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A Guide to Selecting the Best Loan Servicing Software

A Guide to Selecting the Best Loan Servicing Software

Regardless of the size of your business operation, it is crucial to have a quality software system that manages your loan portfolio. A proper suite to manage this aspect of your business will inevitably save the business a lot of time and energy in the long run.

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Picking the right software will require an inside-out approach. Through this method, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of the nitty-gritty of your business before venturing to external sources for the solution. Aside from a loan management platform, CloudMyBiz also provides business consultation services to help with this process. To better appreciate everything, a number of internal factors have to be identified and sorted out, if required before executing any decision.

What Does the Business Need?

It’s important to maintain a realistic view of where the business currently resides in the grand scheme of things, but also have a well thought out projection of where the business should be directed towards.

This will require a strategic approach that caters to the most important features you look forward to having in your service your loan portfolios. You will need to prioritize a list that identifies the gaps in your current system and an approach that will work for the new system.

The best thing you can do for your business is pick a loan structure that aligns with your company’s goals and projections. This means that regardless of the number of loans you’re servicing, your focus is on the success of the business.

According to Ingvar Petursson, Chief Strategist with Slalom Consulting in Seattle;

“The goal should be to find a strategic partner in your software company so that ultimately, the software will meet your goals not just today, but in the long term.”

 

Generally speaking, getting a clear picture of your business processes, goals for the future and the hurdles standing in the way of those goals is essential in picking the right software.

What Does the User Need?

The successful implementation of your software will naturally require having ample information about the potential users/staff of the organization. Establishing everyone involved in the process, from top management to the loan servicers who will be working in the program every day is crucial. This sets the implementation up for success to make sure every part is delegated to a specific person.

This process will increase the efficiency of the program because you will know where your staff spends most of their time and the aspects that need to be tweaked or otherwise.

How Do You Deliver the Software?

This requires you to decide how you want the cloud lending software to be made available. Considering that there is a multitude of softwares in existence that vary based on qualities, you must choose wisely.

There are typically two ways of getting a new software; one is through purchasing the license and the other is a cloud-based approach. Picking either option depends on the personnel available.

For example, if you have a robust IT staff, then it is better to just purchase the license and let them navigate the software. However, if your team doesn’t have a dedicated IT department to handle such tasks, then using a cloud-based approach is preferable since it is remotely managed, serviced and maintained by the software provider.

Don’t Stretch It

Every business is focused on making a profit but at the same time, improving the quality and pace of activities should be just as an important factor when considering your goals. In this case, it is important to strike a balance between the quality of software used and the amount spent on procuring it.

This means that regardless of the type of software you pick, you have to make a budget that accounts for both direct costs like software and hardware cost, as well as indirect costs like the number of employees performing tasks that a dependable system will do automatically.

You’ll Need a List

When you’ve cleared out all the internal factors, the next step is to look for potential solutions. This requires for you to consider your needs, your vendor, and tech support.

You will need certified and reliable software, which will require in-depth research through numerous tools available. Your main goal is to come up with a short list of possible solutions.

After the list is created, the next step is to streamline your search towards the software that accounts for all internal factors that are a must. Focus on all aspects of the software in the streamlined list, considering the price, customization capabilities, security features, “licensed / SaaS” options, and other features important in your evaluation.

You could even run demos of as many softwares as possible, getting a feel of them and knowing which one will satisfy your needs in all ramifications.

Put it to Work

At this point, you should have a crystal clear idea about which software will be perfect for your loan servicing business. Ensure that you keep detailed records of all transactions relating to the decision and contact support if you encounter any issues.

Read manuals, watch tutorials and get as much information from numerous sources on the internet. Ensure that the software resides in a safe and secure PC environment, handled by the right people and used for the right purpose. It is an investment towards the success of the business and should be treated with the utmost level of delicacy.

Why Your Business Should Use SOPs and What Results to Expect

Why Your Business Should Use SOPs and What Results to Expect

Why your business should use SOP standard operating procedures infographic

 

Having a suitable, standard operating procedure (SOP) is crucial for efficiently running any business. If your business doesn’t have a simple structure to handle the simple tasks, then creating SOPs must be prioritized.

Business owners often make the mistake of believing that the growth of a business depends on more advertising, but that is not always the case.

As important as these elements may be for your businesses, having a successfully operating business requires improvement in other departments. One of the most differentiating factors between a successful business and one that continues to play “catch-up” is having SOPs in place.

Standard operating procedures are instructions that are well-written to explain how a task or job is handled. They are tailor-made and in-depth guides to make a task easier to do. SOPs are practical and can be used for virtually any task imaginable. They have been used for financing, legal work, operations in business, and so much more.

How Do SOPs Improve Businesses?

Kamyar Shah, a strategic consultant and CloudMyBiz’s Fractional Chief Marketing Officer,  discusses his experience of working with organizations on The Process Breakdown podcast. He has found that most of them lacked SOPs or had very few of them. In comparison, organizations that had well-thought-out and structured SOPs ran quicker and more efficiently. The podcast continues with Kamyar emphasizing that SOPs are the factors that may seem small, but give businesses an edge in the industry. 

Why Should You Have SOPs?

Improves the ability of employees executing tasks

If an essential task in a workplace appears too complex, there is a strong possibility that clear instructions and expectations for this specific task are missing.

When a company takes the time to have SOPs written down, people know exactly what to do, are more reliable, and are more likely to succeed. Employees are also less confused and have fewer questions.

Improves reliability 

Consistent businesses are reliable. Even if the products are small, reliability in producing great results is important and customers will be satisfied. A written down SOP gives everyone a standard to target and if everyone meets that target then better results will be achieved.

What you produce can be affected by mistakes and these will reduce the quality or the quantity of the product.

Efficient on-boarding process

When you have standard operating procedures, you make hiring and retaining employees a lot easier.

Training new employees becomes much easier, because new employees can adopt the a lot faster when they are written down. SOPs also make it easy for you to recognize the problems a new trainee might be facing and address them faster.

Improves health and safety practices

An employee’s safety should be high priority when conducting a business. In some fields, an injured employee and damaged equipment often occur from an unsafe work environment. When employees follow SOPs, they tend to keep the environment and themselves safe.

When it comes to online and SaaS business, having a system of processes in play can avoid mishaps from happening. As a lending or software company, it’s important to stay away from bad press as much as possible. It is crucial for any company that has social media or any marketing outreach, to have the do’s and don’ts written out for any onboarding team member.


Get proper feedback

It is important to consider speaking with front-line workers. Your front-line has the most contact with customers and know their complaints. When you open the door for feedback, you may find that your business’s decisions to retain customers are actually doing the exact opposite.

Speaking to employees and trying to find out what the customers think will help you see progress. This can help build a good client relationship.

What Results Can You Expect from Using SOPs?

Common issues being resolved

When you have a working SOP, make sure to take the time and have the right people look over the SOP together so any details may be discussed. see if an ambiguous part of it can be dealt with. This helps you work with employees properly while bringing their problems they may be experiencing with either the procedure or workplace environment to light.

Improves communication

SOPs point out organizational needs. This allows new and employees to understand the standards of the company and receive the correct information.

If everything is properly spelled out within the SOP,  you will find that the frequency of communication gaps will be cut down drastically.

Better performance according to checklist

SOPs are used as checklists for supervisors and as a standard form of communication to team members. Because of this, there will be noticeable performance progress among your team. Invariably, this will lead to better client satisfaction, especially if proper feedback is given from the client on their specific needs.

 

Leadership is a Skill, Not a Trait: 7 Tips for Success

Leadership is a Skill, Not a Trait: 7 Tips for Success

What is the one most potent drive that humans have? Is it physical survival? To a degree, yes. But if we need only to address our basic needs to live, why do we strive for something more?

There is a secondary drive in humans that at times overrides even our physical survival. Some set out to climb Everest. Others leave their mark with literature or art.

Everyone, in their own respect, is looking for their way to be heard.

On the one hand, being heard implies projecting your ideas onto someone else. On another, it indicates that someone will listen. So how does one get the authority and expertise that makes them a leader?

Kamyar Shah, fractional COO/CMO, addressed the question in an interview with Coruzant. He responded above all that knowledge and lifelong learning is the key to leadership.

What is his motivation to learn? It’s not leadership. It’s not even advancing in his career.

His motivation to learn, he answered, is waking up every day “not knowing” and wanting to change that.

The beauty of this is that it shows anyone can become a leader in their field. Don’t get overwhelmed by the mountain ahead. The climb is as easy as taking the first step.

1. Admit you don’t know

As mentioned by Shah, what drives him is the desire to know. Not knowing is the spark that motivated him to take over 100 courses in the last year. It took him from a call center to a fractional COO for seven different companies. Assuming that you don’t know is not the same as an admission of weakness. It’s the first step to gaining knowledge.

There will always be knowledge gaps and misunderstandings. Identifying them can help clear up misconceptions to communicate your message clearer. For example, alternative lenders face many communication gaps with their own clients. As discussed in this article, the responsibility is on them to lead and close these gaps.

2. Use free resources

Traditional education offers in-depth coverage of the topic at hand. But, the cost and time constrictions limit its practicality for some. What’s most important is what you learn, not following the standard means of getting there. Take advantage of other resources if you have time or financial constraints. Some options include webinars, LinkedIn learning, online conferences, and video lectures.

3. Get in-depth coverage

Short videos and blog posts have great introductory value for a topic. However, don’t forget to build on that information. Coupling easily digestible information with in-depth coverage gives invaluable context. Without this, it is harder to make sure that you have the context to apply your knowledge.

Consider listening to a lecture series, reading a book, or taking online courses. Remember that you can always ask someone with more experience than you, bringing us to the next point.

4. Talk to other professionals

Some of the most practical knowledge you can find comes from the people that use it every day.  Talking with other professionals is an underutilized and crucial tool for learning. It adds the value of connecting with a source of direct experience in a given niche. If you have a particular question or want to hear more about why some use a specific process in their work, ask. Find out where the leaders of your industry go. Are they in LinkedIn groups or on forums? Are there conferences or other meetups that they frequent? There’s value in surrounding yourself not with people like you but with people like who you want to be.

5. Always aim to prove yourself wrong

The scientific method sets out to prove a proposed hypothesis wrong. Experiments exist only to see if the belief holds up. Only after every attempt fails to bring another conclusion is it trusted.

Like researchers, only after trying to prove our assumptions wrong will we see what’s right. Even illusions can hide a nugget of truth. When you encounter failure, learn everything you can from it. Change your process, try again, and each time you’ll come closer to success.

6. Use diverse sources of information

Every person puts their perspective and options into their work. Often, even the author is unaware. When you see diverse perspectives on the same information, it’s easier to see what they have in common.

The Chaldean Oracles and ancient wise men would invite people to partake in acts of collective reason. Often, they invited others, saying, “Come now, let us reason together.” Once you have enough perspectives to see what varies from person to person, you begin to pick out the truth. As you practice this, the process gets quicker, and even your own biases will yield to facts.

7. Apply your knowledge through action

Even the knowledge of the most educated individual doesn’t mean a thing until tested. For example, a person can spend their life studying the maintenance of cars. They can spend every day reading, watching videos, and observing. Does this make them a mechanic?

Not until they fix a car.

The best testing ground for your newfound knowledge is applying it every day in real life. It may not feel like progress at first, but even your struggles are a form of movement. Only after practice and application will you look back and see how far you’ve come.

Summary

Industry leaders are created through a lifetime of learning. It’s not about what resources you do or don’t have. All you need is the want to know, the openness to grow, and the willingness to try, fail, and try again. The following growth reaches much further than your career or even your industry. It provides tools you’ll have for life.

Salesforce Consultant or Internal Admin? Here’s What to Consider.

Salesforce Consultant or Internal Admin? Here’s What to Consider.

Three people sit at a wooden table with their laptops

When used as loan management software, Salesforce automates business tasks, organizes processes, and provides data insights you might be missing. As many alternative lenders find themselves at a pivot point between in-person and digital lending, more have decided to bring their operations online. Unfortunately, many teams are ill-equipped to handle implementation, training, and updates in loan management software independently. Now, the shift to digital processes is no longer optional. Cloud lending software is now critical to many lenders’ survival. So what do you do when it’s time to bring your operations online?

The First Steps

The first decision lenders will have to make is who is going to help. The choice will ultimately depend on the needs of their business. Each of the two options has its pros and cons. Ultimately, you will need to know what you need from your loan management system to decide confidently. Some factors that many businesses weigh are experience, availability, and cost. When looking for someone to teach your team how to use Salesforce for loan management, be sure to ask how they plan to address your concerns in the areas that are important to you.

The first step is to outline where you foresee your struggles. When looking for an automated loan processing system, you may want to consider questions like:

  • Is your staff tech-savvy, or will they need a helping hand learning the loan automation program?
  • Do they have the time to investigate the program on their own?
  • What are your strategies to improve sales productivity?
  • Will they need a hand to adapt while they manage their current operations?
  • Does your lending involve similar programs or an assortment of physical documents and spreadsheets?

What Do I Need From My Financial Lending Solution?

For the countless lenders that still use mainly physical paper documentation, extra training assistance is a must. You’ll want someone with the knowledge to understand why your team is struggling and how to help. Remember, a proper Salesforce implementation should not disrupt your operations, but compliment them.

Your reasons for choosing Salesforce business consulting services will guide your process from here. Are you changing because you’re short on time? Is it to get more data to improve your lending? Your priorities will help you choose an admin that has the same preferences in mind.

Do I Need a Salesforce Admin or In-House Administrator?

Now, consider some differences between Salesforce Admins and in-house administrators. In-house administrators will have greater availability to train your staff. Still, Salesforce admins have far more experience with training and implementing their clients in the software. Even extended availability doesn’t compare with practice. A Salesforce admin may spend less time training your staff, but their extensive knowledge allows them to train more efficiently.

When you find an administrator who has experienced helping other alternative lenders with consulting services, you’re banking on their experience helping businesses like yours. Any candidate your company considers should specialize in alternative lenders. Since alternative lending has specific challenges that no other industry faces, your administrator needs to be familiar with them.

What Questions Do I Ask?

When you begin to interview, ask about their previous work with businesses like yours. Relevant education or experience can also make for a good fit. While neither one is necessarily more important, the choice will ultimately depend on the candidate.

Now that you’ve verified your admins’ familiarity with alternative lending, consider what your skills are. What is YOUR current level of experience working in Salesforce? Do you know what features you need? Do your candidates? And how much assistance do you need to understand what your needs are?

To confirm your candidate has everything they need to help, take a look at their training. Hands-on experience is excellent, but with software that updates so frequently, it is not enough. That said, your admin should have the right mix of both. How can you verify that your admin has the skills to make the most of Salesforce?

What Are The Skills That Matter?

Your applicants will undoubtedly have different areas of knowledge and experience. How can you weigh them fairly?

When you see your candidate’s qualifications, don’t only take them at face value. Spend a moment researching their certifications and verify their quality. Your candidates should all have a valid certificate that confirms their skills from a body that requires continuing skills tests.

Salesforce admins must go through an intensive training process to demonstrate that they are ready to help their clients at the level that Salesforce expects. While Salesforce only offers the certification exam, online courses are the most popular form of preparation that Salesforce admins use.

Why Are Salesforce Admins Different from In-House Admins?

While an internal admin may know the program, working in Salesforce is a Salesforce administrator’s entire job.

The fluidity that Salesforce admins have when working with the platform comes from extensive training. They must pass a rigorous exam that guarantees that they have the knowledge to configure, run, and modify the platform for their clients. Additionally, they have to pass three release exams every year on its new features.

Because a Salesforce admin works with many different clients, they understand what to expect when helping onboard your team. They know what aspects may be challenging for you and how to guide your team in Salesforce optimization. A Salesforce admin has the generalized knowledge to predict your needs with the program based on their experience with other clients.

Final Notes

While it may seem convenient to have a full-time Salesforce admin, it may not be necessary. Quality admins can train your existing team to run day-to-day operations. A Salesforce admin can come in when needed to help your staff make adjustments and troubleshoot. Spend some time to think if you genuinely need availability or if you need the expertise.

By bringing in a consultant instead of a full-time staff member, your company also conserves time and resources. A Salesforce consultant will give you a good idea of how much their clients typically need. Both of the candidates should outline their plan to onboard your lending and how long it will take.

Though it may be tempting to have an internal administrator handle your Salesforce operations, one thing is sure. A Salesforce administrator is guaranteed to have the skills to help your team, no matter what your needs. If you’re ready to start looking, take a look at our step-by-step guide on choosing the right Salesforce consultant.

Quick Tips on Using Salesforce for Lenders

Quick Tips on Using Salesforce for Lenders

A man types at his computer at a shared wooden desk in front of a sunny window

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

By this point, you know your business should be propelled by the need to get ahead, not just the need to keep up. For many lenders, this means integrating technology into your business’s operations. Using a CRM to unify your processes and data can help you achieve just that.

While the benefits of better data are clear, it is not uncommon for apprehension to sneak into the conversation. Especially when migrating from paper and spreadsheets, the task seems overwhelming to some lenders. If you fall into this group, fear not. There are steps that can make setting up Salesforce for lenders a smooth and easy process.

If you have used Salesforce before, you may have noticed that they avoid using jargon. This coupled with their quick search tool makes it simple to find what you need without the learning curve. Once you can find the options you need, customizing the platform around your business becomes easier.

Even if you think you can hit the ground running, spending a few minutes to go through the tutorial is well worth the time. It provides surprisingly detailed insights on how to configure Salesforce to manage your deals and pipeline.

Another feature worth noting is Salesforce’s customizable alerts. You can choose alerts to notify your team when it’s time to take an action, like following up on a lead or sending out information. You can also toggle them on or off to determine who sees them or what information you want displayed.

There are also a plethora of apps that you can install to manage specific functions in Salesforce. Some organize and track deals for syndication and others provide detailed information to decide on applicant risk. Others integrate Salesforce with other programs your organization already uses.

While you can set up Salesforce to manage your lending, it never hurts to consult a professional to find out where you can benefit the most from using a CRM. If you want to find out who can best help your business, take these steps when finding a Salesforce consultant.

SBFA Responds to New York’s APR Disclosure Bill

SBFA Responds to New York’s APR Disclosure Bill

Following the vague terms of bill A10118A/S5470B, which would require New York lenders to provide certain uniform disclosures, it’s no surprise that industry leaders are reacting with frustration. Steve Denis, Executive Director of the Small Business Finance Association, remarked, “It’s actually shocking to me how tone deaf those who claim to represent our industry are when it comes to policy.

A view of the hands of two individuals at a desk, one holding a stack of papers and gesturing to the other set of folded hands.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The APR disclosure bill has so far been passed through New York State’s legislature, and if signed by Governor Cuomo, would mandate that lenders disclose terms such as their APR even if the funding itself does not involve one. A similar law in California and the confusion that followed its implementation left lenders seeking advice from equally baffled lawyers. The state itself failed to provide guidance on how to calculate the terms if the loan itself did not include them.

Without major problems regarding disclosure of these terms, the bill complicates lending in a time when small businesses are trying desperately to find options to remain open. Feedback from borrowers and a lack of complaints to regulators do not indicate that this bill will solve any major existing problems. Find out more about the bill here.