Wednesday, December 11, 2019

It's What's Inside That Counts: Why Your Internal Marketing Matters

By Joe Welu
September 23, 2019

Joe Welu
Total Expert

Joe WeluJoe Welu is founder and CEO of Total Expert, St. Louis Park, Minn., which he started in 2012 in the basement of a real estate office. Fast forward to 2019 and Total Expert is backed by some of the leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley and has been named the fastest growing software company in the Midwest by the Inc. 500. Prior to starting Total Expert in 2012, he co-founded and led one of the top-selling real estate teams in the U.S., achieving more than $1 billion in sales volume.

Humanized marketing is tough. It takes time to build relationships with your customers so that you'll know their needs well enough to deliver the information they need when they need it most. But the payoff is huge: getting the right message to the right person at the right time creates loyalty and increases the lifetime value of every customer you serve.

The same is true of relationships you maintain inside your organization--that is, with your employees.

It's critical to show your employees that they're an essential, highly valued part of your operation. If you're set up with the right technology to empower lenders to take strategic risks and an internal communications plan with room to celebrate their successes, you'll find it easier to attract and retain the best of the best.

Here, I'll outline key investments to make in your people and technology to pave your organization's way to better retention and growth.

Grow Employees to Grow Your Organization
It's important to develop top performers, especially when it comes to employee retention. Top performers want to feel empowered to perform at their peak. Rock stars are forward-thinking types with an entrepreneurial bias, and they want to see that you are invested in their career and growth.

Show them you care by nurturing their skills and providing them with opportunities for growth. In addition to mentorship and discussions about potential avenues for growth, mortgage lenders can help customer-facing employees be more entrepreneurial by giving them the right tools to crush the task at hand and ace the next. Help your employees accelerate their workflow to get them to the next level of their career faster.

Encourage your employees to develop a long-term view of their customer relationships and their own relationship with your organization. Help them make plans to grow with you, and everyone will benefit.

Have the Right Tech to Attract Talent
Great entrepreneurs know which technology solutions they need; if you can't say you have these on hand during the interview process, there's no way you'll get entrepreneurial employees to sign on. Be upfront about your programs and project management solutions during the hiring process: let people know that you're committed to putting the right solutions in your teams' hands to help folks perform at their peak.

And then, of course, you have to follow through.

Give your employees the solutions they need to get the job done. It's critical that your tech-forward mindset is communicated during the recruitment process and that it's central to how your teams operate. If someone has a marketing solution they love that can be integrated into your team's process, get that solution.

If employees who are looking to move up are asking for training in solutions that will help them grow inside your company, make sure they know what's available to them. Let them know that you're open to adopting new solutions or helping them learn how to make the most of the tech you have on hand. Make sure they hear this early and often.

Have an Internal Communications Plan
The best mortgage lenders look not only at marketing to customers but also marketing to their employees. Just as you would with an external marketing program, have a 180-day plan and plot it out on your calendar. With this in place, your employees will have a clear sense of the impact the org is making and be able to identify their role in your wins.

You may even find that you can use your external marketing tools to run your internal program: If you can schedule a new-employee onboarding email campaign, why not do it?

Just like the customers they interact with every day, your employees expect humanized communications from their employer. Leverage the tools your teams use to execute hyper-relevant communications every day, and you'll find you're positioned to provide a great experience to your employees and your customers.

By flipping the organization in this way, you'll improve retention. Nurture your company culture through consistent internal communication that ties wins back to your organization's mission and values.

Recognize Your Rock Stars
In today's job market, rock star employees have their pick of positions. Unemployment in the U.S. was at 3.7 percent in August, and attitudes toward job hopping are shifting--it's no longer seen with the same stigma it once was.

As that stigma recedes, it's more important than ever to let employees know that you appreciate their contributions. There are many ways to acknowledge achievement (and what will work for you and your team may vary), but you can get ahead of an early departure by getting to know what motivates your employees.

The best way to learn how to retain someone may just be to ask. Find out if they're motivated by compensation, benefits, opportunities or accolades--then incorporate this into your plan for that employee's development. Be sure to communicate your expectations, celebrate their wins and incentivize achievement wherever you can.

Hyper-Relevance Isn't Just a Customer Expectation
Great entrepreneurs who know how to build relationships and maintain them over time have an instinct for hyper-personalized communication. Their big-picture thinking skills let them solve new problems. And their expectations for communications from their employer? They're higher than most.

It's hard to think of anyone who hasn't had their expectations for a customer experience impacted in America today. Netflix and Amazon have shown us what's possible (, and now it's up to leaders in every industry to figure out how to deliver a high-quality, hyper-personalized experience at every level, inside and outside of organizations.

For mortgage lenders, it's all about how we can more creatively and efficiently solve our customers' problems. As leaders, it's also our responsibility to show employees that we have a plan to get them the tools and resources they need to grow the business with less hassle and effort.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA Insights welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at

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