The best contact management software provide an easy way to manage relationships with your customers, suppliers, and sales contacts.
This is not least because relationships are key to business, especially for leads, sales, development, and general connectivity. Yet managing your contacts can be a challenge, for example when returning from business events or trade shows with a pocket full of business cards.
You could, of course, simply use a document scanning app (opens in new tab) to save and manage your business contacts, or use a dedicated email (opens in new tab) folder, but neither are the best way to organize your new and old contacts. This is where business contact management software comes into play.
The aim of contact management software is simple: to make it easier not to just organize your contacts, but to leverage them according to your needs and interests. At a basic level this means the software will make it far easier to organize all your contacts and communications in one place.
Additional features are also available, such as visualizations of company hierarchies, so you can see at a glance which person is responsible for which department, making it easier to send an email or make a call to the right person. Sometimes everything will be done by clicking through options, but increasingly virtual assistants and AI now play a role in organizing your information.
Additionally, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) (opens in new tab) is now increasingly built into contact management software - in fact, some CRM's are directly marketed as contact management solutions.
Here then are the best contact management software platforms currently available.
We've also listed the best business networking apps. (opens in new tab)
Insightly is a popular contact management program, boasting the ability to connect to over 40 different apps to aggregate data, including Slack, Box, and Evernote.
Insightly also focuses on business relationships, and can assist in discovering hierarchies at organizations, and build relationship maps which can help to increase sales via tools such as automated lead management and automatic tracked emails. For new users of the platform, there is a series of tutorials and webinars to get you up to speed quickly.
Insightly offers free trials, with the paid plans starting with the Plus plan, which is appropriate for smaller organizations as it has a fairly basic feature set.
The Professional plan offers additional voice and business intelligence options, as well as developer API support and increased limits. The Enterprise plan offers the fullest range of features available.
Read our full Insightly review.
Maximizer CRM is a business software solution with a robust feature set to cover contact management duties.
Features include a shared address book that can perform searches by a case number or company affiliation and even save them, processes can be automated easily, multi-level security for hierarchical access to control who has access to what data, and integrated with a mobile friendly calendar. Data entry can also be simplified with form field validation that can specify which fields are mandatory, and check for duplicate entries.
Maximizer is billed annually and hosted on your own server. A 30-day free trial and a 60-day money back guarantee are also available. There is also a solution whereby the firm hosts the software in the cloud, though this increases the cost per user monthly, billed annually.
Nutshell is a customer management solution that can organize contacts and conversations, track leads, automate sales processes, and track it all with easily understandable performance reports. Its easy to use, and the idea is that this is the tool the sales team will actually use.
Towards that end, they offer features such as on-boarding assistance to be up and running in under 24 hours, and accessible support available for no extra charge via phone, email and chat. Nutshell has both iOS and Android apps available to support use on the go.
A 14-day free trial is offered without a credit card. The paid plans begin with the Starter tier which can support a single sales pipeline, standard sales reporting, and offers team collaboration capabilities. There is also the Pro midrange tier, and the top-level plan is Pro Plus which is suitable for more complex needs.
The internet titan Oracle brings us its cloud-based business software offering, NetSuite CRM, covering the full gamut of business needs.
NetSuite CRM endeavors to “drive the complete customer lifecycle.” This includes automation of the sales force including marketing, e-commerce, and customer support, all with the option for customization. Also included is sales performance management, order management and partner management, with integration to other products. It also provides mobile apps for both the Android and iOS platforms.
Contacts get managed through sales portals, and sales managers get provided with “a complete view of all leads and opportunities in the pipeline,” and records that include full details of all interactions.
While NetSuite CRM is a robust offering, there is no indication of pricing on its website, or any mention of a free trial.
With digital assistants (opens in new tab) gaining prominence in our lives, Zoho CRM takes this approach with its customer management software solution. No, you won’t be chatting with Cortana, Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, but rather a new virtual buddy, named Zia Voice.
Ease of use is paramount here, and instead of having to generate performance reports as with rival products, the Zia chatbot can be queried for the desired info.
Zia is also useful when mobile as she can be accessed from an app on the smartphone, and can perform a variety of activities including updating accounts and retrieving information, avoiding the need to manually update info on a smaller device. Zia can also analyze records, and indicate which leads are more likely to close, and which are slipping away.
There is a free trial, but no free tier. Subscription plans begin at the Standard level but Zia Voice is not included unless you step up to the Enterprise plan.
Read our full Zoho CRM review.
Bitrix24 offers a CRM as part of it's huge and inclusive platform of services, which includes collaboration, instant messaging, telephony, project management, and scheduling, as well as document management and even HR tools.
The CRM itself is sales-focused for working with your sales funnels and pipelines, with a range of automation features including for connecting with marketing actions.
Although Bitrix24 offers many other tools, the excellent CRM is a capable system all on its own. Contacts and communications are logged, leads assigned to sales managers, emails sent, calls recorded, quotes and invoices issued. Detailed reports keep you up-to-date and there's convenient access via the mobile app.
Bitrix24's unusually generous free account supports unlimited users and includes 5GB storage, but if you need more, the Plus account offers more features to up to 6 users and provides 50GB online storage.
Read our full Bitrix24 CRM review.
Contact Management Software for sales
One key purpose of contact management isn't just to record and log customer interactions, but also to support sales channels to create new ones. Here we'll look at CRM's that have a particular focus on sales:
Pipedrive (opens in new tab) advertises itself as a CRM developed by sales people for sales people. It's designed as a sales management tool to help teams work with more advanced sales projects, and it's both simple to set up and easy to use. It provides a visual display of the sales process, alerting you to various actions and goals that need to be covered by the team at different stages.
Keap (opens in new tab) is the new brand names for InfusionSoft's successful CRM, which aims to simplify the sales process through a series of clear visual representations as well as a visual builder for creating automated workflows. This makes it easy to connect different campaigns in different ways from a single dashboard, as well as track appointments, quotes, invoices, and payments.
Freshworks (opens in new tab) offers a sales-based CRM from the popular Freshworks stable of apps. It uses built-in phone and email features to find the best sales leads, engage in relevant conversations, and manage the sales pipeline better. It can run as a standalone platform, but it also integrates with Freshworks other products for sales, customer management, calls, and marketing, among other things.
How we tested the best contact management software
To test for the best contact management software we searched for a range of popular options as well as took recommendations from people we know who are already using contact management software. We then tried each platform to see how user-friendly each was, as well as determine what range of tools and advanced options were available. Pricing also came into account when determining our best list.
Which contact management software is best for you?
When deciding which of the contact management softwar to use, first consider what actual needs you have. For example, decide if you need any additional featured on top of any existing CRM or UCaaS platform you may already be using, or even whether your existing you are using service might include what you need. Larger enterprises will probably want to look to the higher-end options for the more advanced tools that are included.