Should a solid CRM be at the centre of your website project?

Many membership organisations are seeking to improve their website offering to deliver more relevant and engaging user experiences. Additionally, many membership organisations are conscious of the new GDPR regulations and are embarking on a review of their business systems.

At Pixl8 we’ve been creating membership websites since 2002 and have delivered a large number of projects integrating with traditional MRM systems and more modern CRM platforms like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.

Common desired functions include:

  1. Content access with granular permissions
  2. Groups or collaborative workspace areas
  3. Join or renew online
  4. CPD & E-learning
  5. Update my profile with self service area
  6. Searchable knowledge portals

When undertaking projects, we try not to get technical too early. First, we perform a thorough analysis and generate the audience personas and user journeys. Later, we move to the organisations data, the broader the profile and activity history the more personalised the experience that can be created.

To facilitate dataflow we have to create an integration using an API. Integration is often seen as a technical problem but really its foundations are in a structured process - a simple data contract document which describes the integration in plain English and can be validated and signed off by all involved.

In our experience vendors vary widely in their capabilities to provide APIs and even more on their approach to documentation and testing. Clients may congratulate themselves on selecting a well known modern platform like Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce (see Pixl8 launches dedicated Microsoft Dynamics team) which are famed for the strength of their APIs but do not understand the importance of implementing a partner for these platforms.

If you have ambitious plans for your digital platforms then validating the health of your CRM or membership database is a crucial first step. If it's reliable and has a comprehensive API this will accelerate the possibilities for your website project.

To learn more about integrating your website with your CRM or back office systems, or would like a discussion of our comparative experience and recommended partners please get in touch.

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