In Part I of this article, I gave three reasons why I just can’t wait for Smart Tasks to be available in the new Sage ACT! 2011. To help get your creativity flowing I’m going to share three more ways that Smart Tasks will help you, as a Smart Task ninja, save time and never miss an opportunity.
Automatically Assign Activities to the Right Person With Smart Tasks, you can create activities automatically when contacts meet certain conditions. Not only can you automatically create activities, but you can make sure that the right person is assigned to complete them, since each Smart Task lets you create a rule or query for which contacts it should run against. You can base that rule on the type of contact, product interest, geography or any information you track about the contact.
Let’s say you’re the #1 supplier of widgets in New York and have three sales reps – Allison, Betty, and Chris. You want a phone call to be made to all new leads, but it depends on where they are and which line they’re interested in. You can set up three Smart Tasks so that Allison get widget leads for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut; Betty gets all widget leads outside the Tri-State (ie, everything that doesn’t go to Allison); and Chris takes care of the leads who want cogs. Smart Tasks will do it for you so no one else has to remember to do it.
Make “Fall Through the Cracks” a Thing of the Past If you never forget to follow up, are in constant touch with all of your customers, and staff never takes a vacation then please skip to the next reason – this one is not for you.
Still with me, eh? Here are some of the things you can do with a “Smart Task” to pave over the cracks:
Set up a Smart Task to create an activity (a ToDo or perhaps a Call) whenever you haven’t been in touch with a customer for a certain period of time (you pick how long)
Put activities on your assistant’s Task List to book an annual review (send a card first, then make a phone call) when their last review date is more than 11 months ago (my Financial Advisor clients can’t wait for this!)
Get a reminder to send a “new client welcome” package after a purchase
Trigger an activity when a customer’s account is approaching a credit limit, past due (this is possible in conjunction with QBSalesData, one of my favorite ACT! AddOns)
Reduce Your Reporting Requirements There are all sorts of reports that can be built to slice and dice your ACT! database. Reports can be generalized into one of three buckets:
Reports that provide a printed reference (like a Contact Directory or Group Membership List)
Reports that give information to keep you informed and help you make decisions (Notes and History Summary, Pipeline Reports)
Reports that you need in order to take action (usually lists – customers with a birthday coming up, customers who purchased more than $X last year)
The last bucket, which is used to get a list and then take action, may be a candidate for a replacement with Smart Tasks. The trouble with having to run a report to get a list of contacts and then do something is you have to remember to actually run the report and then make sure that you complete your action (perhaps it’s a phone call) for everyone in the list. An alternative is to create a Smart Task to monitor your contacts for the condition that you need to act on and schedule an activity.
An example: if a contact is a customer and their birthday is the week after next, create a ToDo to send a birthday card (or perhaps send an e-mail marketing piece with a special offer). Run this weekly so that you can do the cards efficiently in a batch. Another idea – if you sell a product that has a warranty, track the warranty expiry and then send an e-mail with a warranty renewal offer.
This was originally going to be a single article but I had more to share than made sense for one article, and I haven’t touched multiple-step Smart Tasks or manually running a Smart Task against an entire Lookup. Let me know if you want more ideas for using Smart Tasks, share your ideas with others, and tell me how your business has and will benefit from automation.