What is Contact Management Software?

By Danny Wong

To facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in your sales process, consider using contact management software. It’s a program that helps you organize all the interactions you have with your contacts, including clients, colleagues, business partners, vendors, and any individual you might collaborate with throughout the lifespan of your business.

You may hear the term contact management software used when the software is really a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which can cause confusion. Although many software providers use the terms CRM and contact management software interchangeably, there are important differences between them. Most CRM systems include robust contact management features. They also include a lot more for your salespeople, marketing teams, and personnel to stay on top of all the aspects that help you grow your business and provide exceptional customer service support. Depending on the size and scope of your sales funnel and business, you may not need all the extras that come with a more advanced CRM system. That said, most small businesses can still benefit from implementing contact management software within their organization and processes.

Generally, contact management software is a tool within a CRM system. A CRM platform is more inclusive and provides reporting options that give you better oversight of your business growth and benchmarks. It helps you manage the entirety of your relationships as a business. Contact management is often simpler. Your contact management software allows you to save contact information such as business name, address, phone numbers, and professional titles. It can also include a record of contact to provide an easy way for you to see the history of communication between your company and the prospect. 

The best contact management software often depends on your organizational needs. There are many robust systems on the market, each with unique strengths. Here, we'll discuss what contact management software is and how to determine the best type of contact management software for your business.

How to determine if your sales team needs contact management software

For a sales leader, contact management software is generally a wise investment. At its core, it allows companies to organize their contacts. Beyond that, many contact management tools provide you with insight into the instances, individuals, and interactions between your team members and your external contacts. This can also help you glean insight into how engaged a prospect is with your brand and where they are in the sales process. 

The best contact management software should allow you to access key data about your contacts, making it easy to understand a prospect’s full history with your company.

For small businesses with fewer than a handful of employees, it still may be advantageous for you to select a dedicated contact management software that offers a reliable way to collect and house contact information. 

Larger brands, on the other hand, may need to pair a sophisticated contact management tool with an even more robust CRM. By using the right contact and customer management technologies, companies can better personalize user interactions and accelerate their overall growth.

Often, when your contact lists become unwieldy, tools such as contact management software can be the lifeline you need to effectively handle high-volume customer interactions while maintaining a lean sales department. As your team grows, contact management software becomes even more useful as a way to keep track of different customer touchpoints so your sales reps are better informed the next time they reach out to a prospect, especially if multiple salespeople are overseeing the same customer account. When you employ the right contact management solution, your team can streamline its workflow and ensure leads and opportunities stay warm. 

How to decide the best contact management software for your business

Choosing the right contact management software or CRM solution is important because the ideal tool may save your team dozens of hours a month, capture invaluable contact information that can help you close deals faster, and ensure all team members are on the same page with different prospect outreach initiatives. 

To help you determine the best contact management software for your business, employ the seven strategies below to effectively narrow down your list of vendors and choose the right solution for your organizational needs.

  1. Assess your current business practices. Your best software choice is determined by your company needs. First, evaluate how you currently communicate with customers. Then, identify areas for improvement or optimization. Additionally, consider how your customers want to be contacted. Once you summarize all the opportunities, you can set out to find an ideal solution that can make it easier for your team to improve the way they interact with customers. 

  2. Factor in long- and short-term goals. As your business evolves, so will your technology needs. Find a contact management software solution that can scale with you. Ideally, you should select a platform that offers different features and packages your business will need as you grow your customer base or shift organizational priorities. This minimizes the risk of needing to search for a new contact management tool after a year or two and ensures your team only has to integrate and learn the software once.

  3. Consult with your staff. Work with your department managers and junior staff to discover where their biggest pain points lie. Have them sign up and explore free demos from various vendors. Afterward, summarize their findings to better inform your decision-making process. Through this, you may gather better insight into what’s missing from your current tech stack and what’s required in anything you license next. 

  4. Research public and private reviews. Scour review sites to see how current and past users rated the different software solutions you shortlist. Reach out to managers at other organizations within your professional network to crowdsource their feedback and elicit opinions on the tools you might license. Whenever possible, ask them in-depth questions about their experiences to learn more about a product’s advantages and pitfalls.

  5. Evaluate their after-sales service and support. Before you license a new tool, determine whether there are included training processes and service level agreements that meet your company needs. Some software vendors only provide you with the technology, whereas others provide more hands-on support to ensure ongoing customer success. 

  6. Select software that integrates with your current tech stack. Ask if the contact management software you decide to use integrates easily with your other programs and platforms, such as your CRM solution. This will make it easier for you to house and manage more of your customer data seamlessly. 

  7. Consider the other features offered. Sales reps are constantly on the go. To help them access real-time customer data, select a contact management software that is either mobile-friendly or offers a dedicated mobile app. Additionally, look for tools that provide you with deeper insights into your audience. This can include automatic surfacing of social feeds and consolidation of all customer communications through instant messages, emails, and calls. 

Your contact management software choice will reflect the best solution for your business and employees. That may be an out-of-the-box solution, an add-on within a larger CRM platform, or an individualized tool for your unique industry. When you take user reviews, sales team requirements, and your organization’s needs into account, you will identify the best contact management software to help your business grow even faster.

About the author

Danny Wong is an entrepreneur, marketer and writer. He is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company, and leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer interactions for eCommerce stores, and Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio
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