it to people who had abandoned their carts but later
joined in a separate transaction.
In the last two weeks, six names and email ad-dresses appeared on that list. I sent the email to
each, and three responded. The problems for each
of the three were easily resolved, and they completed their transactions and became members.
The process sounds like it has a lot of
manual steps. Could you automate it?
It might be possible, but there are two potential
pitfalls to watch for if you automate more than we
1. It’s possible that someone might have abandoned their cart the first time they visited our
website but then gone back, started a new transaction, and joined as a member. The first cart
that they abandoned will still be in our CRM. If
I sent emails to everyone who abandoned a cart
without first checking to be sure they had not
later joined as a member, I might be emailing
“Why didn’t you join” emails to people who were
already members, which would reflect badly on
the association. This is automation that would
be possible but costly, so we didn’t take this
2. It’s also possible that someone who abandoned
their cart might have emailed me with a question after abandoning their cart, so I check my
email history before sending the “Why didn’t
you join” email. Again, it would reflect badly
on the association if I emailed that question to
someone who had already reached out to me to
tell me exactly why they had not joined.
So much has been written about analyzing mas-
sive databases, data mining, and gathering all the
information that big data can provide, it’s easy to
become oblivious to the little data that needs to be
consumed one data point at a time.
By performing some small manual oversight on
our system, and then following the trail of bread
crumbs left by these wayward prospective members,
I was able to convert them into full-fledged members. Why are these people the lowest-hanging new
membership fruit? Because they have already decided to join! They just faced an obstacle during the
sign-up process, By taking the time to remove that
obstacle, we let them complete the sign up process
that they’d already chosen to start.
Charles Cohon, CAE, MBA , is president and CEO of the
Manufacturers’ Agents National Association. He can be
reached at 847.404.2550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The lowest-hanging new membership fruit are the
people who found your message and mission so compelling
that they visited your website, clicked on the “Join Now”
button, and began the process of joining, but didn’t key in
their credit card number to finish the process.”
Charles Cohon, CAE, MBA, is president and
CEO of the Manufacturers’ Agents National
Association (MANA). He earned an MBA
with honors and with concentrations in
strategic management and entrepreneurship
from the University of Chicago Booth School
of Business and was an invited speaker at
Harvard Business School on Outsourcing
Selling. A link to his Harvard presentation is
available at www.manaonline.org.