By Jeremy Jalie, Business Development Director at Silverbear
Digital Excellence, the bi-annual report developed and published by MemberWise, has become an important and widely anticipated industry event - and rightly so. Contained within it are key insights and analyses, which, if your organisational focus is membership, are likely to deliver significant value.
The Digital Excellence Report never fails to cover a lot of ground and the 21/22 publication was no exception. Yet there were two points that stood out as being of particular importance.
Firstly, midway through the report, MemberWise called for traditional terminology associated with membership management such as CRM system, CRM, membership database, and database to be replaced with association management system (AMS).
The second notable point was how Microsoft Dynamics has gained the largest market share increase since 2018. Of course, this is no real surprise. After all, its power to underpin comprehensive AMS solutions, combined with its ability to incorporate a broad range of tools that are now essential in supporting membership organisations, places it head and shoulders above the rest.
As a Microsoft partner, we’re pleased to be associated with best-in-class membership management solutions afforded by the power and flexibility of Dynamics 365. We also fully support Memberwise’s view that AMS is the only solution that can meet the demands of contemporary membership organisations as outlined in our earlier blog 'Finding the best CRM'.
So, here are our top three reasons why membership organisations can benefit from AMS built on Dynamics 365 over standard CRM.
- Empowerment = engagement
Just as many of us don’t relish the idea of swiping our own groceries before packing them, there’s a huge swathe of members who don’t relish the idea of having to join a telephone queue to update their details with a support desk. And this is where AMS comes in. By offering your membership an intuitive, easy-to-use self-service membership portal, you’re effectively empowering your members. You’re also making it easier for them to engage with you, which ultimately increases retention rates.
- Give the people what they want
Self-service portals for members are in demand from members themselves. Research carried out by Statista revealed that 88 per cent of people actually expect organisations to have a self-service portal. Likewise, a Gartner Report entitled Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms suggested that by 2024, 65% of all applications will be developed using low-code platforms – something that Dynamics 365 already excels at. So, if you’re not giving your membership what it wants, you may be leaving yourself vulnerable to retention issues. A multi-dimensional AMS is much more effective at providing a positive member experience and ticking the user experience box than standard CRM.
- It’s not just about your members
It’s also about your team, too.
If your organisation has a small membership, then maybe you’re happy to commit your team’s time to fielding administrative calls from members. However, what happens when your membership grows? We have customers that have in excess of 500,000 members. At that scale, there simply isn’t the resource to dedicate to individual membership administration – and there’s a good chance that standard CRM won’t cut it, either. However, the multi-faceted nature of AMS combined with the scalability of Dynamics 365 will.
This November will see Membership Excellence 2022, the UK’s largest conference and exhibition for the membership and association sector, take place.
Silverbear is actively participating in MEMX this year, sponsoring the new Influence 100 Financial Benchmarking Report for 2022 and sponsoring a stand in the trade exhibition. I’m looking forward to learning how membership organisations are embracing AMS as a critical strategic tool for success and discovering how they plan to incorporate it over the next 12 months.
What’s certain, however, is that Membership Excellence 2022, which has come to represent our increasingly exciting, dynamic, and growing sector, is the best place to find out.