Emailing from #ActCRM via Gmail and SMTP on other ports.

Secure Email

One of the long standing issues in Act! has been the inability for the email clients (Windows Internet Mail and Act! Premium for Web email merges) to use alternate ports. You can record History from email sent via Gmail and you can sync the contacts and activities between act! and Gmail, but you can’t use it directly as your email server as stated in this Act! knowledge base article: What email systems are compatible with Act!?

Recently an Act! Consultant came to me to help find a workaround for an Act! Premium for Web (APFW) User who needed to do emails with Templates. They are using Google’s G-Suit as their corporate mail server.

The user did have Outlook on their users’ machines, but the APFW email merge only works from the server, direct to an SMTP server.

Always up for a challenge, I looked into a few options (both free and paid) and came up with the idea of setting up a simple IIS SMTP server on their server and having it route the emails via the Google servers.

As I thought this might be useful to many of you, I thought I’d describe the process.

Please note: These instructions are of a technical nature and should only be done by those with the appropriate skills and understanding. Should you need assistance with this, please contact your Act! Consultant or send me a message via the GL Computing Contact Form


Google Setup

Note: This section is only necessary for those wanting to email via Google.

First, you need to determine which Google system you’re using and what authentication is necessary to allow the SMTP traffic. There are three supported options to do this:

  • G-Suite SMTP relay (recommended) – Only for G-Suite customers
  • Gmail SMTP server
  • Restricted Gmail SMTP server – Only allows emails to other Gmail or G-Suite users, so probably not suitable for our use and won’t be covered.

G-Suite SMTP relay (recommended)

Gmail SMTP server

Sending Limits

A registered G Suite user can't relay messages to more than 10,000 recipients per day. For full SMTP relay limits, see Sending limits for the SMTP relay service.2,000 Messages per day. See Gmail sending limits.

Anti-spam filters

Suspicious emails may be filtered or rejected

Fully qualified domain name of SMTP service

smtp-relay.gmail.comsmtp.gmail.com

Configuration options

  • Options: Port 25, 465, or 587
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols.
  • Dynamic IPs are allowed, but a static IP might be required due to authentication requirements.
  • Port 465 (SSL required)
  • Port 587 (TLS required)
  • Dynamic IPs allowed

Authentication requirements

Either a static IP address or a valid G Suite user login Your full Gmail or G Suite email address is required for authentication.

Please Note: I recommend selecting TLS and port 587 for security

Please Note: If selecting Gmail SMTP server or not using a reasonably stable IP, you can only authenticate with a single user account at Gmail and emails will go from that account. However, it is possible to assign multiple IP addresses to your server and configure each account to use a separate one.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred option, you need to enable that function.


Setting up your SMTP server

To workaround the problem with sending to SMTP on different ports, we’re going to setup our own private SMTP server which will then relay the emails to your ISP or Corporate server.

While there are many free or inexpensive SMTP server options available, I’m going to just cover the IIS one as every Act! user would have access to it.

While this can be setup on a Windows Desktop system, I wouldn’t advise doing this because of a number of limitations and reliability factors.

So, I’m going to include instructions for Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012.

Install Internet Information Services (IIS)

If you already have IIS installed (eg on your APFW server), you might be able to skip this section and go to “Install SMTP”.

  1. In Server Manager, select Add Roles
  2. On the Before you begin page in the Add Roles Wizard, select Next.
  3. For Windows Server 2008 R2:
    1. On the Select Server Roles page, select Web Server (IIS) and select Install.
    2. Select Next until you get to the Select Role Services page.
    3. In addition to what is already selected, make sure that ODBC Logging, IIS Metabase Compatibility, and IIS 6 Management Console are selected and then select Next.
    4. When you’re prompted to install IIS, select Install. You may need to restart the server after the installation is finished.
  4. For Windows Server 2012
    1. On the Select Installation Type page, select Role-based or Feature-based installation.
    2. On the Select destination server page, choose Select a server from the server pool, and select the server that will be running SMTP services. Select Next.
    3. On the Select Server Roles page, select Web Server (IIS), and then select Next. If a page that requests additional features is displayed, select Add Features and then select Next.
    4. On the Select Role Services page, make sure that Basic Authentication under Security is selected, and then select Next.
    5. On the Confirm Installation Steps page, select Install.

Install SMTP

  1. Open Server Manager and select Add Roles and Features. On Windows Server 2012, you might also need to select the correct server.
  2. On the Select Features screen, choose SMTP Server. You may be prompted to install additional components. If that’s the case, select Add Required Features and select Next.
  3. Select Install. After the installation is finished, you may have to start the SMTP service by using the Services snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) – Windows Key + R > Services.msc

Setup SMTP

SMTP is an IIS6 feature, so the above steps will have installed that version and we’ll use it for setting up

  1. Start IIS 6 Manager – Start > Run > inetmgr6
  2. Expand the current server, right-click the SMTP Virtual Server, and then select Properties.
  3. We only need to worry about the Access and Delivery Tabs
  4. On the Access Tab:
    1. Select Authentication and make sure only “Anonymous” is checked. Click OK
      SMTP Access Authentication
    2. Select Relay. Select “Only the list below” then use the “Add” button to add the IP addresses (or ranges) of all your machines that are allowed to send emails. Click OK.
      SMTP Access Relay
  5. Go to the Delivery Tab:
    1. Select Outbound Security.
      • If using G-Suite SMTP Relay with IP authentication, select Anonymous access and check TLS encryption. Click OK.
      • If using G-Suit SMTP with SMTP Authentication, or if using the Gmail SMTP, then select Basic authentication and check TLS encryption. Click OK.
        SMTP Delivery Outbound Security
    2. Select “Outbound connections” and set the port to 587. Click OK.
      SMTP Delivery Outbound Connections
    3. Select “Advanced” and enter:
      • Fully-qualified domain name – The correct DNS entry to identify the public IP you’re server is on
      • Smart host
        • If using G-Suite SMTP Relay - smtp-relay.gmail.com
        • If using Gmail SMTP Server – smtp.gmail.com
  6. Close the dialog box and the Properties.
  7. Right Click on the SMTP Server in IIS6 and select “Start”

Test your setup

You can do a simple test from the command prompt. Windows Key + R > cmd.

  1. telnet
  2. set localecho
  3. o <your smtp server IP or FQDN> 25
  4. EHLO <your email domain>
  5. MAIL FROM:<sender@gmail.com>
  6. RCPT TO:<recipient@gmail.com>
  7. DATA
  8. <Type some text>
  9. Enter, type a period (.) and then Enter again
  10. If the server is working properly, you should get a response like this indicating that the message is queued for delivery:
    250 2.6.0 <INET-IMC-01UWr81nn9000fbad8@mail1.glcomputing.com.au.

Finally

Please Note: Make sure you correctly adjust your SPF records if using custom domains. This is essential if you don’t want your messages treated as spam.

Now you’re ready to set up your applications like Act! Internet Mail, Act! Premium for Web Email Merge, and Premium Mobile.

As always, you can let me know if you have any trouble with this or would like to book me to help you.

Saving memory when running #ActCRM on servers

Saving Server RamI was recently asked about how to remove some of the Act! items that load for each user from a machine used for Terminal Services, where only a few of the users needed Act!.

The following ideas are also worth doing on any system/server where Act!’s Outlook/Google Integration isn’t required. This also applies to Web Servers with Act! Premium for Web as the integration is done from the client end.

There are two basic areas where you can remove these components.


Startup Folder Shortcut

The All Users Windows Startup Folder can be found at:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

These programs start up for all users. To open this folder, bring up the Run box (Windows Key + R), type shell:common startup and hit Enter.

From there, you can remove:

  • Act! Integration – this shortcut is only needed to set the Preferences for the ISPA (Integration Services Patch for Act!) that provides the synchronisation of Contacts/Activities with Outlook and/or Google.

Startup All Programs Folder - All Users

If you want to make this available to specific users, you can place the shortcut in their individual Startup folders, located at:

C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

These programs start up for the current logged in user only. To directly access this folder, open Run (Windows key + R), type shell:startup and hit Enter.


Windows Registry Run Keys

Bring up the Run box (Windows Key + R), then type regedit and hit enter

Warning: We strongly recommend that you back up the system registry before making any changes. Incorrect changes to the registry could result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Please make sure you modify only the keys specified. For detailed information on backing up the Windows Registry, click the link below:

How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

Browse to the following location:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

From there, you can remove any of the following keys if you like:

  • Act! Preloader – This loads parts of Act! to make it faster when opening and using the program
  • Act.Outlook.Service – Needed to load the Act! address book in Outlook and for recording history
  • Act.Outlook64.Service – Needed to load the Act! address book in Outlook and for recording history
  • ACTSchedulerUI – Used for changing the Scheduler settings. Likely only needed for the admin
  • ISPA - Integration Services Patch for Act!. Provides the synchronisation of Contacts/Activities between Act! and Outlook, Exchange, Office365 or Google.

HKLM - Run Registry


Memory Saving

In my testing, removing all of these saves about 50MB Private memory and 200MB Commit memory per user for those not needing Outlook/Google integration with Act!.

Let me know, in the comments, if your results differ.

What you need to know about Act! 20.1 #ActCRM

How will the latest Act! update benefit your business?

Act! Custom Tables - Data and Processes

Custom Tables: Increased Efficiency for Sales Automation

Act! has supported the ability for third-party add-ons to add and work with custom tables since version 10.02. Now, with the newly released 20.1, this functionality can be added by a simple upgrade to Premium Plus.

As an individual salesperson, Act!’s custom tables help you to improve your efficiency and track detailed information on the contacts and companies you deal with or even on the Opportunities and Groups you manage.

In the screenshot below, we have a custom table showing vehicles. If you run a car dealership, this is a helpful table to track. For example, you might get in touch with the buyer of the 2006 and 2013 cars to see if they are interested in a trade-in.

Act! Custom Tables - Vehicles

Clicking on any of the line items brings up a detailed dialogue (Click to see full size):

Act! Custom Tables - Vehicles - popupAct 20.1 ships with some custom industry templates including:

● Mortgage brokers. Detailed documentation matters in mortgages so keeping detailed files in Act will help you satisfy the compliance department.

● Wealth management. The information you gather at this stage will help you to satisfy the regulatory requirements imposed on financial companies.

● Residential real estate. Most people buy several properties over their lives, so there is a significant benefit to staying in touch with past customers over time.

● As well as templates for Event Planning, Consulting, Project Management, and Product Inventories.

Are you worried that your industry or need is not covered by a template? You can use the custom tables capability to create your design. I recommend getting an Act! consultant to help you with this if you have not done it before.

How Does Custom Tables Benefit Sales Managers?

Let’s start with the obvious benefit. Your front line sales staff will have an easier time at work. They will be able to walk through each part of the sales process with ease. If you regularly hire new sales staff, this guidance will support your sales training program.

● Sales Training Resource: Act is a powerful resource to enhance your sales training. For more insight, read my past article How To Use Act! for Your Sales Training.

Adding custom tables to Act also helps sales managers better understand the performance of their sales staff. In addition to tracking primary activity metrics like the number of calls and emails sent, you can monitor higher-value aspects of the sales process.

Here are some ideas:

● Presentation. In contrast to basic sales metrics like call levels, you can track higher value measures. One option is to follow the number of presentations made to prospects especially if you have customised service offerings.

● Relationship Depth. In complex B2B sales, a single point of contact is not going to be enough to close a deal. You also need to line up internal champions. Imagine you are selling an extensive business insurance policy. Aside from senior management, who else needs to be involved in winning the business? You may need legal to support the purchase. If you are selling to a bank, you might also want support from compliance and risk management. With custom tables, it is easier to track and understand these complex sales relationships.

Tip: Act becomes the most useful when users fill it with comprehensive data. As a manager, you can create custom views to make sure staff are covering the basics like phone numbers, email addresses, and discounts.

Streamlined Integration with Outlook

As I have previously posted, Swiftpage announced, last Dec, that it was completely re-writing the Office integration. See the detailed letter, here: Letter from Lorcan Malone, Dec 2017

If you are concerned about how different systems integrate, it is tough to trust them. You never know if the information you are looking at is up to date. Picture what how this problem would like in sales:

You use a third-party tool to pass data back and forth between Act! and Outlook. Unfortunately, the third party connection breaks down for a week when a new version of Act comes out. While you wait for updates, you regularly have to switch back and forth to get all of your sales data. If you are moderately busy, you are probably going to forget to track and log your emails and meetings.

Likewise, the same problem could occur in account management. If customer requests are not tracked accurately, you might risk the business relationship.

Whew! Who needs that kind of anxiety worrying about out of date records? Fortunately, the improved Act! integration with Outlook eliminates this concern. Specifically, Act! now has robust two-way synchronisation with Outlook. You no longer have to worry about third-party software breaking down. All of your emails to customers are automatically added to Act!’s history.

There is also a new synchronisation module to sync contacts and activities. Not just to Outlook, but optionally directly to your MS-Exchange or Outlook365 server.

The Next Step To Bringing Act 20.1 To Your Business

How does Act 20.1 help your company improve its operation? Finding your way around these new features may be tough. That is why I would like to invite you to contact me for a free assessment to see how you can boost productivity with custom tables.

How To Use Act! for Your Sales Training #ActCRM

Act! Insider Business CardsCharisma, a strong network, blind luck, or skills: what explains great sales results? Like any complex activity, it’s easy to throw your hands up in frustration and say all of the above. That’s defeatist thinking. How can you make your sales training give you the best returns on your investment?

Use Act! as a support system to track, report and encourage your staff to implement what they learn.


1) Check Your Beliefs About Sales Training

“All business skills are learnable.” – Brian Tracy, sales expert

In her bestselling book Mindset, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck defines two mindsets that shape results. The fixed mindset believes that skills and capabilities do not significantly change: a weak sales professional isn’t likely to change. In contrast, the growth mindset emphasises change and development. This is a critical distinction if you are going to improve in sales training. With a fixed mindset, you’re more likely to give up before you develop proficiency in new skills. The growth mindset, you believe you can grow and research finds you are more likely to persist and succeed in learning.

Adopting a growth mindset will help you get the highest value out of sales training.

Attitude matters – skip it at your peril!

Action Step: Take the quiz on the Mindset Assessment to see which mindset you have. If you have the fixed mindset, ask yourself if that perspective is helping you to reach your goals.

2) Complete A Sales Training Program And Track Followup Afterwards

Truth be told, there are multiple sales training methods that work.

Buying a sales training program, attending a sales seminar or using online training all have the potential to work. For sales professionals in the B2B environment, two popular options include SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham and The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Once you choose a sales training program, how do you ensure you get results?

If you get the opportunity, see if you can get the opportunity to attend an inspirational presentation by one of Act!’s co-founders, Mike Muhney.

Often people are excited and galvanised by a sales training course but, unfortunately, these effects can wear off without regular maintenance and monitoring.

Set up a tracking process to reinforce the principles and processes of the training for a set period. For example, schedule a weekly 30-minute meeting for three months to review the key points you learned. You might focus on prospecting, managing stakeholders or the art of landing large sales with Act!. Many traditional professionals like accountants, lawyers and doctors are required to take training regularly to keep their skills sharp. Why not apply that idea to the sales world?

Action Step: Select and attend a sales training program if you have not taken one in the past 12 months. Next, set up series of weekly meetings to track whether you practice the principles.

3) Set Sales Lead Indicators In Act!

You want closed sales at the end of the month, quarter or year. How can you increase the odds of hitting that goal?

The answer lies in tracking lead indicators for sales - measures that tend to predict the future. For example, a few common leading measures in sales include: number of meetings held, number of proposals sent and number of prospecting actions per day.

To train your sales staff in how and why to use lead indicators to close more sales, ask them to identify the best lead indicator for your sales process. For example, your sales process may look like this:

  1. Call 1: you introduce yourself to a prospect by phone.
  2. Initial Meeting. If the call goes well, you arrange a meeting with the prospect by phone or in person.
  3. Needs Assessment. Determining the client requirements and scope of the project.
  4. Proposal Presentation. If the previous steps go well, you are invited back to present a proposal.
  5. Negotiation. Sorting out the final details and payment.
  6. Close. You ask for the order and get a YES!
  7. Sales Fulfilment. Payment Received. Your CFO sees cash in the bank and you can supply goods/services.

Steps 1-4 are promising candidates for lead measures. I recommend focusing on steps 4 because it will ensure prior steps are carried out with quality. If you choose steps 1 or 2 as your lead indicator, quality may suffer.

To aid you in tracking this measure in Act!, choose a lead indicator involving calls, emails or in-person meetings. Those interactions are almost always a requirement to win business and Act! is well set up to track those activities. In the past, sales professionals used notebooks to track this kind of information. That works but it is a lot of effort to keep up.

Sales Training OpportunityCreate Opportunities for your sales in Act! and link the activities to those Opportunities. Then use Act! Insight, Dashboards, or some reports to make the measuring and monitoring a simple task.

Action Step: Meet with your sales representatives to choose a lead measure that you can track in Act! and which predicts ultimate sales success.


Resource: For more insights on using lead indicators to accomplish your sales goals, read “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals" by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling, and Sean Covey.

4) Sales Managers: Monitor for Success in Act!

Sales Training InsightSales managers: this step is for you. Choose a schedule – weekly and monthly are good options – and monitor your staff’s performance at each stage of the sales process. Recognize who wins in terms of lead indicators and sales!

Action Step: Speak to your Act! consultant to help you in customising Act! and generating reports on the metrics you need to track this data.


Want to improve your sales efficiency with Act!? Contact me today for a free consultation.

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.

Finally

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.