Without a doubt, I firmly believe a sales revolution is in the making around association business development. In the next 12 to 24 months, increased pressure will be felt by organizations centered firmly on their business models – associations have already begun to feel the squeeze.
The bottom line – I see mega shifts ahead, which will require some revolutionary ways in which you sell in your association – and, forging ahead with a business mindset with revenue development at its core. Organizations will need to actively pursue and engage new prospects. Make it your mission to constantly reinforce membership value to those currently on board. The next step will be to evaluate the pricing structure of your membership dues. Some categories might be too high – some too low. Others will require consolidation. I would also consider new membership groups or categories that can help sustain the association moving forward.
And, every association will need to dig deep to re-evaluate and revamp their sponsorship programs – re: pricing and value. Associations must come to terms with and accept that vendors are truly valuable to their organization and ought to be integrated into the association culture. I know there will be some push back here for many reasons, but the bottom line is – you need their cash and expertise. Additionally, if you align their specialization the right way, member value will dramatically increase through a strong sponsorship effort.
If every association started running themselves more like a business, fulfilling the organization’s mission could be met with greater success. If you fail from a business standpoint, you can’t represent your members on the Hill. You need the money to reach the people who are effective in Washington and influence doesn’t come free.
As a mentor said years ago, “If you don’t have the cash, you won’t make the dash.”
The sales revolution starts now, and I’m planting a flag in the ground. Join me!
When I talk to associations about having us sell their memberships, sponsorships, ads, or exhibits, it is almost always met with some form of...