Today, we officially released Sage ACT! 2012 in North America. You've heard me say it before, one of the highlights of my year is to introduce the new version of Sage ACT!. Here are some of the highlightsRead more...
Inspired by popular reality shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, CRM Idol 2011 was created by Paul Greenberg and CRM influencers.Read more...
Thanks to you, Sage ACT! is very alive and well in the overall social media space. I’d like to share some special and significant milestones.
First, this month we will exceed 25,000 members in the ACT! Community. This number includes Sage employees, Partners, and media/Analysts. The biggest of all and by far is you, our customers that leverage the community to share thoughts and experiences. We have had more that 55M page views and over 89K board posts! In addition to the Community, we have another 3,500 followers in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo. On YouTube, there have been more than 15,000 views of various videos, most notably the charming and witty Napkin Mike!
We also have another special milestone to highlight this month. One community member in particular deserves very special recognition. Mike Lazarus, from GL Computing, has surpassed the 10,000 post mark. Can you imagine 10,000 posts from one person? Please join me in thanking Mike for his amazing dedication to ACT!. He routinely responds to a wide range of posts at seemingly all hours of the day – he’s actually based in Australia. In recognition of this accomplishment, we’d like to welcome Mike as the very first Sage ACT! Community Development Partner. This is a new category of partner that is reserved for special contributions to the community and has benefits like access to our Support team, beta invitations, access to Sage ACT! software for testing, and more. This new program will be going live very shortly. For more details about the program, contact us.
Special thanks to all our community members and special congratulations to Mike. By the way, if you have a friend who may be interested in Sage ACT!, please encourage them to join the community. If you want to join our other social media groups, click below.
Greetings! I had the pleasure to attend two significant Sage events earlier this month. The first was a Financial Analyst meeting in London and the second was an Industry Analyst meeting in Boston.Read more...
In a recent blog I announced Sage ACT! 2011 ready for shipment. We are in full swing with this new release and thought you would like to see a few recent highlights.
Yesterday, PC Magazine warded Sage ACT! 2011 4.5 Stars out of 5! Sage ACT! 2011 received the Editors Choice award, which is awarded to less than 10% of the products reviewed. Check out Samara Lynn’s review here:
Sage ACT! Premium 2011
PC Magazine, Samara Lynn, Sept 20th 2010
There also is a lot of other great coverage as coverage as well. Check out Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light, being “massively impressed with the Product” in CRM Magazine with Lauren McKay
Sage Beefs Up Services In Sage ACT! 2011
CRM Magazine, Lauren McKay, Sept 13th 2010
Ramon Ray gets a hand from Napkin Mike and explains how Smart Tasks help businesses “regain minutes of their day”
Automation and Qualified Leads from Sage ACT! 2011
Small Business Technology, Ramon Ray, Sept 8th 2010
More great coverage from Brendan Read and the San Francisco Chronicle:
Sage ACT! Enables SMBs to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Customer Interaction Solutions, Brendan Read, Sept 1st 2010
Sage ACT! 2011
San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 1st 2010
Last, here’s a social media interview I recently did with Chris Bucholz of ForecastingClouds.com.
(Video) CRM Experts In Their Own Words: Larry Ritter
Forecasting Clouds, Chris Bucholtz, Aug 11th 2010
I hope you enjoy these exciting articles about ACT!
Today, we officially released Sage ACT! 2011 in North America. Since joining Sage, one of the highlights of my year is introducing new versions of Sage ACT!. Each year, I have had the opportunity to conduct media meetings and typically start each with “This is the best release ever”. Having completed the media briefings in early August , I stayed true to form by introducing each journalist to Sage ACT! 2011 as “This is the best release ever”. Here are some highlightsRead more...
Dear ACT! Stakeholder,
A number of stakeholders have inquired as to why ACT! 2010 is not compatible with Office 2010. I will mention in advance there is not a single right answer and recognize there are varying points of view. I am not asking for agreement, but do want share perspective on this challenging topic. I will also provide reference to resources that can help affected customers be successful with ACT! and Office 2010.
ACT! 2010 began shipping in September of 2009. We provided an “in-line” update in March 2010. Office 2010 was released for retail sales in June 2010 which was about 10 months after ACT! 2010 shipped. During development of any version of ACT!, we carefully consider common applications and operating systems that are likely to be used by our customers. We develop and test ACT! to assure compatibility with these in-market applications so that a new version of ACT! will work with what our customers already have. We then list the compatible applications, operating systems, etc. in our system requirements. Since Office 2010 was introduced so long after ACT! 2010, we worked to include full compatibility for Office 2010 (32 bit) with ACT! 2011 which begins shipping next month.
One can certainly ask why not create a patch or update for ACT! 2010? It’s common in the software industry to sell a maintenance/subscription plan which provides new features and updates during a period, which is typically a year and can be subsequently renewed. We offer maintenance plans for ACT! starting at $89, which provides such updates. For example, ACT! 2010 customers on such a plan will receive comparable licenses of ACT! 2011. If you view ACT! as a strategic part of your work, a maintenance plan ensures ongoing updates. If you view ACT! as a point purchase and don’t expect a lot of changes you can buy without maintenance and elect to purchase an upgrade later.
I realize there are cases where an existing ACT! 2010 user buys a new computer with Office 2010 pre-installed. Or someone buys a new PC with Office 2010 pre-installed and then buys ACT!. There is limited compatibility between ACT! 2010 and Office 2010. If the order of installation and set-up was first ACT! and then Office 2010 many functions will work. If Office 2010 was installed before ACT! 2010 you will need to apply an updated file to get to the same point. We have an article that will help you understand what functions and what does not by going to the Knowledge Base link below. Also, the Sage Customer Service team can talk you through options by calling 866-873-2006 .
ACT!/Office 2010 Knowledgebase article: http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/cgi-bin/sagesoftwareonline.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2671...
I realize this topic is causing some customers frustration and I apologize for the inconvenience I encourage any North America customer to check out the resources above. I wanted to explain and provide some guidance to resources that can help you.
I wanted to inform you Sage ACT! 2011 Early Bird sales started today. For those of you not familiar, Early Bird is an offer we make approximately 60 days before availability of a new ACT! release. This enables new and existing customers to pre-order the newest version of ACT! at a substantial discount. There are many exciting capabilities in Sage ACT! 2011, to name just a few:
Smart Tasks: Build relationships by automating tasks, customer emails and follow-up activities. You can utilize more than 10 pre-built templates, edit existing or create your own. It’s like having a personal assistant with you 24/7!
Microsoft® Outlook® Synchronization: Seamless integration that now allows you to have the same contacts in Sage ACT! as you do in Microsoft® Outlook®. Plus, Sage ACT! will keep your busy calendar updated in both places, and help you cut back on meeting conflicts with rules that handle them automatically.
Sage Business Info Services for ACT!*: Pull highly targeted prospect lists and business information from Hoover’s™ data directly into Sage ACT!. It helps fill in the gaps in your database and gives you access to more than 65 million companies and 85 million executives.
To learn more about Sage ACT! 2011 or pre-order click here.
Watch Napkin Mike summarize Sage ACT! 2011 in about a minute:
I’m really excited to introduce the newest chapter in one of the most successful SW products in history. Our beta feedback has been very positive and nearby ACT! Certified Consultants are ready to help you learn and get the most out of ACT!.
This Early Bird offer is for customers in North America. If you live outside of North America, Sage ACT! 2011 information will be available soon from your regional Sage Operating Company.
* Requires additional subscription.
As you know from reading my blog, I am a big fan of connected services. It gives me great pleasure to introduce our newest connected service ACT! Mobile Live. As a quick reminder, connected services extend the capabilities of ACT! with specific capabilities that are delivered in the Cloud. Here’s a quick overview of ACT! Mobile Live, which first supports Blackberry® devices:
• Wireless synchronization of ACT! Contacts and Calendar with your Blackberry®
• Works with your existing wireless mobile service
• Integrates with the Native Contacts and Calendar applications on your device
• Schedule synchronization at convenient times or sync when you request
• Easily update as you change your Smartphone
• Fast and simple sign-up
• Supports ACT! 2010 (v12.1) and later
The best part of the service is it’s simple and easy to use. Basically, your contacts and calendar on ACT will be in sync with your handheld. If you meet a client and add their contact details and schedule a meeting with them from your handheld – both will be transferred to ACT!. Likewise, entering information on ACT! will be transferred to your handheld. Any edits/changes will also be transferred to/from ACT! so you are always up to date.
A new and very interesting service that is available today. Please check out the links to learn more and I hope you enjoy ACT! Mobile Live.
Learn more about ACT! Mobile Live
Read the ACT! Mobile Live press release
Listen to Brandon Balsley, Sr. Product Manager, as he introduces the new ACT! Mobile Live service
I recently had the pleasure to attend a Town Meeting with ACT! CC’s (Certified Consultants) in Irvine. We had over 20 attendees representing..Read more...
I have been travelling of late and recently attended the Gartner CRM Event in London. While this event is primarily focused on CRM it was great to hear Michael Dunne, Gartner Analyst, say something really important and true about ACT!. In one session he was explaining the various vendors in the Sales Force Automation segment of the CRM space. As he was summarizing vendors he pointed out that of all the vendors the largest user base was ACT! with somewhere over 3 Million users. He attributed this to personalization, ease of use and familiarity by Sales individuals and professionals. I already knew this but it’s good hear from others and interesting to watch people’s reaction when they hear such statistics about ACT! People always seem illuminated but not surprised by this fact. I appreciate Michael highlighting this point. Another really interesting insight from the conference was the focus on how to get more internet and social media connected experience into an organization’s selling activities – since ACT! 2010 (v12.0), introduced in September 2009, we have had the Web Info tab. This feature brings rich contextual awareness of specific websites and services directly into ACT! This has been a really fun, innovative and highly practical ACT! features.
It’s also really exciting to have ACT! 12.1 in market. This in-line release for ACT! 2010 (v12.0) retires a number of in market topics that have been reported by customers. This release also includes feedback provided by our community. As you know, we have the Ideas Exchange section of this community. We have hundreds of suggestions and all are taken seriously – in fact it’s a very important tool as we plan future releases. In v12.1 the team has incorporated about 50 ideas contributed by you in this forum. This is the kind of closed loop, hear the voice of our customer interaction that helps us help each other to keep ACT! aligned with what you need.
If you have any interesting examples of how you have used the Web Info Tab I would love to hear from you. I always find the best examples of use come directly from our customers like you.
Thanks for being a member of our community and keep those ideas coming!
It’s hard to believe we’re 2 + weeks into the new year. Lot’s going on in the ACT! world already in 2010. First, you may be aware of Paul Greenberg – He is the well decorated author of “CRM at the Speed of Light” and recently published the 4th Edition. Paul has also taken notice of ACT! 2010 and has makes very favorable comments about ACT! and Sage here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/crm/?p=1346&tag=col1;post-1346. Last week, we had discussion and a feedback session directly between Paul and our development team, we’re busily considering his enlightened thoughts.
We’ve talked about connected services in previous posts. ACT! E-Marketing is our first and was launched with ACT! 2010. The results to date have been above expectations – customers are benefiting from the free trial to experiment with sending, monitoring and measuring their email campaigns. We’ve also had excellent velocity of subscriptions and we see the popularity of this new “feature as a service” continuing to grow. If you haven’t already, check out our E-Marketing webinar on February 3. http://inter.viewcentral.com/events/cust/search_results.aspx?cid=best&pid=2&lid=2&tstamp=12642654410...
Stay tuned for our next service - ACT! Mobile Live which is coming soon. Just this past week, after about 20 minutes of set-up I now have my Blackberry and ACT! wirelessly syncing my 800 + contacts and very busy calendar. I really enjoyed how easy and fast it was to set up and begin using.
We realize ACT! is very powerful and the more you know the more amazing things you can do. We’ve introduced the ACT! Essential Training Library which includes more than 35 videos, representing more than 4 hours of self-paced anytime learning. This is new and worth checking out. http://www.sageu.com/act/vc.html?inter.viewcentral.com/Events/cust/search_results.aspx?cid=sage&pid=....
Our localized releases are just being completed and we welcome ACT! 2010 in German and French. We’ve taken extra steps to bring ACT! to our friends in French speaking Canada, especially Quebec. We’ve got some great CC’s up there and many eager customers.
Last, this community continues to grow. We have more than 15,000 members and another 2,000 plus members in our connectionson Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook, etc. It’s great to see the interactions you have with each other and the overall information flow. Regards, Larry
Time is flying and it’s hard to believe ACT! 2010 (English) has been in market now for 2 months! The feedback and reception has been fantastic. The media interviews, overall coverage and excitement exceeded my expectations in quantity and depth.Read more...
ACT! 2010 (English) is now available for customer delivery in North America! We officially released the gold files yesterday— check out our video of ACT! 2010 literally going "out the door"!
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been discussing this significant release for the last several weeks, and now it’s finally here.
From a development perspective, I am very proud of this release for several reasons. The new ACT! 2010 release includes a wealth of new feature innovations, usability enhancements that make it even easier to learn and use, and technology that improves our ability to provide timely software updates. A sample of the new features includes:
- New Look: Easier to navigate and better discoverability to quickly accomplish tasks.
- Improved and New reports: More than a dozen new reports, plus a handy favorite’s area.
- Social Media: Track contacts and be better informed with turnkey integration to leading sites, plus you can quickly and easily add your own sites.
- ACT! E-Marketing: An optional service that helps you better understand your contacts by knowing who is opening and clicking through your e-mail campaigns. Drip campaigns make it easy to set up multi-stage campaigns. And, automated call lists that point out your hottest prospects.
- Customizable Opportunities: Tune your opportunities to precisely fit your business.
- Improved Dashboards: 12 new components and 2 new Dashboards. Know in seconds what contacts are newly created and recently changed, and more….
To prepare for the launch, I was in New York and Boston last week introducing ACT! 2010 to Journalists and Analysts. Given the strength of the feature set, my job was pretty easy, and a lot fun. Many commented that the capabilities in ACT! 2010 either don’t exist in products costing much more and/or the level of integration and ease of use in ACT! is superior. I look forward to lots of positive coverage over the coming weeks.
While in Boston, I also met with a number of our local ACT! Certified Consultants. They were really stoked about ACT! 2010, so we captured a couple of impromptu videos:
Karen Rankin, Actability
Joe Norcott, Business Technologies of New England
See ACT! 2010 for yourself.
View our social media release.
That’s it for now. Enjoy the new ACT!
Get Social With ACT!
We’ve had a number of articles about how social media and ACT! are very complementary. From beta, a number of you have made comments about how cool the “web info” tab is in ACT! 2010. This is a very easy and helpful way for ACT! users to quickly navigate the social media space. In support of our initiatives in social media we’ve formed a number of groups at the leading social media sites. I encourage each of you, and a friend to join one or more of the following groups:
Twitter - www.act.com/twitter
LinkedIn - www.act.com/linkedin
Facebook - www.act.com/facebook
Plaxo - www.act.com/plaxo
YouTube - www.act.com/youtube
MySpace - www.act.com/myspace
When you join these groups, you will have easy access and a place to share information about ACT!. In fact, I just noticed a very interesting article from Forrester on how ACT! has been successful in using Social Media. This fall, look for a number of additional webinars, whitepapers and news articles from Sage on how ACT! and Social Media are a natural fit.
Looking forward to seeing you many of you in the groups above. Why not join right now? ACT! is all about community!
Take a Test Drive of ACT! 2010, See the New User Experience
The ACT! 2010 beta period has ended and our Development team is now heads down in the final “closedown” phase as we near release. I’m pleased to report the final feedback continues to be very positive.
Early bird sales are in full swing and we now have an on-line test drive so you can get a hands-on feel for the upcoming release. Check out the following links:
Whether you are a new or experienced ACT! user, notice the fresh user interface. With more than 2.8 million users, ACT! is all about being productive on the tasks performed every day. Early in the ACT! 2010 development we conducted a number of studies and interviews to better understand common tasks and get feedback on how to streamline. We received great input from our Customer Advisory Board, Certified Consultants, existing ACT! customers and people not using ACT!. This feedback was incredibly helpful to improve the navigation, make features easier to discover, streamline tasks, suggest related tasks and more. We also benchmarked a number of tasks comparing ACT! 2010, previous versions of ACT! and competitive products. ACT! 2010’s navigation fared very well in these tests and look for whitepapers providing greater explanation and detail after launch.
The sites referenced above are intended for North American customers. If you live outside of North America, please contact Sage locally for specific ACT! 2010 plans offers in your region.
A couple of events signal an exciting time of year for ACT!. One is when beta for the next release begins and another when Early Bird sales begin. Beta started on June 30 and Early Bird Sales started yesterday - July 14! Here’s an update on both.
I have been especially excited about ACT! 2010 since we previewed the release with our ACT! Certified Consultants (ACC’s) in May at the Sage Insights Conference. The reviews from this group of ACT! specialists were nothing short of phenomenal. The ACC’s were impressed by the thought that went into ACT! 2010 - from usability tests which guided changes in navigation to the range of high impact new features - they were anxious to start talking about ACT! 2010 right away!
Beta feedback has been equally positive. Last week we held focused “Beta Day” events with groups of ACC’s in several cities across the United States. We received excellent feedback from this highly energized group of special participants. The broader end-user Beta is also going well. Less than 2 weeks into the program we are oversubscribed and have more than 1400 posts to the ACT! 2010 Beta Newsgroup. To our Beta users, we ask quantitative and qualitative questions as part of “homework” surveys. Here is a sample of questions and top 2 box responses (5 boxes – Very satisfied, Somewhat satisfied, Neutral, Somewhat dissatisfied, Dissatisfied) from the survey as of July 14:
- Overall, how would you rate your product experience with this beta version of ACT!? 83% Top 2 Box
- How strongly do you agree with the statement "ACT! by Sage 2010 will help grow my business"? 75% Top 2 Box
- How strongly do you agree with the statement "ACT! by Sage 2010 will help me become more productive"? 83% Top 2 Box
- Compared to the navigation in previous versions of ACT!, would you say the navigation experience in ACT! 2010 is: 73% Top 2 Box
- On a scale of 1-10, "1" being not at all likely and "10" being very likely: How Likely would you be to recommend ACT! 2010 to a friend or colleague? 65% Top 2 Box (rated as 9 or 10)
- Would you participate in another ACT! beta program? 99% Top Box
Equally exciting are qualitative comments we received from Beta users. Here’s a sample:
- “Great to see this feature [iCalendar] incorporated. You people have really out done yourselves with the new features this year. It is nice not to have to switch back and forth between ACT! and outlook. ”
- “Have been testing this and so far I really like it. I have used other programs, GM for example, and so far this out performs it.”
- “Long time user of ACT! and continue to love the product and evolution it has taken.”
- “I certainly can be more productive as ACT! by Sage 2010 is faster and easier to use than previous editions.”
- “This version is by far the best ever. You will blow away your competition on this version. I never used the Opportunity layout before and now I spent all my time there trying to tailor it to my needs. Awesome! Give yourselves a pat on the back. I am an ACT! addict now.”
- “The Web Info tab is great and VERY beneficial to a sales team needing to get background information about a potential client. Great Idea!”
As you can imagine, the enitre ACT! team is excited and anxious to unfold the next chapter of one of the longest running titles in the SW industry. As mentioned, Early Bird Sales in North America for ACT! 2010 started yesterday. If you already received an offer, simply follow the link or call instructions. If you did not, and you live in North America, click on the url below or simply call us at:
If you live outside of North America, ACT! 2010 information will be available soon from your regional Sage Operating Company.
I hope you enjoy what we’ve done with ACT! – also, note some of the capabilities we discussed in our recent 3 part series “Social Contact Management” made their way into ACT! 2010 – check out the “web information” tab!
Part 3 of 3: “How ACT! can help me in the new Internet enabled World”
In Part 2 we saw how our prospects are increasingly being influenced by sources they find on the Web. Fortunately, the internet works for all us. So as a vendor working with a prospect we can also leverage the Web to gather information about our prospects. At Sage, we emphasized a concept we call the “Anywhere Workforce Experience” in our Sage CRM Solutions 2010 strategy. See the published strategy whitepaper for full details though at the core is the fact we are already taking advantage of and plan to go deeper in terms of exploiting the Web.
For example, within ACT! there are a number of convenient plug-ins or “mash-ups” available that pass contents from relevant fields to a variety of internet services. For example, some really simple “mash-ups” pass the name of the current contact I am viewing to common search engines, like Google. The results are then conveniently displayed. without any further user action. Then as I transition to another contact, the same results are displayed for that contact – providing convenient “in-context” results for each contact. This means results are automatically updated and always up to date as I move between contacts. Others are available for displaying driving directions, searching for names on Social Networking sites, like LinkedIn, etc. These simple but powerful concepts enable ACT! users to leverage and harness the internet to make us more productive when dealing with our customers. Your ACT! Certified Consultant can help you with these “mash-ups” and/or you can download them from the Developers Network portion of this community.
We intend to go further in this space by looking at a company and leveraging services that provide additional names of contacts within the firm. Other examples would be to use the result of search to find related contacts, customers and influencers. This would enable me to understand the extended connections of my prospect and how they might be brought to bear on a particular opportunity.
We are in the infant stages of Social CM. We expect to continuously improve the connectivity and benefits of leveraging the internet and ACT!. We have a range of ideas from simple connections to existing internet sites to fully functioning services that operate independently.
I hope this 3 part series was interesting to you. Since I started this series I had the chane to presnet at the North America Sage Insights conference. I shaerd some thoughts on how Socila Media is shaping the Contact Management and CRM space with our partners and a numebr of Analysts. This led to an invite to be one of 30 bloggers in a recent CRM Magazine focus on the topic. Here is the link for the interested:
I’d love to hear your ideas for services and internet connections that would be of most interest to you.
In this Part 2, we’ll look at the changing nature of the way our customers/prospects acquire information about our products, service and company.Read more...
Learn how the Web + ACT! generates new opportunties fto better understand and manage contacts.Read more...
Glenn recently posted a reply to David van Toor’s blog in which he commented that he thought ACT! had deliberately moved away from the single user to the larger customer, and asked this question “…is ACT!/Sage in any way trying to retain the individual user who is NOT a member of any larger corporate entity?.” Yes, we do intend to retain individual users.Read more...