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Importance of Support Services After a Marketing Platform Implementation

Sending the first email on your association’s new email marketing platform can be exciting and probably a bit nerve-wracking. Over the past few months, you have worked with an implementation partner to configure the system and ensure it integrates properly with your CRM, helping you to send the right email, at the right time, based on your member’s most up-to-date information. After a few weeks of tweaking the email templates and creating new lists, you all of a sudden realize that your seemingly minor changes to the template mean it doesn’t display properly on Outlook and your new lists have a high unsubscribe rate.

For moments like these, it is important that you have someone you can rely on to help get the answers you need.

fusionSpan believes that the addition of support services, after a marketing tool implementation, is a critical component to the successful adoption of that tool. Not only is that support answering questions from staff, but also there is a maintenance component to ensure any product features are upgraded and new tools are vetted before use. There are valid concerns about the monthly cost of support, being reliant on an outside party while not building capacity internally, and dealing with knowledge transfer if you do end the support agreement in the future. These issues may arise if expectations are not clear at the onset.

When starting a support agreement with any partner it is important to understand what value the partner offers and to communicate your needs. Do you imagine a support arrangement with more concentrated hours in the first few months that later decreases to cover complicated or urgent questions as needed? Is the support partner expected to train your staff if the same question arises and a quick 30-minute training session means your staff can resolve the issue themselves in the future? Make sure to notify your support partner several months in advance when your staff starts feeling confident in the tool so that a strategy can be developed to reduce support hours in the future.

Benefits of Support

  • Time and cost savings because the partner providing support thoroughly understands the configuration and does not need to “get up to speed”.
  • When an issue does arise, a partner is able to dissect it and offer a solution quickly because they are the subject matter and tool experts.
  • Having an ongoing support agreement means that you do not have to wait for contracts to be discussed and ratified before the partner can go in and try to identify the issue. Not having your main line of communication to your members working optimally for several days can incur a significant cost.

Use Support Services to Assist Staff Who Already Have a Full-Time Job

Training internal staff quickly to become expert users is an achievable goal but may take longer than expected. Priorities and circumstances shift and training is put on the back burner. Typically, we see multiple tools being implemented together, so your team would need to learn several items at the same time. Your staff already have full-time jobs and it takes focus on the product to really maximize your investment. A support partner is aware of the tool’s ultimate capabilities and they also have a pulse on new system updates that can resolve issues and enhance your staff’s work. In addition, a partner has experience with the reporting and analytics capability of the tool, allowing it to be refined to better engage members in the future.

Staff may engineer a solution to a problem that works initially, but may not follow best practices or be future-proofed. Partners work in these tools every day and have significant experience by working with multiple clients. This experience can be invaluable in identifying the best, long-term solution for your association. Ultimately, having a support relationship with the same implementation partner will ensure the services you receive are personalized and allow you to fully leverage your newly implemented marketing tool.

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Susan Baumbach

Susan Baumbach

Susan has five years of experience working in associations and nonprofits, gaining critical experience in data analysis and how data is managed in Salesforce. As a certified Pardot Consultant and Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, she guides the implementation process from discovery through go-live and support. She is committed to creating the best marketing automation solution possible for users and stakeholders alike.

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