by Hannae Samailovic
There are many different phases to your relationship with your membership management software company. The sales process is often like the honeymoon phase in a relationship. You’re smitten and you start to plan your lives together and imagine what your kids will look like. It is often filled with chocolate and roses (or if you are working with MemberClicks: Mentos and buttons). It’s the time when you realize you are perfect for each other.
The implementation process, on the other hand, is similar to the first few months after moving in together. This is when you take all of your furniture, and all of his, and try to figure out how you are going to fit it all in together. You have to decide what to keep (your ultra modern light fixtures), what to get rid of (his neon beer sign), and what else to buy to create your happy home.
Here are a few tips to help ensure that you have a successful relationship with your implementation process:
- Set Goals. Make sure you have clear goals for what you want this software to accomplish. What were the main reasons for acquiring new software? It is important to keep these in mind while you’re mapping out your implementation approach and it can also act as your light at the end of the tunnel.
- Communicate! Now that you know what is most important to your organization make sure to communicate it to your staff, board, volunteers (probably all the same people), and your implementation manager. This will help get your entire team on the same page. Make sure to tell your implementation manager the whole story about your organization and why certain features are important to you. This will help them to start to think in terms of your organization and will help them make informative decisions on your behalf.
- Keep an open mind. Take advantage of your implementation manager’s experience with their software, and let them present you with some ideas on the best way to accomplish your goals. They may surprise you by coming up with something you would have never thought of. Feel free to rely on your implementation manager throughout your implementation because they will help guide you through the process.
- Clean up your data. As a membership organization, your database is one of the single most valuable resources you have. It will also control how powerful your membership software can be. Moving to a new software platform is a great time to reevaluate the information you are currently capturing, and to think about what information you would like to collect on your members and perspective members.
- Get your staff or volunteers involved in implementation and training. One of the keys to success in any software project is adoption for your staff and volunteers. It doesn’t matter how well the software works or what it will do if no one knows how to use it. Get feedback throughout the process; include it in the implementation plan where it marries up with your overall goals. Also encourage your team to take advantage of training.
Hopefully these tips will take you from being an implementation newbie to an all-star – and have a successful AMS relationship!