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CILT Online Membership Community

Online Community & CRM Integration: A Painless Project

Online Community & CRM Integration

Bringing CILT Forums to life through online community; integrated with Silverbear CRM

Introduction

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) in the UK is the membership organisation for professionals leading supply chain operations. With over 12,000 members, it is the leading UK Chartered Institute for professionals involved with the movement of goods and people. Helen Hardy, Director of Membership & Engagement, manages membership and engagement for CILT.

Since launch the CILT member community has generated 8 unique topics, 20 posts per weekday average and 11,800 unique page views per month.

CILT needed a community strategy at least as much as the technology itself. Read further to see how Cantarus delivered a successful online community for their members.

The Challenge

Working with a small budget for 2020 digital investment, Helen and other CILT leaders considered many competing options. While the website was approaching 10 years old and would benefit from a full review, the needs of members to have meaningful online collaborative spaces was pressing.

Like many professional membership bodies, CILT maintains dozens of member special interest groups (CILT Forums) across various sectors including Logistics & Supply chain, Bus & Coach, Rail and Operations Management. Lacking an online framework for facilitating interaction, the CILT Forums were tied to in-person meetings and email lists.

Our Solution

Seeking to meet the needs of members directly, bringing CILT Forums to life through online community was determined to be the highest priority. The solution would need to be fully integrated with CILT’s powerful Silverbear CRM and DNN website. While many vendors and platforms were considered, Cantarus offered the right combination of experience, timeframe, location, and price.

“We know online community,” Cantarus CEO Lee Adams said, “and our partnership with Silverbear goes back years with many integrations performed. We can stand up Silverbear online community integrations in days not weeks. When the data and SSO pieces are in place, we’ll also make sure website/community journeys with .NET and other CMS systems are brought together in a unified experience.”

United within a small project team, Cantarus consultants collaborated with CILT staff to confirm a path forward. The community website, utilising Discourse Forums open source community platform, was quickly live, infused with CILT branding and facilitating hands-on guided training for CILT staff. Set to private during the initial build, the community was used to manage the community project itself, including timelines, meeting minutes, training videos, and integration testing reports. A launch target coordinated with a CILT leadership meeting was set and achieved. Initial engagement was solid, ticking up steadily thereafter as community notifications and email proved the value of the new resource.

Results

“The board reaction is strongly positive,” Helen said. “Community is now being applied for other functions, including committee work and as a primary publication channel. Everything we can push through the community, we are. The value of the documents we circulate through community grows with each comment and reaction. We inform our members faster, better, and more inclusively. We can also send fewer marketing emails which our members appreciate. Plus, the community website is fantastic. It really helps us envision the possible for the larger website project we may undertake next year.”

  • Silverbear CRM integration & Single-Sign-On
  • 8 unique topics & 20 posts per weekday average
  • 11.8k unique page views per month.

A two word summary of the community project? “Huge relief,” Helen confirmed. “A painless project with great result.”

Get in touch

Buying technology is not stress-free,” Helen said. “We have many priorities and limited resource; we can’t afford a misstep. When we knew communities were the way forward, we trusted the leading vendor in the UK who knows our technology but also knows online community inside and out. We needed a community strategy at least as much as the technology itself. Cantarus gave us both – and the confidence to bring our Forums to life online.

Helen Hardy, Director of Membership & Engagement, CILT