ACT 2011I had a prospective client call me recently.  He made it clear from the start that he had absolutely no desire to upgrade to the newest version of ACT.  Not a problem as we support any and all versions of ACT.  He then proceeded to send me his wish list for ACT which included finding updated information for his 4500 contacts, integrating with Outlook 2007 and bulk e-mailing. He was using ACT 5/2000, circa 1998.

I no sooner got off the phone with that prospect when another client called; he was trying to install ACT 2008 with Windows 7 and was running into all sorts of problems.

Unfortunately I couldn’t help either person add new functionality without upgrading to a newer version of ACT.

It always surprises me when a business owner refuses to spend money on technology.  His home computer no doubt puts his office computer to shame and he probably doesn’t think twice about buying the latest HD television for himself or an I Phone for his kid.

Technology upgrades should be considered a necessary, recurring cost of doing business.  You can’t run your business without a telephone and office supplies, and you shouldn’t be running a business with outdated technology. Ironically, technology is the single best way to lower the overhead of a business.

In most cases the price of an upgrade is outweighed by the decrease in general operating expenses that proper use of technology will provide.  The cost of running a business is a fraction of what it was 10 years ago.

Here are some of the ways that you should be leveraging modern technology with ACT to reduce your overhead:

  • VOIP (voice over IP):  Most VOIP business solutions include an “auto attendant” which means you can save on support staff salaries and decrease your phone bills.
  • Automating Processes: I like to tell people I’m either very lazy or very smart.  In either case I hate to have to do the same work over and over again.  A case in point is reaching out to existing customers and prospects.  Traditional ACT users set up “reminders” for each and every follow-up.  “Turbo-charged” ACT users set up drip marketing campaigns or will use ACT 2011’s new Smart Tasks feature to speed up the process and insure that no contact is left untouched.
  • E-Marketing: E-blasts have replaced more traditional marketing campaigns.  They’re quicker, easier and cheaper. However, even snail mail blasts are much easier and consequently less expensive to run with ACT.
  • Telecommuting: ACT’s remote access options can eliminate the need for office space and equipment for your sales staff and other key personnel.  And the opportunity reports and dashboards will allow you to maintain complete accountability on their productivity.

I’ll be running a free webinar on ACT 2011 on Wednesday, August 11 at 6 PM EST.  Click here to register.  The webinar will be recorded and all registrants will receive a copy of the recording.