Leveraging ACT! Contact Manager
by Dan Ogdon
ACT! has certainly proven itself to play an important role in your business. From simple contact management to contact segmentation, you may feel it has accomplished everything you hoped it could. Is there more?!
With nearly 3 million people using ACT! as a contact manager, there must be a group of people that are getting more out of the application than maintaining a history of customer touch points. So, how do you leverage ACT! and the existing contact data to bring more value to your business? What makes a lead more valuable than another…document downloads, webinar signups, requests for more information?
So, where does ACT! really shine and provide value in itself right out of the box? Customer segmentation. Based on contact history, you may query referral source, industry, product interest, etc. The ability to filter to form customer segments on many levels is tremendously valuable in the search to further qualify your leads and pull them through the sales cycle in the most efficient manner.
Use a real example
Why is this important? Relevancy. As you continue customer outreach, the more relevant data you can provide each one of your segments, the more value you will be providing them. For example purposes, say you a printing company. If one of your lead generation efforts includes hosting a webinar on the benefits of a new faster, cleaner printing process and another lead generation effort consists of website visitors signing up for a newsletter on ink performance, it would only make sense to send printing information to the one segment and ink info to the other. This is not to say there is no cross-sell/up-sell opportunity, but that’s simply a further segmentation effort.
So, you are gathering customer data through a number of different inlets and have been strategic in keeping your brand in front of as many prospective leads as possible. What’s the next step? Where in the sales cycle can you draw the most value and learn who you’re A,B and C leads are?
Take the filtered, targeted leads you have obtained and decide which segment should receive what information. Design highly relevant campaigns for each segment with more than one strategic touch point in mind. To begin, There is no faster or more efficient way to qualify a large amount of customers than email. Let your customers further qualify themselves and follow by delivering content they are interested in.
Relevency will get you the open rates
What can you learn from an email campaign and why is this one of the most effective lead qualification tools in your marketing efforts? First, it is the easiest way to reach a large customer segment. By properly wording subject lines that will encourage opening, it is not uncommon to receive open rates far above the industry standard 30%. Next, by providing highly relevant, targeted content in the email with a direct call to action or enough interesting content to garner a ‘read more’ interest, you may begin to gather the most interested contacts. Any action taken by the customer having to do with the email campaign, including opens, clicks, forwards etc. can be taken in and scored to rank contacts against one another.
A customer that opens your email three separate times, clicks on 4 links, one including a sign up for a demo and forward the email twelve times is certainly more qualified than a customer that open your email once and never clicks on a single link. Don’t you want to call the first customer before the second?
By using an email campaign service provider that is directly integrated into ACT! you will never have to leave your application to segment, choose the campaign to mail, deploy the campaign and receive all of the user interaction. You will never have to manage two lists or make separate notes in ACT! for each contact record. A fully integrated service will write, directly into the contact record history, that an email was sent, what email campaign it was, provide all of the individual contacts interaction data and ultimately provide a score based on this data that will enable you to determine if this contact should be called before another contact.
Moving on to the next step once your contacts have been further qualified using an email campaign means delivering on what was offered by the email. The hard qualification work has been accomplished by an integrated email solution and all that is left is providing a white paper, hosting a webinar, giving a live demo, or picking up the phone and calling your most interested contacts.
ACT! is certainly a powerful program that has the potential to unlock the real value each customer holds. Beginning with customer segmentation, you will be able to create highly relevant, specific campaigns that will appeal directly to those that are interested. Deployment of the campaign using an integrated email solution to reach the largest number of potential customers will eliminate the hassle of time consuming qualification and the export and import pain of non-integrated solutions. By providing direct call to action links within your email campaign user interaction begins a valuable scoring process that may be used rank leads based on interest. Follow up with the appropriate touch point and close business. By using the strengths that ACT! provides and pairing them with a multi touch outreach effort including email as a further qualification tool, you will begin to shorten the sales cycle and close more business in shorter amount of time.
Swiftpage emarketing is a hosted, CAN SPAM compliant email marketing service provider that is fully integrated into ACT!. By being fully integrated, you will never have to leave your existing, familiar application to send email campaigns. Simply segment and send. Swiftpage emarketing then compiles all of the user interaction data and writes it directly back into each specific contact records history. Based on this data Swiftpage emarketing enables you to create a call list. A highly qualified, ranked list of your most interested contacts delivered to you all within your existing application. Swiftpage emarketing understands the sales cycle and they want to help you shorten it.