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Is ACT by Sage Your “Grandfather’s CRM?”

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So the question is…Does Sage Software “get it” about social networking and the integration it should have with CRM? Like integration with your online and offline persona (and that of your contacts). This has always been the Holy Grail in Listville. Or is ACT! by Sage Software, as one of my clients called them, “your grandfather’s CRM?”

You could always get targeted mailing lists of business executives or Purchasing Agents. You could pick them by the size of their company, their SIC code, and whether they were located at corporate HQ or a subsidiary. You could also always get mailing lists of John Doe, fat-cat executive, golfer, father of 3, earning $500,000+.

Granted, in the old days, one or the other of these lists was enough information to get a prospecting or marketing plan started. But combine these demographics into a single profile? Never. Hence, the great divide.

Welcome to Social networking. Through the miracle of apps like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and the social malady known as “Overshare,” you can now know everything–personal and business–about anybody at any time–and more if you both belong to the same online networks.

But can you get easy, all-in-one access to the data when you want it for business decision making? For example, could I use Twitter search to find potential business referral partners, and track my attempts to build relationships with these people in a marketing database?

Liz Gold, Accounting Tomorrow, who blogged live at Sage Summit last November, sat in on then-Senior VP and GM Dave Van Toor’s keynote address. He talked about the concept of Social CRM and mash-ups, she said, which is taking a CRM system, connecting it to the Internet and finding information related to a specific contact. Here’s an exerpt from her blog post:

“He also touched upon my favorite topic–social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace, and how it’s getting harder and harder to have a work persona and a personal persona nowadays.

“’You put it on Facebook, honey, it’s public information,’ he said, after telling a nugget about a guy who was rejected during a selection process because of a Facebook profile.

“As I was told by a trusted PR rep at the user conference, this basically is catch-up time for customers. It’s about showing customers what’s out there to add value to their business and realizing the times they are a’ changing.

“’Selling boxed software is not going to be around forever,’ this person said, pointing to ACT! Platinum Care, a subscription service that includes the ACT! product and upgrades, customer support and exclusive password access to a portion of the online community that offers business tips and strategies. ‘So you have to find other models.'”

But is ACT by Sage your grandfather’s CRM? As a tail-end Boomer myself, I know ACT! by Sage is doing right by its predominantly low-tech 4 million user install base of manufacturers, distributors and financial services clients.

But that ship has sailed. Tomorrow’s install base has seen the mash up and they’re not going back. ACT! by Sage developers can’t move fast enough in subsequent versions for me.

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