The following post was written by Paul Plaia III, MBA | CPA, Executive Vice President of Sales at MemberClicks.

MemberClicks recently had the opportunity to attend AENC’s 2016 Technology Conference, and better yet, participate in a panel discussion titled, “Questions Your IT Vendors Wish You Would Ask.” You see, as an association management software company, we work with small-staff organizations day in and day out. We help those groups find software solutions to better manage their organizations – whether that solution is MemberClicks or not.

Now as you may have guessed, the questions we receive from organizations looking for an AMS are typically pretty routine. They involve pricing, features, implementation timelines, etc. But while those questions are important, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. In fact, it’s just as important to establish a good partnership with your future AMS provider. Finding a software provider that truly understands your members, and more importantly, your mission is the key to AMS success.

That said, here are six questions your IT vendors wish you would ask:

1. Why do you do what you do?

When shopping for an AMS, it’s crucial that you understand the vendor’s mission. Remember, this company could be your potential technology partner, so it’s important that you understand their vision and culture.

2. What makes you different?

There are many AMS providers out there, so it’s important that you land on a few that target your type of association. Do their values align with yours? What does their typical customer profile look like? These are two areas you’ll definitely want to explore.

3. Do you understand us?

Rather than just asking the vendor questions, give them an opportunity to explain how they understand you. What specifically do they understand about you in comparison to other associations?

4. How can your system help us accomplish our mission? 

Remember, your members and your mission are what matter the most. That said, you need to find an AMS provider that can help you achieve that particular mission. Find out if the vendor offers software as a service, how many customers they have, and how they’ve successfully implemented others.

5. Do we want to do business with your company?

Prior to selecting an AMS provider, make sure there’s a good cultural alignment. Be sure to ask for ample reviews and references.

6. How do we get started?

If you find an AMS provider that seems to fit the bill, start asking about next steps. What does the activation process/timeline look like? Is the pricing transparent? Is the software self-service or with a service? Leave no stone here unturned.

Want more tips for contacting IT vendors/selecting the right AMS? Check out our free Buyer’s Guide below!