Best Contact Management Software: Top 16 Systems & Databases
When it comes to the business of selling, it’s not so much what you know, as who you know. Having a 360-degree view of all your sales leads and contacts is the lifeblood for your sales team, which is why CRM contact management software is so key for pipeline management and the entire sales process.
A contact management system lets you sync all of your contacts to one record, stay on top of your networks, and communicate in real-time. Additionally, reps can view conversation histories and filter their network into contact lists by title, industry, relationship to your business, and a range of other attributes and custom fields.
Reading this article on a site called CRM.org, you might be wondering about the difference between contact management software and CRM Software, or customer relationship management software. Are they not both CRM systems?
This piece will attempt to answer that and look at the best contact management solutions out there. It will discuss their paid plans and if there are free plans or trials on top of the paid plans. We’ll review where contact management overlaps with basic sales CRM tools as well as other features like marketing tools.
What is contact management software?
In a nutshell, a contact management platform is essentially an address book on steroids. In other words, it’s software to manage contacts, which is often an essential part of sales management.
It provides the basic foundation (contact information) that you need to build up sales and marketing strategies and drive customer retention. Yet there are always more advanced contact management features.
Contact management solution tools are particularly favored by SMBs, where a team member or sales agent/manager takes on multiple roles for one contact. In this context, contact relationship management can be seen as a kind of lightweight CRM with simpler, more linear functionality. Contact management is also essential for ecommerce operations, where repeat customers spell the difference between a one-time deal and long-term customer value.
A true CRM platform, meanwhile, is a more robust business software. There are more full-featured CRM tools, handling leads, deals, and offering extended tools for project management, sales, marketing, and customer support. However, the overwhelming majority of CRM solutions incorporate contact management as a key component of their business suite.
Why use contact manager software?
Save your customer interactions
Automatically log all your cross-channel communications with customers, so you’ll have a record to consult later. This information will make a crucial difference when it comes to determining what product or service to offer them for cross-selling and up-selling, the tone of your next interaction, and how best to interact with similar customers later.
Improve the customer experience
With all-in-one contact management, customer service agents can deliver better performance with less effort. They’ll have easy access to a centralized contact list, complete with detailed records of past cross-channel customer interactions, and receive task notifications and follow-up reminders. All this contributes to improved customer experience, reduced churn, and customer loyalty.
Keep all your contact information centralized
Contact information comes to you across many different channels, like social media, live chat, phone calls, your company website, face-to-face convos, web form capture, purchase records, and more. A contact management platform assimilates all this information into one business contact record, including address book and phone numbers, so you can access it from one place.
Helps team collaboration
A centralized contact record gives everyone in your business more visibility and makes your organization smarter and more transparent. Team members can consult individual case files worked on by other staff in real-time, reducing the need for real-life meetings. This eliminates tasks, hand-off mistakes, and redundant work, plus encourages transparent collaboration.
Gets you insights based on contact data
Reporting and analytics tools mine your customer data, providing insights into your audience, what kind of marketing campaigns you should be running, and your overall business needs. Intelligent lead management and segmentation tools can identify the right clients to focus resources on.
Key features of a good contact manager software
List and segment your contacts
Segmentation tools sort contacts by industry, geography, place in the customer lifecycle, and other attributes. Identifying customer profiles helps personalize your customer experience, and lets you find out which demographic provides the greatest opportunities.
Access on the go
A mobile app for Android/iOS comes standard these days for any contact management platform. Wherever you may be, you can gain immediate access via mobile device to contact lists and key information, then act on it for sales, support, customer service, and marketing tasks.
Task and project management
Assign tasks to specific team members, give everyone full visibility on who is doing what, and set deadlines with reminder notifications. Cloud-based SaaS contact management tools, when operating as part of CRM, put all your work processes in one place and let you deal with task and workflow processes on-the-fly.
Automated data entry
Automate your customer data entry, eliminating mundane admin tasks and freeing up time for the more important work. Automated data recording can, in turn, be used to run email marketing automation, sales automation, and more.
Easy import and export
Import contact data from CSV and Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet files, business cards, or CRM and other digital tools. Export them just as easily, so you’re covered in case you migrate platforms, start using new apps, or need external stakeholders to have data visibility.
Contact management system comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)
Below is a quick overview of the top contact management systems. We show which each vendor is best suited for, some paid plan information, and our rating.
Less Annoying CRM
Best contact management software overall
Top contact management platform for small business
Great cheaper contact management tool if you’re on a budget
Bigin by Zoho CRM
Top free contact management system
Good contact database software for relationship intelligence
Great contact management solution for Google Workspace
Great contact data management system if you need to grow your network
Top contact management software for salespeople
$39 /5 users/month
Great contact database software for social media
Best contact management solution for team collaboration
What is the best contact management software? Here’s our top 16 list:
From big names to up-and-comers, and from free to premium-paid plans, let’s now run down the best contact database management systems.
Less Annoying CRM (Best contact management software overall)
Less Annoying CRM (aka LACRM) is designed specifically for small businesses. They offer an all-inclusive, single price package for task management, keeping tabs on contacts, tracking leads, making sure follow-ups are sent out.
LACRM’s lean but nimble toolkit has got you covered when it comes to managing all your customers and other contacts, tracking your leads through pipelines and staying on top of events and tasks (in easy-to-use calendar and agenda forms).
Emails written and received outside a CRM platform can be logged inside LACRM, which provides every user with a unique email logging address (for which you create a contact with whatever email provider you use).
There aren’t any app integrations, which might be a significant limitation, depending on your needs. The app sends out notifications by SMS or email, but not in-app.
$15 per user per month billed monthly
HubSpot CRM (Top contact management platform for small business)
HubSpot offers a free CRM with contact management tools and a full suite of paid business tools.
The CRM allows you to add contact records from Gmail and Outlook, or corporate email and web forms, with one-click. Once added, the platform auto-updates records and logs all sales activities with a contact. HubSpot automatically trawls its database of 20 million+ businesses and builds revenue, industry, and more into contact details wherever possible. You also get excellent email tracking.
Apart from the sales process, this information helps segment customers and run marketing campaigns. The platform supports up to 1 million contact and company records, which should comfortably cover pretty much most businesses.
Contact filter options could be more specific. The software learning curve is moderate, although this is lessened by access to video tutorials, support resources, and community forums.
HubSpot CRM is free
Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub start at $45 each per user per month billed annually
Monday.com (Great cheaper contact management tool if you’re on a budget)
Monday.com is a customizable, flexible project management CRM with a built-in contact list. The platform captures calls, emails, and meetings with contacts, leaving them easy to access anytime you need to.
Once your contacts are in your system, and in your sales pipeline, you can track sales progress easily with colorful, graphical views, including Kanban, maps, timeline, files, charts, and calendar. The visually-oriented platform has a clean layout with drag-and-drop flexibility and colorful accents that draw the eye to important information.
The built-in world clock takes the edge off communicating with contacts across multiple regions, displaying time zones (based on geographical location info) clearly next to contacts (and team members).
Lacks call recording feature, so if you want to attach phone conversations to a contact record (or generate voice-to-text transcriptions in-app), you’ll have to find a third-party tool. The mobile version has been described by some users as clunky and lacks some of the desktop app’s features.
Monday.com offers a free plan
Basic plan is $8 per user per month billed annually
Standard plan is $10 per user per month billed annually
Pro plan is $16 per user per month billed annually
Enterprise plan requires contact with Monday.com
Bigin by Zoho CRM (Top free contact management system)
Zoho, the maker of the popular Zoho CRM, also offers a dedicated contact management product, Zoho Bigin. The app provides a unified address book for customer contacts, with email and social media engagement tools to manage all your cross-channel customer relationships.
It allows you to track deals and categorize task types with tagging tools feature, as well as create and assign roles to team members and set privacy permissions for information-sensitive projects. Smart task and email templates speed up routine inquiries and interactions with customers and help ensure best practice interactions every time.
Some people find the wide range of Zoho products confusing. But in a nutshell, Bigin is a very solid tool for salespeople needing to streamline their contacts.
Zoho CRM Bigin offers a free plan
Express plan starts at $7 per user per month billed annually
Premier plan starts at $12 per user per month billed annually
Affinity (Good contact database software for relationship intelligence)
Billed as a ‘relationship intelligence platform,’ Affinity is targeted at contact management for venture capital, fundraising, sales, and real estate applications.
The app’s collective intelligence builds a contact list from companies and people you’ve interacted with and provides real-time updates on their activity. Machine-learning and natural language processing analyze sentiment and score the strength of your relationships. AI also eliminates duplicate contacts and companies in your record.
The “Alliances” feature, meanwhile, identifies networking opportunities, indicating which of your contacts might be able to provide a warm introduction to another party you’d like to be in touch with, such as a key decision-maker at another company.
Pipeline visualization tools aren’t so clear, and data visualization tools are limited. The mobile version is pretty clunky.
Contact Affinity for specific pricing details based on your needs
Copper (Great contact management solution for Google Workspace)
Copper is built for Google Workspace and features deep integration with Gmail, which is super attractive if you’re already more-or-less running your business out of your Google inbox.
Contacts can be accessed via email, voice, and text in-app. In-app voice transcription lets you take notes on the fly, so you can further build up a contact record. Copper offers a one-click contact add, and automatically ports Gmail contact info into your CRM, which allows you to quickly populate your contact list, with easy access to full email history, pipeline details, and other info.
Once you have your contacts list up-and-running, a highly visual, well-designed sales pipeline lets you manage your leads throughout the qualification process. Weekly pipeline progression reports suggest improvements in team communication and workflow, while custom filters and alerts keep you on top of the most important deals.
Copper’s tutorials are not always sufficient for troubleshooting problems. Also, there’s definitely a learning curve, which can come as a surprise given how user-friendly the product is made out to be.
Basic plan is $25 per user per month billed annually
Professional plan is $59 per user per month billed annually
Business plan is $119 per user per month billed annually
Pipedrive (Great contact data management system if you need to grow your network)
Pipedrive is a sales pipeline-focused CRM with contact management and lead tracking, sales activity monitoring, and information sync across channels.
Smart contact data finds web data through Google+, LinkedIn, and more, saving you time and preventing you from missing out on key details. With just an email address, you can do one-click pre-qualification of leads. Pipedrive will trawl the Internet to obtain the most in-depth contact information possible, and find out if they’re likely to buy.
Gmail integration (appearing as a sidebar app) makes it easy to add contacts from email, make notes, and schedule sales tasks. Full email sync allows you to check messages in-app from whichever email provider you use.
Pipedrive’s set of email tools is relatively new and possibly a tad in need of tweaking, these tools include email sync, tracking and scheduling. One other drawback many users cite is the platform’s cost at the higher end.
The Essential plan is $14.90 per user per month billed annually
The Advanced plan is $24.90 per user per month billed annually
The Professional plan is $49.90 per user per month billed annually
The Enterprise plan is $99 per user per month billed annually
Bitrix24 (Top contact management software for salespeople)
A well-rounded comprehensive CRM that does everything you’d expect this kind of software to do: contact, project, and sales management, marketing campaigns, and team collaboration via the social intranet. The contact center allows you to pull information on individuals and organizations from social networks, mobile messenger apps, and landing pages, building up a comprehensive contact list.
The CRM can be toggled between two modes: Simple CRM (deals and contacts, but no leads) and Classic CRM (with leads). This ‘difficulty level’ feature is unique, and definitely offers a lot of help with full-team adoption by letting you start with the easy stuff.
Bitrix24 is de facto the most popular free CRMs in the world. They provide a cloud CRM solution that’s free for up to 12 users, with a cap on data storage of 5 GB. It provides largely the same range of features as paid plans, albeit in scaled-down form.
There are a lot of features, which can be overwhelming at first (hence the choice to toggle to the Simple CRM option). The notifications feature can be clunky, sometimes displaying the same notifications over and over when you log in. Customizability options are not that great.
Bitrix24 offers a free plan
Basic plan for up to 5 users is $39 per month billed annually
Standard plan for up to 50 users is $79 per month billed annually
Professional plan for unlimited users is $159 per month billed annually
Nimble (Great contact database software for social media)
Nimble is a simple CRM tailored for social media, with smart social search and powerful tools for market segmentation. Nimble’s contact record has the ability to combine cross-channel contact and lead information into a single unified profile.
The whole platform is based around Contact Page View (CPV). It’s within this interface that you can see all relevant info for a contact—emails sent or received, social interactions on all social networks, activities you’re working on or have completed in relation to the contact, notes, and deals you’ve completed or have in the pipeline. Since the CRM integrates with Office 365 and G Suite, you can quickly import and organize contacts from the platform you’re already using.
Nimble aggregates user posts in one place so you’ll have instant, real-time visibility on how people are interacting with your brand. Apart from being a great way to add new contacts, this is very useful for simplifying your operations across social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Data organization, sales pipeline, and reporting features keep your operations on the right track.
A lot of users have mentioned that Nimble’s Android app isn’t up to par with the iOS one. Another thing to note: Keeping track of closed deals can be a bit of a pain, as can deleting messages (which you have to do one page at a time).
Nimble is $19 per user per month billed annually
Maximizer (Best contact management solution for team collaboration)
Maximizer is a full-fledged CRM tool, dedicated to providing personalized customer engagement that works with your business model. It allows you to build and manage a complex contact database with call logging, automatic email tracking, document attachments, and robust search and filter tools.
The platform emphasizes the importance of data integrity and has sophisticated tools to clean ‘dirty data’ so that your sales forecasting and reports are accurate. Data cleansing deletes duplicate entries and ensures contact information is tidy and accessible, while date range purge features (old logs are exportable via Excel for safe-keeping) make sure up-to-date information is being used. A shared address book and audit log (tracks changes to contact fields, notes, and documents) ensure full-team visibility on your customer-facing interactions.
Use notifications and follow-ups to ensure time-sensitive issues are dealt with. Run your workday with a mobile-friendly calendar, schedule appointments, and check your prioritized to-do list. Consult other team members’ calendars and re-assign tasks to other users with ease.
There are many features, which can be overwhelming at first. It's also relatively pricey (with a simple, yet inflexible price model), which might put off small businesses on limited budgets.
Small Office plan is $29 per user per month billed annually
Business plus plan is $49 per user per month billed annually
Insights plan is $89 per user per month billed annually
Nutshell is a total CRM solution with robust contact management tools. Build and access customer profiles, including complete conversation histories. Use lead form integration to turn website visitors into contacts with names, email addresses, and other contact info. Segment leads and customers in sophisticated ways (including industry, lifetime value, and location).
Nutshell’s Gmail Chrome extension seamlessly connects your Google and Nutshell contacts and emails, and syncs and automatically updates Google events with Nutshell activities. It also allows you to save emails to Nutshell, sync Google Calendar activities, create tasks, track communication timelines, write notes, and view which emails have been shared with teammates in-app.
Importing data can produce duplicate leads, so data can become messy if you don’t spot duplicates right away. Users note a lack of automated integrations and customizability capabilities (although there are third-party integrations through Zapier).
Starter plan is $20 per user per month billed annually
Pro plan is $42 per user per month billed annually
Freshsales CRM is the CRM system of Freshworks. It provides comprehensive contact management. It offers a contact record with full visibility, including notes, recent conversations, recent activities, time zone, related accounts, and more.
Lead capture automatically grabs leads from emails. You can develop your own lead scoring criteria to find your best leads, and set custom organizational parameters, like sorting categories. Overall, the platform is built to help you boost your customer base, scale your business, monitor deals, eliminate mundane tasks, run sales email campaigns, and create efficiencies through data centralization.
The act of filtering tasks, so you can focus on your key contacts, is probably more difficult than it needs to be. Customer support can sometimes be slow at resolving issues.
Freshsales offers a free plan
Growth plan starts at $15 per user per month billed annually
Pro plan starts at $39 per user per month billed annually
Enterprise plan starts at $69 per user per month billed annually
Insightly CRM is designed to facilitate interactions with customers, improve collaboration within organizations, and increase businesses’ productivity. It integrates with Google, giving users in-app access to tools like Google Calendar, Gmail and Google Docs, as well as third-party apps like MailChimp, Evernote, Xero, and Dropbox.
Insightly tracks contacts, communications, projects, sales and documents in a single interface. It provides the usual fields to represent and store contact data, such as name, email address, phone number, and so on, but users can also create their own specialized fields to add unique information, such as customer type, subscription type, contract renewal dates, and billing ID numbers.
Drag-and-drop custom layouts and custom fields allow for more personalized, appropriate record-keeping. By quickly generating screens that fit your workflow, your business can hone its focus on the right customers and opportunities.
Insightly’s search function for contacts is not as robust as it could be. The platform has a moderate learning curve. Some users have noted it has a habit of crashing every once in a while.
Plus is $29 per user per month billed annually
Professional is $49 per user per month billed annually
Enterprise is $99 per user per month billed annually
Contacts+ takes on the tasks of updating and organizing all your contacts, leaving you with more time to build stronger relationships.
It syncs from Google and Gmail accounts, Apple Mail and iCloud accounts, plus Microsoft Outlook, Exchange and Office 365 accounts.
On the desktop, it’s available in two forms: as a web browser extension from the Chrome Webstore for Gmail, and as a downloadable program for Mac and Windows.
Sync sometimes fails to detect duplicate contacts. Some users complain about slow customer support.
Contacts+ offers a free plan
Premium plan is $8.33 per month billed annually
Centra Hub CRM
Centra Hub CRM provides a detailed contact recording, including contact source, address, phone number, and other vital information.
This contact management system acts as the foundation for the rest of the app, a centralized database of people from which you build out your business processes and workflow.
Schedule tasks and appointments, track contact activity, and import and export contacts. Track customer sentiment via communication history, social media profiles, and more. The platform is highly customizable, and its contact management integrates seamlessly with sales, marketing, service, and help desk functions.
Could benefit from more full-fledged integrations with other apps. Reporting tools could benefit from more sophisticated automation.
Start Up plan is $10 per user per month billed annually
Professional plan is $17 per user per month billed annually
Enterprise plan is $28 per user per month billed annually
Ultimate plan is $50 per user per month billed annually
Sales CRM with contact management tools that help you nurture relationships, find out which conversations to prioritize, and optimize your sales.
Manage all of your contacts on one page, and monitor contact status with a graphical timeline that clearly and completely shows activity and emails over time. The bulk activity feature allows you to message multiple contacts with personalized greetings to save valuable time.
Zapier integration allows you to sync contact data with third-party applications, and access all your cross-platform prospect information from directly within Salesmate.
UI is sometimes not the most intuitive, and navigating through some key features can be confusing at first. The platform also lacks a lead scoring feature.
Starter plan is $12 per user per month billed annually
Growth plan is $24 per user per month billed annually
Boost plan is $40 per user per month billed annually
For Enterprise prices, contact the vendor
What is the best contact software for me? Our conclusion
Well there you have it. You might not be surprised to see huge vendors like HubSpot CRM and Freshsales and Zoho on this list, whereas maybe you’d never before heard of Affinity, Maximizer or Salesmate. Otherwise you could always look at more thorough CRM systems like Salesforce or Keap. Either way, all of these options beat out a simple Microsoft spreadsheet any day.
If you’re still unsure which contact management system is right for you, remember there are often free trials, and usually, you won’t even have to enter your credit card number.