Fix: Issues when installing .Net Framework 3.5

microsoft_net_framework3.5One error that sometimes occurs when installing/upgrading Act!, and many other products, is during the install/upgrade of MS SQL Server.

For Act! installs/upgrades, the typical error you might receive is as per this knowledgebase article: "Act! pre-requisite has encountered a problem and needs to close." When Installing Act!

This error is not an Act! issue, but an issue installing MS-SQL on Windows operating systems from Windows 8 onwards, when the .Net Framework v3.5 isn’t enabled or has a problem with its setup.

You can also get similar issues updating SQL Server 2014 or adding Roles when the .Net 3.5 install lacks the right service pack.

The first step is to try enabling the Framework manually via the Control Panel.

Installing .Net 3.5 via Control Panel

As per this Microsoft article, you can enable the .NET Framework 3.5 through the Windows Control Panel. This option requires an Internet connection.

  1. Press the Windows key Windows Windows logo on your keyboard, type "Windows Features", and press Enter. The Turn Windows features on or off dialogue box appears.

  2. Select the .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) check box, select OK, and reboot your computer if prompted.

Dotnet-Control-PanelYou don't need to select the child items for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) HTTP Activation and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Non-HTTP Activation unless you're a developer or server administrator who requires this functionality.

Troubleshooting .Net 3.5 Installation Failure

During installation, you may encounter one of these errors 0x800f0906, 0x800f0907, 0x800f081f, or 0x800F0922.

Or you might get the error “The following feature couldn’t be installed, The source files could not be found”.

Or, on Server 2012, you might get “Do you want to specify an alternate source path? One or more installation selections are missing source files on the destination server”

Microsoft covers some of the basics in this article. However, as it misses fixes for some of the errors and is, in my opinion, incomplete, I thought I would document my preferred solutions.

Check the System and Security Action Centre

  1. Hold the Windows Key and press R
  2. In the Run dialogue, type: wscui.cpl
  3. If you see any warnings, you should resolve them.

Using DISM and an SFC/DISM Scan

Try installing via DISM to enable the .Net 3.5 Framework:

  1. Open a Command or PowerShell Prompt as an Administrator – Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) from the menu.
  2. When the Command Prompt starts, changing “X” for the drive of your Windows ISO.
    DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:X:\sources\sxs
  3. The operation will now start. Keep in mind that it can take a while to finish, so don’t interrupt it.

If that fails, perform an SFC scan, by doing the following:

  1. From an Administrator Command Prompt
  2. sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. SFC scan will now start. Keep in mind that SFC scan can take about 15 minutes to finish, so don’t interrupt it.

Once the SFC scan is finished, try to install .NET Framework 3.5 again.

If it doesn’t work, you might have to perform DISM scan as well.

To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Now run each of the following commends:
    1. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    2. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    3. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

The scans can take more than 15 minutes to complete, so be sure not to interrupt them

Once you complete the DISM scan, reboot and try to install .NET Framework 3.5 again.

Installing from a Clean ISO

Sometimes, the Windows files you have can be damaged. In that case, you need to follow these steps

Download the Windows Media Creation Tool

  1. For Windows 10 users, download the Windows Media Creation Tool, which is a tool that helps you create a Windows 10 ISO. If running Windows 8.1, download the Windows 8.1 Installer.
  2. Use the Windows Media Creation Tool to create a Windows ISO image locally.
  3. When the download is complete, mount the ISO by double-clicking on it.

For Windows Server 2012 R2, you can download the appropriate Evaluation ISO

Copy the SXS folder

  1. Open the mounted ISO, and go into the Sources folder.
  2. There should be a folder named sxs.
  3. Copy the folder to another location on your computer.
  4. Right click on the copied folder, and choose Properties from the drop-down menu.SXS Properties
  5. When the Properties window opens, click on the Security tab.
  6. Select your username from the Group or user names box; check if there is a checkmark next to Read and Write in the Permissions for [Your Username] box. You could also add “Everyone” or “Domain Users” if wanting to store and run from a network share.
    SXS Security Tab
  7. If you do not find the check marks, you should click on the Edit button, select your username, and check both the Read and the Write box.

Edit the Group Policy

Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Now press Enter or click OK. Keep in mind that this tool is available only on Pro versions of Windows 10, but there’s a way to run Group Policy Editor on the Home version of Windows.

  1. When Group Policy Editor starts, in the left pane go to:
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System.
  2. In the right pane, double-click on
    Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair.
  3. A new window opens.
  4. Select Enabled.
  5. In the Alternate source file path, enter the address of the sxs.
  6. Then click on Apply and OK.
    Gpedit - Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair
    Optional: Check Download repair content and optional features directly from Windows Update instead of Windows Server Update Services.
  7. After making these changes, you just need to start Command Prompt as administrator and run gpupdate /force command to apply the changes.


Now it should install from an Admin Command Prompt with the command:
DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:X:\sources\sxs
Remember to change “X:\sources\sxs” to the correct location of the sxs folder.

It’s also advisable to backup your system and, if you’ve had issues like this, you might also consider:
Repairing your Windows Image

Please post to the comments if these worked for you, or if you’ve encountered this problem and these solutions didn’t help.

Act! Certified Expert – Sanctioned by Swiftpage #ActCRM

Act! Certified Expert - Santioned by Swiftpage #ActCRMOver the years, Mike Lazarus has been the recipient of many unique awards and certifications related to his work in Act!, including:

In another first, Mike has just been sanctioned by Swiftpage as an
Act! Certified Expert

As indicated in this previous blog post, Working with Act! Again, Mike has been working with Swiftpage for some months to identify and resolve outstanding issues and to improve the stability and functionality of the product. Now he is connected with the QA and Development teams in testing some of the enhanced and new features expected in 2018 before they go to beta and then release.

Some important ones regarding Office integration have been announced in this December 2017 Letter from Swiftpage’s President, Lorcan Malone to registered Act! users.

Please respond in the comments with any areas or bugs you think need additional testing.

What CRM Experts Don’t Tell You About Winning Large Sales


Large sales, enterprise accounts, the big fish.

It’s all about the large accounts that increase profits and prestige overnight. Ever since SPIN Selling was published, sales experts have recognised that work in small sales does not transfer to large-scale deals. I will assume your team has robust sales skills once they are in the room with the prospect. Optimizing performance before and after the meeting will be our focus.

1. Preparing For Major Sales Meetings With Act!Act! Premium - Opportunity Tracking

You’ve decided to pursue a large, well-known, corporation as a client for your business. You know that landing that account will bring instant credibility throughout your region. Through networking, you have managed to identify a few managers at the company. How will you convert this information in a productive meeting?

  • Do your pre-call research. Get on the phone with your customers to find out what software they are using and problems they have experienced. If you are selling technology, market research tools like BuiltWith may be helpful.
  • Opportunity Notes in Act!. As you prepare for the meeting, include links to resources and notes in an Act! Opportunity for future reference. Significant sales can take weeks or months to close, so it is helpful to have these notes available beforehand.
  • Hold a pre-call meeting. This step is critical if your major sales involve team presentations and coordination. A few days before your first sales call, organise a short meeting to outline what you have learned and what you plan to cover.

Sales Resource: Read Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount for additional insight on prospecting. Blount makes an excellent point with his 30-day rule. If you are disappointed with your sales results today, check your calendar from 30 days ago. For example, if you take it easy at the office in December, you will have to work extra hard in the new year to catch up!

2. Improving Major Sales Follow Up With Act!Act! Premium - Activity Tracking and Alerts

After you hold the major sale meeting, you leave with a signed contract! Well, that might happen if you are lucky to meet an exceptionally hungry buyer. If you are seeking to close a large sale, the process takes time to close.

Disciplined follow up makes all the difference. There’s just one problem with that suggestion. Sales professionals know they need to follow up. Yet many of them get distracted with other work and sales opportunities and never get around to it. Use Act! to augment your follow up discipline.

  • Set reminders. Remembering to call the next day is easy – doing so a month after a meeting is more difficult. Using Activities associated with the Opportunity in Act! helps you stay engaged with the sale.
  • Connect with multiple stakeholders. Did you notice that some technical experts at the prospect’s company objected to your solution? If so, document those points in Act! and work on developing answers for them. Link all the client contacts to the Opportunity in Act!Act! Premium - Emarketing Call Lists
  • Use email marketing. After your initial introduction to a major sales contact, they may be interested but simply not ready to buy. Using drip-marketing or inviting them to sign up for your email newsletter are excellent ways to sustain the connection.

3. Growing and Keeping Customers Loyal With Act!Act! Premium - Insight

So far, I have focused on bringing new customers in the front door. That’s critical for growth especially if you just starting our breaking out of a slump. Landing new accounts is not enough. Keeping current customers happy and doing more business with them matters as well. Analyse your customers in Act to find cross-selling opportunities such as:

  • Analyse your most profitable accounts. Some customers are more profitable than others. Use 80/20 analysis to identify the outliers in your profits. How can you reduce the burden generated by a high maintenance client?
  • Document client review activities. Some sales professionals are good at “farming”: growing an existing account over time. To encourage this practice, ask staff to document their efforts to network and meet other people at the company. If this activity is neglected, you may lose the account if a single manager or executive leaves. Don’t wait for a problem to happen at a loyal customer before you pick up the phone.

What The Other CRM Experts Aren’t Telling You.

Why aren’t you landing more major accounts? You probably lack one of three disciplines: sales goals (you are not shooting high enough), sales strategy (you have no idea how to land the big fish) or process (you do not have the right techniques or tools). I can help you with the last of these … However, no technology can fix the other problems associated with landing big sales.

Contact me to discuss ways we can use Act! to improve your company’s sales processes and efficiency.

If you would like to help other Act! users, please post your best strategies for landing the big deals as a comment to this post.

How To Improve Customer Service With Act!

Act! CRM v20Keeping a customer engaged with your business is one of the best ways to keep your business in good health. Once your company grows beyond a few people, consistent customer service becomes more difficult. One person may consistently go the extra mile with customers while others neglect the basics. Find out how to use Act! to improve your customer service and keep customers coming back for more.

Customer Service In The News: Complaints, Competition and Attention

In a world where low prices grab our attention, does customer service matter? The answer is yes. A brief review of the press highlights the consequences of customer service.

  • Avoid negative word of mouth. A quick look through your Facebook news feed, Yelp or Twitter will turn out at least a few complaints about companies. In our era, disappointed customers tend to vent their feelings quickly. A British study found: “One in four social media users in the UK has used platforms to complain within the last three months.” Preventing such complaints by improving your service standards is well worth the effort.
  • Easier To Do Repeat Business. If a customer has a good experience, they are more likely to do business with you again. Take note of this example from the hotel industry: “When Leslie Ciminello arrives at the Hotel 1000 in Seattle, she knows milk and cereal will be waiting in her room’s refrigerator. Lactose-free milk and gluten-free cereal that is. It is one of the small but significant ways the hotel has kept her coming back.” (Hotels Go to Extra Lengths for the Repeat Customer). If you neglect customer service, you may be left behind by competitors eager to grow.
  • Earn positive attention. Would you like your company profiled in The Sydney Morning Herald? That was a benefit American Express earned by providing top customer service. The best part? The customer service in question was delivered to someone who cancelled their service. Gaining good press even when a customer leaves you – that is a significant benefit.

It is clear that excellent customer service makes a difference. How exactly can you improve customer service? Just asking your staff to impress is one approach. What should you tell them to do? You can use Act! to devise the details of your customer service program and continue improving.

Improving Customer Service With Act!

Use the following techniques to improve customer service with Act!. Tailor these methods to the value of your customer. In the Hotel 1000 example above, they are looking for business travellers who spend significant time in hotels. Such customers deserve extra attention.

1) Identify your top customers for extra care

Your employees have limited time so you cannot afford to treat all customers in the same way. Establish a few criteria (e.g. easy to work with and highly profitable) and then make a list. These are the customers who will garner extra time and attention.

Act! Application: Add an ID/Status, Favourite check or other field for your top customer records indicating “Gold Customer” (or whichever term you prefer), so you can find those customers easily with a search.

2) Set up recurring processes to review customer feedback

McKinsey & Co is one of the world’s most successful consulting firms. Client feedback is a core component of the firm’s success. According to Herbert Henzler’s book “Pushing the boundaries: Recollections of a McKinsey consultant”, the firm’s engagement performance review is varied out every three months and includes:

What was the quality of the analyses? Did you make good use of McKinsey resources? What was the client feedback? What was the team members feedback? Which improvements were necessary and how could these be implemented?

By using this process, individual consultants and their management never go long without taking customer feedback into account. For managers, records in Act! will give you additional input to consider in assessing your staff. If your team know you will review Act! as part of your management process, they will be more likely to use it.

Act! Application: Write short Notes or History after each customer service interaction in Act!. That way, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to your staff.

3) Design long-term customer service improvements

Some customer service issues are trying to improve in an ad hoc fashion. For instance, you may have to use a new vendor to enhance the quality of your packaging. With limited resources, how do you decide where to focus your quality improvement efforts? Take a closer look at Act! for customer service failings and opportunities.

Act! Application: Create a method to list any unresolved customer complaints or those that required management involvement to obtain a solution. Use this information to look for systemic improvement opportunities.

4) Understand why customers leave

All good things come to an end, and that includes customer relationships. When customers leave, ask your staff to find out why they left. Once you collect data for a few months, schedule a meeting to review the findings. Look for ways that improved customer service could make a difference. As a starting point, consider the most common customer service complaints according to Business Queensland:

  • Faulty product. It is not enough to understand that the product broke – seek for more information so that you can make improvements.
  • Incorrect descriptions of the product. If customers cannot trust you on the basics such as size and weight, how long will they keep doing business with you?
  • Poor client service. This can be reduced by implementing a rotation program.
  • Slow delivery. Fast delivery service from companies like Amazon have increased customer expectations.
  • Inadequate response to information requests. This factor covers inquiries about account status, delivery status and beyond.
  • Rude staff. Even if your product is perfect, rude or rough treatment may be all your customers remember.

Your next step:

Meet with your sales team this month to review customer service levels. Use the four points outlined in this article to prepare examples for the discussion. If you find insufficient information in your customer files or disorganised information, implementing Act! may be the solution. Contact an Act! Certified Consultant to help you implement it.

Act! Version 20 – What You Need To Know

Act! v20 - Evolved

This month, Act! Version 20 comes to the market. If you are an existing user, should you upgrade to the new version? It all depends on your technical needs. Here are some reasons why the new version will make your business life more comfortable. It is a combination of improving reliability, enabling mobile work and bringing marketing and sales closer together.

Tip: Most of these improvements are only applicable to Premium Subscription users.

1) Track Your Business Results Easily With Act! Insight

Act! v20 Insight SalesAct! v20 Insight Key

Producing complex business reports each month is a huge pain for many in the sales. What if you could quickly check on the status of your sales pipeline each day? That’s what you can accomplish using Act! Insight. At a glance, this new feature offers the ability to see reports on sales by product, forecasted sales and won vs lost sales.

Tip: If you manage a sales team or own a business, Act! Insight is especially useful. The “Business Health” summary gives you precise data on your company’s operations and health. Make it a daily habit to check on these metrics, and you will avoid nasty surprises at month end.

Tip: Many of the Insight graphs are improvements on the current Dashboard function. However, at this time I have been using both Views of data as I have built some Dashboards that I have not yet been able to replicate with Insight.

2) Speak Your Notes and Listen for Answers By using Amazon Alexa

Survey after survey tells us that entering data into your CRM is a chore. That problem will start to come to an end because Act! will now support Amazon Alexa.

You might recall the scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where they spend some time in 1986 San Francisco. Scotty, the chief engineer, has to use a PC and he picks up the mouse and tries speaking into it – “Hello Computer.”

Having picked up flip-phones, tablets and other devices from this program, it does seem natural for us to continue to realise the best ideas of their writing team.

Introduced in 2014, the Amazon Echo device is the primary to interact with Alexa, a voice-activated assistant. While you may not have an Amazon Echo in your office yet, the device offers exciting potential – the ability to ask for reports and add data by speaking will save you plenty of time. It’s true there are some limitations with voice recognition (e.g. ensuring control over confidential client data). However, the technology is likely to be a godsend for those who hate to type or merely prefer to speak. If you were already interested in voice recognition, now you will have an opportunity to use the technology for business.

Tip: A current list of commands available can be accessed at this Knowledgebase Article:
What commands are available for use with the Act! Premium skill for Amazon Alexa?

Tip: At this time, this function is not supported in Australia / New Zealand. I am still trying to determine the reason for this and an estimate of when it will be.

Tip: If you decide to invest in Amazon Alexa, you can use it for much more than Act!. You can use it to play music, check bank account balances (depends on whether you have a bank).

3) Improved Mobile Experience – Act! Mobile Companion

Act! Companion - MapsAct! Companion - InsightIn the past, mobile apps were not that powerful. You had to open up your computer to do real work. Act!’s improved mobile app, Act! Companion, is available for Android and iOS, is starting to address that problem. You can quickly schedule follow up appointments with prospects and log your calls easier.

You can now call and email contacts directly through the Act! Companion. That means no more time copying and pasting phone numbers from emails on your phone. Even better, Act! Companion gives you your recent history directly on the mobile app. That means you can prepare better for sales meetings faster and stay coordinated with others in your company. Act! Companion also has map support so you can get to your appointments on time.

Note: Act! Companion is included with the subscription version of the product. If you are on the fence about whether to sign up for the subscription version, it’s worth it to get Act! Companion.

4) Improved E-commerce Integration

Does your company run an e-commerce store? If so, many of the operational processes are likely automated such as shipping and generating invoices. In the midst of that automation, there are three reasons why integrating Act! with your e-commerce provider is a smart idea. First, this integration gives your sales staff the ability to lavish extra attention on high-value customers. Second, you can use e-commerce data such as a customer’s purchase history to inform your Act! marketing campaigns. Third, you can use that data to carry out analyse your business operations (e.g. avoid running out of popular items and better understand your margins).

Act! supports integration with a variety of the most popular e-commerce platforms: BigCommerce, Ecwid, Etsy, Shopify, Volusion, and WooCommerce. Additionally, it can also bring in sales history from many common accounts products.

5) Improving Act!’s Subscription Product

As with other software products, the subscription version of Act! continues to improve. For example, the mobile app – Act! Companion – is included in the subscription, as is Act! Insight. If you have not already switched to a subscription license, the improvements offered through version 20 are an excellent reason to switch now. If you use the subscription version of Act! in conjunction with a cloud offering, you do not have to worry about losing your data due to a computer failure – it is all stored on secure servers.

Tip: Switching to a subscription license means that you will receive a steady stream of updates

6) Improved Microsoft Outlook integration

Microsoft Outlook remains one of the world’s most popular email applications. If you are comfortable using Outlook, rest assured that Act! continues to improve its Outlook integration. For you, that means a more stable experience and reduced issues. You can focus on selling instead of keeping your software operational. Whether you use Microsoft Office 2010, 2013 or 2016, Act! is compatible with each version.

I have personally found that the Outlook integration in v20 is more stable than it has been for some time. Swiftpage has also stated that some Outlook integration improvements are being worked on and scheduled to be included in v20.1.

What if your company uses G Suite, Google’s professional set of services for calendar, email and other applications? Don’t worry. Act! integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Contacts. For more information on the Google integration, see this article:
How to set preferences for Google and Gmail Integration in Act!

7) Optimised Emarketing Workflow

Act! v20 EmarketingAct! v20 Emarketing Call List

Act! users who are leveraging the power of Act! Emarketing can now manage campaigns through an intuitive, optimised workflow within Act!. Users can quickly and easily execute campaigns and track results from five newly designed views – Overview, Options, Create, Send and Track with full-screen Call Lists – all fully integrated within Act!

8) Better working experience for Apple users

Apple users are used to a seamless user experience. Act! version 20 delivers on that expectation by adding support for the Chrome for Mac web browser. As a result, you now have more flexibility to use Act! on your Apple computer. Apple users also have the option to use the Act! Companion on iOS devices like the iPhone. Version 20 also delivers a better Act! / Office for Mac integration.

Note: This still requires a local or cloud-based Window server

9) Dozens of “under the hood” quality improvements

Any piece of complex software accumulates bugs over time. The important question is what efforts are carried out to solve those problems. Mail merge, reports, company views and errors with contacts are just a few of the fixes that will make Act! version 20 easier to use. All told, these improvements save you time. To receive a steady stream of updates, make sure you sign up for the subscription version of Act!.

Resource: Curious to know more about all the technical fixed that went into Act! version 20? Read What's new in Act! v20 for further details.

Planning Your Next Move With Act!

The latest version of Act! brings a variety of new analytics and automation features to the table. Like any piece of software, you may not use every feature every day. Instead, ask yourself a different question: what if I could make my week 5% more productive by using this software? For your field staff, the improved Act! Companion app may mean the difference between staying late at the office on a Friday and getting home on time.

To find out if Act! version 20 is right for your business, contact me to request a free assessment. We will go through a few short questions and find out if it will add value to your business.

Click here to get in touch with me – Or post a comment to this article