Buying Membership Software

10 steps to selecting the best membership management software.

Talk the talk.

You don’t want to go into the sales process of selecting membership software without understanding the lingo. It is easy to get distracted or confused by technology terminology and buzz words. Knowing the common terms used in the sales process is important as software vendors may use different terms to describe their offerings. Using this list will help you break it down to the basics.

Define your questions and make each provider answer them.

The best way to start is to identify the major pain points in your day-to-day operations, and formulate questions addressing those challenges for each provider to answer. Every provider will want to sell to its strengths, so have your questions ready so you don’t get lost in a features list. Remember, their solution should be focused on helping you solve your problems.

Map out your current and future needs.

Make a list of what’s most important for your organization to meet its business needs today. If a particular feature is missing in the membership software, ask them about their product road map and their vision so that you can get an idea of future enhancements.

Ask to look behind the curtain.

Make sure you understand how each provider charges for their solution. Ask about things like transaction fees. How many admin seats do you receive, do they charge for email sends, how about charging for customer support?

Help when you need it.

Once you’ve been given the “keys” to your solution you don’t want to find yourself abandoned the first time you need help. Ask each solution provider about its support and training programs. Make sure you completely understand what you are entitled to “after the sale.”

Are you selecting a vendor or a partner?

Select a membership software partner that understands your business needs and works with you to think through solutions. Partners with the expertise and experience to grow with you as your needs change.

Affordable today. Affordable tomorrow.

Technology changes daily. Getting the right solution today is exciting. Finding out later you have to pay for future enhancements or upgrades, not so much.

Plays well with others.

You may have third party software you need to continue to use even after you commit to a solution. Make sure the vendor you select has APIs (gateways for different software to communicate with each other) that allows you to continue to work efficiently.

Your place or mine.

An important question to ask is who will be hosting your software. A SaaS solution is hosted by the provider, thus reducing the overall cost of ownership. This eliminates the need to spend money on servers and other IT infrastructure. It also means that new updates and enhancements are done immediately and without additional costs to you. If you have to host the system yourself, you will need technical staff on hand.

Ready to go today(?)

Implementation time can be key to your decision. The time to get your system up and running varies from provider to provider. If you are tying your move to an event, make sure you fully understand the time and effort it takes to make your deadline. Setting expectations up front helps you avoid unnecessary headaches during the process.

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