By Wes Trochlil,
Given how advanced and thorough the modern association management software system has become, there are many opportunities for your organization to leverage it. Here are seven ways I believe every association should be using their AMS.
1. Managing the membership sales process – This seems obvious since an AMS is a membership management system. But what I’m emphasizing here is the sales process. Not just tracking members, invoicing, and dropping, but actually creating a set of prospects, a marketing plan (maybe even some marketing automation!), and a process for managing the entire process.
2. Managing business development – closely related to the process above, most modern AMS systems should allow you to manage your sales process for anything your organization sells, from sponsorships, to exhibits, to advertising. The system should allow you to manage the entire process, from prospecting, to managing interactions, to closing and servicing. Everything you would see in the traditional sales funnel.
3. Tracking non-transactional interactions – These are the high-value interactions that do not have any kind of invoice related to them. Examples might include inquiries from members on particular topics, members showing interest in volunteering, or other high-value interactions. Tracking these nontransactional interactions can lead to deeper understanding of specific members’ interests, as well as tracking trends of broader member interest, e.g., getting a number of calls/emails over the course of several weeks about a specific issue.
4. Tracking volunteer activity – In my experience most associations are good at keeping track of which of their members are serving on a given committee or board. But many are not good at keeping track of the history of this service, or keeping track of who has expressed interest but isn’t on a committee yet. And what about members who volunteer and contribute in other ways (e.g., speaking, writing, volunteer service at events, etc.)? Are you tracking their contributions, as well?
5. Tracking member interest/expertise – Many association are good about asking for demographic information from organizational members and/or areas of interest from individuals. But often this question is only asked once (at time of joining) and rarely if ever updated again. With most modern AMSes, you can display this information on the individual’s or organization’s online profile. Periodically, ask them to update this information.
6. Measuring engagement – Measuring engagement can help you identify which activities engaged members most frequently use, and help you identify those members that may be at risk of not renewing. Measuring engagement gives your organization a better sense of the value you’re providing to members. A modern AMS can help you do this, including automating member engagement scoring.
7. Segmenting your marketing messages – In the end, knowing more about your members and prospects will help you better target your marketing and communications. If you know what their interests are; if you’ve tracked their non-financial interactions; if you’ve scored their engagement; all of this will help you to tailor your messages to them. You won’t talk to veteran members like they’re newbies, and you won’t talk to your new members like they understand and know everything you do.
How many of these things are you doing with your AMS? And if you’re missing some, why? Is it bad technology? Poor processes? Or something else?
Trochlil is founder of Effective Database Management, which provides consulting services from data management issues to full-scale, associationwide selection and implementation of association management systems. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article originally appeared in his blog.