It’s Monday morning, and your company is already dealing with a crisis. Sales needs marketing materials again, but where are they—on Sharepoint, in an email, or somewhere else?
As your company grows, especially if you have multiple locations, it gets harder to find all your digital resources. Rest assured, your company can better organize its materials. You just need a plan.
Take some time to think about what kinds of material you have and what kind you will use. Decide where you’re going to store these files. Your end goal is to ensure that every leader in both Sales and Marketing has access to all the materials they might need.
If your business has been growing for years without any real organization for digital data, your next step—a baby step—is to assess what you have. Digital files tend to collect in a few key places. Take the time to sort through those places and create an inventory of current material while purging outdated files. When you consider how much you can probably get rid of in the first round, the task might not be as overwhelming as you expect.
Sort and organize
Now that you know what you’ve got, decide on categories for your digital material. You might sort information by key accounts (all the Acme materials together), or by type of information (all the case studies together). Ask your managers for input. If they need the Acme logo, where are they most likely to look first? An intuitive organizational system relies on the first impulse of users. If you have managers with vastly different problem-solving styles, you can keep a copy of the same file in more than one category.
Teach the system
Your business is going to continue to generate new digital files, so it’s vital that all managers commit to using the categories you choose to file new information. They also need to return files they move—or you can give them permission only to access and copy, but never move files. These decisions will depend on the type of materials involved, but remember: a system only works when everyone uses it.
Organizing digital data can be a massive project, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can:
- Purchase software that will help you sort and categorize information
- Hire a company that will choose software best suited to you
- Invest in having a professional create a system just for your business. A good organizational system—especially one that can be modified as your needs change—will last for many years and might be a worthwhile, one-time investment.
- Hire a company to handle all the data for you on an ongoing basis. You’ll recoup this expense in the time your managers save searching for and replacing files.
Don’t rely on a haphazard system that has evolved over time if it’s not efficient. Organizing your data will save your company aggravation and time going forward.
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