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6 Benefits of Association Management Software Built On A CRM Solution

Updated: Feb 17

For three decades, associations relied on initially on-premise and latterly hosted Association Management Software (AMS) to handle their member databases, event registrations, and financial transactions. However, since 2010 association leaders have witnessed a growing trend towards AMS built on top of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.


In this article, we explore the benefits of investing in an AMS built on top of a CRM system instead of a traditional hosted AMS. And we compare three market-leading CRM technologies upon which AMS providers including sociatio have built their propositions.


But We Have Members, Not Customers!

No, we have customers. And as customers, they invest their time, energy, and resources into associations, seeking a return on their investment in the form of services, benefits, and a sense of belonging. And like any customer, they have expectations, desires, and preferences, which associations must understand and cater to.


Netflix logo on a television with a coffee cup
Our experiences as consumers have transformed our expectations of association management software

Recognising members as customers, we can better prioritise their needs, provide exceptional experiences that are comparable to those as a consumer, and foster a mutually beneficial relationship that goes beyond membership. And in doing so, we elevate our associations to that of trusted partner in their personal and professional journeys.


6 Benefits of Association Management Software Built On A CRM Solution


So here are 6 Benefits of Association Management Software Built On A CRM Solution.


#1: Comprehensive Member Relationship Management

A CRM-based AMS leverages robust and innovative features designed for the modern enterprise. It empowers association professionals to manage comprehensive and modern member relationships and maintain a 360-degree view of their members with personalised communication and engagement.


With detailed member profiles, including contact information, demographics, and engagement history, our associations can tailor outreach efforts, identify key influencers, and segment members for targeted campaigns.


This new level of member relationship management empowers our associations to enhance member satisfaction, drive engagement, and deliver personalised experiences.


#2: Deep, Broad Integration And Data Centralisation

A significant advantage of CRM-based AMS is the seamless integration and data centralisation it offers. With a traditional hosted AMS, associations often struggle with disparate systems, leading to data silos and manual data transfers. In contrast, a CRM-based AMS integrates with existing CRM systems, enabling a unified view of all association data, including member information, event registrations, and financial transactions.


This integration eliminates duplicate data entry, reduces errors, and provides real-time insights. Associations can easily access, analyse, monetise, and act upon the consolidated data, resulting in informed decision-making, efficient operations, and improved member service.


#3: Advanced Reporting And Analytics

A CRM-based AMS supercharges associations with advanced reporting and analytics capabilities. By leveraging the data stored in the CRM system, associations can generate in-depth reports and derive meaningful insights. You can track membership trends, analyse event attendance patterns, and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. These insights enable associations to identify areas of improvement, allocate resources effectively, and devise strategies for growth. With comprehensive reporting and analytics, you can make data-driven decisions, measure the success of your initiatives, and demonstrate value to all stakeholders.



#4: Automation And Workflow Efficiency

Automation plays a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of association management processes. A CRM-based AMS offers robust automation features that streamline workflows, reduce manual tasks, and increase productivity.


For instance, you can automate member onboarding, renewal processes, event registrations, and payment reminders. Automated workflows ensure timely communication, minimise administrative burden, and improve member experience. Moreover, the integration between the CRM and AMS systems enables seamless data flow, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing errors.


By automating routine tasks, associations can focus on strategic initiatives, strengthen member relationships, and drive organisational growth.


#5: Scalability And Flexibility

As your association grows and evolves, you require an AMS that can scale and adapt to your changing needs, quickly and reliably. A CRM-based AMS provides the flexibility and scalability necessary for associations to thrive.


CRM systems are designed to handle large volumes of data and support customisation. This flexibility allows you to tailor your AMS to meet specific requirements and workflows. Additionally, CRM systems offer a wide range of integrations with other tools and platforms, allowing you to extend the functionality of their AMS with aplomb!


This scalability and flexibility helps you to future-proof your operations and adapt to new technologies, industry trends, and member expectations.


#6: Cost Effectiveness and Low Total Cost Of Ownership

On-premise and hosted AMS offerings typically require a significant upfront capital expenditure (Capex) investment in the form of licences, implementation services, and a support package. Modern CRM systems are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings which by their very nature fall into the operational expenditure (Opex) bucket.


This Opex approach eliminates the burden of large upfront investments, allowing you to redirect financial resources towards other critical areas of growth and innovation, scaling operations quickly and efficiently, and paying only for the services you need when you need them. This flexibility helps you to adapt to changing member demands and stay ahead of your competition.


Additionally, Opex reduces the total cost of ownership because the CRM providers handle the infrastructure maintenance, updates, and support, eliminating the need for costly in-house IT resources. By shifting to an Opex model, you can gain financial agility, simplified operations, and the ability to focus on core competencies.


Leading CRM Systems For Association Management Software

There are dozens of CRM systems to choose from. And dozens of marketing claims to go with them! For example Salesforce is touted as the world's number one CRM, Zoho CRM as the world's favourite, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 as better for larger, more established businesses.


Fonteva Uses Salesforce CRM

Fonteva is 100% native to Salesforce. According to their website, "Fonteva combines Salesforce's next-generation technology with the functionality member-based organizations require to achieve their mission." You can read more about why Fonteva selected Salesforce here.


In February 2021, Fonteva was acquired by Togetherwork, a provider of integrated software and financial solutions to communities, groups and organisations. Togetherwork is a portfolio company of the private alternatives investment firm GI Partners.


Sociatio Uses Zoho CRM

Leveraging Zoho, sociatio is proud to have created a fresh and contemporary proposition that empowers associations to thrive in an increasingly dynamic and interconnected world.


Created by association leaders for association leaders, and with over 40 integrated apps available, we pack an incredible amount of technology at an impossible price to deliver a premium membership and staff experience. You can read more about why sociatio selected Zoho here.


Protech AMS Uses MS Dynamics 365

Protech built their AMS specifically for Dynamics 365. According to their website, "Protech AMS connects you to a near limitless web of technology through the Microsoft ecosystem." You can read more about why Protech selected Microsoft here.


In November 2021, Protech Associates was acquired by Togetherwork, a provider of integrated software and financial solutions to communities, groups and organisations. Togetherwork is a portfolio company of the private alternatives investment firm GI Partners.


Comparing CRM Systems

According to Forbes Advisor's 2023 CRM software for SMBs review, here's how they compare head-to-head.

Salesforce

(4.2 out of 5)

Zoho CRM

(4.6 out of 5)

MS Dynamics 365

(4.3 out of 5)

Ease of Use

Difficult

Easy

Difficult

Contact Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lead Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email Marketing

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sales Forecasting

Yes

Yes

Yes

Built-in Automation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Reporting

Yes

Yes

Yes

eCommerce Integrations

Yes

Yes

Yes

Customer Support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Pricing (per user, per month)

$25 to $300

$14 to $50

$65 to $135

Contract & Billing

Annually

Monthly

Annually

And according to Forbes Advisor, here are the pros and cons of each.

Pros

Cons

Salesforce

  • Extensive customisation options.

  • Integrates with thousands of other platforms.

  • Generates powerful and comprehensive reports.

  • ​Less affordable than other options.

  • Much more complicated for new users and old users alike.

  • Can be time-consuming to maintain.

Zoho CRM

  • Automation on all plans.

  • Mobile app.

  • Affordable pricing models.

  • Easy to use.

  • ​Limited customisation on lower plans.

  • AI features only on highest paid plans

MS Dynamics 365

  • Native integration with MS Office suite.

  • Built-in AI.

  • Secure to use.

  • Steep and difficult learning curve.

  • Not cost-effective for smaller businesses.

  • Includes many pricey add-ons.

  • Additional cost for data storage.

You can read more about the Salesforce versus Zoho and Microsoft versus Salesforce reviews to get an at-a-glance and deep dive review of each.


We're Revolutionising Association Management Software

Modern AMS is not just an option; it's a necessity. Your AMS must act as a driving force, streamlining operations, enhancing member engagement, and unlocking new growth opportunities. By investing in sociatio, your association positions itself as an industry disruptor, ensuring long-term success and a thriving community of engaged members.


Don't settle for mediocrity; embrace the power of sociatio today! Discover how our state-of-the-art association management software can revolutionise your operations, supercharge member engagement, and unlock new revenue streams.


Are you ready to deliver a sustainable, premium membership experience? Are you ready to help your staff work smarter, not harder? We're revolutionising association management software. So visit our website today to learn more about sociatio, the AMS platform created by association leaders for association leaders.


Help Us To Help You

Take a moment and give us feedback on the AMS market through our quick poll. Your answers are anonymous. You can vote for more than one answer. Feel free to comment below. And get in touch with us if you'd like to share more. Thank you!


Which of these AMS attributes make your day?

  • 0%Comprehensive Member Relationship Management

  • 0%Deep, Broad Integration And Data Centralisation

  • 0%Advanced Reporting And Analytics

  • 0%Automation And Workflow Efficiency

You can vote for more than one answer.


Credits

CRM review and comparison information from Forbes Advisor. Photo from Pexels (by John-Mark Smith).

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