Marketing 101 - The Database

If you build it, they will come. . . I've heard that works in certain economies, but I never had the pleasure of experiencing one of those economies. We had to work at it to keep the inventory moving. In the Marketing series of articles, I'll deal with ways to help create business and prosperity.

My first tool as a marketeer, is a good database. I need a good computer program, to manage my prospects and customers so I can keep track of everything. There are a number on the market, but the most popular seems to be ACT by Sage. Another program I have used with success is called Maximizer. My original database, long since gone, was DOS based PfS Professional File which was a simple blank database and they had a spreadsheet program as well to help with reports. Whatever tool you choose, it will be effective for you and you will find out how it will be even more effective and valuable over time.

Commercial upfitted trucks is a relatively narrow market compared to regular cars and trucks. I want to know who all my prospects are. I already know what they do. They build things. Carry things from one place to another. They fix things. They tear things down. They are in the construction trades, the service trades, delivery. There are a lot of prospects in every town and city and they are easy to find. But, I want to know who they are, what their business is, how they use their trucks, how many, how often, how many people they know who do similar things. That's just the start of it. So, you can see there is a lot to keep track of, especially since I am building this department for long term success.

I want to keep track of people, companies, each time they were contacted, when they will be contacted next and how and on and on. I will buy names and information to import and save time. I will make sure and update each record adding more information as I learn it. My team will do this on paper and I will have one person entering the data into the computer program. I need the program to help me get it all done and keep it all straight.

Start by thinking of all the information you will want to keep track of from prospect to owner to repeat customer and so on. Getting this part done at the beginning will save so much grief down the road, so take the time and think it through. Once that task is done, enter the fields in your program so that you can then begin entering data.

Now, you're ready to input prospects and build on a solid foundation.

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