A couple of obscure questions came up this week about using Sage ACT! Software and also one that many people think is a “gotcha.”
Q – When using Swiftpage for a newsletter, it will not recognize my secondary contacts. How do I include them in my email blast?
A – Sage ACT! only recognizes primary email addresses. This can also be a problem for insurance agents, stock brokers and financial planners who capture spouse and child data in their ACT! contact management systems. The best time to figure out how to email secondary and additional contacts in a company or family is before you build your database. But if you’re past that stage already, then consider “promoting” your secondary contacts to primary contacts, then linking them via the Relationship tab (in ACT! 2008 – 2012).
Q – I work in St. Louis, MO, and I have 10 users on my ACT! contact management system. They like to “freelance” the entry of the city name as STL, St.L, or Saint Louis. The Edit List feature won’t let me fix the variations to standardize the list. It drives me crazy.
A – The city field can be modified in Tools > Define Fields. Go in and clean up all the variations on the drop-down list. Then check the profile setting to “Limit to List” which will allow users to choose a city name only from the drop-down menu. If you need to add a city, go back into Tools > Define Fields to do it. To fix the mistakes already in your database, do a lookup of your entire database in the List View. Tag records that have non-standard entries. Then Lookup Selected. Use Edit > Replace Field to standardize the city names to “St. Louis.” (This process works on any field, but run a backup of your database before you use the Edit > Replace Field feature, as changes will overwrite any value in that field and cannot be undone.)
Q – I’m using an old version ACT! Software. If I want to use all the new features in ACT 2011 or 2012, I have to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010. That’s a little costly.
A – What can we tell you? Software companies are in the business of releasing new software to provide more features and a better user experience. Unfortunately, those pesky software engineers want to be paid for what they create. Cloud computing (like Salesforce.com) promises to change all that, but the trade off is you pay for your software in perpetuity, kind of like a data plan on your smart phone bill (but typically several times that much).
As value added resellers of Sage ACT!, we frequently witness the utter lack of attention spent by many of our clients on planning their technology upgrades–until something stops working, crashes or they inadvertently upgrade something they shouldn’t have.
We’re all for not spending money you don’t have to, but if your technology is more than 3 years old or you plan to purchase new workstations, laptops or tablets, have a chat with your IT expert first. Make a list of all your software (including your server software) and find out what the system specs are for each program–especially the mission critical ones like your contact management or accounting software.
Laptops used to be on an 18-month obsolescence track; we’re sure it’s much faster than that now with all the new devices released seemingly every month. Do not expect or assume that all your toys will continue to work in harmony. Upgrading any part of your technology may trigger a domino effect.
Even internet browsers can cause a conflict. Swiftpage Email, for example, is not yet compatible with Firefox 4.0.1, and Firefox has no “downgrade” after you upgrade. So before you upgrade anything, check it out with IT or each software app’s technical support center to find out what will be compatible with your current technology if you upgrade.
If you have any questions about whether ACT! will play nicely with any of your current or prospective software apps, call us at 1-314-485-4350 or use our Contact Us form to ask.