Contact Management — Definition, Scope and Software

July 11, 2024

7 mins read

contact management and contact managemnet system
Table of Contents

Does contact management involve dealing with only lead information or does it include all stakeholders?

What exactly is the scope of contact management?

Is a contact management system concerned with just organising contact information or does it also help manage prospect and customer relationships?

If any of these questions are on your mind, this article is for you! And not just that, we’ll also discuss the difference between a contact management system and a CRM, its notable features and how you can choose the best contact management system for your business.

What is contact management?

First of all, what/who is a ‘contact’? Well, any lead, prospect or customer your brand interacts with to sell, upsell or cross-sell your product or service is considered a contact.

And there’s a good chance you may be already engaged in contact management for your business because otherwise, your business won’t be a business.🤷‍♂️

So contact management is:

  • Neatly organising all contact data in one single repository

  • Interacting with leads and customers

  • Tracking customer preferences through detailed records of their interactions with your business

  • Ensuring that your prospects become your long-time customers

  • Retaining those customers by providing top-notch user experience

We’re pretty sure you carry out most of these activities at work. But are you doing them effectively? Keep reading to find out!

What is a contact management system (CMS)?

contact management system

Your team probably manages 10s and 100s of contacts every single day, through hefty physical registers or Excel spreadsheets. You might be able to record all this information but you’ll never be able to manage it effectively because:

  • Registers and spreadsheets don’t track interactions, only information

  • It’s messy and your team will have to go through heaps and heaps of data just to find the right contact

  • You might end up targeting the wrong contact because everything is just a long list of rows of columns and finding the right contact is difficult

Now as the saying goes, contact is king (sorry, not sorry) and you can’t afford to lose track of follow-ups, their preferences, their buying status, etc. 

The perfect solution to these problems is a contact management system. It is a tool designed to organise, manage and track contacts throughout the entire sales cycle. So whenever you get a new lead in your system or a customer purchases your product, a CMS records every little detail in one place.

“I understand that CMS could be useful to my business but do I need it?” is what you’re probably asking right now.

Well, you can probably manage your contacts without the help of tech, but can you:

  • Track past interactions including phone calls and messages to follow-ups to every minor interaction effectively through your existing manual system?

  • Personalise customer experiences by understanding their preferences and dislikes?

  • Interact with prospects and customers through phone calls, emails or WhatsApp from one place?

  • Assess how your sales strategies are performing?

  • Secure all contact details and manage them from one dashboard?

Even if you can do all this, we bet it’s not as effective as it’d be with contact management software.

Contact management system and CRM — same same or different?

difference between contact management software and CRM

If you google ‘best contact management software’ you’ll probably end up getting a laundry list of top CRMs (customer relationship management). So essentially, CRM and CMS are the same.

But definition-wise, they differ. Contact management systems are normally concerned with organising contact information securely while a CRM does both; organise contacts and manage customer relationships.

Top 7 features of a contact management system

If you’ve read this far, you should also get to know the features that you need to look out for in a contact management solution.

1. Contact database

Create custom fields and save essential contact details — names, addresses, phone numbers, emails and anything else you fancy capturing into the system! All of that information will be stored in one place. So, no more scattered information or lost details. Every piece of information about the contact remains safe and sound in one easily accessible place.

And since it’s a repository of all your contacts, you can track customer interactions from within the CMS itself.

contact database

2. Contact segmentation

Segment contacts based on customer data, including purchase history, demographic characteristics such as , age, gender, location, education, income, etc. This helps you quickly locate the exact information you need without sifting through endless lists.

You can even use the CMS as a tool to boost your sales and marketing efforts. Yes, by segmenting contacts according to demographics and/or other criteria, you can improve your targeting efforts.

contact segmentation

3. All-in-one communication platform

Contact management tools like Telecrm, Monday and Pipedrive are not just for contact management but are complete call management software as well- you can make calls, schedule emails and send WhatsApp messages directly from within the system. The best part? These platforms let you handle all communication from one central hub, making it easier to keep track of every interaction.

centralised communication

4. Integration

Import contacts from various sources like CSV files, your website and third-party tools directly into the CMS. This ensures your contact list is always up-to-date and comprehensive, without the need for any heavy lifting by you or your team.

5. Secure data storage

In a contact management system, you can assign user roles and permissions to control who can access or edit contact information. This keeps your data secure and ensures that only authorised personnel can make changes, reducing the risk of errors and unauthorised access.

Secure data storage

6. Reporting and analytics

Generate customisable reports on trends, contact conversion rates, sales numbers, customer retention and more. These insights provide valuable information on how your business is performing and help you make informed decisions to drive growth.

7. Automation

Automate repetitive tasks like sending follow-up notifications or updating contact information. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency and accuracy in your interactions, allowing you to focus on more strategic activities.

How to choose the best contact management system

Now that you’ve more or less made up your mind about getting a contact management solution for your business, this is what you should do next:

1. Identify your business needs

Start by understanding what you need from a CMS. Are you looking to simply organise contact information or do you need features like interaction tracking, automated reminders and reporting? List down your must-have features.

2. Ease of use

Nobody wants to spend extensive time getting used to a new software. Make sure the CMS is user-friendly. Your team should be able to navigate the system without extensive training. A complicated system will just compound the stress and reduce productivity. Look for a clean, intuitive interface.

3. Customisation options

Every business is unique. The best CMS allows you to customise fields and workflows according to your specific needs. Whether it’s adding custom fields or creating specific tags for contacts, flexibility is key.

5. Scalability

Your business will grow, and so should your CMS alongside it. Choose a system that can handle an increasing number of contacts and interactions without compromising on performance.

6. Security features

Data security is paramount. Ensure the CMS provides robust security measures, such as user roles and permissions, encryption and secure data storage. This keeps your information safe from unauthorised access and protects your brand from any unwanted crisis.

7. Customer support and training

Bad customer support is a headache, especially when you’re integrating new software for the very first time. So make sure the customer support is available 24/7 for you to get used to the software. Look at software review sites to get an idea.

Pro Tip: Before committing, take advantage of free trials or demos. This allows you to test the CMS in real-world scenarios and see if it meets your business requirements. Make sure the system is just as good in practice as it is on paper.

8. Value for money

Focus on value-for-money solutions rather than looking for an affordable contact management platform that may or may not fulfil all your business needs. In other words, don’t buy a system that you’d need to replace after a few years. 

contact managers after getting to know about CMS

Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned what contact management is and its various use cases. If you aren’t already using contact management software, it’s about time you do!

Understand the scope of contact management in your business and then find the appropriate solution using our checklist above. Or you can save yourself the trouble and consider getting Telecrm — a sales-based CRM software loaded with all the features you’ll ever need! And guess what – it’s made in India.

Visit our homepage today to know more! 


Article Author

Zaid is a content writer and a marketing executive at Telecrm with a specialization in writing technical blogs, website landing pages, and on-page SEO. He's an MBA student and a national-level debater having represented Aligarh Muslim University at various competitions.