What the Heck is CRM Anyway?
Nowadays, people throw the “CRM” acronym around in extremely general terms. That’s good news, because it means mortgage professionals are beginning to realize how critical a function CRM is. This article intends to differentiate between CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and what we at Top of Mind call “Contact Management”.
What is CRM?
I think Wikipedia does a fantastic job illustrating the objectives and challenges behind CRM and I encourage (no, make that implore) you to read the first three paragraphs of their entry before continuing on with this article. Here’s the most critical point Wikipedia makes – one that I stress to clients every day:
CRM initiatives often fail because implementation was limited to software installation, without providing the context, support and understanding for employees to learn, and take full advantage of the information systems.
Alas, CRM is an elbow grease business. There are no magic pills. And this is why Top of Mind Networks continues to focus its energies onto the execution side of the CRM equation. We’ve seen too many mortgage professionals get excited about a whiz bang software solution they found online, only to find out later that software provides only a CRM platform, not a solution.
There’s a big difference between the two. Am I making sense here?
What is a CMS?
When prospective Top of Mind clients come asking for a CRM, they typically end up describing what I refer to as a CMS (Contact Management System). Some popular CMS’s include Salesforce, ACT, and good old Microsoft Outlook.
Let’s say I want to schedule a lunch appointment with Bob Jones for Tuesday the 26th at 2pm. An excellent CMS makes it easy to:
- Schedule the appointment on my calendar, complete with a reminder so I don’t forget
- Tie this appointment to the contact at hand (Bob Jones)
- Synchronize my contacts and calendar with my mobile handheld (Palm, Blackberry, iPhone)
There are some other critical functions we want in our CMS, but I won’t go into detail here. I’ll get to the point now…
The Holy Grail?
We’ve all been searching for it – a CRM execution system that also serves as our day-to-day CMS. What happens when you have your 24-Touch post-close follow up program executing in the background and your CMS reminds you to make the follow-up phone calls – right on your daily calendar? What happens when you’re out in the field, make a contact, and assign an automated drip campaign with a few button clicks?
These thought processes have been inspiring me for many months, and I’m pleased to announce that we’re making a go of it. Yes, Top of Mind Networks is building the Holy Grail for mortgage professionals.
- If you’re a Top of Mind Client and want to get involved in the project, shoot me an email at mgreen (at) tom.hdev1.com – and we’ll get you on the beta crew.
- If you’re a mortgage professional searching for the Holy Grail, and you’ve somehow stumbled on us, the invite’s open to you as well. I might ask you to dip your toe into the water with Surefire first though.
I’m confident that we’ll have version 1.0 out to market by August 2009. Get fired up Top of Mind Nation. We’re raising our game again.