Act! (formerly Sage ACT!) is an extremely effective Client Relationship Management (CRM) system for most small business owners. Comparing ACT! with Infusionsoft however, is difficult because they are not both designed to perform the same function. Still, we do field quite a lot of client queries about the benefits of ACT! CRM and whether or not it is as good for CRM as so many users say it is. So here goes:
ACT! is, first and foremost, a CRM system and this is its strength. The software makes managing your contacts, clients and calendar simple. It scores your leads and enables your sales team (or yourself, depending on the way you work) to focus time and effort in the most efficient, effective way in order to maximise sales, earnings, and profits. The focus is on workflow management and centralisation of client information for medium to large businesses. It may be a little cumbersome for micro-businesses like freelancers. It is not, however, designed as a sales and marketing platform, nor is it easy to automate these tasks using Act! In addition, while it is possible to integrate ACT! into some social media platforms in order to run lead generation campaigns, this is not easy to do – or to automate.
The main benefit of ACT! is that businesses find efficiencies in delegating and executing daily tasks. Staff can also access client information quickly and easily while meeting with customers and prospects, so it gives a very seamless look to your sales and fulfilment processes. Most of the client information is displayed via browser-based dashboards. This information is available via a variety of interfaces (smartphone, tablet, and browser). It is very easy to escalate tasks and manage workflow using ACT!’s dashboards – especially as you can enter information directly into the dashboards. This means you don’t always have to go back to the clunky backend database to access detailed client information.
While you do have access to some of the task management functionalities you might like (e.g. colour-coded calendars for multiple team members), you do need to access third party add-ons to use these – and this can cost extra. It is also not possible to action work tasks via mobile devices – you can check your dashboard, but to actually execute the work, you need to be desk-based. While this is a common feature of most CRM systems, it is also a limitation. The richness of the data displayed in ACT!’s easy-to-access format is impressive, but the data itself does take some time to load. As a business owner on the go, these are points you may want to consider. It depends how you like to work of course, but the mobility limitations and slow upload speeds may be an issue if this impacts your client deliverables.
Is ACT! the CRM system you’ve been looking for? Are you sure, or would you like to find out more? To talk through all your CRM options, book a free CRM System Consultation with our experts today.
Starting from: $25 / user per month ACT!’s initial pricing seems very reasonable although it be as high as $45 / user per month (depending on whether you use the basic cloud-based package or the onsite one with more inclusions). There is no setup fee.
Pricing model: One-time Licence
Freemium: ACT! do offer a free trial period.
Key Features of ACT!:
Act! is like a command centre for your business. The system delivers relevant data regarding your clients, and connects to important scheduling and planning services – like the entire Outlook suite of products, and gmail too. Some of the key features of ACT! include:
- Contacts, groups, and companies
- Activity management
- Seamless integration with Outlook and Gmail
- Lead scoring (also known as Opportunity Management)
- Dashboards and reporting
- Standard security settings
- Some training and personalised support included
Infusionsoft on the other hand, is designed to behave exactly like a one-stop-shop integrated sales and marketing solution for your business. With everything you need delivered via their online system, much of your sales and marketing processes can be automated to save you time and allow you to focus in – and on – other areas of your business. The focus is on customer lifecycle marketing – with a specific emphasis on small to medium businesses including freelance microbusinesses (providing they have the budget). Infusionsoft software is designed to impact your business in the following areas:
- Channel Management
- Self-Service Portal
- Marketing Automation
- Project Collaboration
Infusionsoft can be used as a competent CRM system, but to only use it in this way would be to overlook the great benefits it offers as a sales and marketing tool – particularly in the area of marketing campaign automation. With over 23,000 small business owners using Infusionsoft to get organised, save time, and grow profits (and obviously, your business) you may find you need fewer other systems in other areas of your business. The fewer systems you need to learn to master the better for you. Multiple system chaos is not pretty, and it is something every small to medium business owner deals with at some stage of their business growth. Every now and again, you need to sit down and rationalise a way forward by streamlining your systems and processes – or you’ll find profitability stagnates and begins to fall away altogether.
Infusionsoft is a pretty complete solution to this problem. It covers off almost everything you need, including digital newsletter creation and marketing campaign strategy (including email marketing). You can automate most of your lead capture, nurturing, and follow up / follow through campaigns – and also your reporting analytics. This in itself can be a big time saver for business owners and one of the reasons why this platform is so popular.
‘Customisation’ isn’t just the marketing buzzword of the day; it’s a fact that being able to tailor your promotions to the interests and behaviours of your prospects makes more sales and increases client spend. Infusionsoft allows you to do this with ease – although you do need to learn how to use the software in order to optimise your campaigns to this level of client contact.
Infusionsoft is not the cheapest option when you’re shopping around for a new CRM. Costs start at around $199 / month per user, and that’s after the $2K Kickstart fee which covers your training and personal consultant (and is well worth this money). The training is effective and by the time you’re done, you will be across the software and how to use it in – and on – your business. Infusionsoft does not offer any free trial period.
Think Infusionsoft’s the one for you? You may be right. To talk through all your options, book a free Business System & Strategy Consultation with our experts today.
Key Features of Infusionsoft:
Infusionsoft’s main features include:
- Contact Management
- Customer Service
- Marketing Automation
- Sales Automation
- Campaign Management
- Campaign Performance Reports
- Email Marketing
- Email Triggers
- Lead Management
- Lead Tracking
- Marketing Automation
- Sales and CRM Integration
- Social Media
- Web Analytics
- Collaboration Centre
Which One Should You Choose?
Are you after a sales and marketing automation system, with decent CRM functionality? Or are you looking for a CRM that can handle a few low-key marketing campaigns? To make this decision, I encourage you to examine your business goals and think through where you want to be in one year. Five years? Ten? It is worthwhile thinking through the flexibility of the systems you’re considering. A system that you’re going to have to replace in a few years as your business outpaces or outgrows it may not be the best investment, even though the economics seem to make the most sense right now.
Talk to an expert about what you need – because while there are dozens of CRM options out there, they won’t all deliver to your requirements. Our expert consultants have tried and tested just about every system for small businesses that is out there. Contact one of them for a free Strategy & Systems consultation today.
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