Where to Begin Your Chamber’s Search for New Software
When the time comes to “sunset” outdated chamber management technology and adopt more cutting-edge solutions, the biggest challenge is often where to begin.
The first step to making an informed purchasing decision is understanding what various vendors offer. Determining what is available, costs, and deliverables is key. To make an “apples to apples” comparison, gather the following information:
- Ask around. Get referrals and input from other chambers like yours. Ask what system they use, what they like, and what features are lacking.
- Research whether the vendor is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
- Check whether the vendor provides a money-back guarantee.
- Find out how long the company has been in the business of providing membership management solutions to chambers.
- Verify how many times the product has been updated in the last 12 months (monthly is ideal).
- Ask how many customers the vendor currently serves (free trial users shouldn’t be counted as customers).
- Ask about contract terms (a no-contract option is best).
- Narrow down your selection to 3-4 vendors to further research.
After you’ve completed the initial research, create a list of features you need vs. what you’d like to have. This helps to determine which system will best meet your requirements.
For a list of all of the steps, see the MMS Buyers Workbook with easy-to-use checklists for vendor selection, features/functionality, ease-of use, setup/integration, and much more.