Your contacts are the heart of your marketing, sales, and customer delight strategies. They’re the real people that you provide value to. In return, these are the people that help you grow your business.

But for you to provide value to your contacts, you need to know a lot about them and understand their needs. Also, to grow your business, you need a strategy in place that allows you to be as productive as possible.

So, how can you make sure you are providing value while growing your business? This is where having a contact management strategy will help you see success. Developing a contact management strategy for your database will help you boost your business’s revenue and accelerate productivity.

What is Contact Management?

A contact management strategy will create a foundation for you to build your marketing, sales, and customer delight strategies on. A strong contacts database helps you and your team stay productive while delivering helpful content with context.

Before we look at the four key areas of contact management, let’s define what contact management is. Contact management is a strategy that focuses on using a software program (like HubSpot) to easily store and source a contact’s information, including their name, contact history, email information, and so much more.

By building a contact management strategy for your business, you’ll be able to understand where your contacts are coming from, how they interact with your business, and, most importantly, the best way to connect with them. Inbound marketing is all about attracting your contacts with helpful information, and a strong contact management strategy provides you with the tools to deliver contextual content to your contacts.

There are four key areas of building a contact management strategy:

  • Contacts
  • Database management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Conversion

Each of these four areas help create the foundation for your contact management strategy. If your contacts database naturally degrades by about 22.5% every year, you need to have a strong strategy in place to keep the contacts you cannot send to out of your database and be sending the best information to the ones that are in your database.

As the world continues to change each day, we need to have a foundation for our strategy that can build off of the ever-evolving technology in the world of inbound.

How can you get Started with Contact Management?

Developing a contact management strategy for your business will create the foundation for you to be productive, grow your business, and provide the most value to your contacts.

To get started with contact management, let's review the four key areas of contact management:

  • Contacts
  • Database management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Conversion

Each of these four areas is a part of building your overall contact management strategy.


The first piece of your inbound strategy as well as contact management strategy is understanding your contacts.

Your contacts are the heart of your inbound strategies, and having a good understanding of how you manage them is the first step in contact management.

Contacts can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. To develop a contact management strategy, the first definition you will need to create for your business is what a contact is. 

HubSpot defines a contact as anybody your company markets, sells, partners, engages with, or employs.

This means that both marketing and sales will need to be involved in your strategy for contact management, but our contacts are not just marketing contacts. And by involving both sales and marketing in your contacts strategy and having them use the same contacts database, you’re creating alignment and consistency with all parts of your inbound strategy that your contacts are interacting with.

Your contact management strategy needs to have all parts of your business on board to help you create the best foundation that everyone will be able to use.

Want to learn more about contacts? Check out the Contact Mental Model from HubSpot Academy here.

Database management

While contacts and database management might sound similar, they are two separate areas of contact management. When you are focused on developing a contact strategy, you are looking at the information and how you are collecting that information. However, your database management is how you keep everything clean for the contacts that you are adding.

You aim to create the most personalized experience for your leads and customers. However, these efforts are often impeded by unreliable data. During the course of one year, your contacts database will decay up to 25-30%. This means that your contact records need to be updated or deleted from your database to make sure you have the most accurate and usable information about them.

Want to clean your database? Try the Contacts Database Clean-up Project here.

Lead nurturing

If your contacts are the heart of your strategies, then continually connecting with them will be crucial. Just like a first date, you can’t get to know everything about your contacts in the first interaction. You need to have second and third dates to gather more context on the problems and needs that you can help them solve.

This is why a piece of building a contact management strategy is lead nurturing. Creating a space where you are constantly interacting and learning about your contacts will help you find your ideal customers and the people who might not be right for your business.

With your contacts all in one place, you can build targeted lists, automate your email campaigns, and continue to expand your database. By continuing to gather more information through lead nurturing, you are guiding your contacts towards a specific action and helping your teams understand your ideal buyers better.

Depending on the size of your contacts database, you could have up to tens of thousands of contacts that you are managing. When you are nurturing them through automated tasks, you're setting goals for you and your team to measure the success of all those contacts. This helps you set internal goals regarding the numbers you are trying to move and where your contacts are seeing value and where they're not. Consistently setting goals and measuring the value will help you optimize and grow better.


To grow your business, you have to convert leads into customers. With the foundation of your contact management strategy, you are able to have the most information about your contacts to create conversions at the right time with the right people.

To have conversions, you need to have the right context on your contacts to create the best conversion path for them. Understanding conversions will help you continue to build a contact management strategy.

Just as you are nurturing your leads with lead nurturing in conversion, you are setting goals for your contacts to guide them towards an action that helps you grow your business.

Want to learn more about conversion? Check out the How To Use CRO for Success post here.

How HubSpot’s Tools can help you with Contact Management

Contact management is rooted in the four key areas that help you build the foundation. But you need to fuel this strategy with a platform that will allow you to execute on the strategy.

HubSpot is built on the idea that your contacts are the heart of all your strategies, and the tools are focused on helping you create a contact management strategy for your inbound business.

In HubSpot, there are three key areas that help you build your contact management strategy:

  • Free CRM
  • Lead nurturing tool
  • Campaign analytics

Let’s take a look at how each of these tools will help you build your contact management strategy.

Free CRM

The first is HubSpot’s free CRM. This CRM allows you to get started today at no cost. The HubSpot CRM will help you organize all your contact details and interactions in one centralized place.

Each interaction is tracked automatically, and deals are displayed on one dashboard for total visibility without added work. Best of all, you can enjoy up to 1,000,000 contacts, users, and storage without any expiration date – whether you're a team of 1 or 1,000.

The first step in creating a contact management strategy is understanding your contacts. With the CRM, you can begin to understand your contacts and learn how best to interact with them.

HubSpot CRM has allowed us to track, manage, and organize our sales pipeline in a more efficient way than we ever thought possible. -Mark Wallace, Co-Founder, Parlor

Want to learn more about the HubSpot CRM? Check it out here.

Lead nurturing tool

With your contacts organized and their information stored on their contact records, you can start to nurture them. One of the other key areas of contact management is continuing to learn about your contacts. Your contacts, just like the world of inbound, are changing every day and developing behaviors. Having a consistent relationship with them is key. The best way to accomplish this is through lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing is all about understanding your leads' timing and needs. For effective lead nurturing to occur, you must deliver helpful content with the right context. Additionally, continue to gather information on your contacts so you can send the best contextual content.

The definition of lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospects with the goal of earning their business when they’re ready. In practice, lead nurturing is a marketing effort focused on engaging with your leads and customers in a way that progresses them towards a specific action.

Lead nurturing can span through many of the stages of the Inbound Methodology, not just the close stage. Your contact management strategy is not just for attracting and converting customers. It is focused on the long-term growth of your contacts and your company. 


Workflow in action 

HubSpot’s workflows tool is automation beyond email, so you can scale your growth and spend less time on repetitive tasks.

Having a strong lead nurturing tool to help you deliver the right content at the right time to the right contacts will help you build upon the foundation of your contact management strategy.


Want to learn more about the lead nurturing tool? Check out HubSpot workflows here.

Campaign analytics

The goal of your business is to bring in contacts and have them become customers. You cannot do that without converting them. This is why a key area of contact management is conversion. Creating a place where your contacts can live and continually be nurtured is crucial to your strategy, and the additional piece is converting them.

In HubSpot, a key to your conversion strategy is the new campaign analytics tool where you can group all your assets related to a specific campaign together and then manage and analyze the results (together).

This allows you to do two key things:

  • Look at your campaigns and measure how successful they were with all the assets associated.
  • Determine which contacts were influenced by these campaigns and continue to learn about those contacts.


Campaign Anayltics dashboard 

You know that to convert your contacts and close them as customers, you need to understand what works well in your campaigns and what doesn't. Being able to track all the assets that went into a campaign and analyze the results will help you develop campaigns that enable you and your business to grow.

These three HubSpot tools will help you create a successful contact management strategy that helps you continuously grow over time.

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This is the final post in the Contacts: A Growth Stack Story presented by HubSpot Academy and Inbound Professor, Courtney Sembler.

Want to continue learning about contact management? Check out the Contact Management Resource Page


Originally published Dec 21, 2017 11:00:00 AM, updated January 22 2018