When it comes to managing contact and sales leads, no product has stood the test of time better than ACT!. In its near 20-year history, the product has built a steady base of customers spanning all market segments.
According to Brandon Balsley, senior product manager for ACT! (which is now owned by Sage Software) the software has always been shipped as pretty much a "piece of wet clay," allowing sales people to shape it to suit their process. Or, he said, one of 750 certified ACT! consultants could customize the application for a particular business or industry.
However, today the company announced its plans to get vertical with the introduction of ACT! by Sage Premium for Real Estate 2006. The product is designed for residential real estate agents and brokers and offers, according to the company, industry-specific tools to help cultivate referrals, market properties to prospective buyers and sell more homes.
The new version, Balsley said, is based on the core ACT! Premium product and layers on real estate specific functionality. Those features include the following: Customized layouts include fields for standard contact information as well as quick-glance buyer interests including price range, square footage, number of rooms, residence type and location.
Custom Activities are designed to let you manage calls, meeting and to-do activities. An additional 20 customized activities include prospecting, marketing, listing, open house and closing tasks. You can also track a series of events or a standard set of processes using nine customized activity series that include active/new/prospect listing, active/new/prospect buyer, open house, expired listings and for-sale-by-owner listings.
ACT! for Real Estate's standard letter templates include letters to buyers/sellers, lead follow-up, open house follow-up and referral letters. It also has more than 40 standard ACT! reports plus six report templates to help track, measure and analyze real estate specific activities.
The new version also is designed to provide one-click access to the Multiple Listing Service site from within ACT!. For example, you can search for properties and attach relevant listings to the appropriate ACT! contact to keep a history of house listings sent to clients.
According to a May 2005 survey by the National Association of Realtors, about 40 percent of real estate professionals use a Palm OS or Pocket PC handheld device. To meet the demand of mobile workers, ACT! for Real Estate provides links to for mobile data access.
ACT! for Real Estate is priced at $469.99. According to the company, you can upgrade from ACT! by Sage 2005 or earlier versions for $299.95 or from ACT! by Sage 2006 for $199.95. Upgrades from ACT! by Sage Premium for Workgroups 2006 cost $99.95.
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