Contact management allows efficient collaboration between teams to handle leads and customers. Finding the right contact management app can be challenging especially since there are dozens available in the market.
To CRM or Not to CRM?
Contact management can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as customer relationship management (CRM) software. Then, there are stand-alone contact management apps in between.
The spreadsheets may have served you well. Then again, discovering contact management apps serves you better. Contact managing apps make accessing your contacts smoother as compared to having a list from the spreadsheet. It also eliminates the tedious task of copying/pasting each entry from the list of contacts to your email or messaging app.
However, as mentioned earlier, CRMs are complex. It offers a wide range of services other than contact management. Unfortunately, this may not be the best choice for small businesses and start-ups. If you have in mind a contact management system, better get just a stand-alone software for it.
The onboarding process for a CRM has a significant expense as well. Moreover, it takes training time and cost to adopt the system. This is in addition to the individual monthly payment of each CRM seat.
The Contact Management App Checklist
There are lots of contact management apps available in the market. Listed below are several pointers that will help you in deciding which contact management app is best for you.
1. Share Contacts Like You Share Google Docs
The ability to share contact lists must be the priority feature for contact management apps. Uncomplicated collaboration is a key to productivity.
For example, the marketing team has generated a contact list for the leads. Usually, contact lists are written in a Google Doc or Sheet. Instead, the marketing team can just directly create the entries on their Google Contacts. Then, they can share that contact group with the sales team. In turn, the sales team no longer needs to input the contact information again. Thanks to the app, it is readily available in their contacts.
Consequently, just like in Google Docs, permissions must be properly assigned as well. Setting the right permissions ensures that only authorized team members can edit, delete, or even reshare the contact list.
2. Integrates With Hundreds of Apps
Pick the contact management app that makes the shared contacts appear in the autofill on the recipient field with as many messaging platforms as possible. This gives you the convenience of no longer needing to switch between apps to copy/paste the contact information.
For instance, you usually communicate with your client, Lisa, through email. Then she requested to continue the conversation through Whatsapp. You update Lisa’s contact information right in your inbox. When you open your Whatsapp on your phone, you need only to type the first letter or two of her name. The autocomplete on the Whatsapp recipient’s name will place her number there.
3. Organizes Your Contacts
Contacts are arranged alphabetically by default. Having a contact manager allows you to create folders that you can label according to your preferences.
This allows you to separate personal contacts from business contacts. It also gives you the option to further compartmentalize business contacts into suppliers, office colleagues, clients, etc.
Let’s say you were browsing through your contacts to remember your new contact’s name. You no longer need to scan your whole contact database when you have properly labeled them. Just open that specific label folder where you think you put them. It’ll be easier to find him among just dozens, instead of hundreds of contacts.
4. Stores More Than Contact Information
Sometimes, you need more than just the contact info. Short notes to remind yourself like “Do not call on Tuesdays” or “Ask about her cat” can mean a lot in developing rapport between you and your customer.
There are apps that give you space to input more than phone numbers, email addresses, and birthdays. The capability to attribute brief descriptions and relevant details gives you a better insight into that contact. This can translate into a good business deal.
5. Unique Feature
Each contact management app has its own exclusive factor. When you make a table for the different apps, you can compare the prices and features side by side. Then, there’ll be a detail or two that one app has and others don’t.
This can be the deal breaker. If all apps are priced the same and you think all user interfaces are somewhat similar, then the unique feature can be the deciding factor.
For Shared Contacts for Gmail©, one of the unique features is that it allows you to mention your colleagues right under the contact entry. You can remind your co-worker that you have updated one contact information directly from this app. No need to leave the app to DM your colleague about the changes.
6. Complies With Privacy Regulations
Data protection is a crucial aspect of the business. Contacts are part of the company’s non-tangible assets. Consequently, it must be treated with utmost security as well.
Ensure that the app you choose is compliant with privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Any business that wants to work effectively and securely needs to protect its data from fraudulent activities. Hacking, phishing, and even identity theft must be prevented. Hence, the security parameters set by the aforementioned organizations are relevant everywhere. It should be enjoyed not just in Europe or California.
7. Check Data Backup Plans
You never know when disaster strikes. Contacts deletion, be it accidental or deliberate, can cause damage to the business. Contact management systems usually offer data backup as one of their features. The deal breaker here is how long they keep backups and how easy to tell them to completely delete them.
Keep in mind that unlimited time for data recovery is important. Knowing that you can recover your data regardless of what happens gives you peace of mind over at least one aspect of your business.
Last but definitely not least, get an app that is economical but meets your needs. The price range of contact management apps may be similar to each other so you must consider the given pointers above.
This is also the main reason why CRMs may not be the best solution if you need contact management sans reporting and data analytics. Contact management apps are usually around 10% of a CRM seat but that doesn’t mean their value is that small as well.
When you follow this actionable guide on how to utilize your Google Workspace as your CRM, you might not need a CRM any time soon. You don’t have to be bothered with the hidden costs of CRM.