How to Correct the Disconnect between Management and Sales

In early July on David Lykken’s radio show “Lykken on Lending,” I spoke about the disconnect between management and sales that many mortgage companies are experiencing. I would like to share my thoughts on this important topic and discuss what I see at the top mortgage companies.

While there are many reasons for the disparity, resolving the different agendas of managers and sales professionals needs to be a priority — survival in our dramatically changing marketplace demands that everyone be aligned in their focus. So, how do the best in the business master this critical issue?

First, the best companies have a culture of shared responsibility. No group is greater than another. All are equally important, from sales and operations to funding and servicing. This may seem simple but it is certainly not the norm at many companies. When you walk into a dysfunctional organization, each group seems to be at war with the other. Everyone plays the “blame-game” and no one takes responsibility for his or her own problems. The best-run companies operate differently where every department has an important role to play and employees value other group’s contributions. Shared responsibility starts at the leadership level and is dictated by what managers teach and reward.

Second, the best companies emphasize metrics. Metrics are more than just volume numbers. Metrics are a whole list of measurements including activities and performance standards. Too often, the only number discussed is volume. Volume is not an effective benchmark since it only reveals part of the picture and can result in false assumptions, e.g. high volume always indicates a good originator. In top firms, metrics are not only discussed but understood by everyone. There is no guessing on what needs to be achieved.

Third, good companies employ a uniform sales process throughout the organization. Each originator knows the company’s history, purpose and value proposition. To install a structured sales process takes commitment and requires training from the direct manager. A uniform sales process is about consistency in what the originator says, does and how they present to a customer. If a company does not have a structured process, customers are left to self-validate their decisions to buy your service. When that happens, price competition enters the picture because buyers do not understand why your product is different.

Does your company share these practices of great sales organizations?