Act, Quotewerks and Quickbooks – Match made in heaven

April 21st, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Quickbooks, Quotewerks, Sales management, Working remotely

The current crisis forcing many companies to work remotely has made companies look at alternatives for doing business.  We have gotten dozens of calls on how to set up CRM access, and how to manage quoting.  For many customers, this has caused them to take a really hard look at their current quoting process, especially if it’s Excel or Word documents.  What worked in the past is no longer working. The crisis is making them finally look into more automated or improved processes.

While working with a current customer, I put together a proposal talking about their CRM (Act), their accounting Software (Quickbooks) and Quotewerks – a quoting system that integrated with both.  The graphic below was included in the quote and I realized it would make a great blog article.

The graphic basically shows that remote offices can run either a copy of their CRM data (especially good in areas where network connectivity is limited due to exceedingly high volume and usage) or access Act across the internet to a cloud server. In addition, the quoting software can also either run remotely or can be accessed across the internet to either a database hosted on the company’s on-premise server, or a database hosted in a cloud environment.  Quickbooks can be accessed across a remote desktop connection. Quotes can be shared with the customer via Quotevalet for approval and even payment.

The integration between all the applications says a prospect or customer in the CRM can be pulled into a Quote. When the quote is accepted it can then be pushed to Quickbooks. It’s a perfect marriage. Entering the data once and used in three different applications make this a very efficient business model.

The message here is there are multiple ways to get to your critical data and then get those quotes out to customers in a timely manner that they also can view and accept them.  They win. You win. And you have options.

If you are interested in hearing more click on the following link to schedule a time for a chat to learn more.  Contact me.

Warm Calls – Now more than ever

April 20th, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Business growth, Sales Automation, Sales management

Back in 2018 I blogged about warm calls. Reese, one of my long time customers, and now dear friend, called me recently to check in on us.  That’s how he is.  You can always count on a fun call that lifts your spirits. 

While we were chatting he said it’s time for another one of the Reese’s Southern Wisdom blog posts.  And since he is quite fond of talking about the power of making warm calls – not selling – just checking in – he felt now more than ever this is a vital and necessary requirement to stay in front of your clients.  All of us, worldwide, are struggling with staying solvent and also staying safe and healthy.

While you are sheltering at home is a good time to go through your customer database and pick up the phone. Call your customers and make sure they are OK. They will appreciate the calls. These are not sales calls – they are “warm” touches reaching out to give virtual hugs and letting people know you care.

After you’ve done this I would be curious to find out what the reactions have been. I bet they have been very comforting to you as well as your customers.  If you have a particularly warm story, post it here as a comment so we can share the warmth and good news. 

Once this unprecedented event is over, your customers are going to remember that you took the time, during a stressful period, to reach out and connect. And isn’t keeping the connections strong what it’s all about. 

If you want to read my 2018 post on warm calls, check it out here: Using warm calls to keep in front of clients.

We will get through this difficult time, stronger and more wise on how to handle situations like this in the future. Stay safe!

Staying Sane While Working From Home – Part 2

Unprecedented times are upon us. The Covid-19 crisis is affecting all of us. In particular, it’s forcing many organizations to send their employees home to work remotely. This sounds like an easy thing to do – work from home. But for those of us who have been doing it for years, we know there are some things you need to do and do them quickly. It’s all about staying sane while working from home. 

Once you have figured out how to access your business data and applications (blogged about this last week here), you now have to put in place a strategy for working from home.  It can be challenging but with the right plan in place you can make it work efficiently.

Here’s some tips that we have found helpful.

  • You need a specific place to work that is not the kitchen table. You need to be able to spread out and not have to keep moving around your work.
  • You need a schedule – get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, stop for lunch, then close the day.
  • It helps to try to mimic what you do every day when you are not at home.  Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Take breaks. DO NOT ANSWER THE HOME PHONE. You don’t do that at work, don’t do it at home – unless of course you are using that phone to take business calls.
  • Don’t snack. You have easy access to food when at home and the kitchen will call you – I can hear mine calling now. Ignore it.
  • Move around – you probably go to meetings, meet with other employees, head out to lunch and are moving more than you do at home. Get up and go walk the dog and step outside for some fresh air.
  • Ignore the home tasks and chores that are calling out to you to make you feel guilty. You can do them on the weekend just like you do now. Be realistic with opportunities to multitask. (Laundry + work + Child care is a bit much)
  • Keep regular working hours – learn to just say no and step away from the keyboard at 5:00PM. This is probably the biggest hurdle I have – knowing when to stop working. Many employers have been afraid that people will not work when they are remote – I have found it’s the opposite.
  • Don’t turn on the TV – it way too big of a distraction. If you need to check news, do it online. I have recently noticed a lot more of my friends are posting on Facebook than usual. Again, this is as bad as the TV – step away. Ignore the little Facebook voice saying “feed me.”
  • If there are other people at home you have to find a way to tell them you are working. Good luck with this one.
  • Remember to take care of yourself during this trying time. Feel comfortable knowing we are all in the same boat.  Hang in there – we will get through this, stronger and smarter.

We can help. We know how to get you connected remotely. We know how to work remotely and can help you set up a process to make you productive. Call us today (423)875-2652 or fill out our Contact Us form 

Stay safe. We will persevere. 

Working from Home Tips – Part 1

March 18th, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Cloud Computing, Sales

We live in interesting and scary times at the moment. Many of our customers are having to resort to working from home. But business must continue. We are going to write a series of blog posts this week on tips to help.

The first blog post will be about ways to access your applications and hold meetings remotely. This is where having things in the cloud is a boon. Most applications now have cloud access including CRMs, accounting, and Microsoft Office products.

If you don’t have your tools in the cloud, applications like Logmein allow you to access your computers at the office while working from home. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, provide a more secure method for accessing applications. Terminal server is another way to host applications on an office server that staff can access remotely.

There are lots of ways to communicate with the rest of your company or your customers. You can hold virtual meetings using tools like Gotomeeting, Teamviewer, Zoom or More and more computers have built in webcams. When holding remote meetings use the webcams. It keeps people “feeling” like they are all still together. Don’t just hold staff meetings as well – try to have virtual “coffee cooler” conversations or “happy hours” – it will help keep the staff motivated. Using a web cam while holding remote meetings with your clients also has more of a personal impact.

Another way to stay connected is using Collaboration tools such as Facebook Workplace, Slack, Microsoft Teams or our personal favorite – Google Drive. The key is to keep everyone on the same page as if you were all in the office.

If you do not have good internet access but have good cell phone coverage you can use your cell phone as a wi-fi hub to access your cloud based applications from a laptop. Check with your providers for costs and function.

All this is well and good but not everyone has great or speedy internet access at home or cell coverage. Favorite locations with wi-fi are closing. This removes an option for many of our customers. We work with lots of people who tell us they need to go to a Panera Bread to let us work with them. Your critical applications need to be able to be accessed while not connected to the internet. Look into what remote options are available. For those of our clients who use Act, there has always been the ability to have remote databases that you can use until you can get to an internet access point. If you want more information we can help.

The next blog post will be about working from home. All of my staff are home based so we have lots of experience and tips on how to stay sane while working at home.

Hang in there. We are here to help. We too are doing what we can to stay solvent and successful. Let’s work together.

Act Marketing Automation White List IP Addresses

February 13th, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen Sales

For customers who use Act Marketing automation, the IP addresses used to send email from Act! Marketing Automation have recently changed. Users may experience test sends that do not deliver to their inbox and will need to add the new IP addresses to their white-list.

It is possible that certain ports necessary for Act! Marketing Automation to function properly may be blocked. To ensure that you are able to use Act! Marketing Automation fully you can add the following exceptions to the whitelist of your email domain’s firewall and/or Anti-Virus software:

The following two Ports: 443, 80

The following send servers: