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.
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.