Meeting Notes

Meeting Date: April 9, 1996

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Symantec has just released ACT! for Windows update 2.0.8. The update provides for smoother operation of Mobile Link and enables Windows 95 users to use direct Internet e-mail via the Microsoft Exchange.

ACT! 2.0.8 is available from Symantec or from E Tech Systems at (847) 352-4770. Patch discs are readily available at ACT! User Group meetings.

MEETING FEATURE: This month, guest speaker Dennis Frantsve gave us a crash course in database (direct) marketing using Dun and Bradstreet’s MarketPlace. MarketPlace is a CD ROM database of 10 million U.S. businesses. The database is updated quarterly. Besides the usual CEO name, address, and phone number, each business’ annual sales revenue, SIC code, and number of employees is provided as well. For example, this information, coupled with a powerful sorting program permits the user to identify all printing companies within the 60611 zip code whose annual sales are from $1 to $10 million.

These contacts can be easily imported into an ACT! database once the requisite fee to "unlock" the data is paid to D&B. (This fee ranges from 10¢ to 35¢ per contact, depending on the depth of information desired.) Now you are ready to launch your marketing program.

First you’ll probably need to group your prospects geographically - especially if you plan to be making face-to-face sales calls. You can do this by asking ACT! to look up all contacts with certain zip codes or those contacts in a specific city, or, you can use a mapping program such as MapLinx to view and select contacts on a road map.

Next you’ll need to mail out "pre-approach" letters to the contacts you have selected. An easy way to do this is to create a letter template (in ACT!, of course) and to write a form letter. Now it’s time to get on the phone to follow up with those contacts you mailed to and set up appointments. If you have a modem, use ACT!’s autodialer to dial the phone for you. Finally, schedule your meetings using ACT!’s calendar.

There are a number of mailing lists out there that are considerably less expensive than D&B MarketPlace - including those available on line but beware - the quality of mailing lists varies widely. There may be no contact names, let alone sales figures for each company. Plus, keep in mind that mailing lists become quickly outdated. (The telephone book you just received today is already out of date.) Nonetheless, America On Line and CompuServe users can access lists by typing the keyword "lists". Also, there are various CD ROM phone books available which sell for $15. When importing this sort of information into ACT!, remember to import the data in the "ASCII comma delimited" format.


Searching ACT! Contacts

Q Can you perform searches on any ACT! field?

A Certainly. The command is LOOKUP, OTHER. You’ll get a blank record. (Actually, to insure that you start off with a clean slate, so to speak, execute the command EDIT, CLEAR.) Enter the information you are searching "on" in the appropriate field(s) and click OK. For example, to find all the contacts in Peoria, type "Peoria" in the City field.

Note that you can search on any ACT! field, you can only sort on about 10 fields. These include the first and last name, company, phone number, city, state, zip, ID status, and user fields 1, 4, and 7. (Sorting refers to arranging contacts in numerical or alphabetical order.)

Importing A Database In The Form Of A Text File

Q I’ve got a database that is a text file but ACT! will not successfully import it. What’s the problem and how can I fix it?

A Chances are that this file is corrupted. Assuming you are running Windows, try opening the database as a document by using the Windows notepad. Clean up the data by removing extraneous spaces, commas, carriage returns, etc. Save the file to a new name and try to import the edited file with ACT!.

Merging Two Databases

Q How can I merge a 1500 name list with a 2000 name list and not wind up with any duplicates?

A ACT!'s merging function allows you to easily combine two databases. The basic steps are to open the destination database (the database you are merging to) first, then to merge in the source database (the records you would like to add.) Once you have opened the destination database, the command to merge the source database are: FILE, IMPORT/EXCHANGE , MERGE.

Before clicking on the OK box, there are a few things you should know. First of all, a duplicate record is defined as a record with precisely the same contact, company, and main phone number as another record. If two records are similar - but not exact duplicates, ACT! will ask you what to do. There are three ways you can instruct ACT! to handle duplicate records. When a contact in the source database matches one in the destination database, you can ask ACT! to accept either the source or destination version of the record or to accept the most recent version of the record. This way, most duplicates can be eliminated. Incidentally, before performing a merge make sure your destination database is backed up.


of the ACT! User Group will be held on Tuesday September 10. We will offer an update on ACT! 3.0. User Group meetings are free and open to all C.C.S. members. They are held on the second Tuesday of each month 8 times a year at the Midway Motor Lodge in Elk Grove Village. Call E Tech Systems at (847) 352-4770 for details. Have a great summer!

© Copyright 1996 by Alan M. Lee, all rights reserved. Other nonprofit computer user's groups may reprint this material providing credit is given the author and C.C.S. Future rights for publication reserved by Alan M. Lee. ACT! is a registered trademark of Symantec Corporation.