Best contact management software
Business gets done via relationships, which is why we are willing to travel to the ends of the Earth for a meeting, so the deal can be sealed with a look in the eye and a firm handshake. A good business person has piles of business cards of their contacts, brimming with emails, addresses, phone numbers and social media account information.
While putting them all into your phone was the way to go just a few years back, these days it is all about leveraging all this contact info to help create that next business opportunity.
In order to accomplish this, it is going to take the right application, namely a contact management software solution. That term is sometimes used interchangeably by some vendors with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), although others believe that CRM solutions are more advanced than the closely related but simpler contact management software. For the purpose of this article we consider both to be the same category of software, although technically there are nuanced differences here.
With so many ways to contact folks these days, good contact management software can simplify this, and integrate all conversations into one unified place.
Now that we know why we need it, let’s take a look at the best picks for contact management software.
- We've also highlighted the best CRM software of 2018
Build business relationships with this popular choice
Insightly is a popular contact management program, boasting 1.5 million users at 25,000 companies in a variety of industries including Bloomberg, the Mayo Clinic and the University of California. It can connect to 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, and also a free tier which has a limit of two users. The paid plans start with the Plus Plan, which costs $29 (£22) per user per month (billed annually) and is appropriate for smaller organizations as it has a limit of 100,000 records, 2500 emails, and 50 custom fields.
Contact management as part of a larger business program
Maximizer is a business software solution with a robust feature set to cover contact management duties; it is trusted by 120,000+ corporations including Hallmark and National Bank.
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.
The price for Maximizer starts at $40 (£30) per user monthly, with a minimum of 5 users, billed annually and hosted on your own server. There is no free tier or trial available other than a 60-day money back guarantee. It also offers a solution whereby they host the software in the cloud, and this increases the cost to $60 (£45) per user monthly.
A focus on ease of setup and use
Nutshell is a customer management solution, with claims that companies have closed over 1.1 million worth of deals using their software. It has also won multiple awards.
This software can organize contacts and conversations, track leads, automate sales processes, and track it all with easily understandable performance reports. Their raison d'être is ease of use, and the idea is that this is the tool the sales team will actually use.
Towards that end, they offer features such as onboarding 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 start with the Starter tier, which costs $19 (£14) per user per month when billed annually. It can support a single sales pipeline, standard sales reporting, and offers team collaboration capabilities.
The cloud-based solution for your company’s growth
The internet titan Oracle brings us their cloud-based business software offering, NetSuite, covering the full gamut of business needs. The part that deals with contact management is NetSuite CRM.
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.
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 the pricing on their website, or if there is a free trial.
The CRM with Zia, the conversational AI
With digital assistants 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 even Bixby, but rather a new virtual buddy, named Zia Voice.
Instead of having to generate performance reports that the competition provides, the Zia chatbot can be queried, with the information generated on demand to answer questions about the module, and respond with reports and dashboards that she generates.
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 tier offered for basic needs of up to three users. The paid tiers begin at the Standard level of $12 (£9) monthly per user billed annually, but Zia Voice is not included unless you step up to the Enterprise plan for $35 (£26) per user per month, billed annually.