Executive Spotlight: Paul Zoukis Of Vantage Production

Paul-ZoukisThis week, our spotlight is on CRM. And helping us to understand current CRM issues and trends is Paul Zoukis, CEO of Holmdel, N.J.-based Vantage Production.

Q: How do you define the differences between data-driven CRM versus simple lead management?

Paul Zoukis: Lead management is an important element of CRM but is just one “process improvement” piece of the puzzle. True CRM has multiple objectives, including:

>> Increased personal productivity resulting from the elimination of unnecessary or less than optimal activities;

>> Gaining control and understanding of the production process, and

>> Greater sales/conversion rates.

Examples of the first are the ability of a single service to be the unified point of sale requiring only a single sign in, assuring no data re-entry, and eliminating unnecessary phone calls and emails from the mortgage loan officer (MLO) to prospects and referral partners. The MLO is freed up to apply his or her efforts to produce new business or relationship building with Realtors, CPAs, financial planners, builders and other partners.

Lead management is part of the second objective. By automating the process from lead capture through borrower retention, the lender’s ability to manage, analyze, and control the marketing and sales process is greatly enhanced, resulting in better qualified leads, increased conversion rates, an amplified understanding of best practices and far lower compliance risk.

The ultimate differentiator is the use of data by true CRM. By making all relevant data available at every point of contact with a prospect or borrower – not only from the CRM database but also from the LOS, the pricing engine, and all key vendors – decisions throughout the marketing and sales process are vastly improved, again driving production while lowering credit and compliance risks.

Q: At a time when it appears that the housing marketing is slowing down, how can CRM be used to boost sales activity?

Paul Zoukis: By taking advantage of both internal and external data, a CRM identifies the optimum targeted prospects, creates tailored marketing messages for the targeted audience, works with the pricing engine to select the most suitable products based on the prospects’ requirements, develops the most compelling presentations and makes the entire sales process “user friendly” – accomplishing all of this uniquely for each customer. This is all performed with minimal time impact on the sales force and with compliance that automatically prepares lenders for audits and other examinations of marketing efforts by regulators.

A great CRM cannot create a great market, but a great CRM can create advantage in any market.

Q: Historically, has the mortgage industry been effective in using CRM? And if not, where is it lacking?

Paul Zoukis: Before Vantage Integrated Production (VIP) came on the scene, there historically was no true CRM in the mortgage industry, only early MLO-centric tools with contact management and minimal automated marketing.  Until a solution is corporate-centric and integrates all the required processes and data, real CRM is simply not possible.

Interestingly, once this corporate-centricity is established every action becomes consumer-centric, which simultaneously increases conversion, volume and borrower satisfaction.

Q: Is it possible to integrate the deep outreach of social media into today’s mortgage banking CRM technology?

Paul Zoukis: Most certainly. Social media is simply another avenue to the consumer. CRM allows the lender to identify and target those prospective borrowers most likely to use social media as a vehicle for exploring mortgage options, and then create and manage the required content as it is published and consumed via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Different channel, different audience, different content – all handled by the same supportive technology. That’s real CRM.

Vantage Production can be found online at www.vantgageproduction.com.