Most associations don’t have a traditional sales department, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a sales team. Throughout your organization, there are people who work hard on recruitment, engagement, and event attendance.
Association sales teams may be diverse and diffuse, but they still work like a team in a for-profit business. Unfortunately, this means associations will often run into one of the most common issues for all organizations: lack of alignment between sales and marketing.
Bringing marketing and sales teams together takes effort and communication, but it can be done. First, let’s talk about why it matters.
Everyone you meet is on some kind of journey. Each person has a goal or a destination, and the lucky ones know how to get there. They have obstacles to overcome, but they also have people who’ll help them succeed.
Ideally, your association should be one of those helpers. When they’re starting out, you offer guidance. When their career is growing, you help them make connections. When they reach the top, you help them become an industry voice.
But what about the member’s journey within your organization? How do they go from discovering the association, to becoming a member, to getting involved with programming?
We all know that every crisis is an opportunity, but there are some crises that are so vast that it’s hard to see a silver lining.
2020 has offered a once-in-a-generation crisis, with a tragic pandemic leading to global economic uncertainty. It’s a tough time for professionals and a tough time for businesses, which is why associations are more important now than ever.
Every purchasing decision happens at the end of a journey. When you buy a sandwich, it’s because you felt hungry, you thought about your food options, and you decided that the best available choice was a sandwich.
Association members follow the same process when they’re making decisions about attending events, renewing their membership, or getting certified. Their journey begins with the realization that they need something to help their career or their personal aspirations. Ideally, that journey ends―and another one begins―when they engage with your association.
Many associations approach marketing automation (MA) from a purely cost-savings perspective. These associations look at the time and resources that go into their current marketing efforts, and they calculate what they could save if some marketing tasks were automated.
These associations are not wrong. If you use MA to handle some everyday marketing tasks, you will see some cost savings.
But if you don’t use MA as a springboard to greater transformation, you’re leaving money on the table.