MFG Awards 2020
Connells Group / Twenty7Tec Joint Submission
Award Category: Best Use of Technology
Name: Adrian Scott, Connells Group Mortgage Services Director
Company Overview: Connells Group is one of the largest and most successful estate agency and property services providers in the UK. Founded in 1936 and with a network of nearly 600 branches nationwide, and 6,800 employees, the Group combines residential sales and lettings expertise with a range of consumer and corporate services including new homes, mortgage services, conveyancing, EPC provision, surveying, corporate lettings, asset management, land and planning, LPA receivers and auctions.
Project description: Two of the mortgage and housing market’s best known brands have collaborated on a market-defining project: to build a seamless journey for the advisor, that incorporated an automated mortgage sourcing and lender application tool within Connells Group’s existing Mortgage Services Point of Sale (POS) system.
“We switched the old system off after seven days, it just wasn’t required.”
Connells Group had a vision to use technology to streamline the user’s experience, by reducing the need to constantly rekey information into separate applications, in order to increase business productivity and support growth potential.
The main questions were:
- Would this improve Connells Group’s productivity?
- Would this support Connells Group’s growth potential?
- Would having a fully integrated platform reduce admin time, therefore allowing more time with customers during the sales process?
- Would our salesforce embrace the changes and adapt quickly without loss of business?
Twenty7Tec, who originated almost £100bn of mortgage business through their systems in 2019, felt that they had the right technology and approach to support Connells Group’s ambitious strategy.
Connells Group made the appointment primarily on three main factors of Twenty7Tec: the people, the technology and its roadmap for development.
From the outset, it was clear that Connells Group had a great vision of what was required, and one that Twenty7Tec equally shared with them. Both parties took the time to consider the requirements, listened and produced the expected results.
Even when things became challenging – perhaps when our teams spent many hours locked in meeting rooms together (pre-Covid!) – the collaboration and desire to get to a successful outcome was evident.
Project challenges which we overcame included:
- Adapting existing Connells Group processes to fit Twenty7Tec’s modern cloud-based platform and suite of APIs.
- Different stakeholders across Connells Group requiring different elements and different uses. How flexible were Twenty7Tec APIs to satisfy Connells Group requirements?
- Tailoring the SOURCE and APPLY processes to meet the Connells Group business and user requirements.
- Embracing new behaviours and practices.
- Full end-to-end training plan, which looked at re-educating a large salesforce in entrusting a new sales process and system. Trust was paramount to the successful delivery of this project.
As a result of integrating Twenty7Tec’s systems, Connells Group’s client data is completed within the factfind of Hub, Connells Group’s bespoke mortgage point of sale (POS) system. The data seamlessly passes to the sourcing component (powered by Cloud27) allowing mortgage consultants to customise the results of their research, with all mortgage options available to be compared from a single point of data entry, removing the requirement to rekey data. All sourcing data and documentation seamlessly saves against the client’s record with Hub.
Furthermore, mortgage consultants can submit either decisions in principle or full mortgage applications to any lender connected to the APPLY system. APPLY streamlines the application submission process by acting as the single point of transmission for all data and documents relating to the application. All data related to the client, selected product, case tracking, case notes and documents are retained in the Cloud27 ecosystem and returned to Hub.
The main benefits for Connells Group from the integrations of Twenty7Tec’s systems with Hub is that it has made Connells Group more effective and efficient:
- All 600+ Connells Group mortgage consultants have been trained on the system and use it every day
- Mortgage consultants spend less time keying and rekeying data which reduces duplication of effort and errors
- Mortgage consultants spend more time talking with their clients, and so improve client engagement and understanding of their needs
- Mortgage consultants’ advice is more comprehensive and accurate as they access all available products and can complete a compliant journey from within Connells Group’s own Hub system
What Connells Group’s people say about the results we’ve produce together
“Everyone involved has been driven to achieving the same end goal. Feedback has been open and honest, yet remains positive. We have seen the enhancements have been key to our success.”
“Our team’s entire sales process can be completed in Hub allowing consultants more time to advise the client and less time keying.”
“Now we can source and advise with confidence.”
“[Using our prior system] we would have products return that were not applicable to the customer so the consultants would ALWAYS have to double check the customer was eligible for the product before applying, conducting a lot more research. Being criteria-led, Twenty7Tec sourcing allows consultants more time for their customers by taking away a lot of the research.”
“The new integration with Twenty7Tec goes so much further than the sales journey – the new data it provides us with is helping the back office become more efficient, the new rich source of MI means we have more data to interrogate, which gives us a better understanding how to build our client solutions.”
“Twenty7Tec’s support for our consultants has been second to none.”
“It’s a seamless experience.”
“Easier to create ESIS illustrations.”
“The whole system is easier to use and a lot simpler to navigate, I feel it’s particularly good with customers as it’s easy to read and all of the information is there on the sourcing screen to allow for in depth and informative conversations around the different products and fees. The fact it updates with the new products automatically, rather than us manually doing it, just makes everything easier.”
“It was a two-year journey delivered without a single problem at launch. We adapted our sales process. We trained 600 Advisers. We thought we’d need to run the previous system in the background but we switched the old system off after seven days, it just wasn’t required.”
Third party endorsements for the project
“We chose to partner with Twenty7Tec as we believe their technology is some of the most advanced in the market. With integrations already completed, the significant value the platform brings to intermediaries was already being realised. Their ambitious roadmap coupled with a growing number of users’ points to an exciting future and one Virgin Money wants to be part of. We’re thrilled to be working with Connells Group on the pilot; being an early adopter of Cloud 27 and integrating it with their CRM system the Hub means their mortgage consultants will experience the end to end benefits. Together we’ll be piloting a comprehensive solution that includes Decision in Principle, Full Application, Case Tracking and Payments, all powered by Cloud27.”
“Technology promises to transform our mortgage market over the coming years, radically overhauling and improving the customer and broker journey, creating efficiencies along the way and giving greater certainty of decision. The integration between Connells Group and Mortgage Apply is an important industry milestone, utilising the latest in API technology to integrate a broker CRM seamlessly with our Decision in Principle.”
SOURCE is Twenty7Tec’s award-winning mortgage sourcing system, which enables mortgage intermediaries to source across mortgages, secured and bridging loans, along with equity release products, on one single platform.
APPLY enables the submission of mortgage applications to multiple lenders from one single platform, without the need to re-key client data. Advisers can submit documents, case notes and receive status updates all the way through to completion of the case.
CloudTwenty7 is Twenty7Tec’s technology platform through which advisers access the SOURCE and APPLY modules.