7 tips for prepping your association for the year ahead
By Elaina Hundley
At Blue House Sales Group, we believe it’s important to maximize the last few months of the year. October, November and December are full of possibility and ample opportunity. Here we’ve rounded up our top tips for making the most of these months in order to pave the way for a prosperous new year.
1. Evaluate Your Providers
With some major updates from small business providers like Survey Monkey, MailChimp and Intuit, it’s a good time to evaluate the companies you turn to for support. And, really it’s a practice you should engage in every year. Ask internally: what is new with your service providers? Are there any new deals or services you should take advantage of? Do you need to invest in a more premium plan? Have you found the tools offered useful or is it time to scale back the service?
When it comes to Survey Monkey’s brand transition to Momentive—a move that positions the company to expand its offerings—the change will likely keep existing services the same while making the platform a more competitive partner for surveys and even more intensive data analysis services. The new Momentive website boasts advanced brand and market insights to help its partners better understand their industries and evaluate how their brands are resonating (or not) with those they seek to reach.
In other recent provider news, Intuit is acquiring Mailchimp. This move will also likely benefit partners of both companies as it paves the way for Intuit to be a one-stop-shop for small to midsize businesses. The news release explains the vision for the acquisition, which should not cause service interruption to current customers but simply expanded service offerings: “Together, Intuit and Mailchimp will work to deliver on the vision of an innovative, end-to-end customer growth platform for small and mid-market businesses, allowing them to get their business online, market their business, manage customer relationships, benefit from insights and analytics, get paid, access capital, pay employees, optimize cash flow, be organized and stay compliant, with experts at their fingertips.”
2. Incorporate Data Into How You Do Business (Especially If You Don’t Already)
By 2025, 60% of B2B sales organizations are expected to transition from experience- and intuition-based selling to data-driven selling, according to new research from Gartner. With the rise of ecommerce across all markets, as well as the shift towards a more multi-platform consumer journey, it is clear that a key to success moving forward will be quality outreach driven by hard data.
As you prepare for 2022, think about how you can use data you’ve collected in 2021 to inform your member acquisition strategies and better serve members, sponsors and exhibitors. If you aren’t already collecting data, it’s a great time to start or seek out a reliable data source within your industry. No matter your aims, starting with hard data will help you get a clearer picture of your industry and the needs of its players.
3. Keep Hybrid Events And Offerings Alive
The pandemic has taught us that all virtual all the time can be draining—but a hybrid model offers both increased accessibility and, in many cases, increased engagement. Whether or not 2022 is a more normal year, offering a digital component to conferences and other events can help your organization reach a wider audience and accommodate individuals who may not have been able to attend in the past.
4. Focus On Member Engagement
Although COVID-19 has altered how many associations are functioning these days, organizations that have risen to the challenge are developing new services that prove the enduring value of professional communities. And by better supporting their members, these associations are making themselves even more valuable to potential sponsors as well.
Whatever goals your organization has set for the year ahead, any kind of growth will have to begin with membership. By expanding relevant member services and offering more meaningful support, your organization can position itself as a key industry resource.
It is crucial to put members first. When you really take the time to understand what is most relevant to them—ultimately everything else will follow.
5. Make The Most Of Renewal Season
Renewals can be just as exciting and important as cultivating a brand new relationship with a member or sponsor. Renewal season is a great time to catch up with current partners, learn what’s new and offer solutions (and potentially larger programs) that will best support their goals for the year. It’s also a great time to show off any new opportunities you’ve developed over the previous year that they may not know about yet.
While renewals can sometimes feel like a rote exercise, they shouldn’t be. The contact that you make when talking to a partner about renewing is an important touchpoint. It’s a time to express your gratitude to a customer for their participation and be thoughtful about the new options you suggest. Don’t just go through the motions, wow your renewals just as much as you would a new customer. By talking through the opportunities outlined in a renewal contract, you can even help them discover more creative ways to utilize them in order to make the program feel fresh for the new year.
6. Target Your Marketing Outreach
When it comes to marketing your association, whether you are aiming to reach prospective members or engage with your most loyal members, catching their attention when they least expect it can pay big dividends. This is where targeted advertising platforms can yield great results. But where do you begin? There are numerous platforms available, but we recommend looking at Feathr. With a focus on associations, Feathr is our number one pick. In short, Feathr unifies marketing efforts in a single platform that offers detailed analytics, targeted digital advertising, influencer marketing and more for underserved markets like associations, non-profits and charities.
7. Consider Outsourcing Your Sales
What do you need to really maximize your sales revenue in the year ahead? Working with a sales group you trust can help you evaluate your advertising, sponsorship and exhibit programs and discover new opportunities to boost your impact.