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Best Software on Tuesday released an update to its flagship ACT contact management application, offering separate versions for small teams and larger workgroups and more advanced salesforce automation features.

The new version, ACT 2005, has been rearchitected on Microsoft’s SQL Server 2000 database to support the database collaboration and network security required by larger workgroups, Best officials said.

In addition to new field and activity customization, interface improvements and Microsoft Office integration support, ACT 2005 adds new sales forecasting tools so users can manage opportunities as well as customer accounts.

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Users will be able to export opportunity and contact lists to Microsoft Excel in one click for data analysis and reporting; generate sales quotes without re-entering data; create or import product lists with item numbers, cost and price to automate quote generation; forecast sales using built-in reports or create their own reports for viewing opportunities; and track opportunities through their chosen sales cycle with graphical pipeline analysis.

ACT 2005 is available in two versions: the base version for individuals and teams of as many as 10 users, and ACT 2005 Premium for Workgroups, which supports data sharing for as many as 50 users.

This version allows data to be synchronized from multiple users into a central database from inside or outside the company firewall, with access rights to specific contacts assigned to users or teams of users.

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It also supports collaborative capabilities such as checking team-member availability, sending meeting invitations and scheduling resources, such as conference rooms and equipment.

Best also announced Tuesday that 12 software companies have built add-on products for ACT, adding more administrative and productivity features as well as functional enhancements in communications, sales, marketing, help desk and data synchronization.

ACT 2005 retails for $229.99, or $149.95 for upgrading customers. ACT 2005 Premium for Workgroups retails for $399.99, or $259.95 for upgrades. ´

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