Many ask what customer relationship management software I use. Thought I would share why I chose ACT! CRM (formerly Sage ACT! 2010-2013.)
Bulletin #1: Your great sales scripts are no good if you are not talking to the right people, in the right quantities.
Bulletin #2: If you are not properly setup and organized to work efficiently and purposely select where you spend your time, you are going nowhere. All your great strategies are worthless if you can’t execute your great customer relationship management plan.
To be an effective appointment setter or lead generator, you need the following functionality to get results. ACT! CRM (used to be Sage ACT!) provides it and I can highly recommend it for the following reasons.
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1. When you open a record all the info you need to make a call is in your face.
Open a record. See what you need to know to make a call. Make the call. Boom. If you need to click 7 – 10 times to have the confidence to make a call you have a problem. I like the ACT! CRM as you can set it up so what you need to know is immediately visible when you open a record.
2. You can customize the layout, the fields and the drop downs.
You have a lot of control over what fields you see and when you see them. Important stuff you need to know upfront, info of lesser value one click away. You don’t want non-critical info in your way. It slows you down. You can also create any field you need to make calls and customize the drop downs so that you can quicken your pace and standardize info for sorting. ACT contact management capability is superior in this regard, in my opinion.
3. Importance of field customization and drop downs.
Very importantly with the ACT! CRM I can create any field I need. I have fields for how a prospect likes to be referred to or how a name is pronounced, fields for worth, fields for status (Client, prospect, suspect), fields for date of inquiry, current step of sales/prospecting process, industry/SIC code, revenue range, how they like their coffee, on and on.
Many of these fields have the ability to customize the drop downs. I love this about the ACT! CRM and this is why. Lead generation and appointment setting is a giant sorting process. Your choice of customer relationship management software has to give you the flexibility to sort (I call it slicing and dicing) your records into groups of like targets.
If your contact relationship management software limits field creation or your ability to create standardized dropcdowns or codes within fields, it substantially hampers your ability to sort, target and follow-up.
4. Ability to sort by multiple variables at the same time.
This is in my opinion a major plus of the ACT! CRM (previously Sage ACT!.) As you make your calls you are collecting recon about size of company, vendors used, amounts purchased, products/services they may buy, potential purchase dates, and more. You need to be able to sort by multiple variables to pinpoint your targets.
Want to focus on high worth targets, with decision makers identified, planning a purchase within 90 days, within which you have a direct dial or extension number? You can do that with the ACT! CRM. Having the ability to sort by multiple fields at the same time is critical for serious prospecting and appointment setting.
5. Ability to “code” anyway you wish.
I am a big believer that the customer relationship management software you select must enable you to “code” and segment as you wish. Think of all the ways you might want to sort your database to prioritize your calling or marketing expenditures. If the tool you select is limited in that department you will pay a major cost in appointment setting and lead generation productivity.
6. With ACT! CRM you can manage an overall effective marketing program, in addition to appointment setting
In my opinion, many are too short sighted when they select a contact manager tool. They think only of the ease of making calls quickly rather than accomplishing their overall business objectives. Calling is only one part of an overall effective marketing plan. Your CRM should have the capability of enabling you to use the great data you gather while prospecting and using it for better marketing.
If you can’t customize fields, sorting, drop downs, screen layouts and more to increase efficiency a major portion of your prospecting investment is wasted. Your customer relationship management software should make it easier for you to implement an overall effective marketing program, and implement targeting marketing initiatives based upon data you collect while prospecting and appointment setting.
7. Desktop speed and cloud convenience.
Prospecting can be drudgery. When you are appointment setting you need speed. If you are waiting for data to churn in the cloud or every click takes longer it makes a hard job more difficult. For speed purposes I have always favored using customer relationship management software on my desktop. With my ACT! CRM (formerly Sage ACT!) I have the best of both worlds. Desktop speed and cloud convenience.
When I work using my ACT! CRM I am working on my desktop, with all the speed and added functionality that comes with a robust CRM program. My desktop program syncs in the cloud with other local and remote users. It can be used on the desktop or accessed in the cloud when needed. Love it.
8. I like the ACT! CRM because it has been around forever
Tried and true. Proven. Used by millions. Bugs worked out. Plenty of people use it so you can easily find help when you need it. That is what I want. No surprises. No worries about functionality or getting help when you need it. The new kids on the block? The latest greatest software offering? Sorry, new isn’t better in my book in this area. I want to grow my business and get help when I need it with a program that has been around. New connotes risk to me in this area.
9. Cloud vs desktop when it comes to ACT CRM and contact relationship management software.
Let me be cautious here. There are pros and cons to systems that are desktop vs cloud based. Based upon your circumstances one may be clearly beneficial to the other. Most of my work is done with pretty intensive call efforts. For that purpose, having a desktop program for speed with the customization options greatly helps those efforts. One reason why I use the ACT! CRM is that I have advantages in both worlds.
One of the cons of cloud based systems I have seen is that you can limited in screen layouts and field customization and sorting which means you have to click around a lot before you make a call and your ability to “slice and dice” is hampered.
This is a pretty big topic and the above are just a few factors I think you should consider when selecting or setting up your crm software. I see many salespeople using crm tools where if they would just tighten things up a bit, reorganize their layouts, create a few useful customized fields, think of what sorting would be helpful and create drop downs that would be useful, they could get a lot more out of their customer relationship management software.
I have set more than 2,000 C-Level sales appointments. When I started in 94 the first program I used was a DOS program named Telemagic. Then for about 15 years I used another program very similar to ACT, switching only because that company stopped servicing the 1-4 user market. When it came time to switch I chose ACT as it was very similar to the programs that had brought me so much success appointment setting, and……. a high percentage of the salespeople I was talking to that were having success with lead generation, were using ACT CRM. So the decision was easy.
I can recommend the ACT! CRM (formerly Sage ACT!) program highly for prospecting, appointment setting and managing an overall effective marketing program. Especially for solos and smaller offices. You should evaluate all options and make your own decision after doing your own research. Be objective about the functionality offered and what you really need to be successful. I receive no compensation, affiliate payments etc for this. Just sharing info many people ask me about. Hope it is helpful.