Tony Holowitz: Your Act CRM Software Expert

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Act Less. Sell More.

Act CRM is designed to be a great Sales and Marketing Tool

 In the last week I have worked with two new clients that have had a major Act CRM problem.  The first client sent me a list of all the fields and changes he wanted to make to Act to make Act perfect for his business.The second client reach out to me for help with organizing the industry type field he had created so he could create the perfect MailChimp email campaign.  He should not be using MailChimp he should be using Act’s new marketing automation instead.  He was so proud because when he showed me his database it was impeccable.  It was so organized and exactly what he had been working towards for at least the last six months.

So, what is the problem here?

On the surface everything was perfect.  Act was going to be perfect for them.  Everything was in its place.  But there was just one gigantic issue that I saw right away with both clients:

They Forgot to Sell.

They were spending so much time acting as database managers that they did nothing with their Act database that would create revenue and profits for their business.  Really.  They spent all their time planning and organizing and not one email was sent to a prospect.  No phone calls were made to clients or prospects.

This is not the way to use Act CRM!

Act CRM is designed to be a phenomenal sales and marketing tool for the business owner or salesperson that relies on Act software to keep them organized and selling.  Do not get me wrong, I am not picking on these two gentlemen even though it might seem like that at this very moment.  My advice to both of my clients was to sell more and organize less.  I showed him how to accomplish that plan.

Act and Microsoft Outlook form a great team.

I proceeded to show them how you could instantly send an email out to 25 contacts.  I asked them to type a simple sales message and we sent an email to 25 people.  It took about two minutes of our time after we wrote the initial email text.  The next 25 contacts will take about a minute.

There is no excuse not to sell.

Act and Microsoft Outlook make it easy to send out emails in a consistent and timely manner.  In fact, it is the great equalizer for the small businessperson.  My argument was that if they threw enough out there and up against the wall something would stick.  The goal was simple: touch people with email.  Once you get in the habit of staying in touch with people there is a good chance someone might just buy something from you.

Stop organizing and start selling.  Please.

Act Marketing Automation Drip Marketing Campaign: A Charity Fundraiser

I want to state right up front that I am offering my opinions and I am also oversimplifying some of the features of Act’s new email program called Act Marketing Automation.

The reason for this is so that I do not confuse you with the subtle differences between the three programs they offer. As of August 2019, they have three programs named Professional, Premier and Ultimate. My focus is going to be on their Professional and Premier programs. The ultimate program simply offers more emails per month.

Just remember I am oversimplifying some of the differences.

The major difference between the professional and Premier programs that Act offers is the inclusion of drip marketing. The professional program is a straightforward email program in the premier program offers drip marketing.

The drip marketing component offers a wide range of possibilities. It is complex. It can be confusing and frustrating. It takes some work, training and patience. I liken it to hiring a salesperson and having to train them. It can be expensive: $2400 per year. However, $420 of that amount is the price of one Act subscription or license for the year. Let me offer up an example of how this can work for your company if you have 10 Act software subscribers. The first license would be $2400 and each additional license for the next nine people in your company would be billed at $420 per year each.

Who should spend $2400 per year on Act Marketing Automation? To be frank, I believe you are going to need some consulting help to get this up and running quickly and correctly. There are too many variables to consider when setting up this program. More on that later. I believe you should plan that Act Marketing Automation will cost you an additional $700-$1500 in the first year in consulting and training expenses bringing your first-year expense to approximately $4000. That is the number I am going to use for the purpose of talking about Act Marketing Automation and drip marketing. Just for the record, Act has created a series of excellent training videos for you do-it-yourselfers.

If you sell a product or service in which one sale can create a profit greater than the $4000 cost then you should be using this tool without any doubt. As you learn more about what it can do I think doubt will become readily apparent to you.

Campaign example number one: The Pan Mass Challenge

For the last 18 years I have been riding a charity bike ride called the Pan mass challenge. Over the years I have had approximately 200 different people contribute to my ride. All of these contacts are in Act. I have a field in Act called donor and a second field called 2019. All past donors will get a series of emails from me asking for a donation. When they donate, I put the amount of their donation in the 2019 field.

I created a dynamic group that contains all donors that have not yet donated in 2019.  The drip marketing campaign sends a new email to all the individuals that have yet to donate.

The importance of groups when working with Act Marketing Automation

When you decide to send out an email you must create a campaign. A campaign is made up of the steps or the number of emails you decide to send. How does Act marketing automation determine who to send the emails to? This is based on groups. Now I am a big fan of groups and this is the first area in which you will most likely need some help and training to understand how groups work and the power of using groups. One of the challenges of Act Marketing Automation is that it works best if your data is organized well within Act. If your data is poorly organized this process will force your hand to think about your data and how you can better organize it to make it more efficient and profitable. The whole process of going through Act Marketing Automation can have awesome side benefits that you will not have thought of or anticipated as an Act user. It will make your whole lifetime experience of using Act better.

I created a group in Act using group membership rules that grouped all the contacts in Act in which Donor was present in the PMC alumni donor field and the PMC 2019 field was blank. I wanted the first email to go out to everyone that had donor in the PMC alumni donor field. Obviously, once they donated I did not want them to get another email. Therefore, after they donated I would put the amount of the donation in the PMC 2019 field. Hence, they would automatically be taken out of the Act group. The only ones left in Act group were the individuals that had not donated yet.

The whole concept of creating groups can be confusing and I will help you through that process. Do not worry about it all.  This is what the campaign looked like in its workflow:

So now that I have decided who I want to send it to using a group and decided how often within the campaign, the next step is to create a template to send out to my past donors. This is the template that I used:


This campaign was very effective and easy to use.  In total, approximately 60 people have donated over $6500 on my behalf to the Pan Mass Challenge.  In total, the PMC expects to raise more than $61 million dollars this year.  That is not a typo.  Now in its 40th year, the PMC has raised over $700 Million dollars.  Again, not a typo.  To learn more please visit

Act Groups: Group Therapy Part 1 – Bad Groups

An Act database can hold thousands of contacts and  many of my clients have no idea how to find the contacts in Act that are relevant to their business; for example, prospects and clients.

Act users that don’t take the time to organize their contacts properly  usually mean that they they cannot find them when they need them.  That can make ACT more work than it’s worth and I’m here to tell you there is a better and easier way to manage your contacts with Act.  Many of my clients use groups to organize their contacts and this approach is fraught with problems.  These tutorials on working with groups will teach you an approach to managing your contacts.

Act Groups: Manual Groups

Imagine for a moment that you owned and operated an ice cream shop and you kept all of your customers and prospects in act. Then imagine that you had a number of contacts whose first name was John. You also kept track of their favorite types of ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio and coffee ice cream.  Next, you want to look up all the people whose first name is John and whose favorite ice cream is strawberry. You can do all of this manually in act and with the results you can move all of these contacts into a group called people named John whose favorite ice cream is strawberry. What this does for you is to create a group of all of these people so the next time you want to find these people, you don’t have to go through so many steps. That is the basic idea of groups.  Unfortunately, just last week, two new people whose first name is John and whose favorite ice cream is strawberry entered your database. But they are not in the group because you forgot to put them there. This is where groups start to break down and I am going to show you how to deal with that problem.

Group Membership Rules (Dynamic Groups)

Group membership rules allow you to create rules in act that will automatically put certain people in a group. At this very moment you might not recognize how powerful a tool this can be, but let me tell you this can be the game changer that you are looking for when it comes to managing and keeping your contacts and act organized.

Goals are the key to effective groups.

Act Quotes: Creating a Quote in Act by Swiftpage

I don’t typically need to use sales quotes in my day-to-day business. My business practices are rather simple and can be explained with a simple email.

Act has a sales quote function built right into it and I have never used it. Yes, I have looked at it. Yesterday I wrote about sales quoting software for act (that also incorporates sales opportunities and Microsoft Word) and I failed to mention this fact. I don’t use sales quotes within act. To the best of my knowledge or memory, nobody that I know (that uses act) has ever asked me about it or told me that they use it. Make the I should give it another look. Or maybe I shouldn’t.

Act Quotes: Creating a Quote in Act by Swiftpage


Have a Monday Plan for Act

I always tell my act clients that it is essential to have a Monday plan for act.


As an act certified consultant (ACC) I teach people how to make the most out of act, and if you don’t have a plan for your business, act won’t be as successful as it could be. Act’s effectiveness will be diminished greatly if you don’t have a road map for act.

Let me clarify something: I don’t teach people how to become act experts, as much as, I teach people how to utilize act as a tool to help them in their business. It comes down to selling, and selling comes down to never letting prospects and clients slip through the cracks. So let’s make a plan for Mondays.

In an upcoming post, I will outline the questions you need to ask yourself to create a Monday plan. In addition, I will provide you with a worksheet to help you outline your Monday plan.

Contact Me to Help you with your Monday Plan | Tony Holowitz: 781-728-9777

Act CRM compatible with Windows 10?

Act Today is based in Australia. They are a firm of act consultants and on occasion I like to feature some of the great posts that my fellow act certified consultants have created for their clients. Here is a great article that I urge you to read.

Act Today Logo6 Factors to Consider Before Upgrading to Windows 10

Microsoft released Windows 10 on the 29th July 2015. Marketed as the ‘best Windows ever’, Microsoft are offering a free upgrade for the the first year after the launch. Windows 10 is ‘packed with new innovations’, however there are a few factors that you need to consider before taking up their enticing offer.

  1. Any new release of Windows often includes some bugs. Its always best best to wait until first update is available and let the ‘others’ figure out the bugs
  2. Not all of your applications would necessarily be Windows 10 certified causing possible issues and a loss of productivity
  3. Windows 10 only supports Microsoft SQL 2012 and 2014 which is used by Act! version 17
  4. Windows 10 does NOT support Microsoft SQL 2008 which is used by Act! version 16 and below
  5. If you upgrade Act! to version 17, SQL 2008 will still be the current SQL version so you will need to upgrade SQL to 2012 or 2014
  6. No previous versions of Act! will be certified with Windows 10…only future versions (v18+).

Windows 10 has a high level of security and tends to lock down your system. Some of our customers have upgraded to Windows 10 already and have found that Act! will not open. Microsoft Windows 10In these cases we have had to reset the security features in Windows and/or upgrade to Microsoft SQL 2014 in order to get Act! to work. So even though Act! does not ‘officially’ support Windows 10 – Act! v17 will operate on it – just may need some tweaking*.We highly recommend that you take into consideration the loss of productivity that may result from upgrading to Windows 10. Additionally, the ‘free’ upgrade may end up costing you as IT support will be necessary to get your applications running (and not just Act!).

For more information see the Act! Knowledge Base: Is Act! compatible with Windows® 10?If you would like to discuss the compatibility between Act! and Windows 10 please contact us.For more information see Known Issues and Workarounds for using Act v17 and later with Windows 10

Date Posted August 3, 2015 Written by Michael Bryant

Source: Act CRM compatible with Windows 10?

About Michael Bryant

With over 23 years experience with Act!, Michael is an internationally recognized expert in the industry. As well as providing ongoing consulting services to his clients, Michael has also managed to build a team of the best Act! consultants in Australasia. Read more

Where Do You Want to Go And Can Act Help You Get There?

Act software is a tool that helps take us someplace.

I’m a software teacher. My business revolves around helping people make the most of the software they use every day. That is why it is important to sometimes completely forget about software and to reflect on what is really important.

Many of the people I work with our individual act users in small businesses and they use act to run their day-to-day operations. They keep track of clients and prospects in act in an effort to keep their business sales humming along. They also deal with issues related to working with software; believe it or not, software breaks or doesn’t quite work the way we anticipated. To fix it requires our time and energy and sometimes it can be very frustrating.

Do I have to Upgrade Act?

Last week I recommended that a client spent $240 to upgrade their version of act to solve a problem. For some of my clients, $240 is a big deal and I get that because they have better things to spend their money on. Their family, their home and other business expenses. But at the end of the day spending $240 is nothing if you can get the software to take you further along in your journey to be productive.

When we have days that we are frustrated by software, such as act software, it is important to keep in mind how little it costs in comparison to what it does for us. At the end of the day, we want to go someplace and if we manage it properly, act can help us get there. Never forget that fact.

Where do you want to go?