In the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to present before groups about trends in membership recruitment. Particularly with state associations and different trade organizations looking to expand their membership. Often the challenge is they don’t have full-time salespeople.
The #1 question I receive from these folks is, “How many times should I continue to contact a prospect?” Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer because I need more information specific to their sales process.
At the Big Red “M,” I base our information on the data we maintain on our CRM, a database in which every single sales interaction is logged and tracked.
Our CRM reveals:
1) On average how long it takes to close a new membership,
2) How long it takes to close a new sponsorship,
3) And, the number of emails it takes to do that work and amount of phone or conference calls it takes to close.
Utilizing the CRM, not only do I know how long the sales process takes, but I also see the type of and how much activity went into the close. Based on this intel – I know how many contacts I should make to a nonresponsive prospect.
We’ve implemented a set of sales best practices I would encourage people in the association sales game to adopt. With a system in place, your team can track sales activity, which is critical to determine how much work and how many people – and, for how long it takes to close the sales.
The problem is smaller associations or those who don’t have the resources in sales, will often say we can’t justify the cost of a CRM because we are too small. However, I would argue the size of your organization is precisely why it’s essential as it allows you to track that critical information. Currently, they don’t have enough time or personnel to put forth the effort on the volume of calls and outreach required for growth.
The takeaway here is, if you don’t have a sales CRM in place, at the very least, ensure you are tracking how many calls you are making on a particular prospect and logging these in an Excel spreadsheet to keep you organized to track what it takes and how long it takes to close.
We use Salesforce, but there are many others. These are so cost-effective that even the smallest organization with the smallest budget could use them. Ten years ago, The Moery Company had one employee – me. The CRM was the only way I was able to scale because I was tracking multiple clients with one person.
So, my point here is that tracking sales data is critical for growth no matter the size of your organization.