you with your CRM. Don’t try to fix it, it’s beyond fixing.

So no system then?

Absolutely not! As a Mortgage Broker you’ve got loads of opportunities in your client database, you just need to change your approach to finding and managing those opportunities. A CRM may have just been the wrong choice for you because they require a lot of time and attention to set them up right, managing people so they use the systems right, analysis to ensure the system is telling you the right things, and maintenance to keep it doing that consistently.

Instead, put systems in place that you’ll actually use. That could be as simple as your email inbox and a task list. Your website publishing tools might even be able to capture leads for you. Just remember that the only effective process is that one that you’re going to use consistently. Find something that works for you, and works for your business. If you want to find leads and opportunities from within your client base, consider tools that are specific for that purpose. Those tools are tailor made to ensure they are capturing complete records, simply and reliably, and they do the analysis so that you don’t have to.


Broker Scout isn’t a CRM system, it’s a tool for identifying refinancing opportunities. It manages your entire book of business and continuously searches it to find the client’s that need your help with refinancing. Not just the ones that are about to get a renewal notice, the ones that can net real savings with your assistance. Broker Scout takes in a small amount of information per mortgage, so you can update it quickly, and then it does the work for you. There are more than twice the number of renewals every year than there are mortgage originations, so it’s worth your time to keep track of the opportunities that are at your fingertips.

Will Broker Scout give you all of the bells and whistles of your CRM system; Absolutely not. What it will do though, is find qualified opportunities for you to find and complete refinancings easily and reliably.


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