CRM

Contact Management: The Ultimate Guide

lemlist team
LAST UPDATED
June 7, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Using a spreadsheet or a diary to keep track of your contacts might be helpful now but if you want to keep your lead conversion and contract renewal rates high, you need to always remember their individual needs and preferences which is physically impossible.

You need an effective contact management system and this post will show you how to do this.

What is Contact Management?

Contact management is strategically organizing and nurturing relationships with potential customers (leads) and existing clients. You do this by having a centralized database for your contacts, also known as a contact management system where you store all the details like names, companies, job titles, any previous purchases, previous s+upport tickets, preferences and more.

Now, contacts aren’t only your leads. They are key people in your business so it could also be your suppliers, business partners, existing customers and more. Once you have a good contact management strategy, you can build the foundation of a solid sales pipeline. 

Why Should You Prioritize Effective Contact Management 

Contact management should be one of your top priorities as a B2B salesperson or business owner because you get;

  • A more centralized data point

Instead of spending valuable time finding details about a client or a lead across several Excel sheets, apps or diaries, you have one central database that has every detail you need for a personalized outreach. 

  • Better client relationships

Good contact management allows you to have all the information you need to make every interaction with your stakeholders a personalized one. For example, when meeting a lead after a discovery call, you’re reminded of what they are looking out for and you can include that in your pitch. With existing clients, you can increase customer satisfaction and retention rates by simply using these details well. 

  • Increased productivity

Depending on what contact management system you use, you can even automate tasks like sending emails, setting reminders for call-backs and so much more. This gives you the time to work on other priority or demanding tasks.

  • Higher sales and revenue

A happy client is a paying client. So the more your existing clients are satisfied, the more renewals you’ll get. This also applies to your leads. When they are happy with your approach, they’d be easier to convert.

  • Better team collaboration

When you have a centralized contact database, teams can work together seamlessly to improve customer experience. For example, your sales team can better address customer pain points the support has logged in because they now know it exists.

What is a Contact Management Software?

A contact management software is an advanced digital address book that allows you to store, organize, and find information about your business contacts. 

With this software, you can save important information like emails, websites, addresses, social media and notes, personalize future interactions and automate tasks like setting up reminders or even sending emails.

Since B2B sales involve a series of buying decisions, with a good contact management system, you can track interactions (emails, calls, meetings) with each contact, allowing you to personalize your outreach and build stronger relationships.

The Major Difference between a CRM and a Contact Management System

Now you might be thinking, how is it different from a CRM? While a contact management system or software is similar to a CRM, they differ based on so many factors including; 

  • Purpose

A contact management system seeks to organize information about your business contacts. A CRM on the other hand organizes your contacts and helps you nurture relationships for either converting leads, retaining existing users or driving revenue.

  • Key Features

A contact manager would include centralized storage for contact details, being able to segment and filter them, as well as other helpful features like email and notes.

A CRM has advanced features for lead scoring, qualification, sales pipelines and automation as well as other tools like marketing automation, customer support features and more. While it can store contact information, it also includes more details like lifetime revenue, analytics and reporting. 

  • Team owners

CRM is mostly used by sales teams to get leads through the sales funnel while a contact management system is used by different teams like sales, customer support, marketing, and even operations.

  • Pricing

Contact management systems are generally more affordable compared to CRMs. But this is mostly because of the extensive features and functionality available on CRM.

Should I Use a CRM or Contact Manager for My Business?

Thinking about whether to invest in a CRM or a contact manager for your business? Well, choosing an option depends entirely on where you are now and where your priorities lie. 

For example, if you have a relatively small team and you just want to simply organize and manage your business contacts then a contact manager is what you need. Since it's more affordable, you wouldn’t have to worry about taking a large sum out of your marketing budget for one tool. Many contact management systems also offer free plans with basic functionality.

However, if your B2B team is a big one with multiple sales stages and complex funnels, then you should opt for a CRM. This is because a CRM will offer more advanced features to score your numerous leads while integrating with existing tools. It’s also great to start with a CRM especially if you have campaigns that will likely increase your customer base because you’ll need it then. In fact, revenue can increase by 245% when a business uses a CRM

CRM is also a great option for marketing automation, especially for multiple customer segments. When you have a well-segmented customer database, it becomes easier to create multi-channel campaigns to engage them where they frequent. 

How to Find the Best Contact Management Software

Now, there are currently many types of contact management software available in the market. But, to get value for your money and avoid acquiring more tools to your stack later on, you want to look out for some of these features; 

Data Management

For starters, your software should have the basics of data management like being able to identify and merge duplicate contacts, verify new contacts before adding them to your database, and more. It should also be synced across all teams so everyone is up-to-date on where a contact is in the business.

Lead Finder

While organizing your contacts is a must-have feature, it’s also a bonus if your tool can help you find verified B2B leads. Generating leads as a business is time-consuming and expensive so having a tool like lemlist that automates that is a great way to save extra money in the long run.

 

Personalisation

What’s the point of having all that information about your contacts if you can’t use them to your advantage? Your contact manager should be able to personalize your messaging at a larger scale using custom text, videos and even dynamic landing pages to appeal to the right audience.

Multi-channel outreach

Automated email workflows shouldn’t be the only thing your tool can do. You should be able to send messages where your contacts can engage with them. For example, send a message on Linkedin, respond to their tweets and even place a cold direct call all from one software.

Analytics and Insights

In addition to understanding what is working from what isn’t, your contact management system or CRM should be able to help you make more revenue. So when you use good software, you can get revenue forecasting and other performance reports to help you optimize your sales pipeline and overall strategy.

Fortunately, lemlist has all of these features and more. But don’t just take our word for it. Look through reviews listed online, take recommendations from your network, and use the 14-day free trial to see if they align with your long-term goals.

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G2 Rating
Price
Best for
Standout feature
Con
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/mo
$75/mo
$2,999/mo
Large, distributed sales teams
AI evaluation precision, gamified KPIs
Lack of tracking system
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Sales operations and finance teams
Powerful configurability
Limited training resources and complex to navigate
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Mid-market and enterprise businesses
Comprehensive incentive management
Potentially high cost and steep learning curve
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$15/user/mo
$40/user/mo
Enterprise: custom price
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Collaborative teams
Connected planning
Complexity and steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with complex sales structures
Complex incentive compensation management (ICM) with high efficiency and accuracy
Complexity for smaller teams and potentially high costs
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies who want to automate commission calculations and payouts
Simplicity and ease of use
Lack of features like redirection
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$30/user/mo
$35/user/mo
Custom: upon request
Businesses that need a comprehensive and user-friendly sales compensation management software
Ease of use and adoption
Lack of ability to configure the product based on user needs
4.8
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with modern sales culture and businesses who want real-time insights
A built-in dispute management and real-time visibility
Users say it works slowly, customer support is slow
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/user/mo
$50/user/mo
Smaller sales teams
Powerful automation
Lesser user base and average user interface
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with scalable needs
Automated Commission Calculations
Lack of filtering by date, no mobile app
ERP vs. CRM
ERP
CRM
Summary
Backbone of a business's internal operations.
Backbone of customer-centric interactions and operations.
Goal
To centralize and streamline core business processes in a company.
To increase customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.
Focus
Internal operations and processes across departments (finance, accounting, inventory, supply chain, HR, and sales).
All interactions with leads and customers.
Manages
Internal business data like financial data, inventory levels, production details, supply chain, HR info.
All customer data like contact info, purchase history, communication history, customer preferences and more.
Users
Finance, accounting, operations, supply chain, and HR departments.
Customer-facing teams like sales, marketing, and customer service.
Benefits
Streamlines operations, improves data accuracy, enhances decision-making, boosts collaboration, increases productivity.
Improves customer relationships, increases sales, strengthens customer service, personalizes marketing campaigns, provides insights.
Price
$150 per user per year on average.
$10 to $30 per user per month on average.
PRM Tool
Rating
Feature
Pro
Con
Mobile App
Integrations
Free Plan
Pricing
4.65
star
star
star
star
star-half
Org-wide alignment
User-friendly layout and database
Suboptimal as a personal CRM
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-check
Team: $20/month
Business: $45/month
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Social Media Integration
Easy contact data collection
No marketing/sales features
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-xmark
7-day trial
$12/month
4.75
star
star
star
star
star-half
Block Functions
High customization capability
Not a dedicated CRM
square-check
Limited
square-check
Plus: €7.50/month
Business: €14/month
N/A
Open-source
Open-source flexibility
Requires extensive manual input
square-xmark
Limited
square-check
Self-hosted
$9/month or
$90/year
3.1
star
star
star
Simple iOS app
Ideal for non-tech-savvy users
iPhone only
square-check
iOS only
Limited
square-xmark
1-month trial
$1.49/month or
$14.99/month
3.6
star
star
star
star-half
Smart Contact Management
Feature-rich and flexible
Reported bugs
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
7-day trial
Premium: $13.99/month
Teams: $17.99/month
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Customizable Interface
Customizable for teamwork
Pricey for personal use
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
Standard: $24/member
Premium: $39/member
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Integrated Calling
Integrated Calling
Too sales-oriented & pricey
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
Startup: $59/user/month
Professional: $329/user/month
4.8
star
star
star
star
star
Business Card Scanning
Business Card Scanning
Mobile only
square-check
Limited
square-check
$9.99/month
4.45
star
star
star
star
star-half
160+ app integrations
Comprehensive integrations
No free app version
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
$29.90/month or
$24.90/month (billed annually)
Capterra Rating
Free Trial
Free Plan
Starting Price (excluding the free plan)
Maximum Price (for the most expensive plan)
Best for
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-check
€15/month/seat billed annually
€792/month/3 seats billed annually + €45/month for each extra seat
Versatility and free plan
4.2
star
star
star
star
square-check
30-day
square-xmark
But it offers reduced price to authorised nonprofit organisations
€25/user/month
€500/user/month billed annually (includes Einstein AI)
Best overall operational CRM
4.3
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-xmark
square-check
Limited to 3 users
Comprehensive incentive management
€52/user/month billed annually
Small-medium businesses and automation
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-xmark
€14/seat/month billed annually
€99/seat/month billed annually
Sales teams and ease of use
4.1
star
star
star
star
square-xmark
square-check
Limited 10 users
$9.99/user/month billed annually
$64.99/user/month billed annually
Free plan for very small teams up to 10
CRM goal
Increase the sales conversion rate for qualified leads from marketing automation campaigns by 10% in the next 6 months.
SMART Breakdown
1. Specific: It targets a specific area (conversion rate) for a defined segment (qualified leads from marketing automation).
2. Measurable: The desired increase (10%) is a clear metric, and the timeframe (6 months) allows for progress tracking.
3. Achievable: A 10% increase is possible based on historical data and potential improvements.
4. Relevant: Boosting sales from marketing efforts aligns with overall business objectives.
5. Time-bound: The 6-month timeframe creates urgency and a clear target date.
Actions
Step 1: Refine lead qualification criteria to ensure high-quality leads are nurtured through marketing automation.
Step 2: Personalize marketing automation campaigns based on lead demographics, interests, and behavior.
Step 3: Develop targeted landing pages with clear calls to action for qualified leads.
Step 4: Implement lead scoring to prioritize high-potential leads for sales follow-up.
Step 5: Track and analyze campaign performance to identify areas for optimization.
Outcomes
Increased sales and revenue
Improved marketing automation ROI
Marketing and sales alignment
Data-driven marketing optimization

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