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.


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.