How to get non-techy staff on board with new membership management software

Is your team scared of new technology?

Here’s how to get non-techy staff on board with new membership management software

When it’s time for new membership management software, it’s important to get your entire organization on board with the new technology. From your executive leadership and board of directors to each department that will be using the software, everyone needs to understand the value of implementing modern software. It also helps if everyone understands each other’s work as it relates to their job function and the overall goals of the organization. 

But talking about membership management software can sometimes sound like a different language to non-technical employees or coworkers. 

Of course, from the technical side, it’s important to call things what they are and be specific. And from the membership management side, it’s nice to know what’s going on and have a conversation without needing to grab a technical manual. But for tech folks, it can sometimes be hard to step back from day-to-day work and explain to non-technical colleagues about technical concepts.  

So, let’s take a look at ways to discuss the technical components of membership management software with non-technical team members. Here are a few tips to frame technical conversations in a way that’s useful to everyone in the organization: 

witchSpeak with the member perspective in mind. 

“Speaking the same language” usually means that two parties share the same belief pattern or point of view about a certain topic. You would think that for two people working at the same organization, this would be easy. 

But what happens when two coworkers are speaking different languages at work? One could be speaking plain English and the other is speaking JavaScript (a web language) or SQL (a database language). 

It might seem funny to think about it that way, but the results can really be frustrating. And if miscommunication negatively impacts the value you’re able to deliver to your members, you might have a real problem on your hands. 

So, what’s the solution? 

 If you always try to speak with the member perspective in mind, as opposed to using technical jargon, it will resonate more with non-technical coworkers and lead to more productive conversations. skull

For example, note how this conversation can be easily “fixed” once we include the member: 

Member associate: Why can’t I send the launch announcement email yet? I thought we were ready to go. 

Programmer: I found a bug in the hashing sequence and need to fix it so the data flows properly and securely. 

 Member associate: [blank stare]

Programmer: Until I fix this bug, the algorithm that transmits the member data won’t properly protect it. The data will be vulnerable to attacks or accidental leaks. We didn’t find it in our initial testing, but it’s clear there’s an issue now. 

Member associate: Oh, OK. Yes, please fix that before we launch! I’ll go prepare an email reminding our members how careful we are with their data. Where could I learn more about how this works? 

Programmer: I’ll send you a link to an article with a great explanation. Thanks for your patience. 

Wasn’t that informative, and even downright pleasant? By putting your members into the conversation, you can communicate more effectively and get back to work quicker. 

candy cornTip: With Aptify you can setup workflows to automate processes like the situation above to cause even less confusion.  

Focus on the membership department. 

Every department of a member-based association or organization is important to the big picture. On the other hand, the membership department will always require some special attention. After all, they’re the ones on the front lines, handling member inquiries, support issues, and keeping things running smoothly. Oh, and they’re responsible for driving and maintaining revenue. 

 For these reasons, it can be helpful for technical teams to put their projects and conversations in the context of the membership department. You can do this by making sure the membership team understands how the membership management technology will help their operations, make their job easier, and put them into a better position to serve the membership base. 

Discuss how data impacts the non-technical role. 

Every employee would love to have technology make their job easier or help them provide better service. So, showing non-technical coworkers how data and technology can impact their role can be an extremely convincing way to explain complex topics. 

For example, consider how your coworkers would answer these questions: 

  • Would you like to have your reports generated for you automatically instead of needing to pull everything manually or contact IT for help?
  • Would you like to know which segment of your membership is the most profitable?
  • Would you like to be notified of members that are NOT likely to renew? 

If you suspect that each of these questions would be met with a resounding “Yes!”, keep in mind that data can help. If they understand that data is the key to answering these questions proactively, then they’ll be more willing to talk about the technology details that can help make it happen. 

For example, if you’re able to link low engagement statistics to members who do not renew, this is valuable insight for a membership coordinator. But of course, before you’re able to analyze those types of trends and create reports, you need to have the data collection methods in place. 

This is why explaining how new membership management software can affect a non-technical person’s role can be a valuable way to get your message across and show the impact on their responsibilities and how the organization operates for its members. 

Vampire at computerDraw comparisons. 

Making a good comparison is an all-time classic way of explaining something complex to somebody who’s non-technical. By putting the subject matter into a context that’s familiar to whoever is listening, you form a bridge between techy concepts and their frame of reference. 

For example: When membership coordinators want to know something about members or prospective members, they might develop and send out a survey. What a technical person might do instead is to examine the data that your organization has already collected about members by using membership management software to look for trends that might answer the same questions. In addition to the benefit of not having to take the time to create a survey and bother members with questions, this approach can be especially useful because the data represents what they do, not what they say they’re going to do. 

Provide examples. 

There’s nothing quite like providing a concrete example of what you’re talking about to get the point across. Here are two examples from different departments: 

Marketing: Member engagement is a telltale indicator of marketing effectiveness. Reviewing engagement data with digital marketing campaigns is an easily-accomplished task in any modern membership management software. But you have to know where to look. 

For example, one area to look is email:

  • What type of subject lines get the most opens? 
  • Which email time delay results in the most conversions? 
  • Does copy length influence how likely a user is to click a call to action?  

You can answer these questions with data contained in your membership management system.  

candy cornTip: Aptify integrates with your marketing platform and brings back the data to Aptify for one source of truth on all your marketing efforts. Aptify has a standard integration with HubSpot, as well as other popular marketing solutions, but one of the greatest benefits of being an Aptify customer is its Rapid Application Development (RAD) framework that seamlessly integrates with your IT ecosystem via a modern REST API. It is built an open platform so it easily configures and integrates with other solutions to meet your unique needs.    

Member services: Data can speak volumes about what a current or prospective member will do versus what they say they’ll do. Take renewals, for instance. It’s human nature to avoid confrontation with people, so when a member services representative asks about renewal, there’s a good chance they’ll get a response in the positive, regardless of the truth. 

But when you look at the data and see that renewals for the bottom half of engaged users is only 10 percent, don’t be surprised when they don’t renew their membership. 

candy cornTip: Aptify’s Business Intelligence views has more than 100 dashboards and reports built-in that can be customized for your organization’s use.  

 These are two ways that using examples relevant to your teams’ specific functions can help your data-driven conversations about membership management software. 

 Learn more. 

Discussing and explaining technical data concepts to non-technical folks isn’t always easy. But with a little empathy and a few tricks, the task of communicating complex topics can become a lot easier. 

Discover more helpful tips about getting your organization on board with new membership management software. Read the guide, Gaining Board Approval for New Association Technology Budget.

Learn how to convince your board that it's time to make a change.

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