Q&A with Josh Friend of InSellerate
MBA NewsLink Staff
MBA NewsLink posed questions to Josh Friend, founder and CEO of InSellerate, Costa Mesa, Calif.,
Friend founded InSellerate in 2012, a system that includes sales force automation, lead management and an automated marketing platform. In 2015 InSellerate formed a partnership with iLeads, a lead and intelligence provider, integrating the systems. Previously (2003) Friend helped develop one of the first automated pricing engines. The company's website is www.insellerate.com.
MBA NEWSLINK: How did you get into the mortgage software business?
JOSH FRIEND, INSELLERATE: I started in 2002 when I built my first mortgage company. At the time we knew that using technology could dramatically improve our sales and operations, but we were not satisfied with the options available in the marketplace.
I've always enjoyed technology, so I decided to build our own software. As I spoke to other companies in our industry about our solution, they shared our excitement about the technology. After several of these companies came to us and asked if they could buy it, we realized we had a system that could solve problems for other mortgage companies, so we started selling it.
NEWSLINK: So, how exactly does a Sales Automation System work?
FRIEND: An advanced Sales Automation System needs a wealth of features, but there are several must-haves. First, the system must be fast. In a competitive market, sales leads must be distributed to the right agent based on their skills and availability and the customer must be contacted immediately.
Second, the solution must provide timely and automated communication through multiple methods: phone, email and text. Whether that is prompted by an automated trigger or event-based email or text messages or the system initiating a follow-up call, staying in front of the customer with the appropriate sales rep is key.
Finally, the system needs to take the guesswork out of pipeline management, with defined workflows and lead prioritization from sales to processing. Defining best practices and using them across your organization will drive the greatest efficiency.
NEWSLINK: How does the system assist in an originator's compliance with TRID and/or other regulations?
FRIEND: In one word: control. When you can define your messaging and workflow, and have access to a full audit trail, you will be at an advantage in compliance.
The greatest risk is the unknown. Our system empowers management to create unified messaging, whether through email or text, that can be reviewed and approved by compliance. Well-written content will also help your sales people create and retain more business. Another way our system can help is with work flow management, including timelines for disclosures and alerts when they are due. The system gives your operations staff a clean view of their pipeline and enables them to know which loans need to be worked on next. If questions arise later, having an audit trail on how your company engaged the customer will provide for clear, accurate and actionable information.
NEWSLINK: How much training is involved in learning the system?
FRIEND: User adoption is a common issue in any business, not just mortgages. Sales people must love the tools they have if they're going to use them. Other systems required users to navigate too many screens to complete simple tasks.
We addressed this by providing sales people with a single page to manage their entire pipeline. We then focused on designing common activities in a very intuitive and simple way so sales people can be up and running in under one hour. In the end, loan officers, processors, support staff and management work off one screen that enables them to control leads, make calls and see their daily priority of activities.
NEWSLINK: As the mortgage industry transitions more into a purchase market, what kind of edge can your software provide?
FRIEND: In a purchase market, one of the hardest things to manage is understanding where your borrower is in the process and making sure you are consistently communicating the right message to them based on their status. With InTouch, our automated email platform, you are able to send the right email at the right time.
Combine this with the workflow management functionality and you are able to set up activities based on the prospect's or borrower's status. Whether or not they are working with a real estate agent makes a difference in the transaction, and each one must be handled very differently to be successful. Our system enables you to manage and automate the workflow that best fits your prospect's status and makes sure you stay in front of them and communicate with them appropriately.
NEWSLINK: Your company recently received a capital infusion from Sekits Capital. What will this enable you to do?
FRIEND: You can never have enough experience on your team. This was both a strategic investment as well as a partnership. The key people involved with Sekits Capital have built very successful mortgage technology companies during their careers. At InSellerate, we are focused on understanding the needs of our clients, and building on our internal expertise will only make us stronger. Sekits also brings additional financial strength that will enable us to invest in and develop new features more rapidly.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor does it connote an endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions; articles and/or Q/A inquiries should be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at email@example.com.)