Plan to Succeed: Strategies to Stay on Course

By the time January rolls around, most companies are well underway in executing 2018 business plans they drafted last fall. Business plans have been proven to increase success: Though the numbers vary by source, a Palo Alto Software study verified by the University of Oregon Department of Economics found that 64% of companies who planned saw growth compared to 43% who did not complete a business plan. Moving into the year, leadership and department heads may have established regular checkpoints to review, revise and revisit the plan, but it can be difficult to corral the people who drive production to take part and make adjustments.

Companies may give mortgage loan officers (MLOs) and teams production goals, monitor metrics and provide progress reports at various intervals, but as business heats up, it can be harder to keep the front and the back of the house in sync. MLOs and teams may accept the company’s business plan in general, but when markets, buying season and production increase, their time and attention spans get strained, stretched and fragmented.

The best business plans include tools and support to assist different areas of the organization in reaching their particular goals. And the most effective way to keep MLOs focused on the big picture and engaged with your overall plan is to help them maximize their time and efforts in their individual practices. As companies ask for more from their producers, they should also examine what they’re providing in exchange:

Structure and Content

Do you have a system in place to manage leads from the first spark of interest through the closing of a transaction? An LOS-integrated CRM can provide a framework that will allow brand and compliance control, but it must also be able to house and deploy multiple assets. It’s easier for marketing departments to act quickly and get current, compelling messages to their MLOs for use if there’s a structure in place to deposit the assets and easily import branding and compliance components. Your system should also have the capability to pull data directly from Multiple Listing Services for print and web assets that use property data. Choosing the right technology will keep MLOs from seeking solutions outside your organization and your compliance oversight.

Automation vs. Effort

The same automation that can provide a single system of record for all marketing materials and communications between your company and MLOs and consumers can delight your producers and their referral partners. Ideally, you should provide technology that allows producers to manage all their marketing in one place, deploy email campaigns and create assets that can be used for print or direct mail under permissions set by the company that ensure cost-splitting is accurate and legal. Best-of-breed technology can also generate all documentation required in the event of an audit quickly and easily. 

Structure and automation can solve a great deal of pain for your producers, and marketing and compliance departments. Technology can help these three parts of the organization reach their goals simultaneously: Producers can get access to fresh, relevant direct and email campaigns, as well as print and digital assets that are fully approved and managed by marketing and compliance.

Enterprise-level processes and solutions solve multiple issues, but distraction is a malady that strikes most salespeople at one time or another. Companies hoping for maximum success from their overall business plan can offer a specific, personal solution that MLOs and their Realtor partners can use to get (and stay) on track – the 1-Page Business Plan. The premise, execution and tracking of the 1-Page Business Plan is effective at different organizational levels, including company management, and it can be easily implemented as a best practice. But MLOs and agents can also use it to tighten their focus and elevate their performance with a single sheet of paper. The 1-Page Business Plan is a compact, five-part process that combines the most important things to keep in the forefront of your focus and actions every day.

Companies and their leadership think in macro terms, while the producers they need to achieve their goals are micro-focused on their personal production goals. Providing tools and support for MLOs’ goals will build trust and get the buy-in companies need to follow their plans and succeed. Time management expert and best-selling author Alan Lakein’s famous quote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” applies to organizations and individuals.  Get your people on board by helping them get focused.