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Brokers mix and match CRMs as none ‘do a great job’ – analysis

  • 24/04/2024
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Brokers mix and match CRMs as none ‘do a great job’ – analysis
Mortgage brokers are using multiple client relationship management (CRM) systems to create the perfect platform, they have said.

Lilla Dilliway, a mortgage broker who recently developed the Clienttree CRM platform, said the firm originally set out to target directly authorised (DA) firms, as she felt this would be easier than approaching appointed representatives (ARs) who may be tied in to using the platform their network had a contract with. 

However, after some “unexpected” enquiries from ARs who wanted to use Clienttree, Dilliway realised that mortgage brokers were using more than one CRM due to the differing functions. 

One reason for this was dissatisfaction with the system they were required to use and a preference for Clienttree’s user friendliness. Dilliway said some advisers were using Clienttree as their main system to enter information, only turning to the network-approved platform when it came to submitting a full application. 

“A lot of leads don’t go anywhere”, Dilliway said, so it made sense for brokers to use their preferred system for less formal information storage. 

She said that, while some CRMs required multiple pieces of information before a client’s profile could be saved, Clienttree only needed as little as someone’s name, allowing the adviser to go back in their own time to submit the rest of the information. 


No one CRM ‘does a great job’ 

Justin Moy, managing director at EHF Mortgages, said this was quite common as “no CRM has never been able to do everything, not just the mortgage work on sourcing, quotes, and collecting paperwork, but also for marketing and follow-up work”. 

Michelle Lawson, mortgage and protection adviser at Lawson Financial, held a similar view, saying: “I use multiple CRM systems, and quite frankly there are too many; not one of them does a great job, but they all do a job. It becomes subscription heaven for the suppliers, and a haemorrhage of money for brokers. 

“As brokers, we are all looking for efficiency, time-saving and streamlining, however I am finding more and more that a lot of these systems create more work than they save.” 

Graham Cox, director at Self-Employed Mortgage Hub, said: “Network mortgage systems often don’t have the sophistication or third-party integration support required to manage leads effectively. I use Smartr365 as my mortgage and protection compliance system. It’s decent, but isn’t enough for my business needs, so I use it in conjunction with Pipedrive CRM.

“The latter is primarily for lead management and integrates with my website forms, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, Calendly, Zapier and so on. There’s a little duplication of data entry between the two systems, but generally it works okay.” 

Dilliway found that some ARs did not see using multiple CRMs an issue, as the one they were required to use was often offered through the network for free or at a low cost. 


Future-proofing adviser business

Not all networks allow advisers to use more than one CRM, but Dilliway said some brokers still preferred to work this way and use the additional CRM as a personal, external way of storing information. 

She said this could also act as a backup if the broker decided to leave the network or the network changed its system. This could also be useful if an AR decided to go down the DA route. 

Moy echoed this sentiment, saying that for him, “it was always a protection against a network closing suddenly and losing the data you have worked hard to acquire”.

He added: “Moving data from one to another is also hard, and expensive, so it is often cheaper to run several CRMs with old and current data and migrate as and when time allows, typically on renewal.” 


Custom CRMs a thing of the future? 

Benjamin Blyth, director at Houz Mortgages, said he had also built his own custom CRM using Notion software, and added: “I think things like this will be the future of CRMs and the death of the current clunky providers. Notion integrates with whatever you need it to through services like [automation software] If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier.” 

He added: “It certainly streamlines the processes, allows proper automation, use of artificial intelligence (AI) and is user-friendly on both sides – client and colleagues. It produces the key product illustrations (KPIs) I need, too. However, I am forced to use one through my network, which is tied to Windows, and I’m a Mac user – so that makes it awkward.”

Blyth said: “I don’t use the Windows side of it and use the half-baked web version. However, the client side of it is a very poor user experience – so on top of this, I pay for Smartr365. This offers a great client-facing experience – but I don’t really need the back-office functions. 

“It’s quite a mess, and as soon as my time allows, I’ll build a full client-facing element on Notion. I don’t need to worry about the lender integrations, as none of them work particularly well.” 



Some responses were sourced using Newspage.

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