Keeping your members happy and serving their needs and evolving expectations would be simpler if there wasn’t another group of people with their own set of critical needs — your staff. The balancing act of serving both groups can make prioritizing projects and improvements one of the most stressful parts of your member management work.
You’ve got to meet them where they are (and their problems are) to truly make a difference. The good news is that Cobalt’s association management software solution, built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, can be configured to offer an ideal experience for members and your staff.
We have two ways to implement changes in your AMS workflow that will align better with your users’ needs. And, they are both easy to roll out. But first, let’s look at some common problem areas.
Current Realities and Challenges for Your Members and Staff
Feeling Isolated and Disconnected
Your Members: Prolonged remote work, missing connections with family and friends, and all the disruption from everyone’s normal life have made us feel more alone. Your members are looking for ways to reconnect or make a new connection in their work and social lives. They need to hear from your team and have meaningful opportunities to network or connect with fellow members.
Your Team: In addition to everything we’ve just said about your members, your staff is likely also feeling more disconnected than ever in their work. All the efforts of your association to build integrations between your different teams are under strain right now. The effects of inefficiencies in your workflow or silos are magnified for your staff. They need to know what one another is working on, where to draw new lines of responsibility, and how your AMS management tools can support their efforts to keep your members engaged.
Rapidly Adopting New Ways of Working
Your Members: Remote work and how we coordinate complex collaboration at a distance has been a challenge for most of us. All those new layers of technology and efforts to rethink how they get their work done are inevitably producing some frustration, confusion, and opportunities to rethink even our basic workflows. They need things like filling out an application or renewal for your association to be streamlined and headache-free.
Your Staff: They might be trying to create a digital version of your annual conference. Or revamp your membership renewal drive. Or collaborate remotely around ideas for how to generate new revenue streams for your association. Or all of these things and a whole lot more. They need reliable efficiencies in their communication with your members.
How Your Association Management Software Can Help You Meet Them Where They Are
Technology can’t solve all the problems your members and staff are facing right now, but the right AMS and workflow integrations can make big impacts in these problem areas. Let’s look briefly at a couple of likely scenarios for Dynamics 365 users and solutions from Cobalt.
Weak integrations between their AMS’s other systems is one of the top five reasons associations make a change in their AMS platform. So many organizations choose to keep plugging away the way they have for years, even if it’s painful.
In part, that is because finding the right new vendor and getting through the implementation process can be a lengthy and costly process. That’s why I wrote such an extensive Association Management Software Buying Guide. However, those integrations are more important than ever for your retention, recruitment, and engagement.
Association Management Software Alignment #1: Connecting the Minimal AMS User
Challenge: Some of your staff use your AMS every day but those who rarely or never do might still be having critical interactions with your members. Chances are good that those touchpoints aren’t being tracked, which hurts your overall membership and revenue efforts. Also, they aren’t capitalizing on engagement opportunities.
Solution: With the right configuration, these users can have instant access to the membership database. They will also have key data points for the person they are about to send an email to directly within the Microsoft Outlook user interface. If the person’s membership is about to expire, the staff member can even pull in templated messages created by the membership team. That can help ensure that your staff are sending the correct message/instructions.
Your member gets better, more helpful communications and connection. Staff that don’t know your AMS will get the benefit of its select data and your whole team reaps the benefits of having those communications logged and available in the future.
Association Management Software Alignment #2: Minimizing Roadblocks
Challenge: Let’s say that the CEO of your association needs to approve all corporate membership applications. That can lead to a frustrating backlog of reviews for your CEO as they focus on other priorities, leaving organizations who have applied for membership waiting to enjoy their benefits.
Solution: Cobalt’s approval workflows allow you to streamline the approval process for your busy CEO and newest potential members. Key integrations could allow the CEO to review those applications directly in an email without needing to log into another system.
Your key team members avoid turning into a roadblock and your members get quick, efficient responses and access to your community.
Learn How to Implement These Strategies for Your Members and Staff
Both of the scenarios we’ve just described are common sticking points for associations and their members. Our team hosted a 30-minute webinar to give a more detailed walkthrough of how to set up Dynamics 365 and Outlook to do exactly what we’re describing. Take a look at that archived tutorial now, or share it with your team.
With advanced integrations and dependable vendor support, a strategic investment in cloud-based Dynamics 365 or your association management software benefits every aspect of your member experience and staff’s productivity. Let one of our team members walk you through a showcase demonstration to see what’s possible for your association.