Achieving effective communication with your contacts is a fundamental part of success in business. It’s needed not only to drive new sales but to build and maintain relationships with existing clients. Contact management software is by far the best way to achieve this, and you don’t just have to take our word for it. The CRM software, which is similar to contact management systems, but more advanced, is the world’s biggest software market, heading towards an $80 billion valuation by 2025. While a stat like that points to an enormous range of options out there, we’ve narrowed down your choices to the best you can hire. Read on to discover what they are, how much they cost, and how to identify the perfect solution for you.
The whole point of this article is to make your life easier by narrowing down hundreds of available options to the very best solutions for contact management.
The 10 that made our rankings have not been chosen at random. Instead, we have evaluated the platforms out there based on a strict set of criteria, with the chosen 10 deemed the most worthy of featuring in the table. The extent to which they’ve satisfied these criteria has also decided their position.
Read on to learn exactly what criteria we used for our contact management software reviews.
This is one of the first things we look at during our research. While it doesn’t necessarily affect our rankings, it does help us to classify the software, which can inform every other part of our evaluation.
Just a few of the industries in which this software is most useful are:
While these are quite specific, the software can also be categorized more generally by the size of the business it’s intended for. This can range all the way from personal contact management software for freelancers, through small and mid-sized companies to large enterprises.
This type of software can be divided into two categories: offline and online. Offline software is downloaded and installed, whereas online software is entirely cloud-based.
The major difference is that offline software can easily be used by a team in one location, but is a less optimal solution for teams based in multiple locations. While such teams can still communicate using other channels such as email, an online contact management product is simply more convenient for long-distance collaboration. On the flip side, offline solutions can often be bought with one-off payments, whereas online platforms require monthly subscriptions. The latter route will usually be more expensive in the long run.
This is another criterion for classification rather than evaluation since neither type is ‘better’ than the other. Deciding which one to opt for is simply a matter of personal preference and specific needs. For this reason, we’ve included examples of both in our rankings.
In the early days of such software, it was very much a case of “you get what you’re given”. Nowadays, we would say it’s a basic requirement that software is flexible enough to customize for your particular requirements. The platform should be able to adapt to how your team works, rather than the other way around.
Every choice in our rankings allows at least some customization. As for the actual ordering, it’s a clear-cut case of the more flexible a platform is, the better. The very best contact management software allows you to control precisely how information passes through your pipeline via custom buttons, fields, modules, and much more.
At a base level, this is another case of ‘the more, the better.’ The features which are actually useful for you, however, may depend on the size and industry focus of your business.
With that said, the following are arguably the most important features of the bunch, which any platform worth its salt should have in one form or another.
As you might expect, this is the most important feature of all. The whole point of a contact management system is to manage contacts, after all.
Every such platform will have these features to some extent. What we’re looking for specifically is how easy it is to complete vital tasks like creating contact lists, segmenting records by different criteria, and quickly finding the contacts you need.
For all the advances in other messaging systems, email remains the top dog in business communications, with the average worker receiving a whopping 126 emails per day, and spending 16% of the workweek on email-related tasks. Taking this into account, email needs to be incorporated into any effective contact manager solution.
The way this is done can take many forms. One of the best time-savers, though, is the inclusion of email templates to increase efficiency. Email tracking tools are also handy, informing users when their messages have been opened, and what action the recipient subsequently takes.
60% of email opens occur on mobile devices, and 82% of workers check their email outside business hours. If you’re going to manage your contacts effectively, you need to adopt these habits too, and your software should make this easy for you.
When compiling these rankings, we checked that each entry included mobile features such as the ability to sync inbox, add new contacts, and dial a contact — with a dedicated contact management app being optimal.
Information is the most valuable commodity of all when it comes to building and nurturing relationships with contacts. Platforms which made it easy to gather data received big boosts in our rankings.
Whether you’re a sales manager or an individual user, your software should give you access to insights related to contact behavior. The more powerful platforms will even analyze this data for you, suggesting the most effective course of action.
While everyone loves a bargain, we’re not here to recommend the cheapest pieces of contact management software only. Far more important is that a platform offers value for money, whatever its actual cost is. Only those that offer genuine value have made our rankings.
That’s not to say, however, that cost isn’t a factor at all. We know the industry standards for pricing, and any software which goes significantly higher or lower won’t make our list.
Finally, any options which offer either a free trial or a money-back guarantee get an automatic hike in our rankings. While we’ve made our reviews as helpful and informative as possible, you can’t beat the chance to try out a platform for yourself, without any commitment required.
These rankings have been based on extensive research and a strict set of criteria, with only the very top options making the grade. In this section, you’ll find reviews of all 10 platforms, including their pros and cons, pricing, and key features.
The Hubspot brand is synonymous with quality and expertise, and this absolutely reflects in their CRM. The clean and accessible dashboard makes this a user-friendly offering, and it integrates well with Hubspot’s other offerings. Perhaps most notably, all of this starts at the price of nothing at all. That’s right, the basic version of this feature-packed Hubspot CRM is an entirely free contact management software.
Hubspot is one of the best contact manager solutions out there, automating tasks where possible. These include recording all customer interactions (across email, social or phone calls), populating contact records via a database of 20 million businesses, and logging phone calls. Manually adding and editing information is easy too, thanks to a stripped-down dashboard.
The pipeline is presented in a clear manner and can be sorted in many different ways, including by appointments scheduled, contracts sent, and performance based on custom quotas. Communicating with people in your database of contacts is also easy, thanks to Gmail and Outlook syncing, email templates, live chat, bots, in-app phone calls (which can be recorded), and even a universal inbox that the entire team can access.
While there are paid-for options, the Hubspot CRM is available for no cost at all. Without paying a penny, you still get access to unlimited users, data, and up to one million contacts, along with the abovementioned raft of contact management features. There is no time limit or expiration date attached to this deal, which is the main reason why the platform sits atop our rankings that include both paid and free contact management software.
There are technically three paid-for packages within Hubspot’s ‘Marketing Hub’ suite, each targeted at different team sizes, which start at $50, $800, and $3,200, respectively. While these add more general marketing features, though — such as pop up forms, email marketing, and SEO strategies — there’s really nothing here that will help you manage your contacts. The free version serves that purpose perfectly.
This enormously popular CRM is used by small businesses and multinational titans (such as Aston Martin, Ocado, and Virgin) alike. It’s entirely web-based, and the contact management features sit within a wider suite of applications which might also serve your business well. Outstanding customer service and arguably the very best contact management app for iOS and Android devices help make this an exceptional all-round package.
This might not be the easiest platform to learn, but the rewards for doing so are indisputable. The dashboard allows you to access information about people extremely quickly, including contact details, prior communications, campaign history, and ongoing deals. You can get deeper insights into your customers — whether it’s their buying patterns or reaction to your product — via social data that covers Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Further data can be gathered through integrated third-party apps or custom-built dashboards.
Elsewhere, the Salesforce contact management platform facilitates easy collaboration between larger teams by including a ‘Chatter’ feed on every record, through which you can share your thoughts, relevant documents, and more. The exceptional mobile app — available on iOS and Android — makes doing all of this a cinch while you’re on the move too.
There are four price plans available for Salesforce: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited. These cost $25, $75, $150, and $300 per month respectively, billed annually, while the Essentials plan is the only plan you can actually pay for monthly. Free trials are available for all packages before you buy them.
The main difference between Essentials and Professional is simply the number of supported users. You get 10 with the former, meaning it should serve as contact management software for small business, while the latter supports unlimited users.
There’s little advantage to the more expensive plans for simple contact management, although they do include more advanced reporting features, and you get 24/7 customer support with the Unlimited plan.
Pipedrive boasts that it is designed “by salespeople, for salespeople,” indicating that it is targeted at people in sales. It’s certainly well-designed, in a way that makes it effortless to both gain a helpful overview of your contacts, and record and analyze deals and communications between them and your staff. This is another entirely online contact management product, which integrates well with other cloud-based services such as G Suite.
Pipedrive is serious about boosting your sales, and this shows across the entire platform. Perhaps the most helpful area of all, in this respect, is the analytical features. Pipedrive gives you a wealth of information to understand which approaches are more or less successful, from a quick overview of which deals were won and lost to detailed evaluations of which activities bring the best conversion rates. Entering and organizing new contacts in your digital address book — and associated deals — couldn’t be easier thanks to a visual pipeline, which makes it easy to stay organized.
The Pipedrive mobile apps are exceptionally good. Not only do they replicate the functionality you’ll find on your desktop, but they also add to it via the ability to save calls and even see when clients are physically near you. This extensive feature set is further augmented by smart integrations with the likes of email applications and G Suite.
Pipedrive has four pricing plans, which scale nicely depending on your team size. You can pay annually or monthly for all of them, with annual plans working out cheaper, and a 14-day free trial is available.
Essential is the cheapest plan, at $12.5/user/month (paid annually), and includes customer contact management basics such as custom pipelines and fields, and a customizable dashboard. Advanced, priced at $24.9, adds plenty of functionality, including automation of emails and tasks, and custom user and admin permissions.
Larger teams might plump for Professional, at $49.9, which allows multiple dashboards and team management tools, alongside revenue forecasting and email distribution lists. Priced at $99, Enterprise is the most expensive plan. Pipedrive provides custom onboarding, setup, and support for Enterprise customers, plus a dedicated account manager.
Nimble is a contact management tool particularly suited to beginners, which makes a point to emphasize how simple it is to use. This user-friendliness comes mostly from its brilliant integration with Office 365 and G Suite, both of which it works alongside in a flawless and understated manner. Despite its simplicity, though, Nimble still skilfully facilitates relationship management with your customers.
Despite its surface simplicity, Nimble has a whole lot of functionality under the hood. Contact organizer basics such as alerts, deal tracking, email templates, and the management of tasks are present and easy to use, alongside more advanced features like call logging. Finding the contact you’re looking for is made easy thanks to custom fields and saved search segments, and you can create reminders for both staying in touch with contacts and completing tasks.
Nimble can easily be used collaboratively, with team permissions, calendar syncing, and team sales forecasts and reports. As touched upon, it also integrates effortlessly with Office and G Suite, and there are mobile apps available which allow you to manage relationships, access deals, and much more.
Like everything else with the Nimble contact management solution, the pricing is nice and simple. There is only one price plan — Business — which is available for $19 per user per month paid annually, or $25 paid monthly. By default, this gives you 25000 contacts, 1000 custom fields, and 2GB storage per user, each of which can be boosted for an additional fee. You also get unlimited saved searches and email templates.
A free 14-day trial is also available, with no credit card details required.
Insightly achieves the rare task of being both pleasingly approachable and extremely powerful too. Its well-rounded feature set makes it equally effective whether it’s used as real estate contact management software, or for financial or industrial companies. Not only does it serve as a great way to organize contacts, but it also helps develop relationships and drive sales.
Easily building and maintaining customer relationships is the number one goal with Insightly. This is achieved in a number of ways, be it detailed contact records (covering communication history and linked items), automatic duplicate detection, email templates, and mass emailing, or calendar syncing.
Elsewhere, Insightly provides a series of features that facilitate successful sales. Users can customize multiple pipelines, manage sales teams, and smoothly convert promising leads into projects. Certain price plans also allow complete workflow automation, and an excellent contact management app is available to all.
Insightly has four packages, which are clearly distinguished in whom they target.
There is a free plan available, which is great. It only supports two users, 2,500 contacts and 200MB storage, but that’s enough for individual users to get started. Plus is the cheapest paid plan for small teams, costing $29/user/month, and grants 100000 records, 10GB storage, and basic contact management tools and integrations.
Professional costs $49/user/month, and facilitates greater collaboration with lead assignment and routing, alongside 250000 records and 100GB storage. Enterprise, naturally, is targeted at larger companies. It costs $99/user/month, and allows unlimited records and storage, along with unlimited user roles and permissions.
Part of Freshworks’ renowned series of customer engagement tools, this is a contact management cloud solution that scales well to companies of different sizes. It’s equally suited to experts and beginners, thanks to an intuitive interface paired with an extensive feature set, and should enable sales teams across a variety of industries to thrive.
Freshsales combines a host of contact management tools into one attractive package. While there’s plenty here to enable effective communication with clients, including built-in phone and email usage, plus tracking and personalized templates for emails, it’s the more complex customer contact management features that catch the eye.
Most notable is ‘lead scoring’, which ranks the potential of each contact based on behavior patterns that indicate they’re ready to buy. The metrics used include social media activity and which web pages users are interacting with. To help you convert these leads, there’s also an intuitive visual sales pipeline, plus reporting, which lets you analyze and forecast your sales.
Firstly, there is a starter package available called Sprout, which is completely free. This actually allows unlimited users and entries in your database. Although you obviously don’t get a vast range of features, you still have access to contact management, integrations, and mobile apps.
Elsewhere, Freshsales has four paid price plans, which are all relatively affordable and scale effectively from personal contact management software up to the enterprise level. The first three can be paid monthly or annually, though annual payments are significantly cheaper.
Blossom is the cheapest package, at $12/user/month. It’s intended for small teams and includes a generous 250 daily bulk emails, five intelligent workflows, and two sales campaigns per user, along with all the basic contact management tools you’ll need.
Garden is for mid-sized teams and costs $25. Along with an increase to 500 bulk emails, five campaigns, and 15 intelligent workflows per user, this plan also includes the customization tools for creating and organizing custom fields.
Estate costs $49, and is built for large teams. While the abovementioned contact manager metrics are increased once again, it’s the unlocked reports dashboard — analyzing sales activities, forecasting revenues, and more — which is more notable. Estate also lets you track website activity, and capture leads.
Weighing in at $79 we have Forest, made for enterprises. In addition to 2,000 daily bulk emails, 25 sales campaigns, and 75 intelligent workflows per user, this allows IP whitelisting and audit logs (which track every action performed by users on your account).
Targeted squarely at small-to-medium-sized businesses, Act’s contact management software offers powerful automation tools that greatly reduce your team’s workload. It also serves as a user-friendly base for your contacts, enabling easy data entry and the subsequent tracking of prospects of whatever industry you’re in. The platform further allows you to monitor your competitors’ activities.
The Act contact management software allows extremely detailed storage for your contacts. Not only does this cover their basic information but also past emails, prior activity, relevant documents, and notes. Custom tables also help to organize your contacts exactly as you please (by industry, for example), and migrating data from a prior CRM is made particularly easy.
Perhaps the main calling card with Act! is its automation features, which greatly reduce the time and effort it takes to communicate and develop relationships with contacts. From the installation of landing pages with lead capture, to automatically sending out surveys, to drip marketing, there’s a bevy of useful tools here. It’s all analyzed using real-time metrics, meaning you can continuously assess and adjust your contact management strategy.
This contact management software offers three plans — Professional, Premier, and Ultimate. These cost $79, $199, and $399/month respectively, billed annually, with additional users costing $35/month regardless of the plan.
Professional might be the cheapest package, but it still nets you plenty of functionality. This includes several automation features, unlimited contacts, the mobile app, and 10000 emails per month.
Premier unlocks some serious automation power, covering advanced lead capture and surveys, asset tracking, and website activity tracking. Emails are also boosted to 50000/month, and you get access to phone support.
Ultimate unlocks the full suite of automation tools — including A/B testing and progressive profiling — and a massive 100000 emails per month. It also has some of the best contact management support you’ll find, including fast-track help from experts and dedicated webchat.
If you’re looking for a single-fee solution rather than one which requires continuous payments, InfoFlo is a fantastic option. It offers a comprehensive all-in-one basic package, which can then be augmented with add-ons. Contacts can easily be managed, either by individuals or teams, while a high degree of customization means the contact database software can be tailored to your tastes.
InfoFlo offers something different to most of the entries in our rankings, in that it can be used either online or installed on-premise as a standalone contact management software. For those working in smaller teams, or having security concerns over always being online, this is an extremely useful feature.
As for actual contact management, you’re served by a wide range of tools. These include automatic linking of relevant activity back to the main entry, custom fields, an intuitive search function, and the ability to manually attach quotes, notes, and emails to a contact. Contacts and projects can also be shared with specific people or groups, and the dashboard can be customized with over 20 different widgets.
The InfoFlo Basic package is available for a straightforward one-time fee of $99 per user. It can also be accessed via a 30-day free trial.
While this contact management solution covers all the abovementioned features, you can also choose from a number of different add-ons. These bring substantial functionality to the offering, including advanced permissions, invoicing, and reporting, but you’ll need to pay an additional $79/user for each one.
While it’s no longer available as open-source contact management software, SugarCRM still represents one of the best options on the market, particularly for mid-sized and large teams. It’s an extremely user-friendly cloud-based platform, mainly targeted at salespeople, and retains a lot of potential for customization, which originally helped it break through.
Customization remains one of SugarCRM’s calling cards. Users have the ability not only to edit home pages and personalize dashboards but to effectively design every single step of a customer’s journey from first contact onwards.
Sales processes can be analyzed and improved thanks to the automatic gathering of insights across business and social data sources, surveys can be dispatched automatically, and leads can be routed based on company size or location. It’s also easy to integrate the platform with other tools, including your calendar and email client, and SugarCRM can be used as contact management software for Mac or Windows.
Of the three overall packages on offer here, it’s ‘Sugar Sell’ that contains contact management-related features.
SugarCRM is targeted at larger teams, and this is reflected in the pricing. Sugar Sell starts at $80/user/month when billed annually. The plan includes a mighty 60GB of storage, plus all of the abovementioned features and a powerful mobile app.
Looking for a direct, no-frills solution for contact management? Less Annoying CRM should prove an excellent choice. As the name suggests, this isn’t the most feature-rich contact management platform out there, but it still has all the essential tools you need, presented in a clear and approachable manner. It’s extremely affordable, too, making it perfect for small businesses and individual users.
While it lacks powerful, headline-grabbing features, Less Annoying CRM still has plenty to satisfy your needs in the contact management department. Viewing events, files, notes, and tasks for each contact can be done on a single screen. The search function is highly effective, and there’s a surprising amount of customization for how exactly you filter your contact database and deal with your leads.
Additionally, collaboration is enabled via access settings and calendar syncing. The pipeline you and your team access is pleasingly simple, clearly displaying each lead’s status, priority, and notes. Its entirely-online nature also means you can all remotely access whatever you need, whenever you need it.
Affordability is a massive plus point with Less Annoying CRM. The entire thing is available for just $10/user/month, with customized onboarding and pricing available if you’re planning to have 10 or more users.
There are no long-term contracts, and no add-ons to pay for. The whole platform is also available to try for free with a 30-day trial.
By this stage, you already know what the top options are when it comes to contact management. Our job doesn’t stop there, though. We’re also here to help guide you through the actual buying process, with a step-by-step guide on how to shortlist — and ultimately purchase — the perfect piece of software for you.
This is a quick and easy way to whittle down your options. You need a platform that’s suited to your particular sector. Real estate contact management software, for example, will have different features than software targeted at the automotive industry.
The size of your team is another major factor. If you’re running a small business, you certainly don’t need to shell out for features suited to enterprise-level customers. Similarly, if you’re part of a large organization, software designed to cater to individual freelancers won’t get the job done.
Write down a list of things you want your contact organizer to do for you. Do you need help in quickly finding customer data? Could your team use help in communicating more regularly and effectively with clients?
Once you’ve written everything down, take your list and cross-reference it with the options you’re left with after the first step. Now shortlist the providers that satisfy these requirements.
If you were working with a $1 billion budget, you could afford whatever platform you wanted. The chances are that you aren’t, though, and you need to determine how much you can afford — and want — to spend here, either per month or year.
Again, take this information and compare it with the remaining options. The best one, which also falls within your budget, is the contact management software for you.