January 9, 2024
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Best CRM for membership organizations

Managing multiple relationships in a membership organization is challenging without a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. A CRM helps track critical details that can add value to your business relationship and will guarantee a less clunky experience in comparison to pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets.

In this blog, we’ll look at what features a membership organization should look for in a new CRM. We’ll also unpack the top CRMs out there for membership organizations. 

Top 6 features membership organizations should look for in a CRM

Below are the some features that you should keep an eye out for. These will help streamline your workflow process, and create transparency across your team.

Automation: A good CRM should have automation features that help you streamline your workflow process, so you spend the least amount of time on it possible. Look out for features like contact enrichment, auto-grouping and pipeline creation. 

Contact sync:  A good CRM can help you automatically retrieve contacts from Gmail and Outlook, so that you do not have to spend time manually doing this. Look for a CRM that can help you import contacts from iPhone or Android, Outlook, Gmail, Google Contacts and Google and Outlook Calendar so that you can streamline this.

Email marketing: A good CRM should have email marketing capabilities so that you can access contact lists you’ve taken the time to organize and set up email campaigns seamlessly. It gets bonus points if it gives you access to analytics and email sequences.

Pipeline management: Some CRMs offer pipeline management support specifically for sales which can be rather limiting. Look for a CRM that can help you with pipeline management across multiple business functions so that you do not have to invest in separate platforms for each one. 

Gmail and Outlook integration: Some CRMs only support Gmail integration. Make sure that the CRM you’re considering supports third-party applications such as an Outlook integration, so that you can sync and keep your contacts in one place. 

User experience: Avoid a CRM that provides a clunky user experience. Look for one that is intuitive to use and does not require a steep learning curve.

folk

folk is an all-in-one CRM. Thanks to its Notion-like design, it is one of the easiest CRMs to use on the market. You can use it across multiple business functions including sales, recruitment, fundraising and more. 

folk

Key features

  • Supports solo or team collaboration, easily add new users as you expand your internal team or use folk as a solo user. Tag teammates so they know when you want them to follow up with someone and get easy access to last interactions and notes on specific contacts.
  • Gmail, Outlook and LinkedIn integration, which allows you to have all your contacts in one place. 
  • folkX Chrome extension, which allows you to import search lists from LinkedIn and individual profiles across the web directly into folk without leaving the page.

Pros

  • Contact and membership management: Efficiently manages member databases, including detailed contact information, membership history, and engagement tracking. Group contacts into different clusters to stay organized.
  • Contact sync: sync all your contacts effortlessly into one platform, so that you have transparency across all your members in one place. 
  • All-in-one platform: folk combines various functionalities like email marketing and pipeline management all in one place. 
  • Cross-function use: folk isn’t limited to sales teams. It has multiple use cases and can be used across sales, recruiting, fundraising, partnerships, investing and more. 
  • User experience: folk is intuitive to use from day one, so you do not have to block out several days' worth of training. 
  • Email marketing and AI support, ‘Magic Field’ allows you to add a personal touch in moments by telling the AI exactly what data to pull out from your database. Email template library helps you save time. 
  • Automation: folk helps streamline your workflow with automation features such as auto-deduplication to keep your contact lists up to date, 
  • Affordable price plans: Annual subscription plans start from $18 per user per month on a standard plan, and $29 per user per month. There is a monthly option available.
  • Event management: Integrate with event management tools through Zapier. 

Cons

  • Reporting is not available in folk yet, but will be coming soon.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a popular choice as a CRM for marketing and sales functions. They have a free CRM platform, but it comes with limited features. 

HubSpot CRM

Key features

  • Monitor sales activity, track and analyze your sales in real time. 
  • Dashboard and reporting software, allows for the creation of customized dashboards to monitor metrics across marketing, sales and service data.
  • Social media integration: manages social media interactions, which is crucial for engaging with the member community and promoting events.

Pros

  • Free CRM platform: Access to CRM is free, but access to the features you need to fully utilize it is very limited. 
  • Community support: Depending on what price plan you’re on, access to a community forum is available for you to ask queries, but timing of replies are inconsistent. 
  • Scalability: Easily scales with the growth of the organization.
  • Communication tools: The email and social media tools are particularly effective for maintaining regular and engaging communication with members.
  • Customization: Offers significant customization options to tailor the CRM to the specific needs of a membership organization.

Cons

  • Price plans: Subscriptions start from $1786 per user per month on an annual plan. A monthly price plan is available from $1987 per user per month.
  • Steep learning curve: HubSpot is known for its clunky experience, forcing users to block time to train. 
  • Complexity with advanced features: The range of features, while beneficial, can be overwhelming and requires a learning curve to fully utilize.
  • Integration challenges: Depending on the existing tech stack of the organization, integration with certain tools may be challenging. It also requires an additional cost. 

Zoho

Zoho is a popular CRM platform due to its flexibility, scalability, and extensive suite of tools.

Zoho

Key features

  • Contact management: Zoho CRM allows you to effectively track and manage leads and members, ensuring all client data is organized and accessible.
  • Sales automation: The platform automates many aspects of the sales process, from lead generation to conversion, which can streamline the membership acquisition process.

Pros

  • Integration: Easily integrate with other Zoho products and external applications such as Zapier can help centralize business operations and data management.
  • Automation: Helps with automating various routine tasks and workflows, such as email marketing and sales processes. 
  • Flexibility: Customize modules and workflows allows consulting agencies to adapt the platform to specific operational needs.

Cons

  • Limited advanced features in basic plans: More advanced features may require upgrading to higher-tier plans, which could increase costs.
  • Complexity with extensive customization: While customization is a strength, it can also lead to complexity, especially for agencies without dedicated IT support.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM known for its simplicity and effectiveness. 

Pipedrive

Key features

  • Sales pipeline management: Streamlined pipeline management tools, which can be repurposed for tracking membership sign-ups, renewals, and engagement.
  • Mobile access: The availability of a mobile app makes it convenient for managing contacts on the go.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface: Known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it accessible even for those with limited technical skills.
  • Customization: The platform offers a good level of customization to tailor its features to membership management needs.
  • Effective pipeline management: Its strong pipeline management capabilities can be effectively used for tracking membership lifecycles.

Cons

  • Sales-centric features: As a sales-focused CRM, some of its features may not perfectly align with typical membership management needs.
  • Cost for advanced features: Higher-tier plans, which include more advanced features, may be more expensive.

Monday.com 

Moday.com is a project management tool. It’s often taken into consideration by membership organizations to help lower costs, even though it does not have the traditional features you’d expect from a CRM. 

monday.com

Key features

  • Cutomizable workflows, highly customizable boards and workflows can be tailored to track membership sign-ups, renewals, and engagement activities.
  • Collaborative platform: Facilitates collaboration among team members, which is crucial for member management and event planning.

Pros

  • Effective task management: Its strong task and event management features are ideal for organizing membership-related activities.
  • Project overview: Creates transparency across teams about upcoming projects, and internal workflow systems. 

Cons

  • User experience: Monday.com is not a dedicated CRM, so expect a clunky experience. You won’t get access to features that can help you automate tasks such as organizing your contacts, auto-deduplication, contact enrichment and more. 

Monday.com’s sales CRM

This is Monday.com’s separate CRM counterpart. Not to be confused with its project management product above. 

Monday.com's sales CRM

Key features

  • AI support for automated task generation, to help turn meeting outcomes into actionable tasks, and for content generation, which creates content for every step of the sales cycle or summarize call transcripts into meeting notes.
  • Sales-centric features such as dashboards, sales forecasting and reporting.

Pros

  • Automate sales process: Automatically assign the right team member with the right lead.
  • Mobile app: Access pipelines on the go and automatically log calls, and add new activities. 
  • Integration capabilities: Supports integration with a variety of other tools, including email platforms and internal communication platforms.
  • Dashboards and sales forecasting: increase visibility across your sales team in areas such as deal progress, sales figures and performance. Get access to reports to track forecast vs. actual sales.

Cons

  • Sales-centric: If you’re after functions that other areas of your business want to use, this sales-focused CRM won’t be able to offer much outside the sales function it’s designed to serve. 

Conclusion

folk is a fantastic option for membership organizations. Its focus on intuitive user experience and comprehensive customization, can easily adapt with the nuanced needs of membership management. Unlike sales-centric CRMs, which often prioritize lead and deal tracking, folk's design is inherently more adaptable to the relational and community-focused aspects of membership organizations. Try folk today, free