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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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. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 237 recommendations

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NetSuite CRM

NetSuite CRM+ is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small and midsize organizations. NetSuite caters to thousands of customers across a wide range of industries including wholesale distribution, manufacturing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 160 recommendations

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amoCRM

amoCRM is a multifunctional CRM that excels at taking the conversation with your customers to the next level. With messengers, the connection is personal. All major messenger platforms are supported. You can create your own chatbots... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 130 recommendations

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FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM delivers a next-gen work experience on a customizable cloud-based platform help teams unlock productivity and grow sales effortlessly.  Stay in the zone, with AI-guided selling. See only what you need when you need... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 109 recommendations

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Thryv

Thryv is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for small businesses across various industry verticals. Features include appointment scheduling, billing and invoicing, contact management, reputation... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 84 recommendations

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Odoo

Odoo is a fully integrated and customizable open-source suite of business applications including sales, CRM, project management, manufacturing, inventory, accounting and other business needs in one software solution. Odoo was designed... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 62 recommendations

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Prophet CRM

Prophet CRM from Avidian is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) application that can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook for extending Outlook's functionalities. The solution enables multiple sales teams to unify... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 43 recommendations

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Salesforce.com

The Salesforce cloud is an on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) suite offering applications for small, midsize and enterprise organizations, with a focus on sales and support. The Salesforce app has capabilities that... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

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Claritysoft

Claritysoft is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

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BoomTown

Boomtown provides marketing and sales automation solutions for the real estate industry. Through Boomtown, brokers can select and customize a lead generation website, track and nurture leads, and monitor team success and sales. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 27 recommendations

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kvCORE

KvCORE is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for the real estate industry. Key features include task planning, listings, lead management and distribution management.  KvCORE allows agents to generate... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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Firepoint

Firepoint is a cloud-based lead generation and business management solution that caters to small and midsize businesses in the real estate industry. It helps users manage leads, track team activities and report key metrics. Firepoint... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

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OnContact CRM

OnContact CRM is a mid-market customer relationship management (CRM) solution that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. OnContact includes complete sales automation, marketing automation, customer service and contact center... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

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Nutshell

Nutshell is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software for small businesses. The Nutshell platform offers sales process and collaboration tools, email sync with Gmail and Outlook, reporting and more to outbound sales... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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BNTouch Mortgage CRM

Grow your mortgage business, free up time, automate your marketing and put together a digital mortgage experience for your borrowers, all from one central hub. With BNTouch Mortgage CRM you can build a website, utilize a digital 1003,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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4Degrees

4Degrees is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution, which helps businesses manage opportunities, networking, deals and more. Key features include contact management, search functionality, pipeline management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Whiteboard Mortgage CRM

Whiteboard Mortgage CRM is a cloud-based solution that enables loan originators to connect with customers, communicate with partners and plan campaigns. It is primarily designed to help loan officers manage content, prioritize tasks... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 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: 17 recommendations

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Aysling

Asyling is a multifunctional CRM that allow users to manage B2B operations. Operating as a cloud-based service resource planner, Asyling consolidates the entire back-office operations in a single dashboard spanning from customer management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: February 17, 2020

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.