Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cloud + Statistics + Membership Software = The Future Part Two

A couple weeks ago I was privileged to sit down with Brian Pickett of NorthPeak Solutions to discuss how he is working with Membership Management Services and their MM2000+ SalesForce® Program built off SalesForce®. He went into detail about where it is and where it is going. Today I sit down with Jim Gelles, President of Membership Management Services, to hear his thoughts on the subject of not just CRM's but SalesForce® in specific. Where is he now with the product? Where he is going with it? And how best it can help Synagogues.

Mike: Jim, thanks for taking the time to sit down and discuss this with me. With all the CRM's that are out there, why Salesforce®?
Jim: For the past couple of years we've been researching a number of CRM's (Customer Relationship Management). From CiviCRM to Sugar CRM, we looked at all of them. We at Membership Management Services came to the conclusion that the best way to go was with SalesForce®. There were a number of reasons that we went with SalesForce®, but the two big ones are as follows: SalesForce® is the most widely used CRM in the world. When large companies put their faith in SalesForce®, that says to me that SalesForce® itself will be around for a long time. Second, SalesForce® allows us to develop the modules which will turn it into a real Synagogue Software Package.

Mike: So SalesForce® won't work right out of the box?
Jim: Unfortunately not. There is a lot of fine tuning that must go on in order to make it work for Synagogues. The reason: SalesForce® is a CRM program. There is more to a Synagogue package than just contacts. We need to customize SalesForce® to suit the needs of congregations. Luckily that's exactly how SalesForce® has been built; it's very customizable.

Mike: What makes YOUR version of SalesForce® stand out above the rest?
Jim: Membership Management Services has been in business for over 27 years selling only to Synagogues. In that time we've learned what a Synagogue needs and what it takes to run one. We developed a package first for DOS, and then for Windows, giving us the opportunity to develop a program that is usable out of the box without having to go through the time-consuming necessity of working through the exploratory phase of creating specifications for each module. In other words, I've already been through this process.

Mike: So where are you currently with your SalesForce® Development?
Jim: As some of you read from our last post, we are working with Brian Pickett of NorthPeak Solutions, a SalesForce® Expert (specializing in non-profits). He is helping not only our clients, but me as well learn the Membership portion of SalesForce®. I've also already started building a Yahrzeit Module. It will be a completely standalone module, meaning that it won't just keep track of the death date, but send notices via email, print out a Rabbi's list, and export a Yiskor list for your Memorial Book & Letters. It will be in the SalesForce® App Store, and be an option (if you so choose) to download and use. Eventually all of our modules will be available to pick and choose a la carte from the SalesForce® App Store, including Accounts Receivable which is what I'm going to work on after the Yahrzeit Module. Once we get A/R running well, we will move onto the School Module.

Mike: You mentioned A/R, but what about Accounts Payable and General Ledger? Do you plan on creating modules for either one?
Jim: We don't have any plans to write an Accounts Payable, General Ledger, or Payroll Package. Synagogues select these based on their size. We work with Synagogues that range from 200 member families all the way up to over 3000 member families. A 200 member family Synagogue isn't going to use MIPS or MAS90, they are better suited for QuickBooks; just like a 3000 Member Family congregation isn't going to use QuickBooks. What we will do, however, is create journal entries so that they can be imported into different General Ledgers automatically, as we do now with MM2000.

Mike: Will a Synagogue ever be able to run SalesForce® as a standalone product, or will they always need MM2000?
Jim: The goal is to be able to run SalesForce® without MM2000, giving people an option to either run straight on the cloud or a server based system. However, it will take a lot of effort to complete all the modules that MM2000 currently has. For example, very few of our clients use our Cemetery Module or High Holiday Assigned Seating, and thus those are not a high priority for us at the moment; but my hope is that eventually we will get there.

Mike: Who would be a good candidate for SalesForce®?
Jim: SalesForce® is built to be able to track all contacts with each member on an individual basis. This includes connecting any emails sent to the member, as well as sending target mailings to specific members. If you're looking for a way to keep track of demographics that were never tracked before, or if you want to just communicate better with your members, SalesForce® is exactly what you and your Synagogue needs. MM2000 runs a Synagogue, but SalesForce® tracks everything about your members.

Mike: When will Membership Management's version of SalesForce® be available to other Synagogues?
Jim: Membership Management Services' version of SalesForce®, 'MM2000+', is currently available to our family of Synagogues. We now have seven Congregations online and transferring data between MM2000 and SalesForce®. Every few months we accept another 3-4 candidates into our MM2000+ program. If you are interested in becoming a MM2000+ user, we will be having another Webinar on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time. To register, please follow the link below:

Mike: Jim, this was incredibly informative! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me. Everyone is really excited about the future of MM2000+ and where Membership Management Services is going the future!

We know there are tons more questions; How does it work? What is the process like? Is SalesForce® as complicated as it sounds? Both Brian and Jim want to give you these answers. Brian will be holding a webinar on SalesForce® Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM (PST) 2:00 PM (EST). Please click here to sign up. Space is limited and filling up fast! Have all your questions answered and realize how powerful MM2000+ truly is.

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