Community
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
Reply

Your feedback please! ACT! Feedback & Suggestions as I'm new to CRM

New Member
Posts: 2
Country: Unknown

Your feedback please! ACT! Feedback & Suggestions as I'm new to CRM

[ Edited ]

Hi,

I'm in the process of trying to implement a CRM solution into our small business. This is a very large investment where our current decision makers point out the high initial cost without noting the potential benefits from CRM. In the coming years we will be changing management from one generation to the next, and as the 'next generation' I am trying to fix what I see as our current inefficiencies. I believe this will fundamentally change the way we do business by making us far more customer oriented. 

One of the issues I see is that at our peak we supplied nearly 3,000 retailers.  As a small business with no CRM solution we were kept very busy, but relied too heavily on our customers coming to us.  Now that those peak years have passed we have fallen out of touch with most of our customers.  Also, many new competitors have emerged and our market share is in decline.  We have a large database with great potential to create revenue if only we could reconnect with our customers.

There are many CRM options, and everyone seem to claim they are the "largest", the "best", the "most heavily invested in R&D", the most "customizable", the "most award winning", etc..   I have been in touch with many CRM solutions that come in at a number of price points and have found that ACT! is far less expensive than most.  However having just read a thread in this forum where many users are not satisfied with the latest ACT! Version I am left wondering if ACT! is for us. 

Would you recommend that we use ACT! or another solution for our needs? 

Being remotely hosted is not an option for us. Also, we only need 2 licenses. If possible we would like to run P2P to keep our costs down.  If not we can consider a cheap in house server. (I'm not sure as to what solutions require a server)

The solutions I have considered include:

-SAP Business one (4k per license but it includes unlimited upgrades & integrated features like drag-drop, order processing, and updating your website all within one package). I'm not sure if we need this and I can't find a demo on it. They claim one big benefit is everything runs within one application working with the same data rather than having many additional application that may use differing API's and may not upgrade and work if ACT! upgrades.

-Salesforce.com (hosted)

-Microsoft CRM (license is around $1,000-$2,000) Not sure if it's any good but if we get a Microsoft Small business server they might work well together (Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 is coming out in the second half of 2008. Price is not yet known.) 

 -Netsuite (price unknown)



Message Edited by buddy on 03-25-2008 09:57 AM
Nickel Elite Contributor
Posts: 595
Country: USA

Re: Your feedback please! ACT! Feedback & Suggestions as I'm new to CRM

The best suggestion I can make is that you download the current version of ACT! 2008 and install it. You will have a 30-day trial period. If there will only be two users, you can use the standard version which is less expensive. Nothing fancy is needed in the way of a server, the database could be shared from one workstation. If your usage is fairly heavy, you might want to use a separate box as a server. My suggestion for such a box would be any decent processor, a 7200 rpm hard drive and 2 gig of ram and XP pro for the operating system.
 
Here is a link to where you can find the program download.  http://tinyurl.com/38m7u9
Roy Laudenslager
ACT! Certified Consultant
Techbenders
royel@techbenders.com
Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Your feedback please! ACT! Feedback & Suggestions as I'm new to CRM

You might also speak to an ACT! Certified Consultant from the list at www.act.com/acc
 
They would be able to look at your specific needs and ensure ACT! will do what you need.
Copper Contributor
Posts: 43
Country: USA

Re: Your feedback please! ACT! Feedback & Suggestions as I'm new to CRM

Hi
 
First, I absolutely applaud your decision to use a CRM system - I canot see how any company can survive without one.
 
Second, unlike most of the posters we are not an ACT user or reseller. We are actually a software developer, with an integration solution for a range of CRM systems: ACT, GoldMine, SageCRM, SageCRM.com, SalesLogix, and Microsoft CRM. While we have a deep knowledge of the interenals of these systems, we do not claim to be an expert on implementation.
 
Based on what you have said, I would almost immediately rule out SAP, Netsuite, Microsoft, SalesLogix, or similar packages. They are all big powerful systems, but the implementation and learning curve would be pretty steep for a new company. The infrastructure required would also be an issue.
 
At the level you are looking at, the two main questions I would be asking are:
1. Does the email integration work in a way I am comfortable with? Email is a primary communication channel for all of us now, and making sure the emails are correctly linked to the contacts, and that email works in a way I am comfortable with, is important to the success of the implementation
2. If anybody is on the road, does the sync to remotes and/or the access via portable devices work for me? Not much point having CRM unless the data is current, and where I need it.
3. After that, I would have a careful look at whether there was any data I want in the system to add value, and check that the system can be set up to get it in and display it. Initialy, this should be a lower priority - the temptation is to go overboard on what is considered necessary.
 
I suspect either ACT or GoldMine would work well for you. While the posters in the thread you mention have many legitimate comments, notice that many of them upgraded from ACT 6 which was a very stable and mature product; the initial release of ACT 7 was a complete rewrite, and a lot of people suffered a a consequence. ACT 10 is three releases on.
 
I would also echo Mike's comments - find a good channel partner and work with them to make sure the implementation is good. I would go so far as to say that you are better off having very limited objectives and implementing it well, than having a grand scheme and implementing it poorly.
 
HTH

Regards
 
David Evans