The Difference Between Selling and Marketing When Using Act Software

Let me state right up front that I believe the ID Status field is the most important field in Act.

Last week I worked with a client advising them how to better use Act software (CRM).  I was working with the person in charge of marketing and emails.  The first thing we determined was that they did not have a good understanding of who was in their database.  They were using the ID status field in Act to organize their contacts.  However, they had so many different options and variations of the same ID Status that it was very difficult to find the contacts they were trying to work with.

At this point I sent all their contacts to Excel and created a quick Pivot Table to show them how all the contacts were broken down by ID Status.

My first suggestion was that they had to simplify the ID Status field.  If you require more detail create a second field to break down your prospects.  Create a second ID Status field: ID Status 2. 

These are the ID Statuses I use and suggest:

New Lead
Key Client
Secondary Client
InActive Client

I believe all your contacts can fall under one of these categories.

A few Items: notice every item has a unique first letter for easy mistake proof one-touch data entry.  I use my name for any contact that is personal.  For example, doctor, lawyer, cable company, friends, and family.  I use delete for all contacts that I want to delete and will periodically delete all those contacts only after I have made a backup.  This strategy avoids accidentally deleting the wrong contacts.  Believe me I have seen this mistake made many times.

I suggest that you do not send email marketing to clients.  Clients are more important than that and they deserve to be contacted one-by-one.  It is very easy to use Act and Microsoft Outlook to communicate with these contacts.

I fully recognize the fact that we have different types of clients.  I recommend three types of clients to be used in the ID status field.  Key Client, Secondary Client, and Inactive Client.  A key client is a client that you pay regular attention to, for example, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.  A secondary client is someone that you believe you are likely to do more business with you and is worth reaching out to on a regular basis.  And inactive client is just a step above a prospect.

A prospect is any contact in your database you have never done business with.  To double back for a moment an inactive client is a client that you suspect may never do business with you again or is a very small client.

I typically suggest that clients come up with a 90-day plan.  The 90-day plan is how often you expect to reach out to prospects and clients alike.  Maybe you decide you want to call prospects twice a year.  Maybe you decide you want to call customers quarterly if they are key clients, every six months if they are secondary clients, and every year if they are inactive clients.  Having stated that, you might also determine that you want to reach out to key clients by email monthly, secondary clients every quarter and inactive clients every six months.  Obviously, it is easier to send an email than it is to make all those phone calls.

The bottom line is to stay in touch with your customers one-on-one.  In my training I offer suggestions and tools you can use to make corresponding via email much easier.

Selling is taking the time one-on-one with Prospects and Clients, while marketing is a blanket approach to reach out to as many contacts at one time.  There is a case to be made for both approaches.  Selling is closing, marketing is asking meekly for the contact to buy your product or service.  Selling is picking up the phone and calling.  Selling is sending a personal email.  Marketing is throwing a lot up against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Getting back to the client I was advising for a moment; they did not have a plan or goals for what they were willing to do and they need to come up with specific goals outlined and written down on paper.  Without that outline, it is difficult to advise them.

Here is a sample set of selling goals you could potentially use:

– Key Clients: Email every 30 days and call every 90 Days
– Secondary Clients: Call every 180 days and email every 90 days
– Inactive Clients: Call every 365 days and email every 90 days

Allow me to clarify something here.  When I say email, it could be something as simple as an email asking them if they need help with anything.  Marketing professionals spend tons of time trying to figure out the perfect message to send to their prospects and clients and in most cases, it will miss the mark for 80% of the people you send that message to.  Instead of figuring out the perfect message, I suggest using the perfect question(s).  For example:

May I help you with anything today?  Do you have any questions I can answer for you or do you need anything today?

In Conclusion

First, to make the most out of your Act database you need to be able to find the relevant contacts for your sales and marketing plans quickly and easily.  Second, have a plan and write it down and share it with all those involved in sales and marketing at your company.  A clear path to moving forward in Act needs to be clearly communicated.

Then, and only then, will you be able to make the most out of Act CRM software.


Tony Holowitz

President | Teacher | Act Certified Consultant

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