From the Rolodex of the past to today’s contact management software, the systems for keeping track of clients and leads have definitely evolved. Instead of having to manually create, update, and search a list of individuals and other vendors using a clunky desktop device or pile of disorganized sticky notes, modern contact management software lets you track contact information in one easy-to-use place.
With so many options available when it comes to choosing the best contact management software for your business, it can be difficult knowing exactly which tool to pick. In this post, we’ll take a look at our six favorite contact management tools — plus explain how contact management software and CRMs are different.
What’s the difference between a CRM and contact management software?
Although definitely similar, there are distinct differences between a CRM system and contact management software. A CRM tool is a type of contact management software, but contact management software doesn’t necessarily include a CRM.
While full-fledged CRM systems usually include advanced tools to help manage the entire sales process, contact management software focuses on basic, streamlined functionality for tracking client and vendor information and communications history. Contact management software will usually allow users to track elements such as contact address, phone, email, and social media information, sales representative info, and communication history. This means that, in comparison to enterprise-level CRM tools, contact management software is often more affordable.
With their comprehensive range of features, CRM systems can also take some time when it comes to onboarding a team and getting up to speed. Contact management software, however, usually involves much less of a learning curve. The perfect middle ground between manually-updated spreadsheets and the more complex enterprise CRM systems mentioned above, contact management software software is well-suited to smaller businesses and individual users. While most of the tools we’re featuring in this post also include CRM capabilities, we’ll be focusing on their contact management qualities.
The 6 best contact management software options
If you’re looking for a free contact management solution, Bitrix24 offers one of the best on the market. With more than five-million users worldwide, Bitrix24 is the world’s most popular free contact management software.
Bitrix24 works as an online database of all your contacts, leads, and vendors, allowing you to record their names, emails, phone numbers, and any other relevant information. It also automatically logs communication made between you and any of your contacts through email integration and phone call logging.
Bitrix24 will also show you which contacts have purchased your product or service and when they last placed an order, all at a glance. You get a clear picture of who your customers are without having to switch between multiple tools — saving you tons of time and energy.
While the paid plan includes other CRM tools and features, Bitrix24’s contact management software is free for an unlimited number of contacts, leads, deals, and other businesses. If you’re ready to upgrade and enjoy more of Bitrix24’s features, their Basic Plan starts at $39 per month (for all users).
Covve is a mobile app that takes the idea of an address book and supercharges it for professionals. With Covve, you can scan business cards of contacts you meet, plus have access to a shareable and scannable digital business card for yourself. Not only does this increase your contact organization, but makes your networking efforts a touch more environmentally-friendly.
You can fill out contact data fields such as company, country, address, and add any relevant notes and reminders. For example, if you know a certain contact has kids or pets, you can keep a note in their contact profile to remind yourself of their names for when it comes time to write your annual holiday cards to clients. You can also organize your contacts using smart tags, and export contact lists to Excel/CSV when needed.
In addition to contact management capabilities, Covve offers other networking tools that can help you build real connections. For example, Covve’s InTough Engine tells you when the best time to reach out to specific contacts is, while the News Engine feature regularly scans more than 100 news sources to notify you of any updates regarding your contacts, their businesses, or their industries.
Covve’s regular plan is free, while more advanced users who need specialized features (expanded web views and contact analytics) can subscribe to their Pro Plan for $9.99 a month.
Really Simple Systems provides everything you need to track and manage your network.
Designed for growing teams, Real Simple Systems is contact management software that helps you effectively manage your contacts with a 360-degree view so you can improve customer relationships and boost sales. You’re able to not only keep track of names and addresses, but every interaction you’ve had with each contact — all arranged in a clear, easy-to-understand summary. With Real Simple Systems, you can find opportunities and contact information with an advanced search feature, employ email integration to automatically capture email contact info, import relevant documents to customer account records, and customize your interface with custom fields.
Since multiple teams can manage their contacts, activities and interactions, campaigns, and sales opportunities at the same time, Real Simple Systems is also able to facilitate cross-organizational collaboration and information sharing through a dedicated centralized hub. And with customizable user permission levels, you can control who has access to what information.
Really Simple Systems is free for up to two users (with 100 company records and 100MB storage capacity), with their Starter Plan priced at $16 CAD per user, per month.
Nutshell provides you and your business with a central repository for customer and contact knowledge.
While getting started can be half the battle with new software and digital tools, Nutshell offers free data importing assistance so you can be productive on day one. After your current contact database is imported, you can add any future contacts by syncing your phone address book, collecting leads from your website, or scanning business cards when networking. Nutshell will also automatically fill in any information on your contacts by searching the internet to find job titles, social media accounts, geographic location, and more.
You’re able to easily access your contact database and add any interaction records, straight from your desktop or phone. This ensures info is always up-to-date for all members of your team and avoids repetitive data entry — saving you and your team valuable time.
After a free 14-day trial, Nutshell’s Starter Plan is $19 USD per user, per month, and includes contact management, activity reminders, email and calendar sync, and more.
Used by more than 280,000 companies including Uber, Microsoft, and Google, Lusha’s contact management software helps you access and gather contact and business information from LinkedIn, your Gmail inbox, or B2B websites.
Once you install the Lusha browser extension, you’re able to start increasing your prospect and contact list right away. For example, when you’re on the LinkedIn page of an individual whose details you’d like to save, you simply click to save their contact information directly to your Lusha dashboard. From here, you can build organized lists to keep track of your contacts or export these lists into a CSV or your CRM of choice.
With Lusha, you can also bulk enrich your prospect list. The tool lets you select up to 150 contact details in one click, and then upload them to your CRM. Plus, Lusha’s data is ISO 27001 ISO certified and CCPA compliant and GDPR aligned, meaning it adheres to critical privacy and security laws.
Lusha’s free trial gives you access to email address and phone number management. Their paid plans start at $74 per month (for two users) and include more comprehensive features. If you’re looking for more advanced capabilities such as API access, a dedicated Success Manager, and Salesforce integration, they also offer custom Enterprise plans.
Less Annoying CRM certainly lives up to its name. Designed specifically for small businesses and teams, this tool was built with the sole purpose of simplifying the contact management process. Where small to medium-sized businesses or individual small business owners have previously struggled with expensive and complex CRM software (while using only a portion of the features), Less Annoying CRM promises to be easy to understand, easy to use, and affordable.
With Less Annoying CRM, you’re able to store and see all of your contact information in one simple screen. Here, you’re able to view basic contact info, notes, files, tasks, calendar events, and general pipeline data related to your contact. The tool goes one step beyond a simple contact management system by also providing up-to-date lead reports. You can see every lead in your pipeline, the status and priority of these leads, contact info, and any associated notes.
Plus, instead of constantly switching between different apps or screens all the time, Less Annoying CRM also includes a handy calendar (that syncs with Google Calendar) and task manager. These can be shared with others across your organization for streamlined collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
If you want to test out its features, Less Annoying CRM provides a free 30-day trial. After that, their plan structure is incredibly simple at $15 per user, per month. If you need functionality for more than ten users, they offer customized enterprise plans depending on your business’ needs.
Let’s ask management
The right contact management software can save your team countless hours of time — plus boost your bottom line. Whether you need a basic and straightforward tool for organizing email addresses and phone numbers or a contact management-inclusive CRM, the best contact management software will always be the one that aligns most closely with your specific business needs.