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How are Contact Management System Different from CRM?

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Contact Management System (CMS) software helps manage and integrate contact information like names, addresses, contact numbers. You can centrally manage and track all information and communication activities of all your customer contacts, partners, vendors, suppliers etc. You can archive interactions with your contacts and even add related notes. Outlook, Google or Yahoo mails or modern-day smart-phones provide simple contact management systems.

Customer Relationship Management Software, as the name suggests, is designed to aid businesses in managing end-to-end customer experience, right from gaining actionable customer insights using analytics, identifying business opportunities to providing personalized customer experience based on customer preferences and previous interactions.

Understanding the similarities and differences between CMS and CRM will help you determine which software is best suited for your business needs.


CMS: Most CM systems provide following features:

  • Track communication information and time stamp notes for future reference
  • Retrieve or review information from archives
  • Automated reminders and schedule appointments
  • Online hosting

CRM: A CRM provides features that are similar to CM but also has following features in addition:

  • Schedule upcoming actions like – configuring your CRM to send an auto-generated ‘Welcome mail’ for the new customer.
  • Identifying where the prospect has moved in the sales funnel
  • Segmentation
  • Managing sales funnel, sales cycles and relationships
  • Automated alerts for activities that may require immediate action or follow-up by sales representatives (Opportunity Management)
  • Provide insights and analytics for strategic PR planning
  • Ability to develop, implement and track campaigns


CMS is generally used to improvise productivity by delegating the responsibility of managing, and organizing contacts, account information and opportunities to the software. If you are a small business or don’t have a large customer base, a CM system is better suited for focusing on individual needs.

CRM is a more advanced software that which includes more comprehensive customer information providing a 360-degree view of the customer relationship. With CRM you can investigate interaction history with the organization, based on various touchpoints and across channels, audit trail of activities, perform segmentation etc. It is particularly useful for businesses, which have long or complex sales cycle and require ongoing customer interaction.


CM is generally a standalone system that supports individuals or small teams to better organize their contacts.

CRM system is used across teams, departments and business processes. The relationship of the customer is with the organization and thus all interactions and activities are captured automatically. Multiple people may be working on an account or with a single customer, with each team member shouldering a different responsibility e.g. generating a lead, assisting the customer, providing customer support. CRM gives a complete view of the customer and every team member is aware of the progression, so the entire organization speaks the common language. This helps provide an organized and customer-centric experience.

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Article Credit: MTA

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