Membership Tips

20 June 2022 Senior News Team

General CRM vs Purpose-Built MMS: Which is Better? 

When a non-profit organisation invests in new technology, it usually has two main objectives: attracting new members and improving engagement and retention of current members. 

There is some disagreement regarding which platform is ideal for achieving these objectives. Some people prefer to upgrade their Membership Management System (MMS), while others prefer to add to the type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system typically used in business. 

Many membership and non-profit organisations choose to combine the two platforms. In very different ways, the MMS and CRM system can assist you in achieving your objectives. When you combine the two platforms, you'll have a tech platform that will significantly increase member engagement and attract new members.  

What is a membership management system and how does it compare with a customer relationship management system? 

Purpose-Built Membership Management System (MMS) 

MMS is designed to meet the unique challenges of running a membership organisation or charity. Your current MMS undoubtedly handles many of the day-to-day duties involved with membership management and offers valuable data on what's going on within the organisation. 

The following are some of the characteristics of management software: 

  • A simple online registration form allows members register with just a few clicks. 
  • Member profiles – member account information is stored in a centralised database that is automatically updated, allowing administrators find information and contact people quickly. 
  • Information management – community owners can establish full-featured websites or applications to generate, update, and deliver relevant content to their audience. 
  • Mobile optimisation – an organisation's website should be mobile-friendly. A mobile application should be available to allow members manage activities on the go. 
  • Scheduling and employee timekeeping – a customised calendar allows managers create timetables for employees and members, book appointments, organise events, and send out automated reminders through email, SMS, or social media. 
  • Payment processing – MMS can include built-in finance tools or link with third-party payment processing systems to process membership fees online, retain financial records and assign budgets. 
  • Member forums and chats – communication is the most important component of any membership organisation or group. Forums or individual chats where participants can engage in debates and share news and files are a must-have element of specialist software. 
  • Unique offers like promo codes and giveaways can be set up for the most active and devoted members. 

Membership software can be customised by the inclusion of extra features, depending on the organisation's needs.  

General Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  

CRMs like MemberBase hold information about the present and potential customers' relationships. This can include current and former members, as well as non-members that are considering joining. 

CRM systems can store a wide range of information about a person such as: 

  • Contact information, including social media accounts. 
  • Lead score – an assessment of how likely a non-member is to sign up, or the chances of a member making an additional purchase.  
  • Interaction history – calls, emails, and digital interactions. 
  • Records of prior marketing communications given to the client.  
  • Purchase history and marketing involvement – one-time purchases, attendance at an association event, signup forms filled on the website, etc. 

The CRM system focuses on assessing your member connections and identifying strategies to strengthen them, whether through direct sales or marketing communications. Additionally, your CRM system can assist you in identifying prospective members and devising marketing tactics to attract them.  

What are the distinctions between MMS and CRM? 

These systems have significantly varied sets of functions due to their different aims and their individual data can overlap in specific ways, so why not combine them into one? 

Essential MMS Functions  

Many of your other systems and processes will integrate with your Membership Management Software, allowing you to manage the day-to-day chores of organisation management. 

The features provided vary depending on the membership management software you choose, but some of the most frequent ones are: 

  • Website management: MMS can administer a portion of your membership website's back-end. Members will update their personal information, purchase digital content, and book themselves into live events if this connection is in place. 
  • Purchase fulfilment: This system can also assist in managing item dispatch, whether physical or digital. These purchases can be one-time expenditures such as an online training course, or on-going such as a subscription to an organisation magazine. 
  • Membership dues collection: Most MMS systems can fully automate this crucial operation. The MMS can securely store payment information as well as conduct recurring payments. It can also send out reminders when membership costs are due and identify members whose membership periods are close to expiration so that the sales team can intervene. 

Essential CRM Functions 

A CRM analyzes all accessible data in order to manage your relationships with your past and current members. The modern CRM has a variety of features including: 

  • Lead scoring: What’s the likelihood of a lead being converted? You'd know where to focus your marketing efforts if you knew this ahead of time. CRMs include a variety of lead scoring options, making it simple to discover the highest potential leads for your membership or non-profit organisation. 
  • Contact logging: CRM client records contain information on previous client encounters, such as copies of marketing emails sent and call recordings. You can design customised offerings that lead to conversions if you have access to each prospect's whole history. 
  • Marketing automation: The CRM integrates with other marketing technologies to create background-running automated programs. These can be targeted and subdivided to improve your odds of success. 
  • Analytics: While all systems save critical data, configuring the CRM to gather the type of data you genuinely need for analytics is usually easier. This information enables far more in-depth analysis, benefiting all aspects of membership management, not just marketing. 

How are MMS and CRM related? 

To fulfil their growth and development objectives, most associations will require Membership Management Software and a Customer Relationship Management system. 

Does this imply that the two systems will operate independently? Definitely not!  

Even if the systems aren't directly linked, there are a few ways they can influence one another:  

  • MMS data aids in lead identification. 
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) data can be used to improve service offerings. 
  • The importance of marketing automation cannot be overstated. 

Full-Stack Approach to Marketing Your Organisation 

Does your membership organisation require a CRM, an upgraded MMS, or a combination of both? 

The answer is that it depends on your objectives and the demands of your members. Before you make any decisions regarding adopting new systems, answer the following questions: 

  • Do we have a sound system in place to identify leads? 
  • Could we improve our conversion rates? 
  • Are we giving our members the most satisfactory experience possible? 

Once you know where you are and where you want to go, you'll be able to see what kind of mechanisms you'll need to put in place.  

We have the answer at Senior Internet; contact us if you're interested in this upgrade or in using our latest software, which is specially built for you.