Eastern Business Systems "Marketeer": User Manual [PDF]

Chapter 15: Finding Prospects

You have now had 'hands-on' experience of all MARKETEER'S current facilities. However, this experience has been entirely with our test-database of sample prospects. In this last chapter, we give you some guidelines on how to set up your own prospects on MARKETEER and set about using MARKETEER to help you market and sell your products.

PREPARING YOUR OWN DATABASE

Please think of a suitable name for your own market database. The name must be not more than 8 characters long. We shall refer to it as YOURNAME. Please return to DOS and get the DOS prompt for Drive C. Now create a new MARKETEER system of this name on your fixed disk by entering and executing the following DOS commands:

MD YOURNAME(create new directory)
CD YOURNAME(go into new directory)
COPY\MKTR(copy in MARKETEER)
CD ..\EXE(go to the EXE subdirectory)
START(start up MARKETEER)

You can now type-in your password and gain access to MARKETEER's main menu. You are now running the MARKETEER in the YOURNAME directory which is totally independent of the MARKETEER you have been running so far.

From the main menu, please select Option 8 - Define Market. Then, when the Market Definition Menu appears, please select Option 9 - 'Clear the Database'. Full instructions now appear on the screen. Notice you have to type-in the entire instruction 'CLEAR THE DATABASE' (in capitals) rather than simply typing an option number or short command word. Furthermore, you have to type it perfectly in one go. No correction facilities are provided. There is good reason for this. It is to ensure that nobody can activate this facility impulsively. Imagine the consequences if you were to clear the database in the wrong Disk Directory.

Please type-in the command 'CLEAR THE DATA BASE'. The operation of clearing the database only takes an instant. This is because the actual data itself is not cleared: the 'number of occupied records' is simply set to zero, thus telling MARKETEER in effect that all records are now spare and therefore can be assigned to new prospects. As new prospects are entered, therefore, their details are simply recorded 'over' the old data.

But why not simply transfer MARKETEER'S programs into the new directory without the existing data files and let it to build up its own data files as you enter your prospect details?

The answer is that MARKETEER requires primed data files in order to work. It will not create a database from scratch without the 'empty' database files present. Furthermore, setting up a new directory in the way described ensures that as your database fills up, the data becomes arranged contiguously on the disk thus allowing MARKETEER to operate in its most efficient - and therefore fastest possible - way.

Building up your database dynamically from scratch in a brand new blank directory would tend to make MARKETEER more sluggish in its general sorting processes and in getting data to and from the disk.

SOURCES OF DATA

Having now prepared a clear database in which to build your new prospect data, where do you go to obtain some actual names and addresses of real prospects? Naturally, if you are already running an established sales-based organization, you will have plenty of these already available on your old 'manual' files. However, if you are just starting up, or wish to expand your existing list, here are a few sources to consider:

  1. Yellow Pages

    The British Telecom Yellow Pages is always a good place to start compiling a new list of prospects. Because it is a ready-classified list, you know what type of business each subscriber is in. You can therefore select only those types of businesses which are likely to need the products you are selling.

    However, Yellow Pages only gives you the name, address, telephone number and type of business. It does not give you a name & title of contact or any of the other pieces of information you are likely to need. You will therefore have to supplement this by telephoning each company to try and find out the various other pieces of information for yourself. Yellow Pages research is the cheapest way of compiling a prospect base. It requires only your own time.

    A disadvantage of Yellow Pages is that the volume supplied to you as a subscriber covers only your local telephone area. You have to buy volumes covering other parts of the country or look at them in your local reference library (in which they are often out of date).

  2. Trade Directories

    Many industry and trade associations publish directories of their member companies. These have the advantage of allowing you to acquire directories of only those trades or industries in which you are interested, and above all, each one gives you NATIONAL coverage for the trade or industry concerned.

    An exhaustive list of trade directories is given in the 'Source of Sources' to be mentioned later. However, one such trade-classified directory which is reputed to include pretty well everybody is:

    DIAL INDUSTRY
    IPC Business Press Information Services Ltd
    Windsor Court
    East Grinstead
    West Sussex RH19 1XA
    tel: 0342-26972

  3. List Brokers

    There are companies who specialise in researching and compiling lists of people and companies for various purposes. These lists are for sale and it is likely that at least one such list will form an ideal starting point for you to build up your base of active prospects. They give you the basic details for each prospect.

    Of course, different list-broking companies specialise in different types of lists. However, practically all these companies are themselves listed and reviewed in booklets produced by:

    British Direct Mail Marketing Assoc'n
    1 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1NQ
    tel: 01-242-2254

    The Direct Mail Producers Association
    34 Grand Avenue, London N10 3BP
    Tel: 01-883-7229

  4. Telesales Companies

    Many companies are now springing up which specialise in selling by telephone. One of the services they offer is that of acquiring a workable list of interested prospects for you at a certain cost per 'decision maker contact' (DMC).

    The way they work is to search out and speak by telephone to the relevant purchasing decision maker within each prospect company. Then they furnish you with the list of contacted decision makers. The resulting list is usually better targeted than lists from other sources because the contacts have actually been spoken to on your behalf. But they are naturally more expensive.

  5. Advertising & Press Releases

    Another obvious option is to advertise and then build up your prospect list from those who respond. This ensures that those who get on the list have a positive interest to start with. This kind of response can also be obtained from editorial and reviews in appropriate trade journals. Such editorial is free of charge at the discretion of the Editor concerned. All you need do is send a Press Release to each appropriate journal.

  6. A Source Of Sources

    There are many more sources from which to start or expand your prospect database. A good overall 'Source of Sources' is a small booklet produced by the Post Office called 'DIRECT MAIL LIST BUILDING' by Allan Dale.

    This booklet - along with many other helpful booklets to do with direct mail marketing - is available from any Head Post Office or from:

    The Post Office
    Direct Mail Section
    Marketing Department
    Postal HQ
    St Martins le Grand
    London EC1A 1HQ
    Tel: 01-432-4861

INITIAL INPUT

When you have acquired your initial base of prospects to put on MARKETEER, you will have to 'key' (type) them all in via the computer's keyboard using Main Option 1. This will probably take you some time, but it has to be done. After you have entered all the name & address details, you will then have to scan through each prospect record again using Main Option 1 and type-in the appropriate key values.

This latter task will probably take even longer. This is because the assignment of the most appropriate value for each key for any given prospect involves a value judgement and a decision. In fact, you may not be able to assign a meaningful key value in every case to begin with. You will probably have to wait until you have had an opportunity to learn more about the prospect through subsequent contacts.

LISTS SUPPLIED ON DISK

Some list broking organizations now supply lists on floppy disks which are much easier to deal with since all the name & address details on them do not need re-typing.

To transfer names and addresses from such disks into MARKETEER's database, you use the Import Option in the Configuration Menu. However, the format of the information on the disks supplied must be in either 'comma delimited' format or CR or CR/LF delimited format, and the number and order of fields per name & address record must be known. A reasonable degree of 'computer literacy' is needed to be able to use the Import Option.

RECORDS LISTING

Once you have completed the input of your initial base of prospects, it is useful to have MARKETEER produce a Records Listing of the complete database. Use Option 2 of the Main Menu to create a Target Profile with no restrictions at all, EXTRact a 'Shortlist', and then use Option 2 of the Target List Menu to print the name & address list.

This list contains the REF number of each prospect. Therefore, if any of the prospects on the list came from your old records, you can now put their respective correspondence and other paperwork into the appropriate numbered drop files in the filing cabinet.

THE SHAPE OF YOUR MARKET

With a reasonable number of prospects now on file, this is probably a good time to look at how your overall market is taking shape, that is, what proportions of what types of prospects currently make up your market and how they are distributed. This you can do by having MARKETEER produce a printout of the Market Statistics using Main Menu Option 7 as described in Chapter 6.

TIME FOR ACTION!

With a good listing of your prospects in front of you, and a good idea as to the shape of your market, you are now in a position to make contact with your market through a targeted mailshot or a telesales campaign - or even by electronic mail or Telex if you know that the prospects are suitably equipped.

Targeting Your Campaign

From the information given in the Market Statistics report, please decide on the type of prospect you wish to aim at with your first exercise using MARKETEER. Then define his profile in terms of the values of the various keys as described in Chapter 13. Then set up that profile as your target using Main Menu Option 2.

Mail Pieces

Now prepare your mail pieces. Perhaps you would like to have a special brochure or piece of sales literature produced for this purpose. Then, if appropriate, print off a targeted set of name & address labels for the envelopes or reply-paid cards.

Sales Letters

Check over the wording of the sales letter you composed during your study of Chapter 7. As some time has passed since you wrote it, you will probably see a few improvements you could make to your original effort. When you are finally satisfied with the text, print off your targeted batch of sales letters ready for mailing.

Telephone Calls

You may decide to follow up your sales letters with telephone calls, or you could follow the 'telesales' formula of telephoning first to determine to whom you should send your mailshot. Use Main Menu Option 5 as described in Chapter 9 to feed you the details of each prospect within your target group in turn and dial them automatically from the telephone number held in the respective prospect record.

As you speak with each prospect, please take notes and try to finish up with an appointment date. After some practice, it is a good idea to design a special questionnaire for yourself (or whoever you assign to do your telephoning) so that there is eventually some consistency to the information you take down when on the telephone. Once you have made all your telephone calls, update MARKETEER'S key values as appropriate for the prospects concerned and put in the appointment date as a future 'date of Next Event'.

If you are slow at taking notes over the phone and it distracts you from your conversation, you could attach a voice recorder to your line and record the conversations for later scrutiny and note extraction. It is useful to have the recorder operated by a foot pedal to leave your hands free for the computer keyboard and for writing things down.

Prospect Files

Always file the questionnaires and notes taken during your telephone calls. Put them in the appropriate prospects' drop files in the filing cabinet. Do the same for returned reply-paid cards and general response mail. In this way, you will gradually build up a good working dossier on each prospect showing the history of your relationship with him.

GETTING ON THE ROAD

By setting up a suitable second target profile, you can now ask MARKETEER to print a Records Listing in postcode order for those prospects with whom you managed to make an appointment. With the aid of this list you can easily plan your road route on the appropriate postcode area maps. If your operation is nationwide, you can with the careful dating of appointments plan a very efficient staged sales trip spanning many days.

Every time you return from a sales trip, update the key values of each prospect you have visited to reflect the progress you have made with them during your trip. Also, please place any notes you have taken during your trip (including transcripts of memo tapes) into the respective prospects' drop files.

CUSTOMER CONVERSIONS

Eventually you will get orders. The prospects concerned will thus have been 'converted' into customers. You can then draw off a Records Listing of customers for your accounts people to put on the sales ledger or sales order processing system, or alternatively you can transmit the details of your new customers directly to your accounts department's computer via the Export Option in the Configuration Menu. NOTE: A reasonable degree of 'computer literacy' is needed to use this facility.

MORE PROSPECTS

As time progresses, you will find other prospects whose details you should enter onto MARKETEER as and when they become known.

But please bear in mind also that the time must come when you should think of deleting those prospects who, after much time and effort, are showing no progress. This way you ensure that MARKETEER'S database does not become choked with 'dead wood' and remains truly a base of currently ACTIVE prospects.

CHANGING KEY VALUES

After a time, you may decide that some of your key values should be re-named. This you can do at any time using Main Menu Option 8. But please be careful. A new name will be applied to the same respective key value position for all prospects both new and old. Thus if you re-name the value 'CUSTOMER' of the Relation Key to 'CLIENT', then all previously entered prospects who were designated 'CUSTOMERS' will now be called 'CLIENTS': not just the ones you had in mind when you decided to change the name.

IT'S OVER TO YOU

Throughout this book, as each facility has been described, we have made many suggestions on how to use each one effectively. We hope that coupled with your own detailed knowledge and experience of your particular field, these suggestions may help you to apply MARKETEER in the way most beneficial to your endeavours. Good luck and good marketing!