Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of companies choose the right contact management software so they can maintain and improve contact and client relationships.

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Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across v... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 177 recommendations

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Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell (formerly Base) is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere. Th... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 105 recommendations

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NetSuite CRM

With a strong emphasis on sales and marketing automation, customer support and partner management, NetSuite CRM+ is a comprehensive, Web-based client relationship management system for small and midsize businesses. ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 56 recommendations

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Thryv

Thryv is an all-in-one business management solution designed to help small businesses with essential business functions. With Thryv, business owners can expand their online presence, improve any customer relationship, and streamli... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

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Maximizer CRM

Maximizer CRM is an integrated CRM solution that can be installed both on premise and in the cloud. It features sales management, marketing automation, customer service and support and business productivity tools.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 40 recommendations

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Salesforce Sales Cloud

One of the most popular CRM systems on the market, Salesforce.com offers a complete sales, marketing and service package. Salesforce is widely regarded as the leader in enterprise cloud computing. ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Copper

Copper is an easy-to-use CRM for small- and medium-sized businesses that need a better way to manage leads & grow customer relationships. If you don't have time for data entry, tedious admin tasks, or overly complex tools, Copper ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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Nutshell

Nutshell is an all-in-one CRM and email marketing platform that helps B2B organizations work together to win more deals. Simple enough for any user and sophisticated enough for any business, Nutshell is built for teams who are tir... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a cloud-based application for handling sales automation, marketing automation, account management and customer relationship management needs. SugarCRM offers features such as customizable home pages, a new-user "wizard... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Method CRM

Method:CRM is a web-based customer relationship management software designed to help businesses handle sales data, view customer history, build email campaigns and follow up with customers. Key features include contact management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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monday.com

monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Workbooks

Workbooks is a fully integrated Customer Relationship Management system specializing in Sales and Marketing Automation, as well as Customer Service and Support, ensuring that all customer engagement can be stored in one space.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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FreeAgent CRMFrontRunners 2021

FreeAgent is a complete CRM platform and robust work management system. FreeAgent helps teams get everything in one place, work more collaboratively to get more done, and track and improve performance. Whether it’s a deal, a proj... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Pipeliner CRM

Pipeliner CRM is a web-based customer relationship management solution that is compatible on Mac and Windows. It is also available offline. The system offers standalone sales automation capabilities.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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FreshsalesFrontRunners 2021

Freshsales is a salesforce automation solution that enables businesses of all sizes to streamline lead management, client interaction, marketing insights, customer relationship management and other operations. The platform enables... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Insightly

Insightly is a SaaS-based CRM solution targeted at growing mid-sized businesses. More than 1.5 million users worldwide use Insightly to securely manage all their customer data in one place, build customer relationships, accelerate... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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SalesRabbit

SalesRabbit is a cloud-based sales enablement and customer relationship management software designed to help outside sales teams manage sales in the field. The software and mobile app include a suite of features for each lev... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Outplay

Outplay is a cloud-based sales enablement solution that helps enterprises interact with the target audience and gain visibility into various business metrics to increase revenue and growth. The software lets sales teams view, moni... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a cloud-based business management platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers sales and marketing automation tools with helpdesk, analytics and customer support functions. Zoho CRM helps users respo... Read more

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Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM ecosystem for small, medium and enterprise organizations, with a focus on Sales, Field Service, Customer Service complete with strong integrations with Microsoft’s other Office 365 offer... Read more

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Buyers guide

Effectively managing contacts is one of the most mission-critical tasks of running a business. Sales and marketing need the ability to quickly find the current status of an active opportunity in their database, while support teams should be able to quickly find a contact’s entire customer history.

This buyer’s guide will provide a brief overview of contact management software, which is designed for these purposes (among others). Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Contact Management Software?
Common Features of Contact Management Software
Contact Management vs CRM: What's the Difference?
Market Trends

What Is Contact Management Software?

 

At its core, contact management programs store customer contact information. This can include customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and even social media profile information. These databases are often easily searchable and store important documents within each contact profile.

Screenshot of Base user dashboard

Screenshot of Base user dashboard

These systems are designed to increase efficiency by consolidating critical customer data into one tool. Rather than trapping contact information in your team’s individual inboxes or address books, everyone maintains a single view of the customer.

Common Features of Contact Management Software

In addition to the core capabilities described in the previous section, contact tracking systems might also include the following features.

Calendaring & notifications These features allow users to schedule events and tasks and associate them with a contact in your database. This might include reminders to follow-up with an active opportunity in your pipeline, or a task for an account manager to send a renewal contract to one of your customers.
Note-taking In addition to storing contact information, your team might also want to make notes about a particular customer or opportunity. This might be notes from a recent call or meeting, or comments about the best time or day of the week to reach a certain person.
File-sharing Your team likely creates a variety of documents during the course of their relationship with each customer. These features allow them to easily store these contracts, proposals and other files in account profiles. Often, users can simply drag and drop files from their desktop; or, they can quickly click to upload them to the contact profile.
Tags Tagging features allow users to quickly pull subsets of customers at once. These tags are often highly customizable, so businesses can create groups by geographic region or project, for example. Think of it as a sort of index for your accounts, allowing you to quickly find customers of a certain type.
To-do lists Allows you to create to-dos for your team within each contact profile. Often, staff will be notified when a to-do is assigned to them. Then, when that person closes out the task, management receives an alert. Often, these tasks can be selected from a drop-down menu, which allows you to standardize workflow.

Contact Management vs CRM: What's the Difference?

Contact tracking software is essentially a more basic version of a customer relationship management (CRM) system, although vendors sometimes use these terms interchangeably, particularly when discussing CRM systems designed for small businesses.

Typically, CRM systems include the most common contact management features described in the previous section; however, they might also incorporate more robust workflow automation, reporting and interaction tracking, among other features. Depending on the CRM application, the system might also offer features for marketing automation, sales force automation, customer service, field service and help desk and call center management. For more information on CRM software, visit our buyer’s guide.

Despite many vendors differentiating their systems in this way, you might still encounter systems that have more features than another product described as being a CRM system, and vice versa. Regardless of what the system is called, deciding between a basic contact management system or a more robust CRM system could depend on a variety of factors.

Most of the buyers we speak with are smaller businesses, or smaller departments within larger businesses, which don't require capabilities beyond tracking contact information. These buyers most often can function exclusively with the core capabilities described in the “common features” section.

Meanwhile, CRM software buyers need more capabilities that extend well beyond simple contact management. They may need features specific to their industry (e.g., field service) or for a particular operational role, such as customer service. Very large enterprises might also need contact managing features to work in concert with other types of automation, so they would buy an integrated CRM suite.

Market Trends

The world of business software has offered contact management solutions for many years, probably longer than most other types of business software. But just because contact management apps have existed for many years, that doesn’t mean the products and their functionalities aren’t still evolving. Vendors of contact management software continue to refine their products in light of the changes brought by increasingly digital business environments. Modern contact management systems are often designed to be:

  • Always omnichannel. Omnichannel software allows companies to seamlessly engage with customers and clients across all common communication channels, from personal and business email addresses, to phone calls, live chat conversations and more. Omnichannel contact management systems ensure that information regarding preferred communication channels, and contact details, are stored with every contact’s entry.
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  • Increasingly integrated. Contact management software is often combined (integrated) with other CRM functionalities into broader software suites. Integrated suites add efficiency to internal workflow processes by minimizing the number of interfaces employees use to complete individual tasks. While in years past contact management systems were often sold as standalone products, today, they’re more often found combined with other applications, like those used specifically for sales, service or marketing.
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  • Interdepartmentally available. As more and more businesses find value in increasing the cooperation between their internal departments, more software vendors are designing platforms to facilitate cross-departmental information sharing. Contact managment solutions that allow all internal departments to share and work from the same database are increasingly common.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Contact Management Software, January 2021

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Contact Management Software products in North America.

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“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.