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Expansion (and Renewal) – The 8 Elements of Member Success Management

Memberships Matter – Make the most of Your Membership Program.

Expansion (and Renewal)

It’s typically said that Renewal and Expansion (upselling or cross-selling of resources and tools outside the ones included with membership, etc.) happen because a member is successful.

Renewal and Expansion are simply part of a member’s success; in order for the member to achieve their ever-evolving Desired Outcome, they’ll likely need to stay past a renewal and they’ll also likely need to consume more of your core product, adjacent products, etc.

This is part of Member Success Management.

Traditional Account Management fails because it treats members like Accounts… numbers. It’s focused on Renewal and Expansion from the organization’s perspective only. Traditional Account Management doesn’t care if the member is “successful”, only that they will take the latest resource you’re trying push to the member -whether they are ready for it or not.

Traditional Account Management doesn’t work anymore, but Member Success-driven Growth absolutely does; which is why this function should sit within, roll-up to, or otherwise be governed and monitored by Member Success Management.

Trust should be there with every member – across the board.

If you’re doing things that could hurt the member’s trust that we have their best interests at heart, it doesn’t quite matter whether it’s the Member Success Coordinator that’s hurting trust with the member or the CEO that’s hurting trust with the member; your organization is hurting trust with the member and that’s a bad thing.

What you want to make sure of is that you’re doing things that are member-positive.

When we first started talking about this concept, we would say that Renewal and Expansion came from the success of the member.

That’s not wrong because the reality is a member that is not successful is not going to stay with you. They’re not going to renew, at least not for too many years, if one. They might do that while they’re looking for another solution, but that’s even highly doubtful.

It’s not wrong to say that expansion and renewal come from a successful member, but when we first spoke of that with clients originally, what we started hearing, unfortunately, is that some organizations  would say, “Well, okay, if that’s the case, then all we have to do is find a successful member and we can promote and sell product and services to them when they don’t need it.” No, that’s not it at all.

Think of it this way:

In order for your members to be successful, to achieve their ever-evolving Desired Outcome, they have to renew, they have to consume more of your services, buy more of your add-ons, etc.

They have to – at some level, at some point – expand their relationship with you. Your members are always evolving and growing. That’s what you want. You shouldn’t ever want a member to be the exact same today as they are in a year; that doesn’t make any sense.

Your members should be growing and evolving. Your relationship with the member should be growing and evolving as well.

That, by the way, is the definition of Member Success-driven Growth.

In order for your members to be successful, they may have to consume more of your product. They may have to take other services. That’s just part of their growth. That may or may not happen in that arbitrary time box that you call an annual membership, but it should happen over the lifetime of the member.

That means in order to achieve their Desired Outcome, your members will have to go past a renewal. They will have to go through some expansion. That’s just the way it is. And that’s awesome.

If you are here to make your member successful, you have to be comfortable with having the conversation about expansion, having the conversation about upselling.

With upselling, it’s actually relatively easy to make that something that just happens. It’s all about orchestration. It’s all about managing expectations.

Ultimately, these things – whether you separate them out into various functions within the organization – it’s all within that relationship that you have with the member.

It’s all about making them successful.


“Memberships are the most important asset in our industry today.  Are you making the most of your membership program? Is it growing your organization? Are you putting enough resources into growing your member base? Do you have a targeted plan for Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining your members? We can help.” – Andrew McElhannon, CEO – Association Project Management, LLC®.

APM® helps member-based organizations & professional Trade Associations achieve Member Success, stabilize their member retention and guarantee membership growth through Prospect Development and Member Recruitment, as well as Member Engagement and Concierge Onboarding.

Organizations implement APM’s® programs to sustain their current revenue, reduce losses due to Churn (member non-renewal) and generate new revenue by creating Raving Fans® who evangelize new members that over time becomes automatic, organic growth. “Members begetting Members”.

Association Project Management, LLC® also provides a list of other project management and project completion services through a virtual staff member – a committed, trusted expert who helps to reduce costs, lower risks, improve efficiencies, meet deadlines, solve challenging problems, support strategic initiatives and produce better outcomes for your association staff. Visit them today at

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