If you have just purchased referral networking software for your organization, you're probably pretty excited. You likely auditioned several options and chose the one that best fits your networking group. However, no matter how excited you are about the new undertaking, your members may not share your enthusiasm at the initial announcement. You have spent time considering the options and this is new for your members. If you used a different platform in the past, your members may have some residual misgivings that you need to overcome. But adoption of the referral networking software is critical to your program’s success. Here's how you can get it done and help ensure that your members love the software as much as you do.
The key to any software adoption is to present it as easy, valuable, and relevant to your members.
Ease of Use
The user experience is critical to adoption. If there’s a steep learning curve and complicated protocols, even if the software solves problems, people will often grow tired of it before they decide it is a helpful tool. They need to be assured and shown that it is easy to use or at least easier than what they are currently working with.
You know why you selected the referral networking software but why is it valuable to your members? What are they able to accomplish with it? How can they build a referral network more efficiently? Present these things from their perspective.
Ensure that the software is relevant to the user's needs and interests. If they have been using an Excel spreadsheet for tracking or another form of software, demonstrate how this new one replaces it more efficiently. If this is the first time they’ve used referral networking software, show them how it is relevant to their career and networking goals.
When marketing your new referral networking software to your networking group you should focus on why it's important to them and what they will get out of it. Don't share that it's saving you money unless that also impacts their wallets. Most people are focused on their own concerns. So, as you go through the list below view it from your member’s standpoint.
3 Tips for Marketing Your Referral Networking Software to Your Members
Highlight the benefits of your networking software
The first step to effectively marketing your referral networking software is to communicate its value to your networking group. Highlight the benefits of the new software, such as measuring their networking efforts, growing their referral networks, and identifying the best referral sources. Employ examples of how software users achieved their goals and increased efficiencies with the data they can derive from the system. Always present this information from the member’s standpoint, not your administration’s. There will be time for that after they’re enjoying the software.
Create a tutorial video
Create a tutorial video (or ask your software vendor if it has one) that demonstrates how to use your networking software. Make the video informative, engaging, and easy to understand. Include step-by-step instructions for using the software's key features.
You may think the software is user-friendly but there will always be someone who needs to learn visually and may not enjoy just “digging in.” Also, create screen prints and a transcript from your video for people who learn best with written instruction. Detail who they should contact for support while they are learning. Even in situations where the software seems to be “plug and play,” there will always be someone who is comforted by the idea that they have a point person.
Adoption of the software is key to its success so ensure you make it as easy as possible to begin using it. You want your members to have a good first impression.
Encourage members to complete their profiles
Encourage your members to complete their profiles on your networking software. A complete profile makes it easier for members to find each other and connect. Highlight the benefits of completing their profiles, such as the ability to showcase their skills and experience, and to be found by others who are looking for specific things. Contact information, bios, and elevator pitches (if your referral networking software has that profile feature) are all important in helping people get a better view of who your members are and what they’re best at. While it’s true that most of your members’ networking will be done in person, having a completed profile will help referrers when they’re not at a meeting. It will assist them in keeping details and offerings straight and may help answer questions when the member isn’t available.
In conclusion, effectively marketing your networking software to your members requires a combination of strategies and education based around illustrating ease of use, value, and relevance. Do this by highlighting the benefits of the software, creating a tutorial video, and encouraging members to complete their profiles. By following these strategies, you can engage your members and make the most of your networking software.