Power to the Peoples: How Total Expert Changed the Game for Peoples Mortgage

Cressie Greenland


Cressie Greenland

Marketing Systems Manager, Team Lead at Peoples Mortgage

Our motto at Peoples Mortgage is “it’s all about the people.” So of course, we’re big on philanthropy, working together across our departments, and fostering a family atmosphere. And even though we’re growing, we want to keep that close, connected feeling.

Right now, I oversee our marketing systems for Peoples and help support the team members that keep them updated and running smoothly. When I first started in the marketing department at Peoples three years ago, I came on as a business development role to build relationships with realtors. I was also in college at the time and switched my major to marketing. Within the first 6 months of being on the Peoples marketing team, a position opened on our team that was more my personality—a kind of behind-the-scenes role that makes sure everything’s connecting and working. I became our project manager and Total Expert admin. I managed our marketing inbox and made sure Total Expert was connected correctly on the back end of our systems. And another team member ran our Total Expert-powered journeys and emails.

Then last March, I was given full ownership of Total Expert. So now I’m also responsible for our Total Expert journeys and emails, too. And it’s been great because I can focus on the entire system and give direction to our team members, who include our new project manager who took over my marketing inbox duties and adds all new users to TE, our social media specialist who creates and uploads all our social posts, and our program manager who develops and uploads all our print marketing flyers.


Maximizing a modern marketing automation platform

I’m not exaggerating when I say Total Expert is shaping the future of our entire lead and revenue pipeline. I say that because Total Expert gives us so many different ways to communicate with our borrowers at every stage of their journey—from lead to customer.


Automated email Journeys

We’ve already built a bunch of different automated journeys in Total Expert that help us automatically keep in touch with leads and customers in a very engaging way (particularly important for times when loan officers are unable to actively communicate with them on their own).

Some impactful Journeys we have active right now are triggered based off SimpleNexus insights. But I think the “group assignment” journeys we’ve set up are what really set Total Expert apart.

In that kind of Journey, when a customer hits a specific point, Total Expert automatically groups them and adds them to a Journey that features messaging designed for whatever criteria we set. So, for example, we built a group assignment Journey for people who start loan applications but don’t finish them that talks to them about what to do (and not do) during the application process. We also built another group assignment Journey that uses mortgage pre-approval data from Encompass to identify when people begin looking for a home and then advise people on what to look for when they’re out shopping.


Realtor co-selling capabilities and customizable marketing profile

One of biggest impacts on our organization—and one of the main reasons we selected Total Expert—is what Total Expert gives us in its co-marketing portal.

When we were using just Mortgage Returns we were limited. But now, with Total Expert, we’re providing more value to our realtor partners and making it more convenient for them to work with us. This includes easy access to co-branded listing flyers and program flyers, co-branded single property sites, and co-branded lead capture apps. These are the many features that our Loan Officers can showcase when inviting a realtor to co-market in TE. The more value they can provide, the better they can build their relationship with the realtors.

Another thing I’m super proud of is the way we’ve customized the Enhanced Marketing Profile (EMP) in Total Expert to help our users market to their contacts more easily and effectively: we utilized the custom link fields on the EMP page and inserted our Loan Officers’ SimpleNexus partner links, so our loan officers can send an email with a CTA button and invite a realtor to start to partner with them in SimpleNexus all while explaining the benefits in the body of the email.

We also added custom links for the Homebot home value URL, so we can create emails where leads and prospects can click a button to learn more about their homes value. We utilized the WhatsApp link placeholder for Homebot partner invite links, so our loan officers can invite realtors to partner with them by sending emails with CTA buttons that link to their partner invite links.


Easy integrations with social media and other important apps

Social media integrations are really important to us. And people—loan officers, realtors, and consumers alike—are very selective about which social media they use and prefer. Some prefer LinkedIn. Younger generations often prefer Instagram. So it’s great that Total Expert integrates with the major social media platforms and that the integrations are so easy to use.

It was really big uplift for us when Total Expert’s Instagram integration came out because our loan officers needed a fast and easy way to start building their presence there, so they can stay in front of and engage with the first-time home buyers who spend most of their social media time on Instagram.

As a bonus, before Total Expert’s Instagram integration came out, we weren’t using Total Expert’s social library at all. We shared our social posts through a private Facebook group, and that’s where we would drop all the social pieces for loan officers and realtor partners to use. It works but having a portal that you can schedule multiple social posts in advance is very useful. So once the Instagram integration was available, our team worked really hard to build out the library properly and organize it with folders and tags. And now it is being more frequently used.

In addition to our social media integrations, we value the Total Expert integration with Optimal Blue, so our Loan Officers and co-marketing partners can have access to listing flyers with up to four loan scenarios listed out for the consumer to look over.


Faster, wider user adoption

Loan Officers and the people who assist loan officers are the ones who primarily use Total Expert here at Peoples. But when we first implemented Total Expert during the refi boom, user adoption was pretty low. They did not have a need to log in, they were busy taking applications.

We’re still working on getting most of our Loan Officers to use Total Expert on a daily basis but do see our adoption trending upwards. We offer a lot of training to make sure as many people as possible understand all that Total Expert has to offer.

I personally train all the loan officers when they first join Peoples. And when I show them what we can do with single-property sites and listing flyers from the MLS number, they get pretty excited. We have a new loan officer, for example, who does a lot of open houses who’s one of the top creators of single-property sites right now. What he does is, he goes into Total Expert, creates the single property site himself, then touts it on Facebook with a funny little blurb that essentially says, “Come see me at this open house!”

We also offer a short, bi-weekly training we call “Talk TE with Me” that’s pre-scheduled on every loan officer’s calendar. At only 15-minutes long, it’s intended to be a quick-hit training that gets people in and using Total Expert—”This is a single-property site,” “This is a listing flyer”—followed by 15 minutes of Q&A for those who have questions. And our social media expert holds a monthly training where she helps loan officers schedule in advance in Total Expert an entire month’s worth of social posts.

In addition to scheduled trainings, we also offer special promotions when we want to accomplish something specific in the short-term. So, for instance, when we wanted to get users excited about Instagram and other social media last fall, we used gamification to challenge them to see who could post the most across social media over a 60-day period. We had a leaderboard for the contest, too, to keep them excited about it. There was a tie between two winners, so we split the two prizes—a $100 gift certificate to our Peoples Mortgage merchandise store and a $100 donation from Jon Hill, our Total Expert rep—between them. That was really fun.


Measuring success now and in the future

Right now, most of the measurements we use to gauge our success with Total Expert is centered around the feedback we receive from loan officers and executives, along with the amount of overall output from the system.

But in the future, we want to measure our Total Expert success according to more standard metrics, like our user adoption rate (based on who’s logging in, who’s creating flyers, who’s posting on social, etc.) and standard email statistics (open rate, click-thru rate, etc.).


What’s next?

As soon as the Total Expert app is live, we want to work on getting our users excited about the two-way SMS functionality that will come with that app. Emails are great, but texting and live phone calls are even better. Users will have that second option for a touchpoint in addition to email.

The other thing I’m currently working to roll out is our ability to print and ship flyers using Total Expert, which is super exciting! We keep finding new ways to make Total Expert work for us, and they keep adding new features to make our lives easier, so we’ll keep pushing what’s possible.