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People and processes come before technology

What’s driving your need for new technology?

Technology underpins service delivery and must therefore be top of the list when planning a systems review. This is regardless of where current challenges lie in respect of delivery of strategic business objectives.

It’s possible to read about the importance of investing in technology every day, of making the most of technology, of how vital the adoption of technology is to our success. This is, of course, valid opinion, but it can become tempting to invest in and implement new technology before really determining what objectives lie behind doing so.

At Hart Square, we work with a range of organisations within the non-profit sector. We provide strategic consultancy around “CRM systems” in the widest sense. Our expertise and advice with respect to CRM ecosystems and digital solutions covers:

  • Back office CRM database systems
  • Online platforms and applications
  • CMS systems
  • Social Engagement solutions
  • Digital Strategies
  • Technology Audits
  • Implementation Support
  • Marketing Automation tools
  • A myriad of other systems, processes and technology

All of which can be deployed in support of a Customer Relationship Management (or Engagement) strategy.

Planning with niche needs in mind

Whilst it’s useful to be aware of the promises made by technology and the opportunities that it may present, it’s more important to start planning without any specific technology in mind.

This helps to ensure that no objectives are technology driven.

This means no system can impose any constraints on the early thinking which is crucial to a technology investment. In turn, this tends to lead to a successful CRM system refresh project.

Putting people first

“People first” is a phrase that (in some form or another) probably has a central place within your mission, vision and strategy. It should carry the same importance and weight within your CRM technology strategy.

Professional membership bodies in the UK are now very familiar with the need to conduct member research as part of their member retention strategy. This ensures that current members are both achieving and recognising the value of the services and benefits they get.

A natural element, or extension, of this strategy and activity is to research what else existing members want to see from their membership, and to maintain and update this understanding of what will attract new members. Equally for charities, understanding what links supporters to their cause and inspires them to act is vital.

This same information should form a key component of any technology strategy. Technology should never be deployed for its own sake. It must serve a purpose and that purpose is almost certainly going to be to recruit new donors, supporter and members, deliver new services, retain existing members, and deliver existing services in better ways.

Listening enables inclusive decision making processes

We talk elsewhere about the need to have a Social Engagement strategy within a CRM strategy, and Social CRM tools within a CRM ecosystem, but the key here is to listen. Listen to what existing members, donors, and stakeholders do value – and what they don’t. Listen to what non-member, non-donor audiences are talking about, are interested in, are enthused and frustrated by, then devise appropriate responses to support them in their professional development or their charitable aims.

Note the importance of “what they don’t value” in this discussion. As a recent example, when I was talking to a client of ours about their email marketing campaign tools and messaging they were concerned that the “Unsubscribe” option in their regular bulletins may be too easy to use and were asking advice around what was acceptable. My advice to them was to make the option easily visible – without promoting it of course! The reasoning behind this advice is that if subscribers aren’t getting value from what you’re sending them then you want to know about it.

Most professionals, most employees, most people are bombarded by email, and again we know one of our challenges is to get our messages identified, valued and read in amongst the spam and junk.

If you make it difficult to unsubscribe then they’ll add you to their Junk Mail filter settings or simply delete your emails without reading them. If they take the time to unsubscribe then it almost certainly means that they’ve read your email and not found it relevant or interesting. You want to know this!

Why waste your time delivering content which isn’t valued, when you could tweak and tune your messages to make them more appropriate, relevant and valued, which is better for absolutely everyone involved? Go further and consider how this insight should feed your organisational strategy, not just your newsletter and digital content strategy.

A varied approach enables you, your members, your donors, your supporters

The more varied you can make your subscription options, your newsletters and marketing content, including unsubscribe options, the more quality information you can derive from the detail of subscriptions, reads, click-throughs and unsubscribes. Depending on the technology that you use to deliver this content, you’ll get better or worse, or different, analysis and insight into what’s being valued, and more or less flexibility to be responsive.

That’s where the technology choice comes in; once you know what you’re trying to achieve (have set your objectives) and as one part of a strategic investment in people, processes and technology.

 

Re-imagining technology to put people first

Where the heart is

Salesforce.org is the social heart of salesforce.com, empowering tens of thousands of non-profits and educational institutions through technology, grants and volunteering programmes, Richard Young told delegates at TechSmart 2019.

“Our goal is to enable each and every one of our customers, partners, grantees and community members to create more impact in the world.”

“More than 80% of people you deal with say that experience is the most important thing and it’s important these days to break away from a traditional marketing approach such as newsletters – you have to change and move forward.”

The average person is carrying three connecting devices with them and has yet more devices at home, says Richard, “you have to look at your different audiences and you have to change your marketing efforts to match the device they are using at the time – whether at home or outside. Find out where your people are and connect with them wherever they are.”

Many non-profits face significant organisational changes as they are often using multiple systems and have siloed people and data, which need to be broken down. “You must have a co-ordinated system to increase engagement with your constituents,” says Richard.

Salesforce.org: Our path to impact

  • Technology for social change
  • Investment in the EMEA region through grants
  • Community of citizen philanthropists (three million volunteer hours)
  • Impact

“Use digital technology to optimise donations and volunteering, and personalise very interaction; make meaningful connections at every stage of the constituent’s journey by staying relevant with intelligent personalisation at scale,” says Richard.

Leverage Einstein AI to drive better interactions

  • Einstein-Powered Experiences: Orchestrate every interaction with the power of AI
    Intelligent and Actionable Insights: Listen, interpret, and respond to constituent intent
    Right Content, Right Channel: Personalise based on attributes, preferences, and location
    Constituent Rights and Trust: Create authentic communications based on consent

It is important to engage at every touchpoint through the constituent’s journey, says Richard, “by personalising journeys from awareness to advocacy; using data dynamically to tailor your message; integrating email, mobile, ads, social, web and apps; and breaking down silos to connect and engage with people right across your organisation.”

Intelligent marketing helps build relationships and will blaze your trail to success

 

People, process and technology: leaving the legacy behind

Escape from the legacy association software cycle!

Non-profit organisations and NGOs are under served by legacy vendors and they should have the right to buy effective software that runs both in non-profits and for profits, says Paul Lundy, President and Co-Founder of Fonteva, which provides an association management solution built on the Salesforce platform.

Speaking at the recent TechSmart 2019 event, Paul told delegates that they were in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution but probably using technology which is lagging behind: “If your technology doesn’t allow you to grow you are probably with a legacy provider.

“Most people just want all their data in a single place so that they can access it to make good business decisions. Legacy systems have narrow functionality and are usually costly to upgrade. What tends to happen is that when you try to connect everything up you get data silos.

An organisation’s needs and requirements will inevitably change but the actual members’ needs remain largely the same – training and certification, professional development, networking, job search and industry news.

“What has changed is their expectation and that has been shaped by what’s happening in the rest of their lives – they literally want the equivalent of the Amazon Prime buying experience.

“There is challenge in meeting these expectations and rapid technological advances are making it difficult to keep up with these, especially if your own technology is limited and not enabling.”

At Fonteva, they believe in the development of technology on a global scale: “Our technology allows you to transact in any country in any language,” says Paul.

However, he warned, It is not only about the technology, it’s about the people and processes too; if the team does not buy into your strategy and future plans then technology will not work for you. “Your processes may be out of date and it may be hard to justify them, but it can be even harder to change them.

“The cards are stacked against you unless you are smart and engage across the whole organisation not just the technology department, and driven by leadership but it is vital that you choose the correct and enabling technology to begin with.”

Keys to successful digital transformation

  • Align and involve leaders
  • Empower your people
  • Focus your initiatives on top priorities
  • Create ambassadors within the organisation
  • Stay flexible and agile
  • Keep people engaged

Shifting demographics, data silos, increasingly high member expectations, rapid technology advancement – no shortage of challenges here to engage with your members and staff