Sue Woodard has seen the evolution of Vantage Production in her 13 years as president. But since taking the helm as the company’s chief executive in March, she’s undertaken a complete restructuring that has touched every aspect of the New Jersey-based company and its 71 employees.
Vantage’s transformation shifted its target market from individual loan originators to now serve a mix of enterprise level businesses. The company was founded in 2002 as Mortgage Success Source and changed its name to Vantage in 2013. It provides advanced customer relationship management systems, compliant automated marketing and sales solutions, content for the mortgage industry and professional development programs.
“That shift has been happening, but it means our product mix also needed to shift,” she said. “The existing structure was very strong, but not what we needed to do to serve the industry.”
The other big change that occurred this year is Vantage’s conversion from “being a content company that provided a technical solution, to a technology company that also provides content.”
Rather than focusing on providing sales support and content such as newsletters, presentations and sales collateral for individuals, Vantage is serving the CRM and sales automation needs of entire businesses and lenders of all sizes.
“That’s been a huge shift and distinction,” she said.
Woodard has overseen the launch of three new ancillary products to its sales force automation solution called VIP, including websites, a referral partner center, full mobility solution and, coming soon, a professional development center. Vantage has doubled its VIP subscriber base, tripled the volume of leads and loans handled through its system, and seen a five-fold increase in the number of lender marketing campaigns generated through VIP.
The company also has created successful integration partnerships with over 35 vendors, including Optimal Blue, Loan Logics, PC Lender, Encompass, Calyx and Byte.
In the process, Vantage has reconfigured its system to enable full TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure compliance.
Woodard said VIP is changing the way mortgage lenders do business, noting that the solution is the only mortgage-specific CRM with proposal development and presentation, sales force automation, automated marketing and retail websites.
“We’re almost a bit ahead of our time,” she said. “We see competitors trying to cobble together what we’re doing.”
The optimist and Minnesota native likes to use hockey analogies, citing Wayne Gretzky’s line: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
“No matter the circumstance, I believe that there’s something to be gained from every single challenge or opportunity,” she said. “Sometimes this means appreciating a positive result you knew you could achieve – and sometimes it means gaining experience, wisdom, humility or a lesson learned. And quite often the latter are even more valuable in the long run.”
Vantage’s changes have allowed Woodard the opportunity to talk with customers and educate them on why and how the technology shift will benefit them.
“I’ve been in the mortgage industry for 25 years, and most of the companies I work with are not super tech savvy and technological,” she said. “So understanding how the technology works and how the development cycle works is relevant in how you develop in a way that keeps financial data secure.”
Woodard said no matter what part of the business she’s worked in, her desire has always been to make the process less painful.
“I have an enormous understanding and heart and passion for the mortgage industry than someone from the technology industry possibly could,” she said. “It gives me a deeper understanding and that’s what’s driven the changes we’ve made. I know what leadership goes through when trying to implement technology.”