What is contact management?

 

Contact management is the act of storing, organizing, and tracking information about your customers, prospects, and sales leads.

In its most basic form, you can manage your contact data using an address book or an Excel or Google spreadsheet with entries for all the people you do business with.

However, many businesses choose to use specialized contact management software. This can be especially beneficial if you have many contacts to organize or multiple people that need access to the information.

Some organizations use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems instead of contact management software. CRM tools typically provide contact management functionality but add features that help businesses manage their relationships.  

What is contact management?

Contact management software

Contact management software typically allows you to make entries for each of your contacts. This can include contact information such as a name, phone number, email address, or company.

The tools organize this information in a way that makes it easy for you to find the entries again. The data may also be searchable.

Contact management software can also offer features like tracking the interactions between the customer and the business, as well as some scheduling abilities, for example, the ability to organize meetings with clients in a calendar.

Customer relationship management software

A CRM tool will typically combine the above contact management features with extra functionality that helps your business manage its relationships and create a great customer experience. It will help organize all your marketing and sales activities through features like automation, email marketing, and pipelines. 

Not all CRM software solutions offer the same features, however. The exact ones you have available to you will typically depend on the provider and plan you choose.

Here are some common CRM features: 

Track customer interactions

Like contact management software, CRM software allows you to track your interactions with customers, prospects, and leads.

You can store emails, support messages, or phone interactions within the entry for a contact. Much of this happens automatically with the right integrations. If you use marketing automation, you can even keep a note of how the customer has interacted with your campaigns.

Here is how this could be useful:

 Imagine a sales rep has a call with a lead. Instead of going into the meeting without any knowledge of the customer, the rep can simply bring up the CRM entry and see an in-depth overview of everything the company knows about the customer. This puts them in a far better position to have a successful interaction.

As the CRM software is available throughout the organization, everyone in your business has access to the same data about each customer. 

Lead scoring

Lead scoring allows you to identify which of your contacts are most likely to buy your product based on how they interact with your marketing campaign. Each lead receives points when they perform specific activities such as opening emails, downloading resources, or visiting certain pages on your website. 

Someone who downloaded your eBook but never opened it and didn’t interact with any follow-up emails will have a lower score than someone who downloads the ebook, signs up to a webinar, and then visits the pricing page of your website.

When the lead reaches a predefined score, your marketing department can send them to your sales team, who will begin the final stage of the conversion process. This saves time as sales reps do not waste energy on leads that are unlikely to convert.

Sales force automation

CRM software also has sales force automation features that can improve sales team processes and reducing the chance of errors. 

Imagine a prospect requests a call-back on your website. The CRM can log this information and alert a rep that they need to take a particular action. When the rep receives the notification and makes the call, they can note that they performed the task within the CRM.

Not only does sales force automation ensure that the sales call is made at the right time, but it also stops the lead from getting multiple calls from different reps who were unaware that someone had already taken action. 

Marketing automation

Many CRM providers include marketing automation software that helps you set up effective marketing campaigns.

For example, you can collect email addresses by setting up lead generation forms and then have your CRM automatically create new entries for each contact that signs up. Or customize the emails you send to a lead based on how they interact with your previous communication. This makes it easy for you to send targeted marketing campaigns to each of your contacts and improve your lead management. 

Analytics and reporting

These features are typically backed up by in-depth analytics and reporting features, providing you and your team full visibility into how your marketing and sales strategy is performing. Many CRM systems include sales pipelines to help ensure you have a steady flow of incoming sales and alert leaders to any problem areas.

Confused about what makes a great CRM?

Our free guide has all you need to know to choose the best CRM solution for your business.

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More than just contact management 

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