Is your organisation getting any (CRM) satisfaction?

24 November 2015 by Naresh Raj

It seems that, whilst membership organisations are definitely making progress in adopting digital systems to better service members, there is still a way to go if the results of the recent Memberwise Harnessing the Web 2015 survey are anything to go by.

 

It seems that, whilst membership organisations are definitely making progress in adopting digital systems to better service members, there is still a way to go if the results of the recent Memberwise Harnessing the Web 2015 survey are anything to go by.

But what are the main issues now being identified with regard to CRM?

Of those surveyed, 30% are looking to replace their CRM/membership database this year. The biggest challenges cited for not doing it yet are the complexity of integrating website & CRM; addressing the silos of data that come from having multiple systems; constrained budget/resource; and simple risk aversion.

So, let’s address those one by one.

Firstly, risk aversion. Yes, it is scary but you shouldn’t be put off; the longer you leave it the further behind you will find yourselves when you do get the confidence to go ahead. There is no such thing as the ideal time to change a key system like your database but by doing your research and choosing the right platform and CRM partner you will minimise the risks.

Also, we seen evidence of some partners keeping clients through pushing complexity and overdoing the ‘bespoke’ angle. If possible speak to ex-clients of your existing supplier who have made the switch to better understand the pros and cons (this can be done by speaking to suppliers and asking if they’ve migrated anyone from your existing system). Working with suppliers who have experience in migrating from or integrating to existing systems naturally reduces your risk.

Integrating systems. One of the biggest things we find is the unrealistic expectations organisations approach us with regarding how long a project will take when there’s integration involved and also the cost. We’re not going to lie, it’s not cheap but it’s not as expensive as you might think, especially if you pick the right platform and partner first time round. The Memberwise survey revealed that the majority of organisations in the sector now have much more realistic expectations of resource/budget required, which is good news all round.

Don’t forget, your CRM partner is just that, a partner working with you to achieve the best results to achieve your goals. Use them, listen to their advice and guidance; collaborate with them rather than thinking you know best. Seek to understand a potential partner’s capabilities, track records and how they actually integrate your systems - ask specific questions.

And it’s not just your CRM partner who needs to be fully involved; your web agency needs to be able to work closely with your CRM partner to achieve your goals. Make sure the fit is right between the two partners and you will have a strong team. But your project manager in-house needs to make the sure the two sides are talking when they need to; don’t just assume they are!

As for addressing silos of data…. Well, we’re pretty good at that, having worked with organisations such as Helplines Partnership and Renewable UK to merge their many sources of data. Make sure your CRM partner has a proven history consolidating data, ask them for examples and speak to the clients if necessary.

Changing a CRM system is a big step but an ultimately satisfying one for both members and the organisation itself.