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Take-aways from Gartner, Part 1
19 September 2007, by , in Gartner CRM Summit 2007, No comments

These next several posts will focus on issues raised during the Gartner CRM Conference Summit 2007 which I think are particularly applicable to the association market.

In a session on "Lessons Learned" from 1000 CRM implementations, three points were identified as key success factors:

  1. Establish a project objective (i.e., why are you bothering with a CRM implementation? Are you trying to raise more revenue, lower costs, improve customer loyalty?).
  2. Focus project on fewer functional areas. (i.e., don't try to implement sales force automation, contact management, email marketing management, and ERP all at once).
  3. Focus on fewer channels (i.e., phone, web, physical store, kiosks, etc.).

How do these apply at your association? Let's take them one at a time:

  1. Establish a project objective. You need to ask yourself why you're going to the trouble of implementing a new association management system (AMS). Are you trying to increase staff efficiency? Are you trying to provide better self-service options for your members and customers? Are you trying to increase revenue? What do you hope to accomplish with a new AMS? You need to establish this to serve as a guidepost for all of your decisions moving forward.
  2. Focus on fewer functional areas. A typical AMS implementation may include membership, events registration, product sales, exhibits sales, sponsorship, certification, and more. One option to consider is implementing only selected functional areas for the initial go-live. For example, I've had clients who have gone live with only membership functionality, choosing to add other functionality later, once more time and resources could be allocated to the project.
  3. Focus on fewer channels. For most associations, the channels are limited to back-office (i.e., staff view) and web integration (although there are certainly exceptions, as some larger associations have IVR and kiosks, for example). But even if you only have two channels, the suggestion of focusing on fewer channels (i.e., only one channel) is worth consideration. Implementing an AMS, regardless of your staff size, is a huge task. Narrowing the scope of the implementation by focusing on the back-office first, with web integration as a second, post-go-live phase, may be something worth considering.
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Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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