One Crucial Thing Your Association Management Software RFP is Missing

Congratulations! Your organization is about to begin the search for new association management software (AMS). You’ve likely identified the critical software features and compiled department wish lists. Perhaps you are working with an outside consultant to help you through the process. Your consultant may even have a scorecard to help you to measure one AMS against another.

Regardless of your AMS research process, as you begin preparing for your RFP, you’ll want to consider your new AMS vendor. Who is the company behind the checkbox? Who is your association about to enter into a long-term partnership with, and will your organizations work well together?

More often than not, cultural alignment is missing from the RFP, and yet it is one of the most important success factors in any major technology initiative.

What is cultural alignment and why is it important for your association’s AMS RFP?

 

Cultural alignment is the shared beliefs that exist between an association and its partner. These beliefs can be stated either explicitly or implicitly on the vendor’s website, in marketing materials, or conversations with AMS representatives. 
 
When your organization and your new AMS vendor are on the same page regarding your core values and mission, you’re more likely to see engagement from your staff during the AMS adoption process. Cultural alignment can also increase employee motivation to ensure organizational goals are hit when implementing new software. 

4 ways to assess the cultural alignment between an AMS vendor and your organization

Now that you know why cultural alignment between an AMS vendor and your association is vital, here are four tips to assess your match:  

1. Ask the representatives. During your AMS research process, ask the representatives you’re working with about company culture, comparing your organizational values to theirs.

Consider traveling to the AMS vendor’s offices to get a feel for the staff, the environment, and the company culture. Meet the people you’ll be working with as well as the staff wholl be supporting you after implementation.

“I think this is important to note and is significant when determining the ongoing relationship between the AMS vendor and the client. I often say that finding the perfect AMS is like finding the perfect husband or wife. They just don’t exist. And folks, this isn’t a joke. There will be disagreements, missed deadlines, and misunderstandings, but being aligned with a company you can trust will allow you to move past those hurdles much quicker.” -Teri Carden, Founder, ReviewMyAMS.com

2. Read reviews. Consider reading customer testimonials on Salesforce AppExchange and G2 reviews to get a better sense of vendor culture. You can also try reading Glassdoor reviews as employees can paint an accurate picture of the inner workings of an organization.

Both positive and negative reviews can share insights into leadership and culture. A good company knows that providing quality customer service begins with treating their employees right. 

 3. Review vendor case studies. Learn even more about a potential AMS vendor by looking at implementation success stories. Reading vendor case studies will give you a sense of what to expect during the implementation process. It will also give you a glimpse of the AMS vendor’s values, ensuring there is a good fit between your organizations.  

 4. Go with your gut. There isn’t a research process or spreadsheet cell to assess gut feelings or initial reactions to a new AMS. A gut feeling is something that tells you, “this feels right.”

Consider having a candid conversation with your selection committee about their initial reactions to AMS vendors. Discussing your selection committees’ gut feelings will help bring important issues and concerns to light so they can be openly discussed. 

Discover more tips to prepare your next association management software RFP

Download our free whitepaper for even more tips: 7 questions to ask before purchasing new association management software

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