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An event is something that occurs once. A process is something you do continually, over time.

It’s that simple. Data management doesn’t happen once, it happens continuously.

You have a choice as to whether data management happens proactively or reactively. In other words, are you doing something about the data, or are you just letting data “happen”? If you just let it happen, eventually it will rot and become useless. You’ll be caught in the cycle of doom.

Process, not an event. Data management never ends. That’s the mindset you need to be successful.

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The latest announcement of venture capital money investing in an AMS company is MemberSuite. As noted here, Revolution Ventures is investing $11 million in MemberSuite. According to the press release, MemberSuite will use the money to “add over 50 team members, with a focus on hiring in sales, marketing, and engineering…”

This investment is the latest in a string of private equity and venture capital in the AMS market.

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I once met with an association to discuss their data management issues. They were explaining to me that the systems they had in place made it extremely difficult to pull together information in a timely and efficient way. For example, in order to get a look at “total spend” from their members, they had to look in several different system, compile it all in a spreadsheet, and then do a bunch of calculations to figure it all out.

At some point in the conversation I asked, “Does the board know how big a challenge this is?”

The director membership replied: “Not at all. When the board asks us for data, we go back to the office and spend HOURS digging it all up, putting it together, and presenting it very nicely to them. They think it all happens automatically.”

I asked: “Do you ever tell them how long it takes to produce these reports?”

Her response: “We’re afraid to!”

This is an understandable response, but unfortunately, what the staff is doing is “enabling” the board. They’re fooling the board into thinking this is easy, when it’s not. And the danger is, when the time comes for them to ask for money to improve their technology and make this kind of reporting easier for everyone, the board is going to say “I don’t understand. You’ve always made this look so easy in the past!”

Are you enabling your board? Do they have any idea how much work it is to provide the data they are asking you for? If they don’t, you should let them know. This doesn’t excuse you from providing the information they request; but they have a right to know how easy or difficult it is to get that data to them.

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I’ve posted two new articles on my site:

  1. Fewer demos are better than more. Find out why here!
  2. What can you do to get your users to trust your database? Here are a few suggestions.

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Choose customer functionality over staff functionality.

Because our websites (customer-facing) and databases (staff-facing) are now intertwined and completely integrated, we may come upon situations where database design requires us to choose between making use of the system easier for the customer or making it easier for the staff. In 99% of the cases, you should choose customer over staff. Here’s why:

  1. Our first job is to help our customers buy, whether it’s membership, events, products, or services. Anything that makes it more difficult to buy will dampen our sales. That’s bad.
  2. We can’t “train” our customers on how to use our systems if they are poorly designed. If we have to train them, we’ll lose sales (see #1 above). But we can train staff on how to work around less-than-perfect design on the staff side.
  3. You have far more customers to please than staff!

Hopefully you can choose BOTH, but the next time you have to make a choice between a better customer experience and a better staff experience, choose the customer!

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Hi Beth — By abandonment if you mean non-renewal, then yes, the just published 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlights the renewal rates for many types of associations. There is a link to download a copy on the home page of this blog. If, on the other hand, you a curious about online web abandons in the renewal process, I do not know of any data source specifically for associations. I do think that this is an important item to monitor. There is clearly a consumer expectation for fewer clicks, pages, and information to complete in any online transaction. The more steps there are and the more complicated, the more likely there will be for a site abandon.
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Is there any data/research on abandonment rates? We are working on reducing our rate and I am curious if there are any benchmarks for membership associations.
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vear use full post thank for sharing
Membership Software With Forum
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Always start the conversation by asking “How can I help you with this?”

This can be for anything in life, but I run into this a lot with discussions between vendors and my clients. My client will raise an issue of concern, and the vendor will respond by saying “That’s not my fault” or “That’s because of something someone else did.”

While that answer may be technically correct, it’s not the answer my client is seeking. Because regardless of what the issue is, when someone is complaining, they’re really just seeking a solution to their problem. And very often, the vendor may have an easy solution. Spending time on who is to blame is not productive, nor is it terribly helpful.

One of my sisters used to manage a GAP clothing store. She told me she learned very early on in her career that when a customer was upset about something (e.g., returning an item that didn’t fit or had not held up in the wash), rather than trying to trying to guess what the solution should be, she would simply ask “How can I help you with this?” She tells me that often the customer would say “Oh, I don’t want you to do anything. I just wanted you to know about this.”

Problem solved!

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Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and
don't manage to get anything done.
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