Chasing the Chickens of Membership

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05/17/2018

Full disclosure: I am not a farm girl.  I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC.  But I have seen clips of animals (or people), trying to catch a chicken in the yard.  The pursuer chases after one specific chicken, until, a second chicken comes near them, then they turn on their heels and try and catch that one.  But wait, here comes another one, he tries for that one – nope, that one escapes too.  There’s not much organization to it is there?  There is a lot of energy spent though. However, it still yields in zero chickens caught.
This is the visualization I have in my head when I hear how many associations try and capture members.  Often, it is disorganized, and mostly, driven by the desires of the board or other members.  The membership director is focused on Company A, while during a board call, a board member INSISTS they go after Company B right now.  I’m not saying ignore a board member’s wishes or recommendations; in fact, board recommendations tend to have high-level connections for you.  However, it is important to integrate those referrals into existing, organized plans.
I have two strategies when selling memberships.  One for the high-revenue companies and one for the remaining.
For the largest accounts:
The Moery Company has utilized a system for recruiting high-level accounts using a “Key Account Matrix.”  It is a year-long plan to help find new contacts, utilize existing members, and engage prospects in various association events, eventually resulting in membership.
For smaller accounts:
Put every single lead into your sales database.  (We use Salesforce).  Every time a lead is entered so is a task.   Initially, I reach out two or three times when I receive a lead.  After that, it moves into the database, and the lead begins to receive marketing emails.  If they show interest, they’ll rise to the top of the pack by showing up in our open reports, or preferably, responding to marketing emails and asking for a membership call.
With some organization and focus, membership directors can catch, rather than chase, their high-value chickens.
Elizabeth Johnson is The Moery Company Vice President. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth H. Johnson, a member of Big Red M team since its inception in 2010, has led highly successful membership and sponsorship campaigns throughout her tenure for some of the top associations in the country.
 She specializes in conducting a comprehensive review of existing sponsorship programs and developing fresh opportunities for increased revenue. Her association expertise also includes her ability to articulate government relations as a key membership benefit and to deliver presentations to leadership and boards across industries.
 Prior to Big Red M, Elizabeth worked within the association segment of Marriott’s prestigious global sales team. She is a graduate of James Madison University.

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