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Marketing Issues for Records Management

March 1, 1999

5 Min Read
Marketing Issues for Records Management

Marketing Issues for Records Management

By Cary McGovern

In last month's column we discussed the three methods for selling records management:the survey, the fast-start event and telemarketing. All of these methods can work well foryou in the development of a sales strategy. In this month's column we address severaladditional factors related to selling records-management services in a self-storageenvironment, including sales strategies, marketing tools and resources. Remember thatanything done well requires a plan, and the first ingredient of a plan is a goal.

Setting a Sales Strategy

Your sales strategy should be based upon your commitment and resources. Always rememberthat marketing is an expensive undertaking. It requires people, materials and, mostimportantly, time. Your budget should always be considered first before you develop yourstrategy. You may be willing to spend a certain amount for marketing on a monthly basisrather than investing a large amount up front, so the timeline of the marketing will alsoguide your strategy.

A strategic plan generally covers a wide variety of issues: the budget, the timeline,the methodology, tactical implementations and measuring the results of your effort. All ofthese should be considered in your marketing strategy. Since your budget is generally theprimary constraint in any marketing plan, it will guide everything else. Once you have setyour budget and your implementation timeline, you can move forward toward developing theplan.

Targeting Your Market

You should know how to target the market before beginning the plan. What kind ofrecords-management business do you want to have? Will yours be an aggressive marketingplan? Will you focus on a certain vertical market share such as hospitals or lawyers? Doyou want to begin with just a few small units and grow from there over a long period?First, know who you are and what you want your business to be.

Setting Some Goals

Goal-setting has both quantitative and qualitative attributes. How many, how much andhow often are the prime considerations for the quantitative attribute, while internalcontrol, quality of service and profit margins are some of the qualitative attributes.Let's discuss each of these.

Quantitative issues concern your ability to manage the sales cycle (discussed in lastmonth's column) from the initial customer contact to the close. It is fair to say that itis difficult to manage a large number of prospects in varying stages of the sales cyclewithout the right tools. Since the logistics of records management require scheduling andmanagement, you should always schedule your sales effort based on your ability to followup and follow through. If you fail to manage this, you may lose customers before you getthem.

The qualitative issues require you to maintain control over your sales cycle, provideexpected levels of service to your clients and know what your margins are on each newclient. Needless to say, managing a sales campaign is essential to the success of yourprogram.

Selecting the Tools

As mentioned above, selecting the right marketing tools is as important to you ashammers and saws are to constructing a new home. You should always have the right toolsfor the task at hand. Some very important tools to consider include the following:

Contact-management software--The best way to manage any prospect list is to usea scheduling system to manage the activity of the sales cycle. One of the best productsthat I have found on the market is GoldMine 4.0 from The Aberdeen Group.

Materials and brochures--To launch any sales campaign, you will need severaltypes of marketing materials. A brochure usually describes the value and benefits of yourservice and gives the prospect a list of phone numbers to call about signing up for theservice. Contact letters and fliers are also useful. Your marketing materials shouldalways carry your message succinctly and professionally.

Color and image are always important. A Web site with e-commerce Internet sales toolsand access has become an inexpensive method for developing prospects and leads.Information Architects (www.enterpriseonline.com),a Web-development company, offers low-cost, standardized, Web-site design with e-commercecapability for the records-management industry.

Telemarketing scripting and methods--Telemarketing is a commodity in today'sbusiness environment. Telemarketing sales representatives can range from annoying toprofessional. It is imperative that you choose a technique and script that fits thepersonality of your operation. I recommend the telemarketing resources that are availablefrom your local bookstore, Amazon Books at www.amazon.com or other Internet bookproviders. Search on the keyword "telemarketing."

Developing Prospect Lists

There are more options today to help you in the development of prospect lists than everbefore. The traditional methods still exist, such as commercial directories, telephonebooks, local business guides and so on.

The Internet has given us the most powerful method for searching databases ofinformation very simply. You can begin your search with business-finder Web sites such asBig Yellow (www.bigyellow.com) or Info Space (www.infospace.com). Once on one of these pages, youcan search by company type within a city or zip code. This information can easily beimported into programs like GoldMine or simply "cut" and "pasted" ontoyour computer database.

Developing your list of prospects is the most important step you will take. Rememberthat your prospects become your customers based on how you manage your marketing strategy.Always remember that nothing happens until the sale is made. You may have the finestlocation, the best staff and the most appropriate facility, but until someone buys yourservice, it has no value.

Happy prospecting.

Regularcolumnist Cary F. McGovern is a certified records manager and owner of File Managers Inc.,a records-management consulting firm that also provides outsourcing services, file-roommanagement and litigation support services for the legal industry. For more informationabout records management, contact Mr. McGovern at File Managers Inc., P.O. Box 1178, AbitaSprings, LA 70420; phone (504) 871-0092; fax (504) 893-1751; e-mail: [email protected] or Web: www.fileman.com.

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