HIMSS: Optimizing Client Relationships Across a Complex Association Organization

ashin October 22nd, 2013


Healthcare Information Management Systems and Society (HIMSS) is a dynamic, growing organization with sales associates and offices worldwide. Growth has occurred both organically and through acquisition:

  • Organically – staffing has increased to meet the demands of a high-growth industry
  • Acquisition – HIMSS has invested to enhance its educational and professional-development product offerings in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


During this growth period, silos of sales teams were created, making it difficult to coordinate sales efforts and optimize opportunities. Sales teams – who were not organized to cross-sell or package custom solutions – were taking a transactional approach instead of a strategic approach to identifying effective marketing solutions for larger clients/corporate members. In addition, significant gaps in spending across HIMSS products existed.


HIMSS Objectives

  • To strategically grow revenue and relationships across integrated product offerings
  • To Position HIMSS as a 360 degree solution center for all advertisers, exhibitors, sponsors and corporate members
  • To bring decentralized but related sales teams together through Key Account Management
  • To build trust, confidence and buy-in among sales teams, and to equip teams with product education, training and tools to better serve customers.



To enable a more customer-centric sales culture that would unlock incremental dollars, budgets and market share among existing customers, HIMSS chose Association Media Partners (AMP) to structure and pilot a Key Account Management program.


Using a multi-phase approach over 5 months, AMP conducted a gap analysis to identify HIMSS’ top-20 client list, categorizing them further into three client profiles – strategic, growth and at-risk. Working directly with three HIMSS clients in a top-down approach, AMP developed a replicable, proactive and coordinated sales approach that delivers a more effective, synergistic relationship with HIMSS corporate members.


The new approach is based on three primary components:

  • Partnership Collaboration
  • Integrated Marketing Solutions
  • New Initiative Development


Along the way, the focus of the program shifted from “key account management” to a program built around strategic partnerships.


AMP also worked with HIMSS to develop new messaging and marketing collateral that supports the program and reinforces HIMSS’ ability to deliver new and unique value through a seamless, concierge-style experience for top-level partners.



  • Recommended organizational structure of staffing and work flow needed to support new key account program
  • Pro-forma outline of potential revenue vs. expenses in first year
  • Development of an HIMSS “solutions map” – designed around client’s goals across all of HIMSS business units
  • Creation of HIMSS’ corporate capabilities brochure, presentation, and a website that encompasses all of HIMSS corporate member services and solutions.



“We partnered with AMP because their for-profit expertise allowed us to tap into a skill set not normally found in the association ecosystem:  an organized, structured approach to building an effective sales organization across all products – membership, print, digital, events, data, etc.  Their deep knowledge and understanding of integrated solutions and what today’s marketers need is exactly what we were looking for. Their work is resulting in better, more closely knit relationships with corporate members, and in larger contracts.” Steve Lieber, President and CEO of HIMSS WorldWide


“Another critical piece of this project was that we wanted to plug in outside expertise, but not blow up or disenfranchise our current sales teams.  AMP took the time to listen to, understand, and build relationships with our people.  And thanks to their consultative and collaborative approach, we have buy in, which has sped up communication and cooperation across our sales teams.” – Norris Orms, Executive Vice President and COO of HIMSS WorldWide.


The pilot program has met resounding success:

  • In the first six months of project execution, HIMSS experienced over $500,000 in increased revenue by focusing on developing integrated, custom marketing solutions for key partners.
  • Internal and external response has engineered momentum and confidence to move program beyond a pilot.
  • Sales leaders have bought into a universal CRM system accepted across all revenue units.
  • Communication and cooperation across sales teams has increased, which has resulted in more effective client service and client satisfaction
  • Based on the success of the HIMSS pilot project, HIMSS enlisted AMP’s services to move the organization from the “Key Account Pilot Program” to a “Strategic Partnership” approach that is having positive reach and impact across the entire association organization.