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ACT! 2010 Gets More Social

The latest release of ACT! CRM software (2010) includes a feature that I’ve been pushing for and am starting to see as standard fare in CRM – the inclusion of a contact’s social media activity stream. Now, from inside a contact record you can view that contact’s activity on Facebook, LinkedIn, or twitter. Subscribe to RSS for their blog or even custom searches for their industry or competition. In addition, you can respond to something you read right from the record.

The bottom line is that having this kind of data can help fill in the total picture when it comes to a prospect or client and make you much smarter and more efficient in your follow-up and relationship building. I contend that you should be paying attention to this kind of information anyway, so now it’s easier to do.

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Social media activity for a contact displays inside the record (click to enlarge)

Another great feature is the full integration of email marketing. ACT has enjoyed a nice relationship with an email service called SwiftPage. The SwiftPage offering is now fully baked in as a paid subscription option called ACT Email Marketing. This subscription allows you to easily market to any segment or your entire database through email from within ACT! The service has some very robust campaign features (a record can be added to your database and a campaign and automatically receive a series of predefined emails.) Tracking user interaction with your emails sent is also very powerful with this tool, giving you the ability to analyze your hottest leads based on whether they read or take action in response to an email.

Overall I think I like the layout better and search throughout is much improved. You no longer have to back to the lookup screen to find a specific record.

There are many CRM tools to choose from, but for many small businesses ACT! is plenty powerful, simple and low cost. With these enhancements it’s an improved tool as well.

Disclosure: Sage Software, the maker of ACT!, is a client of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Coach Network.

10 Small Business Lead Nurturing Tools

lead nurturingLead nurturing is the act of following up with leads in a consistent and, hopefully, logical way moving them gently along the path of becoming a customer.

In some high end, long decision process selling environments it’s the only way a sale is made. “Hi, glad to meet you, call me when you’re ready to buy,” isn’t a very nurturing approach.

In today’s marketing world smart companies are tapping powerful nurturing tools and technology to help their prospects get to know, like, and trust them, make sales when competitors can’t get past the front lobby, and charge a premium for their products and services.

In some cases it’s a matter of automatically dripping more and more information, in others it’s case of knowing exactly when your prospect is showing interest and in still others it can come down to gaining greater knowledge about your prospect by simply using technology to understand their behavior. (Don’t worry, none of this need be done in a creepy way, it’s all a matter of using technology and the information your prospects willing share.)

The secret is to stay top of mind and continue to educate, but do it ways that have impact.

The following ten tools are ones that I would suggest to most any small business owner to use in tandem with a cadre of education based marketing content in the form of ebooks, audio, video, newsletters, surveys and seminars.

1. BatchBlue – a lightweight CRM tool with a twist. BatchBlue makes it very simple to add your prospect’s social media profiles thereby having access to their blog and twitter feeds right at the point of interaction. Really great for your journalist target market too!

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Two Great Software Titles, One Great Price

As you may know I have partnered with Palo Alto Software to produce a marketing planning software based on my Duct Tape Marketing System and book. The software is very practical and functions more like an action planning tool than a document creation tool. It is called Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing and early reviews have all been very positive.

I’m also a fan of ACT CRM software from Sage. There are lots of choices in this category these days but ACT!2009 is still one of my favorites for small businesses.

So, have I got a deal for you! Palo Alto has bundled these two great titles and is offering the bundle at $150 off the price to acquire the two separately.

Sorry for the overtly commercial message here, but I just had to share this with you.

Buy Marketing Plan Pro and ACT!2009 for $150 off