Contact Management: An Overview

Technology paved the way to make a lot of things easier and faster. Take for instance how you handle your people network. Written phonebooks and printed yellow pages are as obsolete as the rotary phone. 

Nowadays, everything is almost digitalized. Though business cards are still relevant, the rest of the contact information exchange involves almost no pen and paper at all. Hence, new systems are developed during this age of information. One of which is contact management. 

What is contact management?

Contact management pertains to the systems and practices designed to handle the business network communication information. This involves storage, accessibility, and security of the contact details of prospects, leads, and customers, as well as that of the suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders. 

Businesses and even individuals need contact management to take care of the ever-growing number of contacts. There are several types of contact management tools available in the market for such.

What are the types of contact management?

There are different ways to manage your contacts. This would all be depending on your company’s requirements. 

Collaborative spreadsheet

This is the rudimentary manner of managing your leads and clients. The traditional spreadsheet may be the go-to for startups and small businesses. It requires almost no cost to use and no needed training for integration. 

One of the downsides is the lack of integration into messaging channels. Manual copy/pasting required to the recipient field means a tiresome repetitive task. Another disadvantage is how difficult to maintain especially when a team is working on it. Duplicate entries, accidental alterations, or even deliberate deletions easily degrade the integrity of the database. 

Shared company directory

This refers mostly to an Active Directory, LDAP, or Google Workspace domain directory. This type of contact management commonly contains the employees’ information, mailing lists, and some external contacts. These contacts are generally accessible in emails and intranets but rarely on mobile contact apps or other applications. 

Unfortunately, the contacts are typically not available when the user is offline or on mobile devices. Besides, it is a rigid system wherein only IT personnel can create, edit, and update the database. 

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Contact management is one of the basic functionalities of a CRM system. However, it may also incorporate lead generation, sales forecasting, and workflow automation. 

These other features make CRM significantly more expensive than stand-alone contact management apps. It is impractical to spend money on CRM if you only needed it for contact management. Some of its programs may be too complex or still not necessary for your business. 

Stand-alone contact management apps

These are specialized software solely for contact management. They generally cost a small fraction of CRM seats. Stand-alone contact management apps are usually straightforward and do not require training to use, unlike CRMs. 

Choose the best contact management app for your business by ensuring it can integrate with all your existing communication channels. Compare the features like unlimited recovery time, permission management, and security compliance to find the best value for your money.

Hybrid system

If your company already has a CRM, getting another seat for a new employee that only needs access to the client database may not be necessary. You may just find a stand-alone contact management app that integrates with the CRM.

This translates into significant savings not only for the cost of the CRM seat. This is as well on the onboarding and training costs.

What are the benefits of contact management?

1. Sorted contact data

Phonebooks usually display names alphabetically. Contact management apps allow you to group your contacts according to your preferences. Separate your leads and customers so you know whether to email promotional materials or loyalty program freebies.

2. Mobility and accessibility

Contact management apps give your organization a centralized directory. This means you and your team have a synchronized contact database that you can tap from any authorized device. In this era where mobility and flexibility are valued, this is a big convenience.  

3. Consolidate data

Good contact management software gives you and your team the ability to write notes regarding contacts. This gives you better insight into the client as the team is updated which each member’s interaction regarding the contact. 

4. Collaboration

Having a centralized company directory allows inter-department transactions smoother. No need to ask around for updated contact numbers or the number of the new guy. 

  1. Back up

If your machinery has a replacement warranty, then your intangible assets must have a trustworthy backup system as well. Moreover, unintentional data deletion can be disastrous so a contact management system with a superb recovery program is valuable. 

6. Security 

Select a contact management software that adheres to renowned security standards such as GDPR, CCPA, Google Technology Premier, and so forth. Those programs ensure that data is processed with the utmost confidentiality guidelines.

 

Takeaway:

Contact data is an important aspect of the business- be it a sales lead list, current client database, or supplier records. Technology can help in managing these contacts to help boost the productivity and efficiency of your team.