Automation serves as a key competitive advantage for any business. If software can automate something otherwise done by a human being, time has been leveraged, and businesses can do more. I love automation and use it in my business all the time. Perhaps you ended up on this webpage, as a result of automated systems in my business, don’t take it personal, I’m just trying to serve more people than I could alone. When we automate in our business we are actually caring for customers and prospects if we have a meaningful message to share. With ACT! 2011, Sage now offers workflow/automation with their smart tasks feature. Let me review it here.
Note: NOW LIVE! complete video review of Sage ACT! 2011 here, it covers all that’s new, includes a demo of the webaccess function in Sage ACT! 2011, as well as a bonus video for those starting their search for a contact management system entitled, 7 Elements of a Good Contact Manager. It’s here
Smart Task Templates
The smart task process it based on templates. Similar to email or document templates, they provide the instructions for the software to follow when running a smart task on a contact, group of contacts, or an entire database.
10 Prefilled Templates for Common Tasks
Sage ACT! 2011 comes with 10 build-in templates for users to get started. This is helpful if you want to get an idea how to integrate common smart tasks into your daily business practices. These smart task templates can be edited or duplicated per users needs.
Two Categories of Included Smart Task Templates
1-General Productivity: Things like, birthday reminders, contacts that have had no recent activity, welcoming new contacts, or if a contact has incomplete information.
2-Sales Focused: An alert to the sale rep if an opportunity has a high value, a notice on an opportunity which is a week from closing, closed opportunity follow-up, and prospecting process.
*It is worth noting that some of these smart tasks integrate with ACT! E-marketing and do require an active account to function.
There is a visual designer for the smart tasks editor, which requires no programming skills. Essentially, if you’ve taken the time to think through your business processes, or even write them down, first congratulate yourself (most don’t do this basic thing in their business), then take a few minutes to implement a given business process as a smart task with a few drag and drops.
And it doesn’t have to be a business process; it can be as simple as creating a tasks, or sending an email when a specific event occurs to a contact.
Here’s a preview Video of Smart Tasks in action:
Smart Task User Visibility
Templates can be configured as viewable to users or not. Giving managers and admins control so that sales reps and productivity users don’t get too happy with smart tasks and clog up your database.
Pause or Activate Smart Tasks
Don’t want a smart task to run? Pause it. Want it to run? Un-pause or set to auto-run.
View Pending Smart Tasks
It templates aren’t set to apply tasks to a record immediately, it hangs out in a pending state, so users can review them and apply them on a case by case basis. Just beware; this list has the potential to get long if you have multiple users using smart tasks.
Fully Extensible Engine-It’s Flexible
Sage told me smart tasks have a “Fully Extensible Engine”, and that it integrates with the “Windows Workflow Foundation”, sounds fancy, but I’m not sure what that means to my business. It probably has to do with the fact that I’m not a programmer. I think they have created something in smart tasks that makes developers and software types happy, but I can’t be sure about that. Truth is, most users won’t have need of this functionality, but nice to know it is there.
Out-of-the Box Integration with ACT! E-Marketing
This is where the automation part of smart tasks gets really cool, integrating with ACT! E-Marketing. If you are a user of ACT! E-Marketing perhaps your head is already reeling with delight. You can do cool things like add new customers or prospects to specific autoresponse email sequence, ask for contact information for those where it’s missing, and more. Since it is fully customizable, the world is your oyster.
It’s Your Turn
What do you think of Smart Tasks so far? Can you imagine using it in your business? Why or why not? Chime in with comments and questions below.
Are you sold? Convinced this is for you? If it is before August 31st, be sure to snap up Sage ACT! 2011 at the early bird pricing, and claim access to our forthcoming bonus pack for our customers only (due to release shortly after the product ships in September).