In a letter he wrote to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy in 1789, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes... and a shared repository for customer contact information being helpful for sales teams of all sizes, industries, and structures."
Alright, I admit I might have taken some creative liberty with the last part of that quote — but it doesn't make it any less true.
Being able to readily access and analyze customer and prospect data can make your sales efforts considerably easier and more effective. That's why contact management software is always a choice to consider.
Keep reading to learn more, or jump ahead to the section you’re looking for:
- What is contact management software?
- Contact Management Software vs. Customer Relationship Management System
- Benefits of Contact Management Software
- Best Contact Management Software
What is contact management?
Contact management is the process of collecting, storing, organizing, and managing contact data. This data comes from customers, leads, and other business connections.
Efficient contact management helps businesses effectively use their contacts. It enables personalized communication, better customer service, and improved sales opportunities.
What is contact management software?
Contact management software is a tool that offers businesses a central space to organize customer information.
"Contact management software" is a catch-all term for data management software.
This software lets you track prospect, customer, and vendor contact information. This can include data like:
- Individual employees
- Associated companies
- Open quotes
- Sales history
It's a resource that can improve your sales efforts by simplifying communication and creating a single source of truth. Contact management software can also help streamline processes like outreach and lead qualification.
Contact Management Software vs. Customer Relationship Management System
Contact management software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems both handle data management and communication. But CRMs can also help businesses manage sales, marketing, and customer service. A CRM can give a business a clear overview of the customer experience for advanced analysis, forecasting, reporting, and outreach.
Benefits of Contact Management Software
Helps your business do more with less.
Some businesses use spreadsheets to organize contact data or let employees have their own system for keeping contacts. Besides creating chaos and bottlenecks, this approach silos information. A central space for contact management can:
- Save your employees' time
- Increase productivity
- Give your team a more streamlined workflow
It also enables you to add automation and other time-savers to your contact processes.
Improves customer relationships.
Every conversation with every customer matters. A central source of customer data can make unique details available to the team members that need them. This helps your business meet expectations, nurture customer relationships, and personalize communication.
So, contact management software can improve the customer experience for greater satisfaction and loyalty.
Betters sales performance.
Contact management software often includes tools to:
- Manage sales leads
- Keep track of sales activities
- Analyze sales performance
These tools can help your team find the best opportunities and use data to improve the sales process. These improvements can lead to higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and better sales performance.
Enables team collaboration.
A central platform for contact details keeps customers from getting passed from department to department when they have a problem to solve. It makes it easier for teams to share the work it takes to keep your customers happy.
Improved collaboration means better results for your customers and your business. Check out this guide for more tips on how you can make the most of your contact management software.
Best Contact Management Software
Here are some of the top contact management software for small businesses. Then, we’ll go over the best free and paid options available for any business.
Best Contact Management Software for Small Business
- Nextiva Customer Relationship Suite
Price: Free forever.
HubSpot's free CRM is a contact management tool plus so much more. You'll never have to manually add or update contact records — HubSpot will take care of that for you after every interaction you have with a contact. Plus, contact records are enriched automatically with data from over 20 million businesses.
The CRM and contact management system is easy to get started with, use, and navigate.
In addition to contact management, other notable features include:
- Pipeline management
- Reporting dashboards
- Company insights
- Deal tracking
- Email tracking and notifications
- Prospect tracking
- Meeting scheduling
- Live chat
The CRM is entirely free forever but you can upgrade at any time to a paid plan for more features as your business scales.
Useful customer feedback: "We use HubSpot to manage new incoming leads, make income projections, and manage ongoing contacts. Managing hundreds and thousands of contacts is next to impossible without a CRM and HubSpot makes the job very easy with all the automation and reporting available. It's perfect for organizing and transmitting all sales materials and transaction documents as well."
Price: Plans starting at $5 per user/mo.
BIGContacts CRM simplifies contact management to help small businesses build customer relationships. The tool offers a detailed view of contact records including their phone numbers, location, emails, previous touches, transaction history, notes, and upcoming interactions. You can store extra information under custom fields as well. Then, use these comprehensive contact records to personalize various outreach communications and campaigns.
BIGContacts allows you to capture data from web forms automatically, eliminating manual effort and potential errors. The platform brings contacts and tasks to one place, making it easy to stay updated with upcoming activities.
The contact management CRM provides the functionality to tag and sort contacts through static and dynamic contact lists to improve segmentation. The tool integrates with several business applications such as accounting, analytics, and marketing software. This makes it easier to manage everything related to your contacts from a single platform. BIGContacts also provides remote access, allowing you to keep tabs on your contacts from anywhere.
Useful customer feedback: "Adjusting to working with the software is very easy, users can share information and view each other’s activities related to certain job tasks. Updating contacts when their information changes can be tricky because you must add another contact and then it can become confusing when trying to figure out which one is correct."
Price: Plans starting from $24.95 per user/ mo.
The Nextiva sales CRM’s robust suite of features includes contact management resources that are available across all of their plans. Even their most basic subscription includes tools for maintaining email history, notes, and call logs.
Together, these resources can help you track your customers’ contact information and communication history while taking the stress out of processes like follow-up and outreach. With Nextiva, you'll have access to a wide array of features including follow-up automation, surveys, live chat, and analytics.
Useful customer feedback: "The ease of use on the desktop allows me to be more productive. I like that pulling up contacts, calling, texting, and seeing who is calling is as easy as working on my latest project."
"I've had a few issues with creating contacts and all communications not being labeled immediately, but typically a refresh solves this problem."
Price: Plans starting at $34 per mo., Custom pricing for Enterprise
Experience the power of Jotform, an exceptional online application that empowers you to create and manage custom online forms for any occasion. The intuitive drag-and-drop user interface, combined with a no-code building tool, enables you to design forms, build apps, collect e-signatures, generate reports, and efficiently manage form data.
Enhance your workflow with Jotform's vast platform, offering hundreds of valuable tools and widgets for seamless integration with various applications. Connect with CRM, project management tools, payment processors, analytics tools, and more. Jotform Enterprise is a versatile and powerful solution that elevates your company's productivity and efficiency.
Price: Plans starting at $49 per mo.
ActiveCampaign is a customer experience automation platform with a range of contact management features and capabilities.
ActiveCampaign pairs its contact management capabilities with your customer lifecycle. The process begins with reaching and engaging your audience, then nurturing and educating them, followed by converting and closing them, and lastly, supporting their growth. To begin the process of contact management, the tool will have you create a contact list.
From there, simply add existing email contacts and then organize your contacts by list, tag, or custom field. ActiveCampaign will prompt you to build segments for your customers to allow you to target and personalize content for them. This contact management solution will help you segment based on communications like emails and forms, too. Then, it'll identify and pull out behavioral actions that will teach you more about customers in those segments.
ActiveCampaign also provides case studies. This can help you learn about the ways that other companies like yours are using the software's contact management tools and how they segment their customers.
Useful customer feedback: "With ActiveCampaign you can automate offers, list management, and contact management. You can schedule appointments, add notes to contacts, and send them direct messages. To improve the overall user experience, you can send personalized messages to your website users. To convert more visitors, you can build a kind of sales funnel."
Price: CRM plans starting at $15 per user/ mo.
Freshworks is a CRM and contact management system that helps you manage and nurture your contacts to create strong and lasting relationships with them. It automates contact data entry for you and provides 360-degree views of individual customers.
Freshworks tracks sales activities, manages sales tasks and appointments, and allows you to place calls or send emails without having to leave the tool. You can integrate with Google Workspace to access Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and more all from Freshworks.
Useful customer feedback: "Users can efficiently manage their contacts, track interactions, and maintain a comprehensive view of customer details, such as email conversations, phone calls, and social media interactions."
Price: Plans starting at $9 per mo.
Moosend is an email marketing automation platform with advanced audience management features to keep your contacts organized. Moosend’s CRM capabilities will let you easily manage your contacts through the contacts dashboard, monitoring who is active and who bounced to optimize your strategy.
The platform’s advanced segmentation capabilities help you collect in-depth customer data. And you can easily tag your subscribers based on different criteria and information to create tailored content. For example, Moosend’s custom fields personalize your subject lines and content based on your customers’ names, birthdays, locations, and more.
Moosend’s lead generation tools will also help you expand your mailing lists by converting newsletter sign-up forms and landing pages. You can automate your contact management through marketing automation by creating specific automated workflows that will keep your list clean and engaged based on user actions.
Useful customer feedback: "Users can create contact lists rapidly and easily. This platform targets the required audience itself. This platform allows users to schedule different campaigns. It is quite a useful feature because the user does not have to remember the time and date for starting them."
Price: Plans starting at $159 per mo.
Keap is a CRM and sales and marketing platform with a client management solution for small businesses. The platform offers a central location for client activity and communications and the tool automates follow-ups, contact record creation. and contact record updates for you. You can also quickly personalize communications with contacts (such as forms, emails, and sales follow-ups) using the contact data that's stored in Keap.
Integrate Keap with Gmail or Outlook so all your email interactions are automatically updated in the associated contact's record. There are also a wide variety of other business tools and software you can integrate with Keap so all your data is up-to-date and accessible from a single location.
Useful customer feedback: "Keap is a beast in itself in which you can do things effectively provided that you use it effectively, and know your way around it. We used Keap for managing our Contacts, sending promotional emails, marketing automation, and e-comm. Keap became much easier to use as we got to know the right ways of doing things starting from tag naming conventions, right ways of using Goals, Campaign links, etc."
Next, let's dive into the best free and paid contact management software for all businesses — from small to midsize to enterprise.
Best Free and Paid Contact Management Software
- HubSpot CRM Platform
Price: Free and paid plans starting at $45 per mo.
The HubSpot CRM platform's contact management tools are designed to remove friction from your sales processes, streamlining your sales efforts and giving your reps more time and flexibility to close deals.
Like the free version of the CRM, the platform automatically enriches your contact records with data from over 20 million businesses. It also notifies you when prospects open your sales emails or visit your website.
HubSpot includes other contact management staples like prospect tracking tools, meeting scheduling, and live chat (which both your sales and service teams can benefit from).
We chatted above about the free-forever version of HubSpot — if you're a startup or small business, you may start with that version of the software and then scale into a paid version of the sales CRM. This allows for seamless growth with your contact management system as your business scales (along with a host of other features and tools that are ideal for your sales, marketing, and service teams).
Useful customer feedback: "Sales Hub seamlessly integrates with HubSpot CRM, which serves as a single source of truth for all customer and prospect information. This integration ensures that our sales teams have a complete view of our contacts, communication history, deals, and interactions. It enables me as sales rep to provide a personalized experience to prospects and customers, enhancing the quality of our interactions."
Price: Free and paid plans starting at $7 per user/ mo.
The value of Bigin is in its simplicity — it's easy to operate without sacrificing power or functionality. It allows you to manage your contacts with a comprehensive view of any communication you have with those people.
Emails, tasks, and notes specific to your individual contacts are all accounted for and easy to access. It also features tools that help you apply the information gathered during those communications to your sales efforts.
The most basic version of the platform is free to use and can accommodate 500 contacts for an individual user. That plan is ideal for small businesses, startups, and freelancers. Meanwhile, Bigin's paid subscriptions offer more flexibility and features.
Useful customer feedback: "We use Bigin to completely manage the contacts of clients, which makes it effective when we want to make some communications with them. Furthermore, Bigin makes workflow management more effective, after identifying the business opportunities for growth."
Price: Free and paid plans starting at $49 per mo.
Bitrix24's contact management software's suite of features offers standard contact management resources, including a centralized database for collecting and tracking prospect and customer contact information.
The tool also automatically logs and records all phone calls reps place or receive. The same goes for email communications — if you sync your email address with the platform, your entire history of email exchanges will be stored in your Bitrix24 contact manager.
If you're interested in a free solution with functionality that generally isn't available with standard contact management software, Bitrix24 may be worth considering. As your business grows and you want more out of your contact manager, Bitrix24's paid plans can accommodate your needs at reasonable price points.
Useful customer feedback: "We needed a system that allowed for unified communication, contact tracking, document management, and office setup. Bitrix24 allowed up to get up and running quickly."
Price: Free and paid plans starting at $15 per user/ mo.
Streak's contact management tools can be integrated into your Gmail inbox, working alongside all other Google Workspace applications. The software also allows you to both maintain and share a timeline of customer contacts and communications. This can include data about email records, call logs, files, notes, and tasks.
Streak offers custom views of your sales pipeline. You can search, filter, group, and sort your contact data in any configuration as well as save those results in custom views and share that data with your team.
Streak is an accessible software, designed to easily integrate with your Google applications. It's free for personal use but there are also paid professional and enterprise-level plans.
Useful customer feedback: "It will allow you to create a pipeline of the possible customers and let you follow up through the mails you are sharing and receiving with them. Some additional features worth mention is that you can track the openings of the emails shared, associations of specific contacts with specific deals, and best of all, setting up the pipeline as you wish."
Price: Plans starting from $14.90 per user/ mo.
Pipedrive CRM is decidedly sales-oriented, and its contact management resources reflect that. The contact management features are meant to enable hard sales with data and automation. They add a new degree of insight and intelligence to a company’s sales efforts by gathering smart contact data and automatically pre-qualifying leads.
The platform includes tools that can retrieve web data about your contacts from online sources like LinkedIn. Using this information, the platform can give you insight into the viability of pursuing the leads you gather.
Useful customer feedback: "The UX/UI is simple. I repeat, it is simple and perfect for sales guys. The deal view and the contact/company views are just simple and easy to work with. Anyone can just customize or add new fields if required."
Price: Plans starting at $24.90 per user/ mo.
Nimble CRM’s contact management features allow you to access all your contacts — across any mobile, cloud-based, or desktop records — in a single relationship manager.
Nimble’s prospecting tool automatically displays all contact information and company details for prospects and customers, including all emails, social interactions, messages, notes, and calendar events you may have exchanged with them.
The platform works seamlessly with Google Workspace and Office365 and features over 100 app integrations. It’s a powerful, versatile tool for keeping tabs on your contacts, how you reach them, and how they might fit into your overall sales efforts.
Useful customer feedback: "The system is organized and you don't tend to get lost in the small details with contacts. The ease of use and the possibility of linking more than one company to one person is a great advantage. It is flexible and easy to configure."
Price: Plans starting at $16 per user/ mo.
Nutshell acts as a central repository for all your company’s customer knowledge and data. It's a single location for you and your team to store and reference contact details, call notes, and email conversations with customers. The tool's contact management infrastructure — paired with its powerful sales automation tools — can help you streamline your sales process and easily qualify leads.
Nutshell also integrates seamlessly with applications like Slack and Google Workspace and is designed to suit the needs of businesses of every size.
Useful customer feedback: "Nutshell's functionality, support, and cost made it an easy and smart choice. Reminders for follow-up are well designed and can be set according to your cadence, making it easy to keep track of your contacts."
Choose Your Contact Management System
No matter how big your business is, what you sell, or how you structure your sales team, you're bound to have contacts you need to track and manage. If you haven't already invested in contact management software for your business, you should strongly consider some of the choices listed above.
And remember, nothing in life can be said to be certain, except for death, taxes, and high-quality contact management software making life easier for salespeople.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.