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First Franklin Lends a Hand With Customer Management
The mortgage lender is improving employee management and customer databases to turn percentages into a huge ROI.
For the rest of the May 2005 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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First Franklin is one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, specializing in wholesale mortgage banking with more than $20 billion in loan originations per year. With a B2B sales force of 500 account executives, the company offers products through 27,000 independent mortgage brokers. Despite this strong customer base the company felt a customer survey was needed to find what mortgage brokers needed to do more business with First Franklin. The overwhelming response? Spend more time with their salesperson. "Following the survey, we found our account executives [AEs] were average at best at managing their day," says Steve Skolnik, executive vice president of production for First Franklin. "They really didn't have a handle on the types of customers they had or the size or potential they had to offer. As a firm, we didn't know if we were penetrating our customers deep enough, or how many customers was the right number for each AE." In response, First Franklin began writing a sales management manual that covered numerous processes, everything from how to segment and profile a customer, manage a work day and territory, and understand where brokers get their business from. With most brokers receiving the majority of their business from realtors, builders, the Internet, etc., Skolnik realized customizing the approach to each customer quickly and efficiently was critical for success. "With brokers the sales cycle is typically less than thirty minutes. It's not the traditional three to nine months to make a sale. Everybody gets to know everybody else, and there is a big emotional tie," Skolnik says. "This is a pretty disloyal business, [requiring] brokers to shop for a borrower. That's their job, to find the best deal." Next, First Franklin set about matching the manual with a technology. The company needed an application that could integrate into the day-to-day workings of how AEs handle their business and incorporate that into a CRM system. The company chose Guidemark BRS, with SalesLogix serving as the foundation. The installation was complete by November 2003 and was enterprisewide, with approximately 38 offices and 543 AEs using the system, and another 50 to 60 managers overseeing it. Following a year of implementation, the results were apparent. Ninety percent of First Franklin's customers are now profiled, creating new marketing opportunities for the AEs. Prior to the installation First Franklin took the deli-menu approach to its customers: I'll show you what I have, you tell me what you want. Now, account executives know where their customers get their business from, how much they make a month, and how much First Franklin will make from it. The company can now "customize the sales and marketing approach accordingly," Skolnik says. In addition, all calendaring, emailing, and pipeline review is done in the system.
"Managers can stay on top of their sales force. We segment every broker into buckets. Depending on the bucket they're in, there are a minimum number of visits, per rep, per customer. We roll all that up and at the touch of a button, a sales manager or AE can figure out if they're overwhelmed or underwhelmed with customers," Skolnik says. "It leads to a more balanced approach." Keeping account executives' territories balanced and in line is critical, and leads to the increase of two major metrics: penetration--or the number of loans per broker, per month--and broker market share, the percentage of an AE's customer base she is doing business with each month. Since the implementation both the metrics have seen a 20 percent and 15 percent increase, respectively. The increase has led to an ROI in the millions. "You can convert those percentages into dollars," Skolnik says. "Its millions, not thousands, but millions. The implementation was a no-brainer. For the money we invested, it's not even close, the return is far above it." The Payoff By implementing the Guidemark BRS/SalesLogix broker relationship solution, First Franklin has:
  • profiled 90 percent of its customers for account executives;
  • seen penetration per customer and broker market share increase by 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively;
  • seen an ROI in the millions.
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