Contact management 101 

 

Before you begin looking for the best contact management software out there, you should equip yourself with all there is to know about contact management and its role in businesses. Ideally, you should have answers to the following:

  • What is contact management software

  • Benefits of contact management software

  • CRM versus contact management software

  • Who can use contact management software

  • How to choose the best contact management software

  • Key features of a contact management software

 

WHAT IS CONTACT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?

Contact management software enables you to get a complete view of your customer profiles in a simplified manner that is not limited to just their phone numbers, email addresses, and social media profiles. It includes email and phone interactions between your contacts and the business, their entire sales activity history, the key contacts of an account to help close a deal or meet expectations and even notes to get context about their business and requirements before meetings. A good contact management software unifies every record across the entire customer lifecycle, in one place.

Every contact that you make is an individual that you’re either trying to be in business with, or one who is already in business with you.  So ultimately every contact matters, and knowing how to nurture that relationship requires in depth knowledge about their requirements, and every interaction they’ve had with your business so far.

In order for businesses to thrive and continuously meet service levels, one can no longer survive with yesterday’s repository of contacts. It now requires a tool that can handle the greater intricacies of managing business contacts. A tool that can show you complete details about customers with context, provide communication history, and keep you updated about appointments. What would have taken precious resources to go through outdated information from spreadsheets or clunky software will now involve minimal to no effort from you. And that’s what a contact management software does.

While contact management software is more popular amongst sales teams to drive productivity, it can also be used by anybody looking to move from manual work of using spreadsheets, sticky notes, or address books to managing contact information more productively, and nurture better customer relationships.

Benefits of using contact management software

Aside from the fact that you can manage up-to-date records of your contacts without breaking a sweat, here are a few more reasons to adopt contact management software.

Foster Customer Relationships 

Leverage the 360-degree contact view within the solution to understand their needs and issues better. By getting access to all their touchpoints and social media profiles, you’ll be able to engage in more meaningful conversations, and nurture stronger relationships with your customers.

Collaborate better among teams

Collaborate better with an online contact management software that can be accessed across the organization, and can also be integrated with your favorite apps and services. Bridge the communication gap by adding notes to contacts so that any team can pick up where you left off and maximize the value of data.

Improve sales productivity

Track key contacts by monitoring the activity timeline and their lead score to know when and how to reach out to them. Contact management software helps close deals more efficiently by consolidating meaningful information that lets you know when to get to the right people.

Automate manual tasks

Do away with the manual task of updating contact information, and let your contact management software automatically update and validate the data. You can even schedule appointments and set reminders from the software, so you never miss a single deal.

Maintain accurate, unlimited data

Eliminate the risk of errors in your contact information with the contact management software. With the ability to virtually store as many records of contact information as you need, and merging duplicate data, you’re not weighed down by multiple versions of the same information.

Drive greater sales

Connect the customer journey from start to end with a contact management software that lets you see the big account picture, and focus on what sales teams do best—selling. Cut through the confusion with a single database of your contacts whose every interaction can be mapped to the business, so you can continuously find opportunities to cross and upsell.

CRM versus Contact Management Software

While customer relationship management (CRM) and contact management software are used interchangeably, the two are quite different from everyday users. Here, we compare how the modern, online contact management software is different from a cloud-based CRM system.

 

USE

CONTACT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

CRM

What is it?

Usually part of a CRM, or used in conjunction with other tools that provide quick access to data a 360-degree view of your contacts. Intended for simple, intuitive data management to know contacts better.

Brings together a host of capabilities to manage the entire sales lifecycle of a customer in a comprehensive manner. Intended for advanced information to nurture customer relationships and drive sales productivity.

Who can use it?

Individuals, any teams, businesses of all sizes looking for a simple and sophisticated way to manage and nurture relationships with their contacts.

Teams of all types and sizes, startups, SMBs, or enterprises that want to benefit from prospect or customer information, improve the sales process, and add value to existing customer relationships.

Typical Features

 

Maintain essential prospect and customer dat
Get 360-degree customer profile view
Import and export data
Make calls and send emails
Capture website visitors
Manage tasks, appointments, and notes
Customize and monitor lead scores

 

Make calls and send emails
Manage sales leads deals
Track events with real-time analytics
Create quotas
Send proposals
Automate emails and personalize sales campaigns
Create and schedule reports
Automate workflows for recurrent tasks
Integrate with other tools from within the CRM system

Bottomline

Contact management is for you if all you need is accurate and up-to-date information about your contacts with minimal insights for sales.

CRM is for you if you’re looking for detailed customer information that enables end-to-end sales, opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell, along with in-depth insights that contribute to sales and business development.

Who can use a contact management software

Anybody who is looking for a simple and organized way of managing their contacts from a single place can use contact management software. Be it a startup or a well-oiled business, a budding entrepreneur or a corporate sales team, a contact management software is the go-to solution for anybody looking to upgrade from their outdated ways of accessing customer information.

WITHIN TEAMS

 

Sales

Sales teams can manage and track contacts and their interactions with the organization, and even monitor their lead score for pursuing hot leads. Sales reps will be able to manage the sales pipeline better and improve productivity by going through all the data from a single window. Teams can automate scheduling and identify potential opportunities while sales managers can review the calls and emails sent to make informed decisions about performance and planning.

Customer service

Customer support teams can use contact management software to help improve customer relations and retention. It gives them insight into the customer’s issues and their past interactions, allowing them to proactively resolve issues by integrating with a helpdesk like Freshdesk. It also provides all the tools necessary to manage activities around customer engagement.

Marketing

Marketing teams can use contact management software to set up drip campaigns according to their personas and analyze the return on investment (ROI) on their activities and campaigns. It also aids with tailoring campaigns based on their ideal customer profiles (ICPs), the right geography, and industry.

ACROSS COMPANY SIZES

 

Startups and small businesses

With straightforward needs and cash-strapped pockets, startups and small businesses can leverage the simplicity of free contact management software to organize contacts and gain relationships with their customers. This can be the first step to creating their brands and establishing trust across audiences.

Mid-market businesses

Medium-sized businesses can find the best contact management software for their needs by price, ease of use, and overhead costs. A good one would scale with their growth, without the excess, while still providing them access to all customer communication details from within a single window.

Enterprise businesses

Enterprise businesses can make the most of an online contact management software to handle large amounts of customer data, without compromising on security and scalability. The bigger the business and teams, the bigger the processes. Contact management helps bring order, clarity, and purpose to the teams.

 

ACROSS BUSINESS TYPES
 
B2B

Simplify contact management across teams when you reach out to resellers, partners, and other businesses of all sizes. Be it to track sign-ups, drive campaigns, or set up meetings with important contacts, do it all from a single, unified view.

B2C

With more customers than that of a B2B landscape, B2C organizations can form better relationships with their customers and prospects with the help of contact management software. By better organizing contacts, monitoring every visit, and their recent activity with the business, B2C companies can continuously drive greater customer satisfaction and retention.

How to choose the best contact management software

No single solution may fit every business’ needs but there are a few fundamental criteria to consider while choosing the best contact management software for your business

Simplicity

An intuitive solution that requires minimal to no training. Your contact management software should be easy to use and not require more tools or overheads to function.

Pricing

Depending on your business needs, begin with a contact management software that provides free trial without any hidden charges, or look out for one that has a free plan. That way, you get to choose what you want to use for your business as opposed to paying for features you never wanted to begin with.

Relevance

Before looking for any contact management software, ensure it is what your business really needs. Clearly define your use cases, requisites, and expectations from the software so that the solution helps you instead of weighing you down.

Ability to customize

In addition to default views of a customer’s contact information, you should be able to add or customize more fields and modules pertinent to your business. By adding more specific information about a contact than what’s meant for general purposes, you’ll be able to gain better insights that are relevant to you.

Web-based

By investing in cloud-based contact management software, you will be able to focus on running your business instead of worrying about server maintenance and overhead costs.

Integrations support

Contact management is all about efficiency, and your contact management software should be able to integrate with more applications for maximum productivity. For instance, you should be able to connect with other tools like live chat or helpdesk software from the same window, so you don’t have to juggle multiple tools.

Mobile access

Whether you’re working at the desk or on-the-go, the best contact management software will let you access the solution online from any device or mobile app so you can view real-time updates.

Key features of a contact management software

Whether you’re looking to make contact management to the next level or simply need a better way of managing your contacts, here are a few essential features that set the best contact management software apart from the others.

Data management

With the best contact management software, you can import and export contacts automatically, and even migrate data from other software effortlessly. By leveraging automatically captured information from the web forms, you can get a 360-degree customer profile view for complete context about contacts, from a single window. Whether it’s the communication history or activity timeline, track their every interaction with the business and stay on top of leads. Do away with the hassle of finding duplicate contacts by merging multiple email addresses that belong to the same contact. Let your contact management software take over all the tedious work of managing data.

Lead Management

A free contact management software not only allows you to store all your contact information in one place, but also automatically assigns contacts to the right sales rep in round-robin. It also helps you identify key contacts by categorizing them into hot, warm, and cold. By ranking contacts based on their engagement with your business—activities on your email, website, and web app—you’ll be able to maximize sales opportunities by knowing who to pursue and when.

Built-in phone and email capabilities

A good contact management software has telephony and email capabilities that allows you to get in touch with your prospects and customers without having to toggle screens or worry about maintaining records of call logs and emails. The built-in phone functionalitiy not only allows you to automatically log calls but also allows you to record, transfer, mask, and send voicemails. When it comes to emails, the best contact management software comes with a 2-way email sync, real time email alerts, email templates, email scheduling, team inbox, and more. This would eliminate the need for third-party integrations and still provide vital metrics to help you understand your contacts better.

Customizations

A good contact management software gives you the flexibility to customize the software to suit your business. It allows you to customize modules by renaming them to suit your business specific terminology. So you may refer to contacts as customers, and accounts as company.

The software also allows you to add fields to capture critical business information, and also add sales activities (apart from phone and email) to track interactions with your customers. That’s not all, the best contact management software provides security and privacy by defining custom roles so you can control what sales reps can see, do, and act on.  

 

Analyze and measure engagement

To make smart business decisions, you need a contact management software that gives you the flexibility to create sales reports. You need to monitor contact interactions and behavior with the business so you can measure performance, analyze trends, and review every activity that has impacted your metric. A good contact management software gives you the flexibility to dive deep, and create reports across different modules, export it as a CSV or PDF file, and even schedule reports to be sent to your inbox at regular intervals.

Do all of this and more with your sales CRM

Set appointments and reminders

Schedule meetings with prospects and customers from the contact management software, and receive alerts so you don’t miss any crucial appointments. A good solution offers the flexibility to automate mundane tasks and focus on priorities.

Collaborate from one place

Add notes about contacts, track event timelines, and share reports and documents across teams from the contact management software. You can also use the Freshconnect integration to collaborate with different teams over deals— making it easier for company-wide collaboration.

Filter and customize views

Use filters to quickly sort contacts by any contact property and scores. You can save the filter as views, share it with your team, and access it anytime. A good solution also provides the capability to create tags to group your contacts, making it easy to search for contacts and get in touch with them.  

Best contact management software

Now that you know what to look for in a contact management software, let’s compare the three best contact management software that is available in the market.

 

CRITERIA
Freshsales
Pipedrive
Insightly CRM
G2Crowd Rating

4.5/5

4.3/5

2.5
2.5
Meets Requirements

8.8

8.4

7.9

Easy to Use

9.2

8.9

8.2

Easy to Set Up

9.2

8.8

8.2

Quality of Support

9

8.4

7.6

Ease of Business Support

9.1

8.8

8.4

Task and Activity Management

8.3

8.4

7.5

Contact and Account Management

8.9

8.4

8.1

Lead Management

8.9

8.3

7.6

Reporting

8.2

7.7

7.4

User, Roles, and Access Management

8.7

8.3

8.1

Customizations

8.3

8

7.4

Integration APIs

8.4

8.3

7.4

Data Import and Export Tools

8.3

8.1

7.5

Ready to try the best contact management software for your business?

 

Try Freshsales CRM. It’s the best contact management software that includes all the right features to help you grow your business and enhance your sales team’s performance. Plus it’s GDPR compliant, comes with a free 21-day trial, free 24x5 support over phone and email—irrespective of whether you’re a free user or a paying customer.