Automate Data Entry with ACT!

You will read many articles in this blog or elsewhere that unwillingness to enter the data is one of the top reasons CRM systems fail.

Act! is no different.  Yes, it’s easy to use shortcut commands like CTRL-H to record history and CTRL-L to schedule a new call.  However, act! out-of-the-box doesn’t know the rest of your customized business processes you take

Instead of taking several steps properly record “Call Left Message” for your weekly reports, AutoMatoR1 can create a single button for that. Or, for that matter think of any repetitive task you want to simply and make error free with AutoMatoR1.

If you are trying to make any business process faster in act!, send us a request. Chances are we may have a solution for you.

3 Reasons Why CRM Systems Fail – Any of Them – Forbes Magazine

After being involved in CRM since 1997 as a consultant, here is my opinion on why CRM fails and how to fix it.

  1. The wrong application has been chosen
  2. Upper management does not use any of its functions or offers buy-in
  3. Data entry is too tedious
  4. The reps have no incentive to update the system

When it comes to motivating reps, some of my clients draw the line saying, “If the note isn’t in the CRM; then, it didn’t happen. You don’t get paid or keep the account”.    I believe that’s a little too negative via threat. My fear is they will do the minimum not to get fired, but your analytics won’t become accurate.

My thought is to design a CRM system it’s “self-serving” for the rep.  For instance, the best data entry improvement at one of my client sites was done because the rep saves two hours of admin time by preparing an on-site inspection report.  Before WiredContact, this would take 2 more hours because had to return to the office to fill out a carbon-paper form; then, it took too many additional steps to scan the document and attach it to act!   This inspection report also automatically populates management’s report indicating the rep has performed account management duty as well.

If you are a business owner, not getting the results  you want, I recommend three things before switching apps or consultants,  It’s a little different from an article from Forbes, but we have similar opinions.

  1. Change your current screens (data entry forms) so it’s even easier to enter data
  2. Make it mobile
  3. Show them something self-serving once the data is entered

Database Duplication Process

I answered this question on LinkedIn:

Deduping a database from scratch. How would you go about it?

LinkedInOur customer database has quite a few duplicate records in it (both businesses and contacts). How would you go about the initial dedupe? What steps would you put in place to ensure records aren’t duplicated in the future? Is there any tech to help do this? Thanks!

My answer:

Each CRM has third party tools that help with the mechanics of this.

You should examine…

1) How many criteria do you believe are the most consistent ?
2) Do you want the computer to replace the newest record ?
3) What do you do with the “leftovers” ? For example if two people have different phone numbers, you replace one, how do record the “leftover” ?

How do you eliminate it completely ? hmmm…That’s a tough one.

As a start, you could use e-mail as a match. Of course, then what if a client offers his personal and not business address for one person, then, not the other one ? Company and contact name are good starts.

I believe you have to set a couple criteria that flag you if one of three criteria meet the duplicate standard; then, let the user decide

Sage E-Marketing for ACT! – List Cleanup Tip

We have a few dozen users on Sage E-Marketing for ACT! (aka Swiftpage), and we have changed our philosophy over the last couple years on dealing with bad addresses or opt-outs.

When I first started using e-mail as a marketing technique, I would just erase their address when it came back or unsubscribed from my list.

Now, I added two fields in the database, “Bounce” or “Opt-Out” as checkbox (yes/no) fields.

Checkbox Fields with ACT

ACT Layout with Checkboxes

Then, I make my “E-Mail List” group in ACT! exclude bounces or opt-outs.

ACT Group Sample

Use an ACT! Group to Build Your List

Why ?

You can call to ask why or find out if their has been an employee change at the company. It offers an excuse to have a valid conversation with a client or prospect that you e-mailed once before.

Sage E-Marketing for ACT! also delivers a list of opt-outs to your inbox.  You will see a list with emails listed as one address for line.

Use this free tool for ACT! 2010/2011 to lookup these contacts and update your mailing list accordingly. I asked if it would on 2007/2008/2009 but I haven’t heard back yet.

E-Mail Marketing isn’t the panacea, but one of many different options to reach your clients and prospects.

Make It Easier for Your Sales Reps to Sell


Wired Contact Report Page Sample

One Click Report Example

I have been reading Selling Power magazine for many years, and I finally figured out they don’t talk much about CRM. Why ? I believe they don’t like data entry or even re-entry or administrative work like compiling reports. So, when you design the CRM, ask the software or your local consultant to make it “one-click” easy. Since I used ACT! when I was in sales, I thought it was “second nature” for others like me to take 5 clicks and moving between 4 fields to enter in a history with the proper details.  Turns out I was wrong. One of my clients pushed me real hard to make macros in WiredContact.  With WiredContact, I can one button do the following:

  • Record a “Sales Call” rather than a generic “history done” or a “note”.
  • Automatically fill in the “Regarding ” Field to say: Sales call with John Kaufman at The CRM Connection
  • All the sales person needs to do is say what happened.

OK, that’s fine, but what’s in that for the sales manager and those looking for trends in their company ? With one click, I made WiredContact do the following:

  • Filter the current week (day or month)
  • List only successful 2 way conversations or meetings
  • Tally the number of meetings by category, number of cold calls and voicemails
  • Count the Number of fields updated.  This way the manager can summarize whether the sales rep is updating the data so he can be well armed for subsequent calls
  • Section this off by Sales Rep

Consider this when designing your CRM system, no matter the platform.  Push your consultant to make it even easier to get data into the system.