The importance of CRM technology for membership organisations in the quest to attract, engage and retain

Whether you’re an association or body that connects people through a particular sport or hobby, industry information, best practice or peer networking, engaging with members is a key growth tactic, and one that requires a holistic, seamless approach. Having a user-friendly, scalable software solution that will not only integrate with existing core systems but that can also be accessed in real-time from a variety of devices, including mobile, is therefore key when it comes to considering Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.


With a huge growth in intuitive self-serve solutions, members’ expectations are higher than ever – they want to give, update and access information in a simple online interface on their own terms and they only require the most relevant of communications. To execute this highly personalised customer journey that members crave, organisations whose businesses thrive on a membership – or provide membership services – should be harnessing the power of machine learning and AI that is built into customer insight functionalities. Such a system will meet associates’ needs and wants and is crucial in the quest to attract, engage and retain.


Here, we outline the key benefits for those thinking about implementing or upgrading a CRM system that delivers optimised customer experiences while importantly also reducing operational costs.


Self-serve holds key to streamlined processes

In a digitised world where self-serve registration and member services management seems commonplace, it’s surprising that many organisations continue to operate with a manual paper-based approach. No longer is it desirable to members for them to be putting pen to paper and filling out forms or spending time on the phone. For organisations using this method, they are left with the administrative chore of keying in the details for computerised records, which risks inaccurate recording and potentially the need for creating entries across multiple systems. The resource required to do this is onerous, presenting a real business cost – and that’s without considering the potential for paper records to be mislaid or lost, which equals lost members!


Using a self-serve solution that can be executed by the member on a variety of devices – and that generates one record which is replicated across all functions – presents the most efficient approach. From the management of financials such as member subscription payments to transaction history for tailoring marketing efforts, smart integrated software negates the risk of error and the time-consuming manual input involved when using a variety of disparate business systems. Errors can lead to customer dissatisfaction and missed opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, member attraction and engagement. The potential for business loss is significant.


Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 offer one version of the truth: a 360 degree view of the customer in one record that spans the entire business. A tick-box process to member registration makes the process efficient for the business and the member, and the user-friendly solution enhances ‘customer satisfaction’.


Actionable insights on members reveals opportunities

When it comes to member-engagement with cross-selling and upselling tactics, personalisation is a long-recognised approach being used by many businesses, and the member or association-based sphere is no different. Recognising opportunities to offer additional services, products or tailored offers is the key to that all-important member retention, so understanding member insights and habits is crucial. Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the capability of viewing the customer record in its entirety, negating any duplication of marketing efforts, which is an annoyance and turn-off for any member. Having a full view of the transactional history allows an organisation to glean behavioural insights and highlight members who haven’t engaged in a while, meaning the most appropriate action can be confidently taken.


For a leisure club, this might mean offering a deal in an on-site café or bar, to tempt members to use all facilities – and spend more time and money at the club – or for an industry association it could be giving special member-only access to resources that could be of use to them. The fully-customisable solution offers the ability to create dashboards with the data that matters most to the business. It allows for customer behaviour to be analysed and the customer journey to be optimised. Artificial intelligence capabilities can also help the business predict customer behaviour based on historical data, and act in a timely way to maximise opportunities.


Value-add is a key component in the retention quest

When it comes to associations where the membership or subscription relies on information, accreditation and networking basis – rather than a physical product or offering – adding value to promote membership worth is important. Having a solution that provides the flexibility to adapt quickly to sector changes helps an organisation stay relevant and valuable. A fundamental whether the association has 1,000 members or 400,000 members. For an organisation such as our customer Equity – a torch-bearer for good working practices in the UK entertainment industry – providing a quality service underpins its long-established credibility. Its employment of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution allows it to give tangible membership benefits.


When the pandemic caused unprecedented challenges to the UK entertainment industry, Equity was able to support with individual branch-based marketing efforts, offering a regional approach to meeting member needs through online support meetings. This is a great example of the flexibility an integrated CRM solution can offer. Equity is also able to benefit members further with a seamless integration of performer royalty revenue collection and distribution, as it also uses the Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution which integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Having the capability to add additional solutions at any time to enhance customer benefits and satisfaction is an important consideration when looking to implement any business software, whether that’s an ERP or CRM solution. What’s lurking round the corner in 2021 for membership organisations? Answers on a postcard! The one assurance we can give is that future-proofing with a business system designed to be intelligent and agile is an astute and cost-effective way of meeting audience needs. The question is no longer around whether to implement an effective CRM solutions, but when to.


Digital transformation to support self-serve options has grown exponentially in recent years and should be a major consideration for any member-based business, or organisation offering member services. If your organisation is on a quest to attract, engage and retain members and to meet ever-growing expectations ever-growing, call us on 0330 133 5000. From a no-obligation chat to software demo based on your unique needs, we can show you to engage your members in ways fitting for the complicated times we’re in.