Go on, take a look round the office. Anyone got yellow post-its on their computer screen? Thought so. Which prompts the question, why? Information held on post-its, bits of paper, random Word or Excel documents, and in people’s heads is not being shared for the benefit of the company. Worse still, stuff gets lost. One long time Act! user recently said to me that one of the best things about Act! was that nothing falls through the cracks. Stuff that needs to be done is done and those precious sales leads don’t fall by the wayside.
Do you really know how many new leads you generated this week? Or what their potential sales value would be? Or when they are expected to convert to an order? Or how many sales calls you made last month?
A vast amount of data is available at your finger-tips in Act! Not just for managers but for everyone. And that also means not just the sales people, everyone. And with the free Browse Only licenses available with Act! V17 it’s easy to share this data with anyone in the company who needs to see it, even if they don’t normally use Act! themselves.
Create Groups of similar contacts for targeted promotional activity. Data of itself is of little value. It only becomes valuable when you can convert it into useful information. One of the great things about Act! is that it allows us to categorise and segment our database into manageable chunks called Groups. Each group is a collection of contacts that are similar in some way. They may be in the same geographic location, in the same industry or have the requirement for the same product or service you provide. By dividing up you database into Groups you can target your promotional campaigns and mailshots more accurately, which has a major impact on their success. Better still, in Act! you can set up self-populating groups so Act! does all the work for you. Just enter some basic information on the front screen and Act! automatically allocates that contact to the correct group (s).
Now you’ve segmented your database into Groups you will probably want to send them a personalised letter or three. No problem. Act! has a mail merge facility that allows you to send a personalised printed document to either individuals or Groups of contacts in your database.
You can have as many different templates as you like and they will produce merged documents in Microsoft Word.
In the same way, you can also create templates formatted for email. These are sent through Outlook (or Gmail) and again, they can be to individual Contacts or Groups of Contacts.
In this way you can produce a detailed and targeted response to new sales enquiries in a matter of seconds to really impress your new prospect.
If you wish to send out regular email campaigns with professional looking html templates then the new Act! emarketing is for you. You can easily design your email template, and you get a whole bunch of examples you can adapt if you prefer. Each one is designed to produce the maximum response. Better still, you get basic Act! emarketing free of charge with Act! V17. This allows you to send unlimited emails to 500 of you contacts each month. By subscribing you can increase your monthly send limit to meet your needs.
For a small subscription you can extend the Act! emarketing service to include more Contacts each month or to use the brilliant “Call List” feature, which categorises the responses from you mailshot so you can see who is the most interested in what you have to say. These people are the hot prospects for the next stage or follow up.
One hidden gem in Act! is the ability to create Smart Tasks. The smart thing about a smart task is that Act! schedules task for for you and your colleagues to do. It looks through your database to find contacts that meet specified criteria such as, Hot Leads or contract renewal date is next month or contacts in your database who responded positively to your last mailshot, and automatically schedules the next action to be taken, for example, a follow-up telephone call.
Your contact data is vital to you, not only when you are in the office but also when you are out and about. Act! makes it easy to access and update this data whilst you are on the move. With Act! Premium or Act! Hosted you can have Act! Mobile as well which means you get access to your Act! database on your smartphone or tablet whenever you have an internet or data connection. With Act! Pro you can subscribe to Handheld Contact for around £1 per week which is a dedicated App for your Phone or tablet and gives you access to you data whether you have an internet connection or not.
If you need to work from a PC or laptop out of the office then Act! Premium for Web, either installed at your office or hosted is the answer. You get the full blown Act! experience through Internet Explorer or Chrome anywhere in the world you have an internet connection. And because it’s “live” the information you are seeing is real-time, and of course any updates you make are immediately visible to the rest of the team back at the office to action immediately.
Typing out those leads that come from the enquiry form on your web site can be a chore and is prone to typing mistakes. Act! can now import those leads directly into a Group so there’s no typing involved on your part. And of course, you can now use one of your pre-designed new enquiry templates to respond in a seconds to your new prospect.
Why do we generate reports? Think about it. The main reason is to extract some summary information from a mass of data and then distribute it to the people who need to see it. Act! makes it easy to do this. Act! also presents a different way of doing things. Since anyone in you company can now have Browse access to the database, they can see all the summary information in the Dashboards. And this information is always live with up to the minute accuracy. If you feel the need to print it off, please do, but do you really need to?
Scheduling tasks for people to do by a specific date is a great way to control your activities. Act! takes this one stage further by allowing you to set up a template of tasks to be done, called an Activity Series, so a whole bunch of tasks can be scheduled with a couple of clicks. For example, you may have a work-flow that covers what you do when you get a new customer. Day one, Jane sets them up on Accounts and Bob sends out the printed welcome letter. On day two John checks that the goods have been dispatched and on day five Mary makes a follow up call to ensure the client is happy. Then, one month later Mary calls again to maintain contact and to see if there are any further orders. You do it the same way every time you get a new customer. With Act! you can schedule ALL of these tasks with a couple of clicks so all of you new customers have the same great experience of dealing with you and no-one falls through the cracks.
If you travel to your client’s premises or if you need journey times or distances, Google Maps and Directions are just a click away. and of course if you need to look at the premises for access information, Google Street View is there as well. No more excuses for being either lost or late!
With in-built links to social media such as LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter, you can gain importent background information for each Contact in your database. What do they talk about? What are their interenst? Gold information for the professional salesperson to exploit.
Unlike most software, Act! allows you complete freedom to customise the standard screens to meet the requirements of your business. You can add new fields to capture data that’s important to you. You can change the words to use the terms you use everyday in your business. You can even add your company logo and corporate colours for that professional touch. And, as your company grows and develps you can modify your Act! database to reflect those changes. Easily, quickly, and with no additional expense.
With a single data source shared between Sales and Marketing Act! makes it eask to run co-ordinated and targeted campaigns combining all the tools in the marketing mix. Email campaigns from marketing generate the interest and awareness of what you do and leads and enquires are instantly available to the sales team to follow up and take forward. All the time managers have access to the live data showing a snapshot summary of the status of each campaign and the forecast revenue figures.
Finally, I’m going to recommend an add-on application that I use all the time to extend the capabilities of Act! There are a whole bunch of fantastic add-ons you can get for Act! that allow you to do even more than you can with the standard package. One I use all the time is called Seamless Opportunities. What this does is it allows you to generate lots of different Word templates that can marge data from both the Contact field and the Opportunities area into a single document. What this means is that you can generate a whole range of documents such as Quotations, Proposals, Order Forns, Delivery Notes Invoices and much more with a couple of clicks. It handles multiple currencies and tax rates, you can have multiple iterations of a single quotation (if you requote) and it saves an auto-numbered copy of the finished document automatically in the Contact and Opportunity records. I wouldn’t be without it!
Act! is a scalable sales and marketing solution that can be deployed and accessed in what ever way you want to use it. On you premises, on your smartphone or over the internet, you choose. Which ever way you go Act! will let you control and boost your business and will go on to grow with you.
If you need some guidance or help ins setting up your Act! database so you can get the most from it, we’re here to help with on-site support and training packages to suit your needs.