Is your organization considering a new software purchase? If you’re like most enterprise level associations, you likely have an in-depth process to get executive approval for any technology investments.
It can be a challenge obtaining executive buy-in for new association management software (AMS). Follow the steps in our blog to create a culture of change management and gain executive buy-in for new technology.
How to build executive buy-in for new association management software
Change is a process. And gaining executive support and buy-in for new association management software will take time.
Make the process smoother by creating a culture of change management and following these five steps:
1. Follow best practices
Lay the groundwork for new technology by applying change management best practices. Start by assessing your association’s current needs and determining how a new AMS can bridge the gap.
Consider your organizational priorities and decide which capabilities you’ll need in your next system. Does your association require an AMS that integrates, syncs data, has dependable application architecture, and offers continuous upgrades and innovation? Determining your current needs and how new technology can support your goals will help your organization set the scene for change.
“You want to start by putting together a work plan to help you understand the first steps for your project. Take time to determine the things you like about your current AMS—what works and what doesn’t. And decide what you’d like to see in your new AMS. Having this framework for your project team and decision makers will help you along in the process,” said Mauren Joudrey of the Council on Foundations (COF).
2. Create a mission statement
Leverage your software business case to develop a change management mission statement. In your mission statement, share why your organization needs a new AMS by highlighting current organizational pain points and detailing the shortcomings of your current software.
Stress that now is the time for change and clarify the risks of not acting. Does your association risk falling behind industry competition? Perhaps your organization experiences data silos or staff and member retention issues. Detail how new technology can alleviate these pain points.
3. Emphasize software benefits
To go beyond the numbers and show executives how a new AMS can support your mission and goals, try highlighting the benefits of new technology rather than its features. Clarify what leadership can gain from a new AMS. For example, show how user-friendly reporting and dashboards can empower executives to make better decisions to meet organizational goals.
Additionally, focus on the numerous benefits a new AMS can offer for your staff and members. For example, showcase how the new software can simplify staff processes and enhance both the staff and member experience.
“When it comes to creating a business case, it can be easy to focus on numbers. How much will it cost? How are you going to finance it? What’s the return on investment? Instead, I would recommend approaching it theoretically. Focus on how you’re going to grow members or how you’re going to hit goals with your new software,” said Natasha Rocheleau of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).
4. Work with a consultant
Working with an AMS selection consultant offers multiple benefits. An AMS selection consultant simplifies the process of researching new technology and presenting your case to executives. Working with a consultant can also help you establish a culture of change management and prepare your organization for the unexpected.
AMS selection consultants help you build a case for why you need new software and determine the best AMS to meet your organizational pain points. Not only do consultants offer industry insights into the best technology, but they also have relationships with all leading AMS vendors to help you ask tough questions about how an AMS can best support your organization.
5. Focus on solutions
When it’s finally time to address executives, show confidence as you present your mission statement with your case for new technology. You’ve done your research about the new AMS, you’ve created a mission statement, and you‘re ready to offer your case for new software.
As you meet with executives, focus on solutions rather than offering more problems, and demonstrate how a new AMS can support staff and members, as well as alleviate organizational pain points.
“When talking to executives, try striking a balance in providing the right amount of information about your new software. Providing too much information can weigh executives down and can potentially prompt more questions. Answer why you need new software and how the new software will support your organization. Also, prepare your team members to answer specific questions that will likely be asked by executives,” said Rocheleau of SAME.
Learn more tips to get new association management software
Learn even more tips to prepare your association for new technology by reading our free whitepaper: The ultimate guide to researching and selecting association management software (AMS).