By Dick Wooden on February 13, 2012 at 8:29 AM
Contact Management and Full Customer Relationship Management Comparison
ACT! is one of the most well-known names in contact management software, but not a lot of people know that ACT! is also one of the pioneers. It was created by an entrepreneur named Pat Sullivan of the Conductor Software company in 1986 and at one time was named "
Personally I think that being bought by Swiftpage was the best thing that could have happened to ACT!, because it's now part of a larger family of products which allows businesses to continue to grow without outgrowing their software.
ACT! was designed with customization in mind, just like Infor CRM (Saleslogix), and I've seen plenty of salespeople bring up a form, add a field, and track some new piece of data on the fly. It's a very versatile contact management system which has itself migrated from the once-popular dBase type of database into the more powerful Microsoft SQL, which everyone is using now.
We work with many clients who are satisfied with ACT! for their businesses, but there comes a time in a company's life when a contact management system, no matter how robust, just can't keep up with the demands of the business. Even though Sage has beefed up ACT! with some company and opportunity management modules, it's first and foremost a contact and customer manager. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Service/Support Issues and Resolution Tracking. If your business tracks multiple service or support issues per customer where the resolution process may have multiple steps and activities this quickly goes beyond anything for which a contact manager was intended. Add to that the ability to identify various hierarchical categories to this issue to find patterns of occurrences.
- Complex or multiple level sales processes. Does your business have sales cycles with multiple stages, milestones and specific tasks? A contact manager just can't handle it. A more complex sales process requires the more robust features of Infor CRM (SalesLogix) customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Multiple types of data relationships. Need to track multiple projects and tasks to a customer account? Need to identify one to many contact and company associations? Need to identify various engagements per each of your CPA clients? Need to identify supported IT systems and components for each customer in your IT firm? There's a limit to how many tables can be added to ACT! to track complex relationships.
- Team and Role based Security If there comes a point were various sales professionals need to only see their regional accounts and no others or if certain people in a department can only view but cannot edit information such as found on a sales opportunity or support ticket, then a contact management system is under powered.
- Business Performance Measurement with Business Analytics Need to enable your business to increase organizational and customer intelligence, shape strategic priorities and make informed business decisions? Can users at every level of the organization monitor productivity and analyze trends that enable them to focus attention and resources on the most profitable business activities...?
- A Business Development Platform We have clients who we have helped to extend the core acquire, develop and retain business relationship capabilities. They have built their business model around the customization ability to modify the Windows, Web and Mobile versions to provide tools to their staff - something that would be difficult with a contact management only system.
Is it Time to Upgrade to Infor CRM (SalesLogix)?
When the sales process starts to involve many stages with different tasks, when it becomes more important to share information than it is to guard hot leads, when your need to track additional related data to a contact, company, opportunity or service ticket, when you know that there isn't one individual who can keep track of all your customers and the status of your relationships with them, it's probably time to upgrade your ACT! to Infor CRM (Saleslogix).
Upgrading isn't just a question of how busy you are, though. It's about the complexity of your process, the number of players involved for key operational processes, and how you all need to communicate and share information. Infor CRM (Saleslogix) can build upon all of the functionality of ACT! and add in more sophisticated reporting and analysis that draws on many more types of your specific business data.
For example, an IT company which needs to track every server for a given client, as well as each component in each server and every piece of installed software, can't with ACT! what is very easy for a properly-customized installation of Infor CRM (SalesLogix). That sort of "many-to-one" relationship maxes out ACT!, while Infor CRM (SalesLogix) is just getting warmed up. This is a CRM which is fully extensible and can keep up with whatever demands your company places upon it.
That's why I think it's wonderful that Swiftpage acquired ACT! a few years ago. Our clients are not going to outgrow Swiftpage, because there's always the option of migrating from ACT! to Infor CRM (Saleslogix). Because you're staying within the same family of software, there aren't a lot of worries about compatibility. It's more of an evolution than a revolution.
Please contact Success With CRM if you'd like help determining if you're ready to upgrade.
More on comparing ACT! with Infor CRM (SalesLogix CRM) can be found here....