tips Archives - Caldere Associates

Customise Your Web Info Pages

By | Act!, CRM, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

Get even more info in Web Info!

The Web Info tab in the Contact Detail Page is a powerful way to pull in Internet information that pertains to your contacts. The included links perform searches based on the information found in your contact record. You can search for a contact’s Internet presence in several social media networks, find news or location information in Google News and Google Maps, and link to the contact’s website. We covered how to access and use the basic Web Info functionality in this recent article.

In that article, I promised to show you how to add more functionality to the Web Info tab. You can add links to different pages. You can use existing links as templates to create similar links that draw from different fields in your contact record. You can remove links if they provide no useful information for your database. The way to do this is to access the Edit Links functionality on the Web Info tab.

How do I add a new link?

First, you need to remember that the Edit Links functionality affects the Web Info page of every contact in your database. You don’t have to use a link if it doesn’t pertain to a contact, but the link will be present on the Web Info page anyway. Also, if you delete a link, it deletes that link for every contact.

Let’s look first at an example of adding a link type to the list. Maybe you’d like to add company information from your Hoovers Online subscription to the available links shown from within your contact. (Hoovers is one of the websites that are useful for sales people who want to prequalify prospect companies, or who want to find the names and contact information for their key personnel.)

  • First, navigate to the Web Info tab of your contact’s Detail Page, and click Edit Links on the left.

  • The Edit User Links dialog box will appear. To begin adding your new link type, click Add.

  • A new line will appear in the list. Enter the new link type name in the Site Name column. Double-click the next space to activate it, and enter or paste the link to the page (in this case, the Company Search page) in the URL column. Click OK to exit.

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  • The new link will appear in the list with the name you specified. Clicking on it will bring up the page associated with the URL you entered. Act! will insert the new link name alphabetically into the list after you refresh the page.

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OK, that’s simple. How do I make a more advanced link?

The first way to make a more advanced link is to write HTML code into your link. To request Act! to perform a search automatically when you click on a search page link, instead of just bringing up the webpage, you need to know a little about how the webpage performs a search. In the case of the Hoovers website, the code for the search functionality is http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/company-search.html?term=caldere%20associates where the section ?term=caldere%20associates means “use Caldere Associates as the search term”.

In order to make Act! automatically search on the contact’s Company on the Hoovers site, you will use ?term= plus the Act! code for the Company field to construct your new link. The field code is {Company}, so the entire advanced link will be http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/company-search.html?term={Company}.

  • Enter the entire new link you constructed into the URL column of the Edit User Links dialog box for the Hoovers Online link, and click OK to complete the edit.

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  • Clicking the new link will bring up the page with the search automatically performed on the value in the Company field.

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What about Advanced Edit?

Advanced Edit is just a way to build a custom link without having to remember how to type in the Act! field codes. You can edit an existing link, or you can copy and paste an existing link with a new name, then edit the new link. For example, let’s say I want to create a new Google search type that searches not on the contact name, but on the company. To narrow the search results, I’ll include the city in the search term, too. Here’s how to proceed.

  • Click Edit Links to bring up the Edit User Links dialog box. Double-click the URL of the existing Google Search link to make it live, then copy the URL. Click Cancel. Click Yes when asked whether you wish to discard your changes.

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  • Click Edit Links again to reopen Edit User Links. Click Add and create a new link, Google Company and City, using the URL you copied. Click OK to save your new link. Click Edit Links again, then click once on your new link. Click Advanced Edit… to open the Advanced Edit dialog box.

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  • In the Source URL section of the Advanced Edit dialog, carefully edit out {Contact} from the text box. Leaving your cursor at the end of the URL in the text box, make sure Contact Fields is selected in the Select Fields section.Choose Company in the list, then click Add to enter {Company} into the URL. Type a space after {Company}, because in Google Search, search terms are separated by a space. Then click City and Add to enter {Cityinto the URL. (As a check, you will see the Act! Field Name entered below. The example values from your contact are shown in Example Value. Each contact will have its own values for Company and City and the search will use the values for the selected contact.)

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  • Click OK to save your changes. When you click the new link, it will automatically perform the search you set up based on the fields you chose (yellow rectangles).

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Why Do You Need CRM? Top Six Reasons

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Here’s what CRM really is

Businesses often use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technology without a clear understanding of why they should use it, or even what it is. As a CRM professional, I often have trouble explaining to people what it is I do. My mother-in-law, in her mid-60s, understood when I told her, “Imagine if your Rolodex automatically kept track of every contact and every meeting you had with the people you dealt with in your business, and let you search within all that information for things you need to know” (she’s a smart lady, but she’s not a data professional). Since we at Caldere are professionals who use, maintain, and administer data, and you probably are too if you are reading this blog, we need to understand CRM a bit more technically.

Salesforce Europe provide a good starting definition:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with your customers and potential customers.

On a deeper level, Bain & Company think of CRM as a process that companies use to understand and react to their customers:

CRM technology allows firms to collect and manage large amounts of customer data and then carry out strategies based on that information. Data collected through focused CRM initiatives help firms solve specific problems throughout their customer relationship cycle—the chain of activities from the initial targeting of customers to efforts to win them back for more.

Clearly CRM technology is something that modern businesses need if they are to keep up with the information they gather daily about the people who are most important to them.

Some top reasons why businesses need CRM

6. Your paper “solutions” aren’t good enough anymore

Are you one of those people who has to have the latest TV and mobile phone, and perhaps a cool laptop to take to the coffee shop, but in your office you make do with collections of business cards and 3-ring binders full of notes? CRM technology is as critical to business as Google is to using the Internet. You can’t tap a phrase into a file cabinet and have it arrange your information so that it shows just the contacts who meet your criteria. You can send a paper marketing mailout, but you won’t get the attention of people who check their email twenty times for every time they check their post.

5. You don’t need to worry that you’ll lose your data

Office administrators know how vulnerable your paper notes are to being mislaid, misorganised, or discarded. IT professionals, similarly, know how vulnerable data is even when it is stored on your laptop or desktop, or on your office server. Servers can crash. Hard drives can fail. But a good CRM solution, administered by a good CRM provider, will be structured in a secure manner on servers that are maintained and backed up regularly. The advent of cloud computing brings you data anywhere and anytime, so long as you can access a connection. No matter where you are in the world, the critical customer data you gather is immediately accessible to your colleagues in every other location where you do business.

4. Your information is centralised

Similarly, customer and client information does nobody any good when it is locked into separate laptops accessible only to single users. Emails are usually stored in a single system, but are invisible to other people who work with the same clients. Communicating through a CRM system allows everyone in your organisation to see and keep up with what is happening to your relationship with a given client. Nobody has to look unprepared or uninformed because they missed the latest discussion or a critical meeting. Every piece of information can be made available to everyone who needs to know.

3. You can understand the past

There’s really no good way to look back into the history of your relationship with a customer without using CRM technology. If you want to look back in time and understand how things have progressed, you need a solution that tracks all of their communication… their sales history… their feedback… their issues. You’ll be able to save clients by knowing how to anticipate their needs and forestall common problems. You’ll be able to create marketing materials based on purchase and communication history.

2. You can coordinate the present

Using what you’ve learned about the relationship you have with your customers, you can make your business into a responsive and confident authority. You can design programs that give your customers the right kind of customer service experience. You can get sales and support staff talking to each other so that they can work together to give customers what they only guess they’ll need next. You can use customer feedback to tell you where your resources are best spent. You can use past sales history to suggest what potential maintenance issues a customer might be facing. In addition, you can plan your time using built-in calendar and task management so that every process is done right the first time.

1. You can foretell the future

Once you understand the past, and know what to do in the present, you will have a reasonably good idea what your efforts now will give rise to in the future. Things that used to come as complete surprises will be explainable, and you can plan for them, when you know why and how they happened. The better your data is in your history, and the better you track your campaigns, projects, and events, the more you can know about what is likely to happen in days, weeks, or months… with respect to individual clients, client companies, locations, or entire markets with which you have a relationship. New technology such as Business Intelligence (BI) can give you even more detailed predictive analysis to make the future much easier to plan for and to help you ask the right questions of your valuable data.

How can my company get more out of CRM?

Every company has some sort of customer relationship management system, even if it’s just a few accounts held in the CEO’s memory. Caldere, experts in CRM technology, can help you evaluate your current system and show you ways to better organise your data so it is more transparent and accessible. Effective, powerful solutions are available for every type of organisation. No organisation can afford to fall behind when it comes to managing their relationships with their customers. Contact us for a meeting and demonstration so we can show you what the current state of the technology is, and find the best solution for your needs.

Improve Your “Social” Life with Web Info

By | Act!, CRM, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

Why should I use Web Info when I already use Social Updates?

In our previous post, we showed you a quick and simple way to link your contacts’ Facebook and Linked In social media profiles to their record in your Act! CRM database by using the Social Updates tab. But your contact has more online presence than a Facebook and Linked In account. They use email. They have a personal or professional website. They have a physical location where they might meet with you. Other people might write about them, such as investment sites or feedback forums. You can link to all this by using the Web Info tab.

Like the Social Updates tab, the Web Info tab uses Internet Explorer to open the Internet information you want to associate with your contact. All it takes is a few clicks. You can even tell Act! to link to additional information you specify (I’ll be covering this in an upcoming blog post). All of this will be included in your contact record and accessible from within Act!.

Sounds good! How do I do that?

Start by accessing your contact’s record in your Act! CRM database.

  • Login to your Act! database. Navigate to the Detail View of a contact whose Internet information you wish to view.

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  • Click the Web Info tab.

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  • Choose one of the User Links on the left side of the tab to view that page on the Internet. In the example below, I’ve chosen Google Driving Directions. Act! entered the contact’s address automatically as the destination (yellow rectangles), and I entered the starting point.

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Contact’s Website will bring up the URL of the contact if it is listed in the Web Site field, and if the page is working (the example site is real, but there is no information in it). Google Maps will automatically show you the location in the Address fields. Google News Search will bring up a search in Google News with your contact’s name (the Contact field) as the search term. Google Search will perform a basic Google search on your contact’s name.

For other choices under User Links, you may need to enter some information when Web Info brings up the web page. You may already have Facebook and LinkedIn configured on the Social Updates tab, but they will not necessarily be configured the same way here.

How do I change what I see on this tab?

There are some controls at the top of the tab that allow you to work with what is presented.

  • The four buttons at the top of the tab are the same as Back, Forward, Reload, and Stop Load in your regular browser.

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  • Choosing Open Browser will open an external instance of Internet Explorer to the selected page. Copy Link will copy the URL of the selected page so you can paste it into a different browser or into a document.

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  • If you have opened a search result from one of the search pages, or navigated to an interesting web page, clicking Attach Web Page will insert the selected URL into your contact’s History so you can refer to it later.

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  • Clicking Increase Tab Size temporarily increases the height of the tab so that it covers the Detail Page information and gives you better visibility of the web page. When the tab is expanded, Increase Tab Size changes to Decrease Tab Size. Clicking Decrease Tab Size resets the tab to its original size.

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That’s great as far as it goes, but didn’t you mention I could include additional information?

Yes, you can customise your User Links! You can change existing links, use existing links as templates to make similar links based on different fields, or add new links based on useful information. Since this functionality is a bit more complex and some changes involve simple coding, I’ll cover that in another post. You’ll access this functionality through Edit Links.

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Click this link to access the next post about how to use Edit Links to add more info to your Web Info!

Contacts Tell All in Social Media… Are You Listening?

By | Act!, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

How much easier would your job be if you had a way to use social media to:

  • See and interact with your contact’s LinkedIn and Facebook sites directly from within their contact record in your database?
  • Engage with your contacts by reacting to and commenting on their posts, sending messages, and encouraging them to use their social media to keep current with you?
  • Monitor your contacts so your sales and marketing can provide them with the right communication at the right time?
  • Identify prospects linked to your contacts by “friend” and “connection” links, and expand your network by associating with them?
  • Help you fill in the blanks in your contact records?
  • Use what your contact says about themselves and their lives to discover their interests, needs and wants, and to use note-taking and history functionality to personalise your offerings to them?

Did you know Act! already has a quick and simple way to allow you to do this? You don’t have to purchase or program anything. Just access the Social Updates tab from within your contact’s record. The Social Updates tab uses Internet Explorer to give you access to LinkedIn and Facebook.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Login to your Act! database. Navigate to the Detail View of a contact whose LinkedIn or Facebook profile you wish to view.

Navigate to your contact's Detail View

  • Click the Social Updates tab.

Click the Social Updates tab

  • Click either LinkedIn or Facebook, depending on which social media profile you wish to view for the contact. Then click the matching search result shown in the tab to bring up their profile. Note: You may be prompted to log in to your Facebook or LinkedIn account if you do not already have Internet Explorer configured to remember your login. If so, log in before proceeding to the next step.

Choose LinkedIn or Facebook and select the correct record from the search results

  • After verifying that you have accessed the correct profile, click Remember This Page to save the page so that it will automatically open when you return to the contact’s Social Updates tab.

Click Remember This Page to create a link between the contact and the selected social media page

  • If desired, repeat the same process for the other social media site.

Choosing Facebook

Note that in Facebook, if you are already “friends” with the contact, you will be able to see their page and their publicly shared content without any trouble. However, if you are not “friends” with the contact, you should click “Add Friend” in order to also see what they share with people they are connected to.

Important to know:

It is not possible to remove the association so that there is no longer any link. However, if you want to change the link, you can browse to a different page and then click Remember This Page so that you associate the new page with the Act! contact.

What if the Social Updates tab stops showing the right page?

If after some time the correct page is no longer displayed when you click LinkedIn or Facebook, then it is likely that the URL of the correct page has been changed by the social media site. Try to search for the page again in the site using the contact’s name. If you find it, open it and click Remember This Page to associate the new, correct URL to the contact.

What if I want to link to other social media pages besides LinkedIn and Facebook?

It is possible to link to another social media page, such as Twitter or even the contact’s own website, from within the contact record, but you cannot use the Social Updates tab to do so. Instead, you can use the Web Info tab. The Web Info tab allows you to specify a list of pages that you want to associate with the contact, or that you might find useful to have at your fingertips when working with the contact.

Continue to the next post about how to use the Web Info tab to link to other sorts of information about your contact!

Time Management (and Tomatoes)

By | Act!, CRM, Tips and Tricks, Training | One Comment
By Meeta Gargav

It’s October, which means it’s supposedly a time of mists and mellow fruitfulness. I’m not sure about the mists, and as for the mellow fruitfulness, all I can say is that my greenhouse tomatoes are still looking decidedly green and unappetising. I had such hope for them when I sowed the seeds back in March. Ah well, there’s always chutney as a standby – again.

So, what else does October have in store? Of course, Bake Off is already back on TV (sadly without any recipes for what to do with a ton of green tomatoes!). In terms of events to plan for, we’ve got Diwali just a few weeks away, followed by half-term at the end of the month, then Halloween and then Bonfire Night.

After that little lot all attention switches to the big event that happens every year in December. Don’t worry, I’m not going to name it, but it’s a shocking revelation to realise that there’s just a little over 10 weeks until the big day. Seems like an age but you know it’s going to be on top of us before we know it. One lesson I’ve learned from previous years is to start planning as soon as possible to give yourself as big a head-start as you can, and that, with everything else going on, requires some pretty good time management.

My planning arrangements for Christmas (there, I’ve said it) can just as equally be applied to the office environment, where time management is even more critical to meeting deadlines. Any tools that can assist in achieving targets have to be regarded as a good thing. This reminded me of some recent findings I saw published by Forrester Research. They showed that:

24% of respondents are NOT using any CRM system … and of those that do use CRM, up to 60% fail to meet expectations.

So, to summarise, one in four people aren’t using a CRM system. If we save 15 minutes a day, we are saving a full day every month. Think about the time we spend looking for emails or setting up activities:

The minutes add up faster than you think!

Some of the benefits to be gained from using a CRM system include the following key point: Act! is fully integrated with Microsoft Outlook, which means we can send emails straight from Act! Think of how much time that could save.

In order to do this, you’ll need to set it up as follows.

  • From the Contact List View, highlight the contact name that you want to email. Right click on that name.

Highlight the contact name that you want to email. Right click on that name.

  • This will bring up the shortcut menu where you need to select Write -> Email. This will then open up a ready addressed email for you to write.

This will then open up a ready addressed email for you to write.

  • Once you have finished writing the email, click Send and, hey presto, you will automatically be returned to your Act! database.

E-mail shown in Contact History

What’s more, the email you have just written and sent will be attached to the contact card within the Act! database. Nothing could be simpler.

There are a few other ways to access email from Act!.

  • From the Contact Detail View, click on the email address within the E-mail field:

 From the Contact Detail View click on the email address within the “E-mail” field:

  • From the Contact Detail View, right click your mouse on a blank area. This will bring up the shortcut menu where you can then select Write -> E-mail:

 From the Contact Detail View right click your mouse on a blank area. This will bring up the shortcut menu where you can then select Write -> E-mail:

  • Within the Contact Detail View, go to the top menu bar and select Write ->Email Message:

 Within the Contact Detail View go to the top menu bar and select Write ->Email Message:

Try each of them and see which one you prefer. Hope it helps you save a little time.

Meanwhile, I need to start preparing myself for Diwali. Oh, and maybe I should think about planting my tomatoes a little earlier next year.

Now then where did I put my recipe for green tomato chutney?

Spring has sprung! Prune your duplicates!

By | Act!, CRM, Maintenance, Uncategorized | No Comments

Spring has sprung…or has it? Make pruning duplicates part of your database spring cleaning!

I had such high hopes for a decent spring turning into a super summer. It all looked so promising, but here we are instead in a wet and decidedly soggy June, wearing macs and Wellington boots and hoping for an improvement in temperatures and all things summery. Wasn’t there a song about June bursting out all over? Seems to me June’s not so much bursting out as stopping indoors in the warm and dry. Frankly, I can’t say as I blame her.

Disappointing though, isn’t it? I mean, we wait all year long for a bit of half-decent weather, and when we should by rights be expecting to slap on a bit of SPF, instead we get weather resembling something Noah might have seen as he stood on the prow of his boat. So much for Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the Summertime’ – this year’s theme song ought to be ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ minus the singing.

I really shouldn’t be surprised though. After all, it’s Wimbledon in a couple of weeks’ time, and it would be too much to expect a guarantee of good weather as we cheer Andy Murray to victory on his home turf. Now I’m not a player of tennis, you understand, but I do like to watch a few matches with a bowl of strawberries in one hand and a glass of chilled white in the other. Nothing finer on a nice summer’s day – when we have them. Maybe I ought to bite the bullet and start watching the football instead. After all, they seem to be enjoying better weather in France.  Unfortunately, though, football doesn’t score with me the way tennis does.

With summer turning into a washout, I am resolved to doing something constructive instead of lamenting what I’m missing out on. It’s not exactly glamorous or especially fun, but with nothing better to do it seems like a sensible option to tackle a bit of postponed spring cleaning.

By the way, in case you were wondering what I did on leap day (yes, I’d almost forgotten too, it was so long ago), I managed to tackle:

  • Check the database for duplicates
  • Clean out old data
  • Database repair
  • Database backup

Duplicate Checking

Within Act! duplicate checking criteria is set as default.  An administrator can change these criteria to best suit our business.

Method to set duplicate checking:

  • Within the database select Tools -> Preferences.

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Act! Training: Don’t Lose Touch!

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We all know that maintaining relations with our contacts is a critical part of turning prospects into customers and customers into loyal fans. It is so easy with CRM functionality such as Act! to keep all the information we have on our customers, prospects, and suppliers in one easy place, such as calls we have made, appointments we have scheduled, or, of course, e-mails. This is in addition to information such as opportunities or targeted marketing to help us sell more of our products or services.

As our customer/prospect base grows and we start to get busy, it is easy to forget about past customers and focus on new business. This tip gives us a quick way to locate contact who have fallen of the radar due to inactivity.  Conversely, we may want to locate contacts that we have been actively working with so we can maximise our marketing effort to close those opportunities.

Act! Training: Locating Recently Modified Contacts

To locate Contacts or Opportunities that have been modified recently or those that have not been worked on lately, we can use the Lookup feature in Act! to find Contacts, Opportunities, Notes, Histories, and more based on a modification date. After locating our contacts or opportunities, we can focus on re-engaging these contacts (in the case of inactive contacts) or increasing our marketing efforts to close sales with active accounts.

  • Click on the Lookup Menu and select Contact Activity.

  • Within the Contact Activity screen:
    • In Look for Contacts that have:, select Changed.
    • In Since Date, choose the start date for the update period you want to search (the end date is today’s date by default).
    • In Search In, select one or more data areas to search (Contact Fields, Notes, Opportunities, Histories, and/or Activities). If you choose Histories or Activities, also specify one or more events to use in the search, or All to include everything in the data area in the search.

Act! Premium CRM Contact Activity

  • Click OK to look up records based on the selected criteria.

Act! Premium Contact list View with Lookup

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