As my colleague Chris wrote recently, there are multiple ways your users derive value from your association, and one of the most impactful engagement tools an association can offer is an online community. Your association is at a disadvantage if the only way you can bring your members together is at physical events like educational courses, conferences, and the occasional meetup. As your membership increasingly turns to social media to network and follow industry news, it is in your organization’s best interest to start utilizing online communities.  

One of the more robust community platforms available today is Higher Logic. Higher Logic provides a platform that gives organizations a way to proactively create secure communities and allow your organization to directly interact with its members. While online forums already exist on sites like LinkedIn and Reddit, it’s important to have a community that can be managed and tracked by your CRM. This is precisely why you should integrate your CRM with an online community platform like Higher Logic. Here are three reasons why:

Tracking Member Engagement

Understanding your membership base and the reason they continue to come back to the community site is something all organizations strive to do. Within our Higher Logic integration, we have developed a way to track specific actions completed by the members on the portal and have that information feed back into CRM.  

Why is this information useful? To give you a hypothetical example: Sally has been a participating member on your community site for over a year, answering fellow users’ questions and attending webinars that you host monthly. As your site administrator using the engagement activities dashboard within CRM, you can track all the actions she has taken and award her with a high contributor award. Showing members that their engagement does not go unnoticed makes them and their peers more willing to interact and in turn return to your website more frequently.  

Rewarding Members for Engagement

Higher Logic has an open API that pulls data from CRM and displays it onto the Higher Logic community platform. Some of the data that your organization is collecting in CRM can be used, if displayed on your Higher Logic site, as a tool to group certain members. Within Higher Logic’s platform you can create custom rules as to what is displayed when. Having the open API allows you more data to display and utilize to better serve your members.  

Your members will also have to juggle fewer passwords. As part of its base product, Higher Logic offers the ability to engage single sign-on (SSO), which allows end users to be logged in seamlessly to both your CRM portal and Higher Logic’s website.  

Seamless Integration

Associations have entered an era in which it’s better to combine the best of breed software for engaging with your members and analyzing your data. Higher Logic offers a great engagement platform and Cobalt’s membership platform is a leader in the association space. The web elements functionality that Cobalt built gives you the ability to insert your custom designed features into your Higher Logic platform so that there is a seamless integration with your current website.  

Need a CRM consultant that can handle integrations with Higher Logic and other third party platforms? Check out Cobalt’s Microsoft Dynamics services over here.