Act quick Tip: What is the name of your Act database?

On occasion I will ask a client what the name of their Act database is and they do not know the answer to that question.

To determine the name of your database simply look up in the top left corner of Act when your database is open. On the title bar, you will see the name of your database. In this example my database is called Act_tips_2018.  I do recommend you write it down for future reference in case you need assistance with Act.

Act CRM Database Software Pricing: What to Expect in 2021

Act CRM software is changing for the better.  If you are looking for a contact manager database this year you have options from Swiftpage Act.

As a long time Act teacher, trainer and consultant, I find the options this year very exciting for Act software users.  

At the end of June 2020, Swiftpage the makers of Act software announced they would no longer sell Act Pro.  Act Pro software is desktop software with a one-time purchase price.  Long time Act users that previously purchased Sage Act Software Symantec Act Software tended to upgrade every 3 to 6 years.

For many Act Pro users, upgrading to a version of Act software that is an annual subscription is too much to take.  They do not want to pay yearly for software they are used to buying once.  As much as I can appreciate the way they think about Act, I also feel that as business owners if you cannot leverage the software to make way more money for yourself that its yearly subscription price, you are leaving some of the assets of the software on the table.  My opinion.  

For the record, I am a partner at a firm that purchased copies of Act Pro version 22 and you can still purchase Act Pro while supplies last for approximately $350.when you purchase Act Pro you received no Act CRM support.  My standard consulting rate for Act software support is between $125 and $175 per hour.

Act CRM Pricing

Act software costs depend on a few different factors.  Do you want your Act database on your desktop as a software you download or are you comfortable with using Act cloud software? Using Act CRM online allows you to access all of your data from any computer that has Internet access.  There are fewer set up issues that include configuring your Act CRM system.

As an Act software subscriber you can enjoy the best of both worlds: Act CRM in the cloud and Act CRM on your desktop.

Many companies use Act database software by installing their database on a server in their office.  Typically, you have to pay an IT company to install Act on your server, install it on multiple workstations, configure it, set preferences, and get it working with Microsoft Outlook.  Historically, Windows updates can wreak havoc on certain computer settings and Act contact software is not immune to that possibility.

To lower your Act software cost you can have us host your Act CRM database in our cloud environment.  Once your Act database is uploaded to our professionally managed Act software servers, we turned around and said each Act user I unique type of database called a remote database.  The remote database or RDB, communicates with our server so changes made on your desktop software of Act will synchronize back to our Act cloud server.  

Imagine you have 10 users that all use Act.  All of their data will synchronize amongst those 10 computers.  In addition to that, we recognize that you might have more than one computer.  For example, a laptop computer in a desktop computer that you would like to have your Act database software on.  No problem.  Each Act software user is entitled to two remote databases.

The argument for an Act software annual subscription

Act contact management software has been around for a very long time; more than 20 years.  As you do in Act CRM review I would urge you to consider the following:

  • Swiftpage Act is a software company whose goal is to make money so they can continue to employ their staff and improve the software.  When you purchase software once every five years that does not occur.  Your continued support helps Act Marketing Automation.
  • Act Marketing Automation is a phenomenal tool that is only available to subscribers.  You can use it for email marketing, intelligence gathering, sales leads, salesperson management and customer interaction.
  • Having a connection to your Act database in the cloud opens up a world of possibilities to connect Act CRM to other software.
  • API connections to CRM software improve the ability of Act to communicate with other software.
  • A subscription affords you a certain level of Act technical support for free
  • A subscription gives you access to tools for your smartphone and mobile device.  Some of those tools are free
  • A subscription makes it easy to upgrade and extend the value of your software

Act SaaS CRM Software Cost

In October 2020, Act introduced a new SaaS product (software as a service) with a monthly option and an annual option with three different levels: Act CRM Essentials, Act CRM Standard and Act CRM Expert.  Essentials is $180 per year, standard is $360 per year and expert is $540 per year.  I recommend you start with their 14 day free trial and if you are still uncertain the best program then pay monthly until you figure it out.  Prices are 22, 40 and $55 respectively.

Act sass CRM is completely web based.  You can use it on multiple devices in via multiple browsers.  It is easy to add and subtract users and you can grow into it.

ACT CRM Pricing Jan 2021

Act CRM installed or on premise

If you would like to subscribe to Act and install it on your computer (also called on premise) it is $330 per year per user.

If you would like to also have Act on multiple computers, such as a desktop and laptop computer, and keep the data synchronized you should update your subscription to include hosting.  I offer hosting the Keystroke.  Hosting is $120 per year per user.

The distinct advantage of Act CRM hosting and synchronization

When we Act is your professionally managed server we are responsible for helping you and sure a connection from our server to your computer and Act remote database.  It is a lot less expensive to pay $120 per year vs. purchasing a server and then having to configure everything to work together.

CRM Reality Check

As I sit here writing this I realize that the prices I have mentioned could change.  I also understand that people that use Act might need Act technical support and help.  I can help you there.  The reality is when you are ready to purchase Act software you should reach out to be to talk about your needs and your approach to purchasing software.

At the end of the day, you and I and the makers of Act (Swiftpage) all benefit from you having a fantastic experience with the software.  Let us make sure that happens.

Tips for Deleting Act Contacts

Last week an act user contacted me because they had deleted thousands of act contacts by mistake.

Luckily, or so they thought, they had a backup of act via an online backup service. Unfortunately, act has some moving parts and the way these services backup act files is less-than-perfect.  Here are my tips for deleting act contacts.

  • First and foremost: it is imperative that you have regular backups of your act database.
  • Second: it is vital that you have a company policy and or personal policy for how you handle contacts that you would like to delete. This is how I would recommend you handle deleting contacts in act.

One of the most important fields in act is the ID status field. When I work with a client I will set up the word “delete” as one of the options in the ID status field. When you have the urge to delete a contact or a group of contacts, don’t do it. Make the assumption that something could go wrong in you might delete more contacts than you intended to delete. Instead, simply mark the ID status as delete for all the contacts that you would like to delete.   I can show you how to edit multiple contacts at once if you contact me.

If you feel you must delete all of those contacts, this approach will give you time to make sure you have a complete and total backup of your database first before you delete them. In fact, I would urge you to make multiple backups. I would also urge you to only delete your contacts once a month. This will give you time to evaluate their importance to your organization.  In a large company that uses act via a shared database, this is a no-brainer. To take it a step further, you can create permissions for individual users that will prevent them from deleting contacts.

LinkedIn: Another reason not to delete contacts

linkedin logo 2016My experience has been that if the contact leaves the company they will often go to another company in which they do the same thing or something very similar. If they were a client or prospect in their old company there is a chance they could be a client or prospect at their new company. If a contact has left a company and you think you want to delete them, wait a little while. Come back and review them down the road and see if there LinkedIn profile tells you where you can contact them today.

If you plan on adding contacts to act via an outside resource, such as a service in which you buy leads or contacts, I will always urge you not to delete contacts. Why? When you import new contacts there is no point in importing the same contacts you had previously deleted. Trust me, it happens. Then you are left to continue working on old contacts that might not be familiar to you that you had previously deleted. By leaving those contacts in your database you can avoid duplication and duplicate work.

Scheduling act backups

You have the ability to schedule regular backups in act. The file that is created is called the zip file and there are no moving parts. If you back that zip file up to your computer and have an online backup service, the zip file will eventually be backed up and will be much easier to work with should you need it.

As always, contact me if you have questions.

Make Sure to Backup Your Act CRM Database Manually or Automatically

A Reminder to Backup Your Act CRM Database

You can backup your Act CRM database either manually or automatically using the Act Scheduler.  When you backup your Act database it creates a zip file that is typically stored on your computer.  If your computer fails, the zip file might be lost.  I recommend using a service such as Carbonite that will completely backup your computer and that zip file.  At a minimum, get a copy of that zip file in the cloud so it is safe.  If you have questions about how to complete this task please reach out to me.  From my blog www.365ActTips.com.

Act Manual Backup: https://tonytheteacher.com/how-to-manually-backup-your-act-database/

Act Automatic Backup: https://tonytheteacher.com/act-back-back-act-data-part-2/

Why is it so important to backup your Act software data?  The most obvious answer is to protect all the content in contacts that you have put into Act.  If your computer fails or is destroyed you need a backup of your data.  Just as a matter of practice, you should backup your Act CRM daily.  Act makes it easy with its Act scheduler tool.  It allows you to automate the process.

Do not be like my new ACT CRM client.

I received a phone call from a long time Act user that wanted to upgrade to the newest version of Act software.  Part of that process involves creating a backup of your data during the transition to the newest version.  It was at that point that my client realized there were technical issues with creating that backup in Act.  It did not work.

If you cannot backup your Act database it is an indication that there might be some corruption in your data.  The more I think about this the more I realize it is cool reality as an Act software user.  Suddenly you are confronted with the fact that there is an issue with your data.

I have clients that are still using old versions of Sage Act CRM.  They have not upgraded their Act software in years.  For the record, Act has an obsolescence policy of three years (approximately).

Approximately two years ago an underlying component of their software ceased to exist.  What I mean is the manufacturer of the licensing component made the decision not to continue producing that software.  Therefore, Sage Act CRM users ran into issues.  

Most often they discover these issues when they purchase new computers and try to reinstall Sage Act CRM.In most cases they were able to install the software in a 30 day trial mode.  The problem was they could not register the software after the 30 days rendering it useless.

Many people were up in arms over this development.  I am really not sure why.  Nothing in this life is guaranteed and Most software Has some type of policy in place that suggests old versions will not work forever or be completely perfect.

At the end of the day if you are an Act software user it has always been my opinion that the cost is minimal for what you get.  Even as Swiftpage, the makers of Act CRM, have transitioned away from a one-time purchase of Act, Act Pro software, and move towards an annual subscription, Act premium software, I have always believed that you can leverage Act as a sales and marketing tool to make way more money and become more profitable than the cost of the software itself.

An alternative is to use Act as a cloud based CRM.

That might sound harsh, but I think if you are not using Act effectively and efficiently it will not pay for itself and I would suggest you get some training and consulting help with Act CRM.

By backing up your data on a regular basis you would have discovered this much earlier In the process.  At a minimum, you will most likely be able to export your contact information.  What I mean by that is all of your fields in Act can be exported, but not your notes, histories and activities.  Quite often your ability to use the software is not affected.  You just cannot make a backup.

Act database repairs for installed Act software

If this occurs you can have your database repaired.  As a partner of Keystroke, they offer a $300 scoping project in which they will examine your database and give you an estimate of how much it will cost to have it recovered.  My experience has been that many times they can recover the data for $300; within the scope of the project discovery.  Having stated that, it is in no way a guarantee.

The bottom line is this: backup your data so you discover inconsistencies or problems with your data before it becomes needed.  My Act training videos link above will show you how to accomplish that by creating backups.