This comparison and review provides actionable information to help you ascertain what solution is the right fit for your business. Use it as first step in determining if ACT! or Prophet CRM are the right solution for you.
ACT! Comparison Table
The following comparison compares key features and layers in additional information for potential CRM users. This analysis was performed by an ACT! CRM consultant with over 20 years' experience in the industry and was developed to be an objective review in the interest of helping people make the right choice for their business.
|Features||Description||ACT!||Prophet CRM by Avidian|
|Mobile||Mobile is the ability to access data from the CRM on a mobile device. The most common devices used are iPhone and Android Tablets and Phones.||Mobile software for iPhone, iPad and Android is included with Act! Premium. Act! Pro users can purchase a synchronizer with support for an additional $179 per user||Prophet CRM is available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.|
|Analytics and Dashboards||Analytics and Dashboards contains the features required to monitor Campaign Metrics, Sales Reports, and Dashboards from right inside Microsoft Outlook. The best Outlook CRM software and plugin will enable a real–time view into sales, marketing without having to open a second window or application, saving your sales team an extra step.||Act! Dashboards are created using the Act! Dashboard designer, and can also be created through third party tools, Excel, or add–ins. No Outlook integration is available||Analytics and opportunity tracking are available right inside Outlook. Management and others with access permissions can also use Outlook to instantly roll up team data in meaningful ways, facilitating analysis of campaign metrics and enabling quick adjustments.|
|Learning Curve||CRM software isn't always software that you can just get up and running on in hours – it can often take days, and sometimes even weeks to fully learn. It requires a certain level of setup and practice to fully take advantage of all the features a CRM software has to offer. CRM Companies that offer training materials and online guides for Microsoft Outlook implementation can help reduce this learning time.||Though longtime users will find the new version of Act! easy to learn, new users claim it has a steep learning curve, and many routine tasks present significant difficulties. Setup can be time–consuming, especially for those with incompatible systems or programs, such as 64–bit Microsoft Office or Outlook||Prophet works within Microsoft Outlook, where many users already do much of their work. Most users can get up and running with Prophet CRM quickly, as they do not need to change to another system. Outlook integration forms the core of Prophet.|
|Marketing Automation||Marketing Automation contains a set of features used to automate the marketing process from inside Microsoft Outlook like pre–built email templates, mass emailing, and auto response rules. These features generally come with most CRM Software but are often not accessible in Outlook, requiring users to open another window an log into the online portal||Marketing automation requires an additional fee, and is managed through the Act! system rather than Outlook. For the first 2,500 contacts, the initial fee ranges from $30 to $45, with additional fees for further contacts.||Marketing automation can be set up within Prophet, furnishing prospects with carefully timed newsletters or outreach without manual intervention.|
|Reporting||Reporting contains the essential features required to report on key performance indicators from inside Microsoft Outlook CRM. The best Outlook CRM software and plugins will come with a real–time view into sales performance and metrics. Most top CRM products will enable easy custom reporting from inside Outlook||Act! offers robust reports, but users must log in through the Act! interface to retrieve reports, as they are not available within Outlook.||Prophet puts reports and data right on your desktop in your Outlook software, making information easily accessible.|
|Sales Force Automation||Sales Force Automation (SFA) are features used to streamline the sales process and allow the user to focus on sales and customer service, not updating the CRM. This includes automation of tasks like contact management, lead tracking, escalation rules, and even lead routing from right inside Outlook. The top CRM software products help drive sales performance by to reducing redundant steps, improved efficiencies from automation, and allowing users to work unhindered inside Outlook.||Specific actions, such as thank you notes and reminders, can be automated. Automation happens within the Act! software, rather than through Outlook||Each Prophet user can set up automated emails in Outlook to maintain a presence with prospects. These emails can be personalized based on developments with a particular prospect. New leads are automatically sent to the right users through Outlook, eliminating incorrect assignments, lag, and wasted marketing efforts. Sales force automation is available in the standard Prophet package.|
|Support||CRM Support encompasses the various ways to contact the CRM vendor with technical support issues. This can include the traditional channels of support like phone, email, and chat. The most helpful ones often offer on premise assistance with training, setup and data migration.||Act! often comes from independent agents rather than its developers, so support services vary. One common system provides a certain number of hours of support, with further time leading to additional billing.||Avidian's award winning support ranges from self–help FAQs and videos to classroom style training. All Prophet users can access support Monday through Friday, from 6:00am to 5:00pm. Most editions offer support online or by phone within four hours, and Gold Edition users can receive support within half that time. Gold Edition users also get access to a Priority Support telephone line and the next available support representative.|
About ACT! Software
Act! CRM Software is a customer relationship management application used to track customer and prospect contact information in a unified database that can be shared by multiple users. The software was originally released in 1987 by Conductor Software, and was originally referred to as "Activity Control Technology." The software was later renamed "Automated Contact Tracking" before being known by ACT! by Sage, and then later as Sage ACT! In 2013, Swiftpage took ownership of Sage ACT!, and re–branded the software as Act!. Swiftpage currently operates in Denver, though development for Act! CRM sales software occurs in Scottsdale, Arizona. Swiftpage also operates from regional offices in several countries around the world.
Business owners can currently purchase two editions of ACT! contact management software: Act! Pro and Act! Premium. Act! Pro, the basic package, is targeted at individuals and teams of 10 users or less. Act! Premium can handle larger workgroups and teams that need additional collaboration capability through centrally administered databases.
Features in both editions of the Act! database software include contact and company management capabilities, calendar and activity management, prospect tracking, routine task automation, targeted e–marketing, and integration with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Each product also enables users with dashboards capable of synchronizing data from other applications so multiple users can share the same information simultaneously.
ACT! software review results are mixed. Some users have complained that the installation of Act! upgrades gets slower and more tedious, and that the software seems to get more and more sluggish with each year’s updates. Additional Act! software review pages include user complaints regarding dissatisfaction with the significant price increases that accompany each upgrade, the lack of customer support, and that the software requires more memory than the specifications suggest for optimal performance.
On the other hand, Act! has stayed in the top 10 software CRM programs because of its comprehensive contact management applications, such as meeting notes and task reminders. The newer 2012 and 2013 versions include new features which can create, execute, and track marketing campaigns through integration with third–party email functions.
3 Reason to Try Prophet over ACT! CRM
While Act! CRM software and Prophet CRM are both top 10 CRM applications, there are strong reasons you should give consideration to Prophet over its counterpart. First, Prophet CRM integrates completely with Microsoft Outlook. Once you install Prophet, you will not have to bounce between applications to manage customer and prospect information – everything you need is within the same email and calendar function you most likely already use. In addition, Outlook integration will allow you to synchronize your contacts across devices, manage sales opportunities, send personalized group emails, and use the sales automation feature to automate emails and follow–ups.
If you are conducting an Act! software comparison with Prophet and are concerned about the amount of memory the program will take up on your server, you should note that Prophet offers a cloud–based version of their software which will not take up precious real estate on your company’s server. This technology eliminates the need to download new apps or perform continuous upgrades. You only have to use the web browser on your mobile device or smartphone to make real–time adjustments to your CRM.
Finally, a Prophet and Act! software comparison will reveal that Prophet offers a more user–friendly CRM experience than Act!. The embedded help services such as video prompts and text field prompts provided in Prophet can make your experience even easier than with other CRMs, including Act! CRM software.