The pandemic has forced many organizations to revisit their business model and make changes to their day-to-day practices. Digital transformation has been the key to achieving these goals and streamlining their processes.
The economic downturn has had a negative impact on many sectors, but through it all business technologies have been there to help organizations weather the storm. The overall climate of uncertainty has nevertheless prevented some from reaping the benefits of digital transformation, for fear of stretching their financial resources too thin. But the return on investment in terms of efficiencies and strategic competitiveness cannot be ignored.
CRM and other digital solutions are the key to making life easier for today’s organizations by centralizing and leveraging data to improve prospecting and sales, bidding, workflow, integration with accounting systems, customer communications, marketing, surveys, event and activity planning, and so much more!
At Vendere Group, we have grown significantly over the past few years as associations have taken the digital transformation plunge.
That’s why we wanted to shed light on the 11 reasons that associations typically give for not embracing a membership management system — and why you shouldn’t let them stop you in your own journey toward a more strategic, cost-effective and flexible way of running your organization.
11 REASONS THAT ASSOCIATIONS TYPICALLY GIVE FOR NOT EMBRACING A MEMBERSHIP MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
My computer system isn’t compatible : Some associations decide to build a DIY CRM solution to make sure it fits their existing system. More often than not, the results are less than satisfactory, with member and prospect management functions that don’t meet the needs of their teams. What initially seemed like a time and money saver ends up putting additional strains on their budget — and their patience.
Today’s CRM solution won’t be able to meet tomorrow’s needs : Some organizations dont' have a very positive view of CRM applications. They see task automation as a bane rather than a boon, preferring to cling to their tried-and-true practices. What they fail to understand is that a scalable CRM solution can keep pace with their specific needs, making it an investment that will pay off many times over. Evaluating your short-, medium- and long-term needs is a critical first step in finding the right approach for your association: now and as you grow.
There are no CRM applications out there that do what I need them to do : Ultimately, what any CRM solution should do is help you make more sales and, by extension, generate more revenue. But it takes vision and confidence to migrate to a new way of doing things, and old-school mentalities and habits can be hard to shed. The best plan of attack is to prepare a detailed, step-by-step implementation and training plan that lets future users know exactly what to expect, both in terms of their day-to-day experience and the results that await them once they have embraced the idea.
My team thinks “change” is a dirty word : Switching over to any new tool takes a leap of faith. Remember that any CRM system is only as good as the information that goes into it. If your users are reluctant to embrace the change, they won’t be proactive in populating the system with invaluable CRM data, thereby feeding into the idea that it is useless. The trick is to win over hearts and minds from day one. Training is key to instilling confidence. So make sure any migration initiative is built around a training plan. Not only that, but take the time to listen to user feedback and respond accordingly. You’ll be strengthening engagement and making the system more intuitive all in one fell swoop. Good communication is essential to creating an application that meets your goals as an organization and keeps your individual users happy. The confidence that comes with training will have a snowball effect: users will give up their notebooks, their spreadsheets and their post-its in favour of this powerful new tool where they can keep everything organized and easy to find. They’ll feel like they’re leading the charge instead of following the pack. The more they invest in making CRM work for them… the more it will work for them!
Nobody here wants their every move to be monitored : A CRM solution centralizes actions and activities for various accounts and contacts within a single platform. For associations, CRM functions can include members, memberships and registrations, events and activities, administrative responsibilities and mobile applications. This centralization can leave some people with the impression that every aspect of their performance is being tracked. Your best weapon in the fight against this misconception is information. Be sure to let everyone on your team know the benefits they stand to reap in terms of saving time, boosting their productivity and generating more revenue for the organization. When they understand everything they will gain, any objections they have will inevitably subside.
I already manage my accounts, members and contacts electronically : The way accounts and contacts are managed can vary significantly from one organization to another. But if the data isn’t centralized and streamlined, it isn’t being used to its full potential. Ideally, all information of this nature should be leveraged to meet two goals: make existing members and clients happy, and seek out new opportunities. Any new data, regardless of where it comes from (business cards, spreadsheets, invoices, account statements, sales logs, after-sales service reports, etc.) needs to be cleaned and updated on a regular basis. Otherwise, it’s worthless. A CRM system makes the entire process seamless. It ensures all information is formatted in the same way and minimizes the risks of manual data entry errors.
CRM technology is expensive : Some CRM solutions are indeed too costly for associations and non-profits to consider, especially the ones that have been designed for use by larger corporations and thousands of users. On the other end of the spectrum, there are free membership management solutions out there that can be downloaded and used instantly. But they often come at another price. You’ll still need an IT team to adjust the system to suit your needs. It’ll have to be tweaked to ensure your data is stored properly, updates are made, your data remains secure and any bugs are fixed. All this must be taken into consideration when assessing whether a “free” option is worth your time and effort. Your best bet is to find a turnkey solution with an upfront cost, so you know exactly what your commitment entails.
We don’t have the skill sets needed to go the CRM route : People often think that setting up a CRM system is a lot more complicated than it actually is. Sometimes this is due to the fact that the team in charge of project rollout isn’t as familiar with the technology as they should be. Or sometimes the people implementing the solution weren’t involved in the selection process and lack the knowledge, experience and confidence to move forward. That’s where a turnkey approach can make all the difference, one that starts with a detailed needs assessment and makes recommendations tailored to your specific situation.
We don’t know how to migrate our existing data : When switching over from one system to another, there is a risk of some data not being uploaded. The migration team in charge of the operation may not have everything they need to capture every single piece of information. Which is why it is crucial to have an in-depth understanding of your current data and its value prior to the transition.
More automation means fewer jobs : In some people’s minds, automation means turning things over to a bunch of robots. They’re not necessarily wrong: ATMs provide many of the services bank tellers once did, and modern assembly lines could not function without machine technology. But in many other cases, automating business processes frees up people’s time to perform more value-added activities. With repetitive, routine tasks out of the way, they can focus on finding and developing new partnerships, attracting new members and organizing events, all of which will help make their association more successful and generate more revenue. Note that, amid the current labour shortage, a turnkey CRM solution is a must in preventing the team members you do have from becoming overworked.
Putting all our information in one place is a security risk : Security is one of the most common reasons given by organizations to avoid migrating to a new CRM system. They cite all the stories in the media about compromised data breaches. Information security is indeed vital to the success of any digital transformation. Be sure to bear this in mind when selecting from the solutions available to you.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
At Groupe Vendere, we are committed to making life easier for the associations and non-profits that are the lifeblood of our communities — the drivers of our collective economic, social and personal prosperity — with a solution designed specifically to suit their needs.
You really need to shop around if you want to find a product that meets your business needs over the short and longer term. Online searches, demos, newsletters, reviews on sites like Capterra and, naturally, the input of specialists are critical to the assessment process. Learning how each platform works will guide you toward a solution that is most closely aligned with your organization’s goals.
A MICROSOFT PARTNER THAT UNDERSTANDS HOW ASSOCIATIONS OPERATE
Our cloud-based, all-in-one solution for non-profits, associations, chambers of commerce and other organizations is built using Microsoft 365, which means it is compatible with Dynamics 365 and all Microsoft applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, Teams, etc.). Our expertise as a Microsoft partner can guide you through the entire membership management cycle, with an application that is made to be flexible and work around your particular needs.
Membri 365, our membership management solution for associations, is an affordable choice for smaller organizations. Membri 365 lets you manage your accounts, contacts and memberships, process renewals, issue invoices and statements, and stay in touch with your members. And since its design is designed around user needs, it can be scaled up as your organization grows, without busting your budget!
Membri 365 has a proven track record of user satisfaction and continues to change and adapt to meet associations’ needs. The cloud-based system lets you automate many of your administrative and other routine tasks in a snap.
A TURNKEY SOLUTION FOR A SMOOTH ROLLOUT
The Membri 365 membership management solution lets you centralize, manage and share information on a single, cloud-based platform that is compatible with any computer or device.
Our friendly and knowledgeable team will work hand in hand with your association throughout the implementation process. We know that most associations are short on IT staff, so we’ve made it our mission to step in and help you meet your goals. We pride ourselves on this unique approach to a more satisfying customer experience.
The Vendere sales team is well acquainted with the data transfer needs of these types of organizations. They speak your language and can make all the difference in ensuring the transition is as effortless as possible.
We also put concrete measures in place to protect users’ access. Be sure to read our blog article to learn more about how our cloud-based solutions address data security standards for all our business solutions.
We're Here for You!
You can rely on our team of technology experts to come up with creative solutions adapted to your needs. We listen to you, find out about the specific challenges you are up against and put forward workable solutions. Interested in a free demo to learn more about our membership management solution? Contact us today to set one up! As all the top digital transformation specialists will tell you, Membri 365 is the real deal: a solution that will help your association run better, more smoothly and more efficiently.