What is Act CRM software?
I never think of Act as CRM? Customer relationship management software is exactly what Act is and does if you use it properly. According to Wikipedia, customer relationship management is one of many different approaches that allow a company to manage and analyze its own interactions with its past, current and potential customers. The reason I never think of it as CRM is because it is not typically how I speak of Act. I just call it Act. Not CRM.
I rarely hear my customers or prospects refer to Act as CRM. I just call it Act.
So, what is Act software?
Act version 22 is the most recent iteration of Act. As of 6/30/20 the only version of Act that you can buy is a yearly subscription version of Act. They no longer offer Act Pro which was a onetime purchase. An Act subscription can range between $240 and $360 per year with the more expensive option including access to Act in the cloud or via a web version viewed in a browser. The $360 price includes the Act desktop software and the web version. Typically, promotional offerings are run starting at the beginning of the month and change often.
What is Act Marketing Automation?
Act Marketing Automation is an add-on for Act that brings a high level of email marketing to the software. Keep in mind the prices I am quoting you today might change tomorrow. The base price of Act Marketing Automation is $79 per month which is billed annually, which works out to be $948 per year. This gives you 25,000 emails per month. At first glance this might seem expensive. However, Act Marketing Automation is an immensely powerful tool that can turn Act into a sales powerhouse. Really. I genuinely believe that if you use Act Marketing Automation properly it can easily pay for itself many times over. I can show you how make this an outstanding tool for Act CRM software.
How do I get the $240 subscription price?
If you are an Act Pro user you can upgrade to the subscription for $240 per year. If you would like to have access to your data in the cloud via a web browser you can accomplish that by adding $120 to the price bringing your total to $360. When you become a subscriber we will take a copy of your Act data and uploaded to the cloud and after that is completed you will be able to see all of your data in the web-based version of Act. Long time Act users will find this to be a unique and different kind of experience using Act. But this is the thing that not a lot of people fully understand or are slightly confused by when they think of Act in the cloud. As an Act subscriber you have access to the desktop version of Act and I strongly recommend that you install it on your computer. After your data makes its way to the cloud you can create (in many cases we will do this for you) a remote database.
What is and Act remote database?
A remote database in its simplest terms is an exact copy of your Act database as it exists in the cloud. We give you a file which you will open with the desktop version of Act. What is unique about this remote database is that it communicates with the cloud version of Act. Synchronization is what this is called.
What is the relevance of synchronization?
When you work on Act CRM software on your desktop or laptop computer all the changes you make today will synchronize back to the cloud version of Act CRM. Think of the cloud as the master database on a server. So now your desktop Act in the cloud version of Act are the same; equal partners so to speak. One of the great advantages of this set up is that you have a backup of your Act data in the cloud. If disaster happened and your computer failed, was lost, or destroyed, your data is safe. All you would have to do is install Act on your new computer and request a new remote database. The $120 you spend the get your data into the cloud creates an environment in which we provide you with the cloud based server that would cost thousands of dollars if you were to try to implement it yourself. You would have to buy equipment and hire someone to get everything installed for you and configured properly.
What about my laptop computer and Act CRM software?
This is where that $360 per year price tag starts to really illustrate the value of your Act subscription. Simply download and install Act on your laptop computer and we will give you a second remote database specifically for that computer. Now that data synchronizes to the cloud so if you travel with the laptop all your data will be up to date on the laptop, the cloud and your desktop computer.
What if I do not want to install Act on my desktop or laptop?
Simply log into your Act database via your favorite web browser. It is easy. I will tell you though that different browsers handle your Act cloud database differently and have some unique ways of presenting and working with your Act cloud data. As of today, August 2020 I prefer to use Microsoft Edge to access my cloud database. Keep in mind that your cloud database is a webpage and different web browsers render that information in a slightly different way. Many of the differences are purely cosmetic. My experience has been that people have different opinions on which browser is best. The good news is you do not have to make an absolute decision. You can use different browsers as you see fit.
So why should I use Act? Why should I pay a yearly subscription?
There are two ways I can approach these questions in the most obvious way is to address current Act software users that are used to buying Act once and using it forever. Act Pro gave you this option and that option no longer exists.
Act software has been around for more than 20 years and it started as desktop software; as all software that old did. Technology has changed through the years and one of the most dramatic changes was smartphones. How do you adapt Act to a small screen? Well you have to get it into the cloud or on an app. Act companion is a free tool that comes with your subscription that allows you to see all of your Act data on your smart phone or tablet, such as an iPad. Long before Act companion was available to Act users there was a tool called Handheld Contact that pushed your data to your phone. I am biased because I think it is the better option. I think it is more user-friendly than Act Companion. Handheld Contact is not free, it is $79 per year. You can try it for free at www.HandheldContact.com.
So how is Act adapting to a younger more sophisticated CRM audience?
I must confess that the demographics for Act software CRM users skews older. I have found that some of my older users do not want to change or take on new challenges of working with the software. The good news is that I am in Act CRM software teacher and consultant that can help you implement tools that complement Act to make it the most productive CRM you will ever use.
Act now has the ability to communicate with a wide range of other software programs.
A web-based tool called Zapier, which has free and paid versions, can help acts web application communicate with other software. Because your Act data is in the cloud, that cloud and Zapier can create actions that you would typically never use or even think about. For example, you can use Zapier to transfer all of your contacts into Google contacts. This would be completed by creating a zap between the two pieces of software. This is an area of Act CRM that will make you change the way you think about Act CRM software. Honestly, I am still learning all the possibilities and trying to take it all in to determine how I can use it for myself and to help my clients do more with Act CRM software.
In summary this is what you get with an Act subscription:
free technical support
Act companion mobile app
access to the web version of Act
Act desktop software
My Final Thoughts
I have been doing this long enough that I feel I can be blunt when it comes to the way people use Act CRM software. If you cannot leverage and justify in your mind the cost of Act that I honestly believe you are not using the software correctly. I have spent the last 20 years teaching people how to use Act software in a productive manner. The cost and expense of Act is a no-brainer. If you cannot make it pay for itself many times over you to start using it as well as you could and should. You owe it to yourself, your family and your employees.
My website www.actclever.com offers all my Act knowledge and insights with an excellent and inexpensive training program for you and all Act users. Please check it out. Last but not least, reach out to me for one-hour review on me of your Act data and how you use Act. We will schedule an appointment to review what you hope to accomplish with Act and we will make this Act software work for you.