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How contact management software evolved into a CRM

In 1933, when Edwin Armstrong invented FM technology, nobody knew it would exist as one of the features of mobile phones. Just like that, many important innovations have become a part of something more significant to help people in a better way. Evolution is necessary; let’s agree with Darwin.

In this article, we’re talking about one such example.

How contact management evolved into customer relationship management (CRM)

This image shows the evolution of contact management software briefly, have a look:

contact management evolved into CRM

In simple words, contact management is a system where all the customer data is stored, and users can find every detail from a single place. Initially, contact management software used to gather basics like email address, phone number, notes, etc.

But soon, businesses felt the need for much more and wanted to get a 360° customer view. So, now a contact management system can gather more information like recent activities with clients, email conversations, shared files, messages, call logs, etc.

The 1980s was the time when businesses had a lot of information to sell products. In the 1990s, businesses started exploring more ways to use that information to drive more sales by Sales Force Automation. SFA helped businesses in streamlining some daily tasks like updating records, assigning tasks, taking follow-ups, sending emails, etc. Sales Force Automation saves significant time so that businesses can utilize it in more productive ways.

1995 – Businesses were reaching new heights, hence the need for advanced features was also rising. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was introduced that can help businesses keep track of customers and take important steps to increase sales. Soon, the development of CRM tool grew, and now we have many advanced features in a single suite. Features like visual sales pipeline, sales goal tracking, bulk emailing, email tracking, shared team inbox, built-in calling, and many more.   

Now, all the major CRMs are available on SaaS and mobile to offer flexibility.

Why this evolution?

Any evolution takes place because the system demands certain changes. Humans evolved from apes because our surrounding was asking for the change. The same way, contact management system wasn’t enough for modern businesses, hence the slow birth of customer relationship management software.

Back in the 1980s, businesses were more concerned about managing the details of customers, so they can connect with them and sell their products. In the late 1990s, business preferences were changed, and the systems were more focused on how to build a deeper relationship with customers to sell and upsell products. Contact management software was not enough for businesses, but still important as a feature.

One more important reason for this evolution is – Team Collaboration. Back in the 80s, customer details were used by sales teams to make cold calls and pitch products. Now, the picture is prettier.

Marketing and sales teams are collaborating and finding more ways to pitch products to the right prospects, at the right time, so sales are assured. We can safely say this evolution has changed the equation from “Sales” to “Marketing + Sales” and that’s how the contact management became one of the features of a CRM.

Why use contact management in CRM?

91% of the businesses with more than 11 employees use CRM software.

The use of CRM is increasing every single day for various reasons. In this segment, we’re talking about why businesses are using CRM for contact management, and why you should too.

1. Everything at once

You can manage every detail of your customer at a single place, so you can find it whenever you need it. Starting from contact information to deal status, you can fetch the entire history of a particular customer with your business.

2. The timeline

From the moment you create a contact till right now, you can check every small progress of customers with your company. The timeline can give you great insights on points of selling & upselling. You can predict when exactly you can pitch products/services to customers. The timeline also helps in activity management, email tracking, and many more.

3. Activity management

With contact management in CRM, you can create new activities, set up reminders, add new deals, add notes, attach files, and check past activities. Managing activities inside a CRM keeps you informed about your previous conversations with customers, and help you take the right decisions in the future.

4. Integrations

Integrations make things easier! One of the major benefits of using contact management in CRM is Integrations. CRMs are capable of integrating with third-party apps like Slack, ClearBit, Google Drive, etc. You can fetch data from these apps and create contacts directly in your current CRM.

5. Built-in telephony

One of the most exceptional benefits of CRM with contact management is – Built-in calling. You can call and connect with customers without leaving your CRM. This is a solid feature for businesses that use cold calling. With CRM, you can directly purchase virtual phone numbers of your desired location, and start connecting with customers.

6. Workflow automation

One of the major reasons why businesses use CRM is to reduce dependency by using workflow automation. You can define action triggers and reciprocate accordingly for a better success rate. Major CRMs also allow integration with third-party apps to move your data and utilize for conversion practices. One such example is using Salesmate customer data in MailChimp for email drips.

You can send personalized emails, take follow-ups, send out newsletters, and invoices on a defined timeline. With automation, you can reduce repetitive tasks, human errors, and utilize saved time in more fecund ways.


Contact management software was a vital step for the evolution of customer relationship management system. Every important feature of CRM revolves around contacts, and we’re finding more ways to stay connected with contacts to build a stronger relationship. Today, CRM is on SaaS and Mobile, and it will inevitably evolve again when businesses demand change.

Contact management in CRM is extremely important for small businesses and startups. With contact management feature in a small business CRM like Salesmate, you get a 360° customer view showing every tiny activity with the contact. Find everything about your client or prospect on a single screen, starting from contact info to lead progress.

Kashyap Trivedi

Kashyap Trivedi is working with an awesome marketing team at Salesmate CRM. He is deeply interested in learning digital marketing trends and try them out! When he’s not working, you’ll find him reading a good book or meditating.

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