While there are many awesome new features in Sage ACT! 2011, the “Smart Task” feature is the one I’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait to start using it to help automate my marketing, sales and customer service processes. I’ve always maintained that properly used, Sage ACT! allows one person do the job of three. Now, with Smart Tasks, this is truer than ever.
In essence, Sage ACT! 2011’s Smart Task component is an easy-to-use work flow tool. You can define and bundle together a series of tasks to either launch automatically or to manually apply whenever you choose. To give you a better idea about how Smart Tasks work, here are just a few I’m planning on creating in my own database: Contract Expiration Smart Task – Like many companies, mine sells renewable service contracts to our clients. Renewing these contracts in a timely and organized fashion is critical to the success of our business. I’ll use a Smart Task, set to run daily, to find all my clients with contracts expiring in 90 days. When one is found, the Smart Task feature will launch a series of pre-defined contract renewal tasks over a 90 day period leading up to the contract expiration. I’ll start with an automatic email sent to the customer alerting them of their pending contract expiration and containing information on renewal. The subsequent automated tasks will include activities scheduled for myself and others to prepare and present the new contract. I’m looking forward to never missing a contract renewal opportunity again! New Contact Record Smart Task – Since its introduction in ACT! 2010, I’ve fallen in love with ACT!’s Web Info tab. Each week, I run a query to find all the new Contact records I’ve entered into my database during the prior 7 days. I then use the links in their Web Info tab to request Linked In (and other networking) connections with each of them. As simple as that process has been, it’s now going to be made even easier, thanks to Smart Tasks! I won’t have to run the query at all - I’ll just create a Smart Task to run the query daily, creating an ACT! Activity for me on new Contact records in need of social media “linking.” When I log into ACT! each day, I’ll receive Activity alarms to enable me to quickly and easily request social networking connections to my new Contacts. Trade Show Follow Up Smart Task – We all know how expensive it is to host a booth at a trade show or conference, and in this economic climate, it’s especially important to maximize sales from our trade show leads. What a perfect use for Smart Tasks! A well-designed series of emails and “touch” activities can be set up to help you turn these leads into customers. Sage ACT!’s Smart Tasks will literally do the work for you after a trade show! Client Relationship Improvement Smart Task – While we hate to admit it, sometimes we may go for a longer-than-desired period of time without calling, emailing or meeting with our clients. ACT! has always included features to allow us to query and find these “neglected” customers, but sadly, we often forgot to run the query! Using a Smart Task, we’ll now be able to guarantee that our customers will never go longer than we’d like without hearing from us. One of my very first Smart Tasks will be a “How’s everything going?” email that will be sent automatically to any customer (ID/Status=Customer) we haven’t had contact with in the past 60 days.
Sage ACT! 2011 comes preloaded with a number of other useful Smart Tasks. They’re easy to edit or create, and I have no doubt they’ll increase my productivity dramatically, not to mention my sales and client retention. You can pretty much bet that I’ll have my Smart Tasks up and running with an hour of installing the software! You should, too!