There are a lot of cool new features in the upcoming release of Sage ACT! 2011, but the one I’m most excited about both for myself and my clients (yes, Hero Technical Solutions runs on ACT!) is Smart Tasks. I’m excited because among the new features, the one that will help me work less (especially on repeat, manual tasks) is what I’m looking forward to most.
If you’re an owner, manager, or really anyone who would benefit from automating repeat tasks and putting parts of your business on autopilot, you should be excited too. Here are three reasons why:
Smart Tasks Can Identify Business Opportunities If you set your database up correctly with the fields you need to keep customer details, you should be able to search your database to find customers who would benefit from additional products and services that you provide. With Smart Tasks, you can set Sage ACT! up and automatically be notified, by e-mail or perhaps by adding a ToDo to your Task List when such an opportunity exists.
For example, if you’re a financial advisor, you might recommend that all your clients who are over a certain age have a particular type of investment. In order to find the clients that should have that investment, but don’t, you’d need to run a query in Sage ACT! on a regular basis and remind yourself or your staff to do that and then take action on it. With a Smart Task, you can set up your criteria to search as often as you like (probably once a day) to find clients that would benefit from that investment and then e-mail you to notify you and schedule a phone call on your (or your assistant’s) Task List.
All this takes is a little strategic thinking about what fields you need in Sage ACT! and what your criteria will be. You’ll always be on top of opportunities to provide additional value to your clients and boost your sales, without having to remember to run queries or reports on a regular basis.
Smart Tasks Put Marketing on Autopilot When used in conjunction with a form on your website, new prospects can automatically be followed up with through a series of steps that fit the way you do business. This allows you to stay top of mind with prospects who are not yet ready to buy but are hungry for additional information to help them with the type of challenge that your product or service solves. This can make the difference between your business being a valuable source of information and “that guy who calls once a week”.
Let’s say you run a business that specializes in workplace safety training. You might offer a “Top 10 Tips to Encourage Employee Safety Habits” via your website in exchange for the visitor’s e-mail address, and perhaps you’ve also got a list of prospects that you’ve been in contact with, but things have gotten a little stale. You can use Smart Tasks to send a series of e-mail messages that contain additional useful information. So long as you provide good information (not too “sales pitchy”) and make sure your recipient has your contact information close at hand, you can continue to keep in touch until something changes and they’re ready to buy. You’d be amazed at how many prospects don’t buy immediately but will buy later on – are you going to be remembered when the time is right? Smart Tasks Are Extendable As a developer (and admittedly a bit of a propeller head), this is the most exciting feature of Smart Tasks for me as it opens up a ton of possibilities for solutions that will thrill clients. What it means is that while out of the box with Sage ACT! 2011 we’ll be able to send e-mail, create activities, and use Sage ACT! E-marketing features, the additional types of tasks that can be created are only limited by your imagination (and your ability to engage with a good developer). It’s possible to create additional tasks that become the building blocks of your Smart Tasks – think updating information from QuickBooks, sending a text or voice message, creating and e-mailing a PDF, or perhaps charging a credit card. If you can think of it, it could be a piece of a Smart Task!
If you could automate anything about your business, what would it be? Have you got ideas for using Smart Tasks to free up time and build your business machine?