Author: Jim Anderson, CMO at Stearns Lending, LLC
It’s been an exciting time at Stearns Lending since we launched the Total Expert Marketing Operating System® (MOS). While transitioning into any new system comes with pain points, we’ve been bowled over by how user-friendly Total Expert’s platform is. I reached out to their team this week because I wanted to take this opportunity to pause and share a few insights we’ve gleaned from this rollout.
What did we find? Our main observations have been around how positive the adoption process was. Our loan officers (LOs) were working across two platforms before we made the switch, and many of them had experience with the Total Expert MOS from past employment, which is to say that choosing Total Expert set us up for success from the start.
The Total Expert team provided fantastic administrative support through this change, and their advice helped us set up a compelling training series getting our teams up to speed on the MOS. With their expert help, we thought through how we could support our employees during this transition and in future employee onboarding processes. Here are three things you can do to ensure your rollout is a success.
1. Introducing New Technology? Listen to Subject Matter Experts
When we first introduced the MOS, we created as many face-to-face learning opportunities as possible. To do this, we created a series of live webinars and training sessions. Person-to-person interaction is something our LOs excel at – it’s a vital part of their daily work. That made it all the more important to provide information and training to them in a way that worked for them.
The adoption process for a well-designed platform is relatively straightforward, but you do have to empower your team with the opportunity to ask questions of real people. Having experts available was a crucial piece of the introductory process.
One of the main benefits of using the Total Expert MOS is that it’s quite easy to find information using the familiar search functionality within the platform. Of course, our teams still needed support in navigating new workflows and features within the MOS – that’s why we brought in subject matter experts from Total Expert to familiarize our teams with workflows and the range of content available to them.
2. Empower Individuals and Give Them the Resources They Need to Learn
We place a premium on the value of individual growth, and we shaped the adoption process around individual education opportunities in which subject matter experts broke the system down into task-oriented training sessions to help LOs and marketing administrators master specific skills.
Think of it this way: If you needed to replace the headlamp on your SUV, you wouldn’t read the entire vehicle manual. You would seek out the section of the manual that addresses how to disassemble the headlamp and review the instructions for how to replace the bulb.
Learning how to replace that piece of the machine is efficient because it allows you to take on a reasonable, purposeful task that you have a shot at remembering through repetition. This is an apt metaphor for how we approached the adoption process on an individual level.
3. Create Opportunities for Teams to Share Learnings
One of the best strategies for us has been to reinforce the opportunities that exist within the platform and the openings for employees to do continuing education through weekly, regional calls with regional, area, and branch managers.
These calls are already part of our standard operating practice, but they’ve been a great opportunity to feature the knowledge of power users regularly. We’ve also been able to leverage this time to bring in a subject matter expert who can talk about specific wins or tools that are available within the MOS. It’s another chance for these folks to answer employee questions about how to leverage new strategies or features.
This has also been a great way to spark competitiveness within the region. Showing LOs how they can log in more, schedule more weekly social media posts, and make concrete progress is hugely motivating. It’s good for LOs to understand how their counterparts throughout the region or area are leveraging these tools to get wins.
These meetings also serve to tease out new aspects of the platform or new items that have been added. This gets folk to interact with the platform and encourages them to keep deepening their knowledge of all the things they can do within this system.
When Adoption Is the Easy Part, Teams Are Empowered to Win
Convincing our employees to get onboard with Total Expert’s MOS wasn’t exactly an uphill battle. They recognize the power of this operating system, and they’re excited to have the opportunity to improve their workflows.
But for our employees, finishing the initial training is just the beginning. We recognize that we’ll have to continue to evaluate engagement and make sure that new folks have the same access to training as those who were employees at our launch date.
We appreciate that Total Expert’s MOS provides the reporting tools on the back end to establish user accountability, which for us means that we can see how everyone is leveraging the technology. This also enables our managers to reach out to make sure people know how to use the solutions we’re giving them to tackle the challenges ahead.
People learn through repetition, and we’re excited to see our teams continue to gain traction with these new tools in hand. As we move out of the first stage of our adoption plan, we also look forward to creating more opportunities to help our teams engage through this platform.