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Close up of a male loan officers left hand on a keyboard, while his left hand points at a hologram icon of "CRM" surrounded by other digital looking icons representing a phone operator, email, calendar, package, guarantee, and others. In the top right corner is the Empower LO Branding with the title of the blog: "CRM Vs. Marketing Automation Systems"

Mortgage Marketing: CRM vs. Marketing Automation System

January 06, 20235 min read

Do you use the terms CRM and Marketing Automation System interchangeably?

Don’t worry, that’s common. I often do it, too. However, it’s a mistake, and, although it might seem trivial, the truth is the difference is worth understanding.


Because their utility and functionality are very much different.

One is used to manage personal data, and the other is used to create powerful and personalized sales campaigns that resonate on a very personal level with the sole focus being to convert a prospect into a deal.

With that, I implore you to stop interchanging the terminology Marketing Automation System and CRM.

I’ve asked a few people about it over the years, and the amount of them that didn’t know what CRM stands for has surprised me. Do you know?

Not trying to be a smart alec, however, CRM (if you don’t know) typically stands for customer relationship management (some people's customer relationship manager).

The CRM is usually where the meta-information a customer (or prospect depending on what stage you’re at) is kept.

You know, their personal details like:

  • Their name

  • Address

  • Date of birth

  • Email Address

  • Personal references

You know, the usual.

However, there are also some add-on details that tell you lots more about the customer that should be kept in the CRM, as well, and that includes things like:

  • Loan Number

  • Social Security Number (for credit checks, identity, etc)

  • Current Income

  • Employment Information

But also, also other relevant information that you can use and incorporate into more effective marketing campaigns including stuff like:

  • What stage their at (did they already have a house in mind?)

  • Do they have pets?

  • Kids?

  • How many cars?

  • How old are the cars and how much do they owe on them?

  • Are they married?

  • Divorced?

  • What is their current interest rate?

  • What happened the last time they applied for a mortgage loan?

  • When was the last time you spoke to them?

  • What was said?

  • When did you leave them a voicemail last?

  • What was the context of the call?

  • Are they hot, warm….cold?

  • What affinity groups are they a part of?

  • What clubs do they belong to?

Do you see how this personal information, while ABOUT the customer is not really organized in a marketing sense? Instead, it can be the raw marketing fodder you can utilize within a focused marketing campaign to make your sales message far more personalized and, thereby, much more resonant and effective.

If you can incorporate these tidbits in various ways when you do communicate with your prospects/clients, you’re more likely to “hit home” and connect on a much more visceral and personalized level than you would if you didn’t use this stuff.

The actual campaign itself, the actual different communication pieces, you know…

  • Texts

  • Emails

  • Voice blasts

  • Facebook ads

  • Postcards

  • Etc

Those are all the things you use within a MARKETING AUTOMATION SYSTEM, which come from the data, information, and insights you’ve gleaned, collected and compiled in your CRM system.

The CRM system lets you collect the data and help you figure out, where you’re at with a prospect, while simultaneously allowing you to sort, sift and segment prospects by various filters based on what you know about them.

The Marketing Automation System puts the marketing moves on’em.

Make sense?

Now, why is this distinction important?

Well, generally speaking, companies want you to keep the prospect’s personal details within the confines of their control. This is due to privacy issues and fear of liabilities and consequences they could face if they don’t safeguard these types of details. However, most of the time, they have no issues with how you go about closing the deals. Just as long as their pertinent details are kept safe in their CRM systems.

Also, most of the time their LOS (loan origination software for the newbies reading this), another system used to help facilitate the loan part of the business, is also tied to the CRM as an additional 3rd party software to be aware of.

Although these things are synergistic, and oftentimes they synch together, their purposes are all different.

The function of the CRM is to keep and maintain ALL sorts of data and recon on the prospects while the Marketing Automation System helps manage the sales process flow.

Once the customer closes or progresses through the process, any additional data the client provides is then shuttled over to the CRM side for later use or, if need be, used to help facilitate loans in the LOS.

A common CRM system used in the mortgage industry you might be familiar with is something like Liondesk, which also has some marketing capabilities, however, it’s not as robust at the marketing side of things as something like Agent Legend, which, on the other hand, is as from a CRM as you can possibly get.

The CRM stores data ABOUt the prospect, about where you’re at in communication with the prospect, has meta information, while the Marketing Automation system utilizes that data to help make the message more personal, but it doesn’t manage NOR store that information except to relay communication.

Make sense?

The CRM is intake, reconnaissance, and data management, while the MAS makes use of that stuff to help you close deals.

While a good CRM should be industry-specific to help you get all the typical pertinent details on a consistent basis, a good MAS doesn’t have to be.

A good CRM should be able to tell you which of your clients have interest rates above a certain percentage rate, or which prospects have loans older than x years or other useful filter tools to help you sort and sift and segment prospects, at a moment's notice.

That information can then be strategically and tactfully used in various marketing automation campaigns.

Hoping this makes sense and that you found this useful.

With that, thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the top.


P.S. Want me to help you set up your own simple predictable profitable lead generation system?

Just click this link, book your live demo, and let’s set one up for you, today.

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