Trust, but verify: How to avoid buyer’s remorse with your association management software

Your choice of association management software is too big of a decision to leave to chance. Here’s how to avoid regrets with your next AMS purchase. 

Purchasing new association management software (AMS) is a big investment of time and money. The last thing you want is to buy a new AMS system and then regret it because it fails to help your organization move forward or even leaves your association worse off than before you bought it.  

The good news is that there are ways to steer clear of an AMS system that overpromises and underdelivers.  

Here are 10 red flags to watch for when considering a new AMS system that will help your association avoid a poor experience and buyer’s remorse:  

1. Lack of vendor responsiveness – As you evaluate a new AMS system, pay attention to the vendor’s responsiveness. If the vendor takes too long to answer your questions, it can be a signal that the company has a lack of commitment to your needs and might ultimately provide a poor level of support.

Of course, some AMS vendors will be prompt in responding to your queries during the sales process, and then become less helpful after you make the purchase. So, make sure the prospective demo demonstrates critical business functionality in the first place to ensure your software selection team sees how it really operates. Also, be sure to check customer reviews and the AMS vendor’s references to confirm that clients are happy with the vendor’s overall responsiveness. Essentially: trust, but verify, the sales pitch!  

2. A complex or confusing user interface – An AMS system must be user-friendly to help ensure that your association’s staff readily adopts it and can work efficiently and effectively with it. That’s why it’s important to avoid moving to an AMS with a user interface that’s clunky and hard to use. During product demos and trials, take the time needed to make sure the system has an interface that’s easy to navigate.   

TIP: Aptify by Community Brands makes it easy to run reports, create dashboards, and manage member data so your staff doesn’t need IT assistance just to manage processes and access the data they need each day. Aptify also includes powerful search capabilities that allow you to easily search for data across the entire database – giving you the information you need, when you need it.

3. Limited configurability – When your association is large and complex, you need an AMS system that can be configured to meet your specific requirements. If the AMS system is rigid, lacks configuration options, or requires significant workarounds, it may end up costing too much to modify and becoming more of a headache than it’s worth.  

TIP: Aptify is built on a powerful and flexible platform that allows for easy changes and upgrades to meet your needs today and in the future.

4. Poor data migration capabilities – Your association likely has a database or AMS system. When you implement a new AMS system, you’ll need to move data from that existing system to your new AMS. If data migration with the new system is overly complex or the vendor doesn’t provide clear guidance and tools to make the data migration process run smoothly, then it’s a signal to walk away – otherwise, you will be looking at potential data loss and inconsistencies in your new AMS system.   

5. Limited integration options – When evaluating a new AMS, be sure to have a list of any key systems that you need the AMS to integrate with, such as your website, accounting software, and event management platform. Ask the AMS vendor to provide demos and documentation to ensure integrations work the way you expect. Otherwise, your staff might end up turning to manual data entry and duplicated efforts to keep your AMS and other systems updated.  

TIP: Aptify offers advanced APIs that allow you to easily integrate it with other applications while keeping your member data centrally located in Aptify.

6. Vague or incomplete documentation – Look at the documentation for the AMS system you’re considering. If it’s incomplete, unclear, or outdated, then it suggests a lack of attention to detail that may result in challenges during product implementation.  

7. Hidden costs – Unexpected fees can strain (or even blow) your budget. Make sure the AMS vendor you’re considering offers a clear pricing structure. Ask the vendor about all aspects of the total cost of ownership of the AMS, including licensing, implementation, data migration, integrations, training, support, ongoing maintenance, and upgrade costs. Also, when you talk with vendor references and read reviews of the system, watch for mentions of surprise costs.  

8. Inadequate training and support – A smooth transition to a new AMS system requires a variety of training options and strong customer support. They help to ensure your entire staff understands how to use the new software and can get the help they need when they need it. Before moving to a new AMS system, make sure that the vendor offers training resources, user guides, and highly responsive customer support to help you throughout the implementation and beyond.  

TIP: Aptify has a strong and reliable support team, self-service help options, a broad offering of training solutions, and an active user community to give you the help you need when (and how) you want it.

9. Unreliable system performance – If the AMS vendor has a history of frequent system outages, slow response times, or a reputation for poor performance, it’s a strong indicator that the new AMS may disrupt your operations and ultimately have a negative impact on the member experience. Look for reviews and testimonials about the system’s reliability and performance before making an AMS purchase decision.  

TIP: Aptify is built on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, which provides the enhanced data security and governance, powerful scalability, and optimal performance that large organizations need.

10. Negative reputation and customer reviews – A consistent trend of negative customer experiences and complaints about a vendor’s products or services is a big red flag to proceed with caution. Research the AMS vendor’s reputation by reading reviews, talking to references, seeking recommendations, and talking with peers in your industry.  

TIP: For more than 25 years, Aptify has been a trusted provider of membership management software for large associations and labor unions.  

Find the association management software you won’t regret. 

Aptify is association management software built to help large membership-based organizations like yours attract, engage, retain, and support members. It’s a powerful, configurable, and flexible membership management platform that fits the way your organization works today and grows with you as your organization evolves to meet the needs of the next generations.    

See firsthand if Aptify is a fit for your organization: Request a demo.

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