AMS and CRM: Know the Difference

Nicholas Ayers

Nicholas Ayers

Better Agency Co-founder

AMS and CRM are terms that many people use almost interchangeably, but they offer very different services that can benefit your company in different ways. One works better at helping you acquire and onboard new members, while the other works to keep your customers engaged with and retaining your agency. You need to be aware of which is which so that your business goals are being met.

Difference between AMS and CRM

There are many differences between AMS and CRM systems, but because they function in similar ways, they are often confused with each other. It’s important to know the differences each has so you can make the best decision when choosing a software system for your company. 

Let’s take a closer look at each.

AMS

An AMS, or Association Management System, is a specific kind of software that is designed to fill several basic functions that businesses need automated. At its core, this software provides accounting and bookkeeping assistance. It also saves businesses from needing to invest in multiple other kinds of software programs like Excel and Eventbrite because AMS combines the functions of these into a single unit.

Features

AMS software comes with several features that your business can take advantage of, including new member registration, email marketing, online event registration, streamlined payments and donations, website builders, and access to a lot of other information at the drop of a hat. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these to see how they can benefit you: 

  • New member registration: Processing new members is a delicate process as these customers are not yet committed to your company. Their onboarding processes are, therefore, extremely important. You need to make sure that this process is quick and easy for your customers, and AMSs can help you do that.
  • Email marketing: Marketing is a necessary part of any business strategy, but it can be extremely hard to navigate if you don’t have the right tools. AMS systems come equipped with email marketing services that help make this process easy and painless.
  • Online event registration: Instead of relying on systems like Eventbrite or other event planning services, you can use an AMS to organize online event registrations for your business. This can save you both time and money since you won’t need to hunt for and learn a new system’s processes when creating an event.
  • Streamlined payments and donations: Payments and donations are a big part of any business, and you need to have the right systems in place to accept those funds when they come due. Fortunately, AMS software is highly capable of performing those functions on a large scale to keep things running smoothly.
    Website builders: Your website is, in many ways, the face of your company. You need to be able to put your best foot forward with your online presence, and AMS systems help you do that by giving you access to some of the best website builders in the game.

Benefits of AMS

There are many benefits to using a system like AMS. First, it can save you a lot of money in the long run by compiling the functions of multiple different systems into a single unit. This also benefits you by more efficiently streamlining your work as the system keeps all of your information in the same place. 

No longer will you need to bounce back and forth between four or five screens to find your client information, membership and subscription statuses, payments, marketing plans, and whatever else because everything is handily located in one central system.

Drawbacks of AMS

While AMS has many benefits, that doesn’t mean that its drawbacks do not exist. Oftentimes with AMS systems, because they are designed to be so self-sufficient, businesses find that customer service offerings from AMS companies are very lackluster. This makes running diagnostics and resolving systems errors more complicated when problems do arise. And if the problem is big enough, you may lose AMS functions which can halt your business dealings since all of your information is stored in the same place.

CRM

CRMs, or Customer Relationship Management systems, provide companies and agencies like yours with a central location for all customer data. It lets you track various interactions, purchases, complaints, and other data for future reference.

Features

CRMs come with various features, including contact management, lead management, reports and dashboards, and other data and function types.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these features:

  • Contact management: This is, perhaps, the most important part of a CRM’s systems. It allows businesses to group and organize their contacts and strategize marketing plans based on specific customer data, so the right customers are contacted for the right programs ensuring the most success.
  • Lead management: Managing leads is another strong CRM feature. You have to have leads to run a successful business, and CRMs can help you determine which leads are the best prospects for you based on key elements like demographics, income, and other associated factors.
  • Reports and dashboards: These top CRM features provide agencies with real-time updates on all related CRM functions so that you always know exactly what’s going on within your company. They can help you make educated, data-driven decisions and help grow your company exponentially.

Benefits of CRM

CRM systems are endlessly beneficial, especially when understanding and fulfilling your customers’ needs. CRM lets you have better knowledge of who your customers are and what services of yours they will actually be interested in so that you market to the right people at the right time. Additionally, it helps you increase customer retention and communication with leads across the board as it works to increase data collection and response.

Drawbacks of CRM

While CRMs offer pretty much everything you need when it comes to the care, maintenance, and marketing to your customers, these services don’t usually come in one package. Instead, you’ll need to pay regular subscription fees and purchase upgrades as they become available to remain top-of-the-line. Additionally, there can be a bit of a learning curve when you take on a CRM system that can hold up business until you understand the system.

Choosing the best platform for your insurance business

When choosing the system that will best suit your company, you need to consider several factors. First, you’ll need to determine your budget and look into the costs for each system. Yes, it may be tempting to pick something with all the bells and whistles, but if your company will function better with simpler, less expensive software, consider choosing that one instead.

Additionally, you need to determine the system’s main purpose and how many employees will need access. Sometimes, there are strict limitations on how many people can access it. If your team’s goals can’t be met with one system, you may need to consider the other.

If you can afford it, it may be beneficial for you to invest in both AMS and CRM systems for your company. Each offers many benefits and can make up where the other leaves off, but as this is, by far, the more expensive option, take time to consider what it is you need, both now and for future growth.

Choosing the right system for you

Whether you choose and AMS, CRM, or both, keep in mind your ultimate business goals and make sure your choice is the best one to help you fulfill them while not breaking your budget. It’s vitally important to both acquire new customers and retain the ones you already have, so look at where you’re struggling most and consider a systematic boost in that arena.

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