The art of discovery

DateJune 2022
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By Neil Owen, Head of Consultancy at Silverbear

I have a feeling that George Henry Lewes, an English philosopher who lived from 1818 – 1878, would have approved of Silverbear. Claiming that he would have an interest in membership CRM had he been alive today might be a stretch too far. However, as the man known for saying ‘No man ever made a great discovery without the exercise of the imagination', I’m pretty sure he would have at least approved of our process.

Having been involved in several major Silverbear 365 installations over the years, one of the most important takeaways – and certainly one of the first things I’d say to any new customers – is that the discovery phase is one of the most important aspects when it comes to implementing CRM for membership organisations.

Not only is discovery the critical first step in the process of any digital transformation project, but it’s also an art form that, if not addressed correctly, can compromise an entire project.

Banksy or Bill Gates?

Just as any masterpiece is the result of a series of actions – be they with a brush, a spray can, or a computer – the discovery phase is one that requires focus, patience, and a generous dose of imagination. Importantly, a masterpiece is unlikely to become a masterpiece without the necessary preparation.

So, let’s think of the discovery phase as a blank canvas that, by the end of the process, should be bursting with colour.

Getting prepared for discovery

Discovery is all about developing a clear picture of what it is your membership organisation needs. By doing this, Silverbear is able to establish what our team needs to do to help you address those needs. Without understanding your vision, goals, and challenges, it’s difficult to determine the scope of the project and build the right framework needed to get your project over the line.

So, before putting brush to canvas – or, in our case, delivering the best membership CRM software for your organisation – here are some of the key tools that you must ensure that your team and any membership CRM expert you’re considering working with have available to them:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Technical knowledge
  3. Knowledge of business processes
  4. The willingness and openness to include people from every level of your membership organisation
  5. UI/UX design knowledge
  6. The ability to define deliverables – and make sure that those deliverables are met

It’s been said that the first stage of creating something involves inspiration and brainstorming – and this is the discovery phase in its purest form. In Silverbear’s case, we will work with your team to establish what your organisation’s current processes are and understand how they need to transform to deliver project success.

From this process, we will plan your project and deliver a fixed-price budget to provide you with commercial certainty. During this phase, we will help your team to re-engineer existing business processes so that they are modern and efficient, and so that they maximise the opportunities available in our software. This will help you to articulate the business decisions you need to make to ensure the project is a success.

Let’s get together – and get creative

Essentially, this is the time when we get together, get creative, and imagine all the possibilities and opportunities that a new member CRM system could provide. The key words here really are creative and imagination, and the more of each you display during discovery the better. If what you’d like is too audacious, then we can use this session to set expectations and rule out anything that truly is impossible. Conversely, if you and your team aren’t being creative or imaginative enough (and this is quite common, after all, you don’t know what you don’t know), then it would be our job to help inspire you.

Discovery forms the bedrock of any successful project. But it’s an art that needs to be guided by the membership CRM expert. Just remember, like art, it should also be a fun, explorative, and creative exercise.

What's next?

Silverbear 365 has been developed specifically to help membership organisations engage, grow and retain their members. For more information contact our team of membership specialists below. Or visit our approach section to find out how we will support your journey in addressing technology, data, process, and organisational change.

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