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Finding the right membership management software for your organization takes time and thorough researching efforts. The one underlying thought to keep in mind is, "will this improve my member engagement/experience?" What follows are these 6 questions to help identify which MMS software is best for your organization.
The ideal program is one that meets every need of your staff, your departments, and — most importantly — your members. A software program with native membership/event management, website/mobile app, finance/accounting, sales/CRM, and marketing functionality is a beautiful and rare thing. Finding one and implementing it will break down communication barriers, consolidate data, and unify your staff in pursuit of your organizational goals.
Cloud-native software allows for easy staff and member access from any place in the world, at any time and with any type of device. Using a software system that has the capability to be accessed from anywhere is paramount. Staff and members want to use software that eliminates barriers to entry — like never-ending training sessions or innumerable tutorial videos. The quicker they can grasp the functions, the more inclined and excited they’ll be to use them. This can result in a more productive workplace along with increased member engagement and satisfaction.
Your organization’s website and mobile application are the essential components to improving your members’ experience and engagement. Providing a unified, seamless web experience — one that works similarly regardless of access point — is crucial. How frustrating is it when a mobile app lacks functionality that’s present on the web site or vice versa?
Working with a website and mobile application software native to the same program allows for easier unification of these experiences. It also prevents you from having to work with third-party providers.
In the days of cloud computing, you should neither expend your manpower/energy upgrading software nor pay surcharges for software upgrades. Your service provider should handle the updates and push them to your system automatically at a regular clip —monthly, ideally — for no extra fee as part of your service subscription.
Freeing up your IT department from the burden of continually updating your software by investing in a cloud-based solution will not only be cost-saving but will allow them to tackle more high-value projects — research and developing future technologies/resolutions and optimizing existing technologies, to name a couple.
Finding a software provider that is with you for the long haul and will support your team through the entire system life cycle is paramount. Just make sure that the terms and parameters of support are clearly defined from the start.
You want a support team that is responsive when you need it. While it’s always nice to have reactive support when a crisis hits, it’s even better to have proactive support—the kind that empowers you and your team to make necessary changes and fixes on your own without having to wait on the development team’s intervention. The more your software provider’s support team facilitates your organizational autonomy, the more flexible, in control, and effective your team will be.
Most of us wouldn’t imagine purchasing a new vehicle without kicking the tires and taking it out for a spin. You should hold software providers to the same standard. Make sure any product you consider includes a pre-purchase, hands-on, extensive trial. If a software provider balks at your request for a trial period, sound the alarms.
If they do offer a trial, however, arrange for representatives of each department to take it out for a proverbial test drive; this will allow them to judge the product according to their needs and will increase staff buy-in if a purchasing decision is ultimately made. That purchase should also come with a reasonable no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Given the level of investment involved in a purchase of this kind, your software provider should be willing to mitigate your risk by shouldering some of it themselves. This kind of guarantee is a common practice among providers that are confident in their product(s). (Ask Elon Musk and Tesla.)
When it comes down to it, you want the membership management software you are purchasing to be a total software solution that keeps your organizations on the forefront of technology. This will result in uniting your staff and delighting your members.
A software solution/service provider that adequately addresses each of these questions is one worth investing in. But identifying the product for you is not the end of the journey. Now comes the fun part—convincing your board to jump in! Don’t worry; we’ll help you navigate those waters, too. The next blog post in this series 5 Simple Ways to Persuade Your Board to Purchase a New Membership Management Software will walk you through this process.
Want to learn about a total software solution that can upgrade your organization? Learn more about Freedom Software.
Read the previous posts in this series: