Contact management software stores contacts, manages sales pipelines, and sends automated emails, helping salespeople nurture customer relationships by centralizing communication. We compared a dozen platforms based on contact searchability, ease of use, and activity tracking to find the top six platforms, arriving at the best overall contact management software.
Top 6 Contact Management Software 2019
|Freshsales||(Best Overall) Companies needing basic contact management plus a robust and customizable CRM.|
|Zoho CRM||Businesses that make data-driven decisions using advanced data analytics for their contacts.|
|Pipedrive||Teams wanting to manage contacts through a visual sales pipeline.|
|Nimble||Businesses wanting advanced management for social media contacts.|
|Metrilo||eCommerce companies looking for contact insights based on website and buying behavior.|
|Streak||Small teams that want to manage contacts directly from their Gmail inbox.|
Quiz: Which Contact Management Software is Best for You?
How We Evaluated Contact Management Software
Contact management software users typically deal with hundreds of contacts and need a way to store key details such as name, address, email, telephone number, and past activities. Some also need CRM capabilities as well as automated emailing. This is why good contact management software should sort against specific filters, create contact lists, and more.
The specific criteria we, therefore, used to evaluate the best software include:
- Price – We compared the costs per user and any upgrade costs for additional users, contacts, and storage.
- Contact List Limits and Segmentation – Contacts can be easily sorted, identified, and added to various lists.
- Email and Activity Tracking – The contact manager should perform functions such as tracking read receipts, showing phone call notes, or providing real-time alerts.
- Mobile Access – Users are able to access contacts while selling in the field.
- Reporting and Analytics – Sales managers or individual users have access to insights related to contact behavior.
- Added Features – We compared the additional ways in which each contact manager might benefit small businesses in addition to recording contact details.
- Ease of Use – We reviewed setup and user interfaces to compare the relative user experience of each platform.
After researching product features and an examination of customer reviews, we’ve chosen Freshsales as the best overall contact management software for 2019. We selected Freshsales because it provides the most contact management functionality for the price and is also a great CRM that can be customized to your needs.
Best Overall Contact Management Software: Freshsales
Freshsales is a fully-featured CRM that offers contact management as well as multi-stage lead and opportunity tracking, and it is one of the most customizable CRMs currently on the market. For example, depending on what you need, you can display your contact details, conversations, recent activities, and open deals on a single screen. It is, therefore, best for people who need customizable contact management software with a robust reporting dashboard from a leading CRM company.
Freshsales’ basic contact management features are available for free with their Sprout Plan. Paid plans start at $12 per user per month and go up to $79 per user per month. The five paid plans include lead scoring, deal management, security permissions, and additional integrations. Click here to start for free.
Freshsales Tiered Features
|Automated Email Campaigns|
|Visual Sales Pipeline|
|Reports and Analytics|
|Contacts & Accounts Management|
|Merge & Records|
|Contact Search and Filtering|
|Integrates with phone and email|
|Appointment and Task Scheduler|
|Auto Lead Assignment|
|Advanced CRM Customization|
The Sprout plan gives unlimited users the ability to add contacts, notes, manage tasks, and track calls. This makes it a budget-friendly choice for businesses that are looking for a contact database. However, unlike the paid plans, users are not able to attach documents to records, and there are no email features like templates, bulk email campaigns, or automatic logging.
Therefore, the Sprout plan is best for teams that only require a basic contact management system that provides contacts details as well as recent activities at a glance. Teams wanting to utilize email marketing or would like more automated activity logging are better served by a paid plan.
The Blossom plan provides many of Freshsales’ benefits for contact and pipeline management such as lead scoring, which is a feature only found in Zoho CRM out of the products we compared. It also includes email integration and a built-in phone dialer, which is a feature found in only a few other software programs. However, it does not include the territory or lead assignment capability or many of the automation tools offered by the higher-end plans.
The Blossom plan is best for salespeople wanting a tool to help them manage their contacts and monitor active deals while providing a means for basic lead scoring and follow-up task scheduling. As the Blossom plan does not include automatic lead assignment, it is best for individuals or highly independent sales teams.
The Garden plan provides the same basic features as the Blossom plan. However, it also includes lead and territory assignments, management of multiple pipelines, and advanced reporting features for $25 per user per month. Also like the Blossom plan, the Garden plan is missing automated contact profile enrichment, dashboards (found in the similarly-priced tier from Zoho CRM), and event-based tracking such as recording a contact’s website activities.
The Garden plan is, therefore, best for mid-to-larger-sized sales teams with account managers who conduct lead development primarily over the phone or by email. Businesses that utilize their website as a major component of their lead development strategy might be better served by the Estate plan.
At $49 per user per month, the Estate plan enhances the tool’s lead scoring capability by also taking into consideration information such as pages a lead might have visited on the business’ site. It then categorizes them into “buyer intent” categories (cold, warm, and hot), making it more intuitive than Zoho CRM’s scoring. It also gives sales managers a dashboard to help them better understand their teams with real-time analytics.
Social media connections and publicly-listed contact details are automatically updated within contact profiles. This reduces the time required for data entry or record maintenance. The Estate plan is, therefore, best for sales groups that use their website as a lead generating tool, have account-based representatives, or need to see real-time performance analytics as part of a management strategy.
What Freshsales Is Missing
Freshsales is not designed for B2C businesses, as there is no built-in integration with an ecommerce tool like Metrilo has. Additionally, while its core contact management tools are standard across all plans, Freshsales’ web analytics and email campaign features are limited by the plan you choose. As a result, it may not be the best tool for businesses that market to large bulk email lists unless you are willing to pay for the web analytics functionality.
What Users Think About Freshsales
Users of Freshsales report that the lead scoring tool is excellent and that Freshsales offers great customer support, although setting up workflows can be complicated. For more user insights, please visit our Freshsales Review page.
Where to Find Freshsales
With features like custom views, contact filtering, and an activity timeline, as well as a free forever plan, Freshsales offers great contact management functionality with the ability to scale as your business grows. You can start managing your contacts for free or sign up for a 30-day free trial of any of the paid plans we reviewed above and see which one is right for you.
Best Contact Management Software for Advanced Data Analytics: Zoho CRM
Competitively-priced Zoho CRM allows you to manage your email and phone contacts as well as your social media connections. Higher-end plans provide even more advanced features like Zia Voice, giving you the ability to manage your contacts with voice commands as well as insights such as best time to contact and sales forecasting. Therefore, Zoho CRM is best for teams that need to make data-driven decisions using advanced analytics for their contacts.
Zoho CRM Pricing
Zoho CRM includes offers a free plan for up to three users. Its paid plans start at $12 per user per month to $35 per user per month for its enterprise-level plan. Each paid plan comes with 1GB of storage. Additional storage in 5GB increments can be added for $4 per user per month.
Zoho CRM Tiered Features
|Advanced CRM Customization|
|Task, events, call log, and notes|
|Web-to-Lead and Web-to-Contact Forms|
|Social Media Integration|
|Website Visitor Tracking|
|Quotes, Orders, and Invoice Management|
|Social Media Lead Capture|
Zoho CRM’s Free version is designed for three or fewer users. This plan gives users web-to-lead forms, which can be integrated into their website, and social media integration, setting it apart from Freshsales’ Free plan and providing a contact manager as well as a means to track leads, tasks, and appointments. It also allows for minor customizations as well as standard reports and automation rules for a single workflow.
The Free version, however, does not offer the invoicing or product management features available with the paid plans. As a result, it is best for solopreneurs or service businesses that are comfortable using other tools for those aspects of their business, or those who don’t need those features at all.
At $12 per user per month, the Standard plan gives you the same contact management tools found in the Free plan as well as more custom field options. It also gives you access to sales and marketing tools, performance dashboards, 250 bulk emails a day per user, and website visitor tracking. However, it lacks the built-in quotation and case management tools found in the Professional plan.
It comes with integration to Zoho Social, letting you define social activities (likes, comments, mentions, etc.) as lead qualifiers to automate lead generation, a feature not found in any other platform we reviewed. This makes it a good option for those that use social media as a part of their marketing strategy because it includes multiple performance dashboards. It is also a good plan for sales managers who want to manage their contacts and team members’ performance.
At $20 per user per month, the Professional plan gives you the ability to add contacts and track activities, and offers even more custom fields and unlimited custom reports. With Sales Signals, reps are sent real-time notifications for a variety of actions taken by customers, such as responding to survey results, opening marketing emails, and social media mentions. This is a feature not found in any of the software we compared.
Contacts can request service directly through web-to-case forms, and quotations can be issued directly through the program. The Professional plan also gives you the ability to set alerts for follow-up based on specified events. For this reason, it is a good solution for companies with multidisciplinary teams, such as sales, service, and marketing, that all need access to the same contact database.
The Enterprise plan is like adding a full-time sales assistant and analyst to your team, and costs $35 per user per month. Its Zia Voice feature gives you the ability to add and manage your contacts using voice commands, a feature not found in the other software. It adds additional analytics, such as the best time to call insights and anomaly detectors that can help you connect with your contacts more often or alert you to potential issues with your contacts before they happen.
The Enterprise plan is a good solution for teams that want additional insights into their contact’s behavior, which can help improve connection rates. The plan is also good for teams that want to be able to manage their contacts, deals, or service cases using voice commands
What Zoho CRM Is Missing
Zoho CRM lacks two-way integration and BCC email integrations in its lower-tiered plans. It also does not include a built-in dialer like what is found in Freshsales, though it can be integrated with other Zoho CRM platforms like PhoneBridge for Call Centers. Therefore, calls and any emails sent outside of the software need to be manually attached to a contact, lead, or opportunity.
What Users Think About Zoho
Users report that they like the integrations Zoho CRM offers with other business applications, as well as its ability to streamline processes such as billing. However, the tool is not without complaints. In particular, reviewers expressed frustration with Zoho CRM’s customer service response times. You can read more on our Zoho Review page.
Where to Find Zoho
Zoho CRM is a pay-as-you-go service, meaning you can change your plan type at any time. This lets you test out any of its great features for you and two other users, including lead management, document handling, and mobile apps, as well as 24/7 priority assistance. Best of all, you can try any of Zoho CRM’s plans free for 15 days.
Best Contact Management Software for Visual Pipeline Management: Pipedrive
Pipedrive is an affordable CRM with contact management and a highly customizable, easy-to-use, visual pipeline tool. Contact details are attached to deal cards that you can drag and rearrange as leads move through your sales process. Users of any plan also have access to unlimited storage. For this reason, Pipedrive is best for businesses wanting to manage their contacts, deals, and documents through a visual, intuitive, and highly flexible sales pipeline.
Pipedrive offers users the ability to test out their software with a free 14-day trial. Afterward, there are three tiers of paid plans that start at $12.50 per user per month and go up to $49.17 per user per month. All plans include unlimited storage, dashboards, contact management, and visual kanban-style pipeline management.
Pipedrive Tiered Features
|Reports and Analytics|
|Integration with Google Contacts, Calendar, and Drive|
|Visual Contact Timeline|
|Smart Contact Data|
|Built-in Meeting Scheduler|
|Real time alerts|
Pipedrive’s Silver plan costs $12.50 per user per month and lets users add and search for contacts, view tasks, and review contact history on a desktop or on its easy-to-use mobile app. Contact lists can be imported and exported with the touch of a button. However, it does not integrate with Outlook. Emails sent outside of Pipedrive in Gmail aren’t automatically logged either, as they are in the more expensive plans, nor is there a built-in scheduler function.
This is the only plan of those we compared at this price point that offers unlimited pipelines. Pipedrive is also the only software to offer unlimited storage. The ease at which lead and contact cards can be moved through the sales process and pipeline setup give Pipedrive an edge over Freshsales’ visual pipeline tool. Therefore, Pipedrive is best for business wanting to manage their contacts by associating them with leads within a visual pipeline.
For $24.50 per user per month, the Gold plan includes smart contact data, which means Pipedrive automatically updates contact records with information it finds on sources like LinkedIn and other social media. This frees up users from manual data entry and is not available in the Silver plan. It also includes a built-in meeting scheduler, further streamlining the sales process. Users can also send and read emails without leaving Pipedrive.
Therefore, the Gold plan is best for sales teams that appreciate an easy-to-view sales pipeline and those who would like their contact management system to automatically update a contact’s social media profiles. It is also a good plan for sales teams that would like more real-time alerts.
The Platinum plan gives you all the benefits of the Gold plan plus live phone support and additional features designed for larger sales teams for $49.17 per month. User permissions allow unlimited custom settings so you can control who sees what. Team functionality lets you divide, measure, and track separate teams of salespeople. It is also the only plan in this review that allows you to set and track individual and team goals.
The Platinum plan is best for larger organizations that have multiple sales teams (e.g., inside, outside, and regions) that want to track and manage these teams both individually and collectively. It is also a good plan for sales managers who need to forecast sales and use multiple dashboards in reporting their business analytics.
What Pipedrive Is Missing
Pipedrive lacks a lead scoring feature compared to a product like Freshsales and Zoho CRM, which can make it more difficult to identify the most promising contact or sales lead at a glance. It also lacks automatic territory assignment or workflow automation, making it a more cumbersome tool for teams that import leads from other sources as it requires more manual processing.
What Users Think About Pipedrive
Overall, users appreciate the simplicity of Pipedrive’s user interface, though they have said the product is not a fit for businesses with more complicated sales processes or larger sales teams. For more about Pipedrive and what users are saying, read our Pipedrive review.
Where to Find Pipedrive
Pipedrive is simple to set up and requires no contract. It also provides unlimited storage for all of their pricing tiers, which makes it unique among the software we reviewed. You can also try any of their plans free for 14 days and upgrade to higher plans during your trial to test out higher-end features.
Best Contact Management Software for Social Media: Nimble
Nimble is a low-cost CRM built around social media connections. It has a social prospector tool as well as its social profile matching and enrichment functionality. This includes Twitter, AngelList, Facebook, Foursquare, and Instagram, among others, giving it an edge over other contact management solutions, like Zoho, in terms of social contact management. For this reason, it is best for salespeople and marketers who engage with contacts across multiple media channels.
Nimble’s pricing ranges from $9 per user per month to $19 per user per month, and includes access to its prospector tool, social profile match, and integrations. While there is a cap on the number of contacts you can manage with Nimble within each plan, users can increase that number by paying an upgrade fee.
Nimble Tiered Features
|2-Way Calendar Syncing|
Office 365 and iCloud coming soon
Office 365 and iCloud coming soon
|Email Message Syncing|
|Social Network Contact Import|
|Contact and Activity Management|
|Smart Contact App|
|Social Profile Match|
|Social Media Signals|
|Sales Forecast Reports|
Nimble Contact allows you to organize your contacts by tags, segments, last contacted, and send targeted outreach. It also includes activity and task management and two-way sync with your Google Calendar. However, the feature that sets it apart from the other contact management tools we compared is its social profile match and its smart contact app, which can automatically match your contact records with LinkedIn as well as Twitter, Facebook, and more.
At $9 per user per month, the Nimble plan does not include functionality like sales pipeline management, forecasting reports, or rep performance reports. For this reason, it is best for teams, up to five users, that want to manage their social media connections and do not need sales process management.
The Nimble Business plan provides additional storage per user and unlimited email message syncing. Additionally, Nimble Business includes Social Media Signals, which, while not as robust as Zoho CRM’s Sales IQ in terms of lead management, shows a real-time filterable feed from all your social channels, allows you to schedule tweets or updates to your Facebook page, and allows you to add recent social media followers, retweets, or direct messages as a contact activity.
At $19 per user per month, there is no maximum number of users for the Nimble Business plan, and it includes pipeline management and sales forecasting. This makes it the better option for growing teams that want to incorporate their social media interactions into their contact management as well as track deals in their pipeline.
What Nimble Is Missing
Nimble lacks a built-in phone dialer as part of its user interface, unlike Freshsales, and while it does offer a mobile app, the tool is not as robust as others. As such, it is really best for salespeople or marketers who deal with most of their contacts either through social media or by email rather than over the phone or in the field.
What Users Think About Nimble
Users say Nimble’s user interface is easy to understand and are complimentary about its customer support. They said, however, that the mobile app could be improved. Users also report the setup widget can be buggy when handling contacts of the same name, and would like the ability to see multiple user deals all at once or better able to customize their deal view. You can read more about this product on our Nimble review page.
Where to Find Nimble
Nimble offers a free 14-day trial for up to five licenses without a credit card, and billing is based on a recurring monthly subscription charge. Additional storage can be purchased in 10GB increments for $10 per month. You can learn more about Nimble on their website.
Best Contact Management Software for Ecommerce Businesses: Metrilo
Metrilo is a website plug-in designed to manage contacts and contact interactions that take place on your ecommerce website. In addition to automatically creating a visitor’s contact profile, all plans include visitor behavior analytics, such as time-on-site and average spend. These contact profiles can be used to create lists that are based on customer behavior, making it the best solution for ecommerce businesses and companies that track behavior on their website.
Metrilo’s pricing is based on the number of visitors to your website rather than the number of salespeople using the product, ranging from $119 per month to $699 per month, and all plans include unlimited users and contacts. While Metrilo will charge extra for spikes in visitors, your regular monthly subscription does not increase automatically.
Their monthly subscription charge per unique visitor is broken out as:
- Small: $119 per month – for businesses with up to 10,000 unique visitors
- Medium: $299 per month – for businesses with up to 30,000 unique visitors
- Large: $499 per month – for businesses with up to 90,000 unique visitors
- Enterprise: $699 per month – for businesses with over 90,000 unique visitors
Other than the price you pay based on visitors, there is no other differentiation between features or services. It includes technical support and encrypted data storage for unlimited users. In addition to being a contact manager and email marketing tool, Metrilo provides analytics specific for ecommerce, which are not found in the other programs in this guide.
Metrilo’s key features include:
As soon as a visitor comes to your website, Metrilo treats them as a contact and begins building a customer profile. This profile includes their actions on your site, what product pages they visited, and the value of any orders they may have placed with you. You can then add tags to contacts to help with customer segmentation and searchability, set up a condition and have Metrilo add the tags automatically, or add follow-up reminders.
While several of the other contact manager tools we compared allow you to set up mass email campaigns based on contacts you select, there are limits on the number of templates you can use and the number of emails you can send per day. Metrilo offers unlimited emails and sends many automatically based on over 20 different customer action triggers, such as welcome or an abandoned shopping cart. It also includes email performance tracking.
The difference between Metrilo and other programs we compared is very apparent in what analytics are reported in the project dashboard. Metrilo provides statistics such as one-time buyers versus returning customers, cart abandonment rates, average order value, and conversion rates by device. This reporting is not found in any of the other contact management software we reviewed.
What Metrilo Is Missing
Metrilo is a plug-in you add to your website. This makes it different from many of the other products we compared. While it offers tools to help you identify your most valuable customers, you must have an ecommerce solution already in place in order to take advantage of its features. You can read more about the best ecommerce platforms for small business.
What Users Think About Metrilo
Users like its easy-to-use interface and how the program provides tips and tricks to improve business. However, the dashboard is not customizable and the statistics it reports are not a good fit for B2B organizations, even if they do conduct business online.
Where to Find Metrilo
In addition to the 14-day free trial, Metrilo also offers a 100% refund within 30 days of your initial subscription if the product proves to be not for you. It works after only a couple of clicks with WooCommerce or Magento. Start your free trial at:
Best Contact Management Software for Gmail Users: Streak
Streak is contact management software that lives inside Gmail, allowing you to manage contacts, deals, pipelines, and communications straight from your inbox. This makes it unique among the software we reviewed. You can add contacts and companies with an auto-suggest feature, create multiple pipelines, and track emails. Streak is best for companies or individuals who want a low-cost way to manage contacts and their sales pipelines directly from Gmail.
Streak’s free plan provides two users, G Suite integration, unlimited pipelines, tasks, email scheduling, and email tracking. The Professional plan costs $49 per user per month and includes meeting notes, call logs, and saved views, which lets you search, filter, and group data in your inbox or share with your team. There’s a free, 14-day trial.
|G Suite integration|
|Task & reminders|
|Import & export|
Streak integrates easily with G Suite, appearing in the left side navigation list of your Gmail. Settings, updates, and integrations can then be managed from the drop-down near the G Suite app icon. If you’re comfortable with Excel, you’ll like the Streak interface, as it’s similar in look and feel. Contacts can be easily added from your Gmail emails and you can create unlimited, color-coded pipelines with the option of having deals and contacts appear in your inbox as mail.
Unlike the free plans from Zoho CRM and Pipedrive, Steak’s free plan does not include reporting. In addition, the visual layout feels dated, but the more I’ve worked with it, the easier it is to see the logic of its design. The free plan is ideal for individuals who want a simple, no-frills way to manage their contacts without ever having to leave Gmail.
The $49 per user per month Professional plan gives you the ability to add call logs and meeting notes, and lets you track both with a timer. You can also add notes and set up a follow-up task in the same window. In addition, this plan includes the reporting functionality missing in the free plan as well as integrations and email support, although the reporting feature is still not as advanced as what is found in other products.
However, it does include two categories of reports—pipeline and sales—with lots of filter options. For example, pipelines can be filtered by time in each stage, interactions, and other activity-based metrics. Sales filters for items like values (amounts) in stages, value won, close rate, and close rate in value. This plan is for teams that need to manage multiple pipelines or projects with granular reporting options while still being able to access everything inside Gmail.
What Streak Is Missing
Unlike the other software reviewed here, there is no drag-and-drop functionality for moving deal stages and contacts from stage to stage. There’s also no way to track visitors to your website like what’s found in Freshsales and Zoho CRM. Though you can send bulk emails, there’s no marketing automation feature like that found in Freshsales and Zoho CRM.
What Users Think About Streak
The ability to work right from Gmail without needing another app or login is a big advantage for users. Though it took some time to get used to, I also found the interface starting to grow on me. The most consistent complaint is that it doesn’t have built-in marketing automation. To see in-depth reviews, visit our Streak Page for user comments.
Where to Find Streak
Streak puts a CRM right in your Gmail account, making it convenient to manage contacts, sales, and any other project or process that involves your contacts or even employees. Without a separate app to log in to, it simplifies contact management, giving users an already comfortable place to work from. There’s also support capability with ticketing. You can sign up for a free, 14-day trial for the Professional plan.
What Is The Difference Between a CRM & a Contact Manager
A contact manager can be any tool that helps keep details such as names, emails, or physical addresses and phone numbers organized. However, the best also offer a way to quickly import, export, and search for specific organizations or individuals and display information such as the date of the last contact. A CRM is a type of contact management software as they include all this capability as part of their core features. In addition, they also provide other helpful features such as deal tracking, reporting functionality, and email outreach tools, making them a great contact management solution.
“There are a few options that are helpful when it comes to contact management. Reports/dashboards, for example, are usually included in most software packages, but the higher-end products tend to have live and dynamic dashboards. You need to pay close attention to make sure any exporting or importing needs you have (such as transfers from Excel or QuickBooks) are compatible with the system you are considering purchasing.”
– Lindsey Havens, Senior Marketing Manager, PhishLabs
The Bottom Line
There is an endless number of contact management software options available for your small business. Therefore, it’s best to plan ahead for how you expect to leverage your contact list—for customer relationship management, email marketing, integration with other business productivity applications, and/or reporting purposes. Once your plan is in place, you can narrow your search to find contact management software that best fits your needs.
We selected Freshsales as the best overall contact management software for 2019 after a thorough exam of customer reviews, product features, and pricing. Freshsales provides the most contact management functionality for the cost and is also a great CRM that can be customized to your needs. You can sign up for Freshsales’ free Forever plan or start your free 30-day trial to test drive its more advanced features today.