act knowledge baseHaving written numerous books on ACT! software I frequently receive phone calls from strangers that go something like this:

“We purchased ACT! a few years ago and it’s just not working for us.  No one is using it.  We’d like to switch to ABC_CRM.  They gave us a really great demo and I think it’s exactly what we need.”

My advice is that rather than investing in more CRM software they need to invest a little time and money in their own database first.

Unfortunately, all too often I see a company purchase a software solution and then “assume” that once it’s installed everyone can ride off into the happy sunset.  To me, that’s like assuming that once you purchase a scalpel you’ll know how to use it.  Bad assumption!

Want to get up and running with ACT! – or any other CRM solution for that matter?  Here are my Five CRM Commandments:

  • Thou shalt get with the program. Literally. Consider telling your staff, “if it’s not in ACT!, it doesn’t exist.”  You’ve invested in your software to save you time which means you should not have to be looking at numerous spreadsheets, reports and legal pads to keep track of what’s going on in your company.
  • He who teaches himself is taught by a fool. Maybe I’m prejudiced because I’ve written 7 books on ACT!, have created training videos on all of ACT!’s core functionality and spend a great deal of my time showing people how to use ACT! .  Trust me, you’re not going to learn my osmosis.
  • Garbage in, garbage out. Many people grumble that their database is “full of junk.”  Stress to your employees the importance of accurate data.  Take the time to enter information correctly the first time, and modify incorrect information as you stumble on it.
  • De-dupe you dope. ACT! comes with a neat utility to merge duplicate records together.  If you don’t know how to merge your duplicates, take the time to learn!
  • Keep your eye on the prize. If you’re goal is to have a rather pricey electronic Rolodex system, that’s fine.  However, if you’re looking to use your database for a specific purpose such creating a marketing campaign that will entice specific prospects to start buying your products you’ll need to put a bit of thought into segmenting your database so that you can reach out to customers and prospects by their area of interest.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your database.  However, if you stick to my 5 simple Commandments you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of an effective CRM solution!

Karen Fredricks
Tech Benders