The information and documentation going in and out of your marketing agency is ever-flowing, and it is vital that you have a system in place to effectively organize it. You need to provide your employees with a simple-to-navigate, yet highly efficient way to store and access the information they require to take care of your clients in the best possible way.
If you are currently using an outdated document management system—which might include manually inputting information or saving documents to file shares—then it is highly likely that your team is not as productive as they could be, which means your customer service may also be lacking. The solution is technologically advanced document management software that can process and store all of your documentation and information while making it effortless to access.
However, not all document management software is created equal, and not all systems were made with the complexities of the marketing industry in mind. As such, it is crucial that you do your research and find the document management software that will seamlessly integrate with your current processes while streamlining your workflow. These are the specific features you should be looking for when selecting a document control system for your marketing agency.
Make Sure It’s a Match for Your Company
Before you can begin evaluating the document management systems available, you need to complete a thorough assessment of your company. Audit your current workflow and look for where you excel and where there are opportunities for improvement. Pay attention to what documentation your firm accesses daily and note where these documents are coming from (such as email, files, fax, hardcopy, etc.). You can also speak with your employees to see if they have any feedback that will help you in your search.
Once you understand what aspects of your document control need the most help, you will know what features to focus on in your search for effective document management software. If the software doesn’t focus on your particular needs, then it doesn’t matter how advanced it is, it won’t improve your processes as well as a software that features the solutions you are seeking.
Confirm Customer Service Is Available Around the Clock
Technology is unpredictable, and it often seems to act up at the most inopportune times. Which means the customer service for the document control system you select must be available during all hours of the day and night and even on holidays. You can’t afford to have your vital data and documents inaccessible for any length of time. Even if the technology itself is working and you simply have a question or need assistance completing a specific task, you need to know that you can get in touch with someone who will be able to help you no matter how complex the concern.
Certify the Security Is Ironclad
As with every other facet of your technology and personal data, security should always be a top concern. Your clients should be able to know that when they give you their personal information, it will be safe. And you should be able to rest easy knowing that no matter how sensitive the information you upload to your system, it will be protected from hackers and unauthorized users. Look for document management software that has multiple fail safes in place to protect your data from outside sources, but also pay attention to how that software protects your documents from inside sources. You need to know whenever a document is accessed and/or edited, and who had access to it. The right document management system for your marketing firm should provide thorough reporting on your documents.
Ensure Training Is Provided
Each document management system is unique, and even if you have used one before, that doesn’t mean you will know how to use the new one you implement. And if you are new to the document control scene, your learning curve will be even greater. When comparing document management software, ask about how much training is included, both upfront and ongoing.
Everyone within your marketing agency will want to take the time to learn the ins and outs of the system to make sure you are using it to its full capacity. Keep in mind that any new software will require an initial transition where things may be slow-going, so you want to make sure the document management system you select offers extra support upfront to minimize the productivity loss that is common at the onset of integration.
Some training options you want to look for include on-site training with the entire staff, online webinars, printed manuals, etc. And check to see if future new employees can also receive the training they require as part of the onboarding process.
Look for a User-friendly Interface
While training is vital, and the learning curve is inevitable, the transition period that will undoubtedly occur can go much smoother if you find document management software that is simple to operate and has an easy-to-use interface. Put in the time to complete an in-depth demonstration of the software you are considering to see how simple it is to locate what you need and maneuver through the features. The software should also include a streamlined dashboard that is simple to decipher once you learn its basics. If you skip this step and end up with software that is hard to navigate, your team will find reasons not to use it and you will miss out on many of its incredible benefits.
Choose Software that Is Customizable
As mentioned, the marketing industry has its own complexities, and you need to make sure that the document management software you select will accommodate your unique needs. Will it allow you to easily collaborate amongst the team by providing real-time edits no matter how many people are accessing the document? Will it let you easily share proposals and idea boards with your clients while restricting who is allowed to review these documents? Ask what the software has to offer your specific industry and ask for detailed examples to make sure all of your concerns will be met.
Test the Search Functionality
One of the main benefits of implementing a document management system is the ability to effortlessly search for any document or data you need and then to be able to locate it in seconds. As such, the search functionality of the software you select should be a top priority because it plays a paramount role in the system’s efficiency. Do research specifically on the search features, including how many search options there are and how specific you can be when looking for a piece of data.
Guarantee it Integrates with Your Current Practices
Just because you are looking for an effective document management system, that doesn’t mean you should have to give up all of the processes you already use. Prepare a list of the current programs you use company wide, including word processors, operating systems, email programs, etc., to make sure that the new system you are looking at will be able to seamlessly integrate with them. Don’t just make sure they are compatible, but check how complex the integration is to ensure your staff will have no issues navigating it.
Check Vendor Reviews and Case Studies
No matter how strong the sales pitch is from the document management vendor, you will want to perform your own research. While it may seem like busy work, you can find out a lot about how a software really functions by reading third-party reviews from actual users. You will also want to read in-depth case studies that demonstrate just how much the software impacted the company’s productivity and bottom line. Specifically seek out case studies for marketing agencies so you can directly relate the results to your own firm.
Verify the Cost Justifies the Benefits
When it comes to comparing the price tag of document management software, it is not cut and dry. There are many details to consider and facts to sort out before making a decision. For starters, make sure to note both the upfront costs and the recurring costs that are associated with the software, and compare what these costs include. In-house systems will usually cost more upfront with lower recurring costs, while a cloud system has minimal upfront costs with ongoing charges to use the software. Some vendors offer pricing models based on licenses, so it’s good to know how many users you will have in the system before you begin searching.
Your goal is to locate the software that offers everything you need and nothing you don’t at a reasonable price. Better yet, the software should let you configure the features you pay for so that you are only paying for what you need. You may even be able to start with a lower-priced solution with the option to expand as youdiscover how beneficial the software is to your agency.
If you are in the market for document management software that will improve your agency’s productivity, efficiency, and bottom line, all that is required is a little research. Take the time to assess your current workflow and then find the document control system that will help you capitalize on your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Pay attention to the customer service and usability and perform a thorough product demonstration to see how you can make the software work for you. If you do this, you will soon be reaping the many benefits document control software has to offer, and you will never look back.
Author Bio: Aleisha Jenkins, Marketing Director for DocXellent, has a combined 8 years of experience in the marketing and tech industries. She oversees DocXellent’s marketing activities and utilizes their document management software, ENSUR, for the version control, collaboration and security of their marketing materials.