Gone are the days where you keep all your contacts in business card binders and all of your client files in alphabetized manila folders. Now, database programs take that work off your hands and offer a more complex, more searchable way to store important names, addresses, and project details.
Database software is the bread-and-butter of your business. Customer data management can help you sort, search, and select clients that you have had previous contact with. Databases can also help you collect and act on sales leads. How you manage your clients and contacts will have lasting effects on the success or failure of your business.
This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best client management software and other online database software.
Quickly Compare & Evaluate the 10 Best Database Management Software
The final database software list that I have come up with contains an assortment of free and paid tools, some specially are the best database software for small businesses while others are more scalable and suited to larger enterprises. Read on below to learn more about each.
Business Database FAQ
Learning more about business databases is a good place to start. Even if this seems basic, a quick overview is helpful to warm up your mental muscles before diving into software specifications. Here are some FAQs to get you started.
A client database is a collection of contacts that might include company name, position or role in the company, phone number, email address, physical address, records of past interactions, and so on and so forth. Contact database software can help you manage these names and interaction details in a way that is easy to maintain and search, as needed.
Client database software is a digital solution to store data and details pertaining to any contact or customer with whom you have had business. Not only can you store personal details, like name and phone number, but you can even track payment history, conflict resolution, lead generation, and more.
There are many different kinds of database software, each with a specialty pertaining to a certain industry or type of contact. They may offer features and functions that relate to the specific needs of a particular working group. Some common examples include:
- Marketing database software
- Personal database software
- Business database software
- Customer database software
If you are a Windows user, you have a lot of customer management software to choose from, like Tray.io, NoCrm.io, Airtable, All Clients, Salesforce, and many more.
Not looking for a contact database at the moment? Check out our other lists of top client software:
- You can only gain a client if you start with a winning project proposal—I’ve made a list of the best proposal software to help you win new business.
- If you share a lot of files and assets with your clients, manage access and sharing of these files all in one place with a digital asset management tool
Client Database Management Tools Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select a customer database app for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Does it look modern or outdated? The best database management software will work well AND look good.
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Easy database software will offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
- Features & Functionality:
- Backup Client Base Online – Client databases need some sort of backup system to ensure the safety and longevity of your valuable data. An online backup system is deal so that you can access it anywhere. However, you will also want to be sure they employ the best safety standards for all your client data.
- Reporting and Analysis – Does the software offer a number of reporting tools and data visualizations? Are the reports easily downloadable and shareable?
- Robust Search Functionality – Does the system make it easy to search and sort data in different ways? How far back do the results go? Can you narrow search terms to get the most relevant data for your query?
- Mobile App/Access – With today’s mobile workforce, you might want a client database app that is smartphone compatible so that you can access your client details on-the-go. Considering the increasing number of remote or off-site workers, having an iOS and/or Android app is a huge plus.
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?
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Overviews of the Client Tracking System Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the database software programs that are featured on this top 10 list.
1. monday.com – Manage your client data, interactions and processes in order to automate parts of your sales pipeline, capture leads online, and more.
Monday.com is a robust workflow management software that has client management capabilities that lets you do everything from set up automatic reminders, due date notifications, and assign teammates to new tasks automatically. Use their reports and insights to dig into data for clients, processes, performance, and overall business opportunities.
Somewhere between the user interface and features/functions sections of our evaluation criteria is a deep desire for customization—and monday.com has many options for this, though some more complex adjustments may require a coding specialist. On top of that, they have some handy features like single-click task update request and an automatic notification builder.
Monday.com boasts integrations with the likes of Dropbox, Excel, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Integromat, Slack, Trello and even more through Zapier.
If scheduling meetings between many clients and many company representatives is part of your day-to-day, then monday.com might not be the best tool for you. Viewing appointments in different groups can be cumbersome; you may find you end up with an overwhelming number of boards; and recurring meetings require a third-party app.
monday.com Standard Pricing is $67/month for 5 users. You can use monday.com for free on their “free forever” plan with limited features but unlimited users.
2. Tray.io – A great small business database, Tray.io sports after-care programs like post-sales processing, onboarding, churn detection, etc.
Tray.io was designed to answer the question: How can a company get all of its cloud stack data to connect without tech help? This software is a general automation platform with options for marketing efficiency, sales streamlining, CRM tools, and more.
Tray.io has so many integrations and connector options that it takes up significant homepage space under the drop-down menu up top. Integration components are even sorted by role, by technology, and by use case. They offer API integration, CSV integration, database integration, and more. This is definitely one of the major benefits of this software.
Integration options include Ahrefs, Aircall, Basecamp, Datanyze, Docebo, Amazon SQS, Asana, BigQuery, Clearbit, Copper, AWS SQS, Copper, Google BigQuery, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, ADP Workforce Now, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Power BI, Airtable, Tableau Desktop, and more.
Regarding our Value for Cost evaluation criteria, Tray.io is one of the more cost-prohibitive on this list, which lost them some marks. Large companies won’t have a problem adapting to the higher price tag but some businesses will want to look elsewhere.
Tray.io starts at $595/month and has a free demo.
3. NoCRM.io – Track and close deals by capturing information from several sources including spreadsheets, LinkedIn, or even a business card.
The “No” in the software name is a cheeky representation of their dedication to functional simplicity and low-effort onboarding. Even with ease at its core, this software enables users to define lead fields, personalize with widgets, create custom sales activities, and more.
True to its name and marketing promise, NoCRM is superbly easy to use and adopt. They also offer a “NoCRM Academy” filled with video resources to help users learn the ins-and-outs of the tool. Thus, they rated quite highly in the Usability category of our evaluation criteria.
Integrations include G Suite, Quickbooks, PieSync, FreshBooks, RingCentral, Aircall, Xero, Tilkee, ActiveDEMAND, and over 750+ more through Zapier.
The only major con is the lack of email marketing campaign tools. You will need to integrate capabilities from elsewhere in order to achieve this functionality.
NoCRM.io starts at $12/user/month and has a free 15-day trial.
4. Airtable – Part spreadsheet, part database, Airtable lets you add attachments, text notes, links to records, and even barcodes.
With over 800,000+ companies using Airtable, this tool uses native mobile and desktop apps to make it easy to edit, comment, and collaborate within the database in real-time. Organizational options include customizable fields for data; filtering, sorting, and grouping of content; and more.
Having a freemium version, as well as a very reasonable monthly subscription price, made sure that Airtable excels in our Value for Cost evaluation criteria section. This makes them a great choice for those just beginning to dabble in client database software.
Airtable has many built-in integration options as well as a robust API. Connect even more apps and websites through Zapier, Workato, Integromat, or Automate.io. Built-in integration options include Asana, Basecamp, Box, Dropbox, Eventbrite, EverNote, Facebook, Github, Gmail and G Suite, Instagram, Jotform, LinkedIn, and many more.
Minor cons include no options for rich text functionality, quite limited records for free plans, low-responsiveness with customer service, and minimal tutorial help.
Airtable starts at $10/user/month and has a freemium version.
5. All Clients – A web-based database software with non-technical users in mind; includes workflows, funnels, responsive email templates, and more.
Now in its 15th anniversary year, AllClients provides simple contact management and marketing automation in one easy-to-use system. Features include contact management, a customizable dashboard, responsive email templates, marketing automation (including text and phone), and more.
AllClients scored highly within the Integrations evaluation criteria mainly because they have a whole host of developer resources, including API functions, Zapier, LPTML, White Label CRM Users, and more. They outline APIs by function (Account, Appointment, Contact, Deal, Email, etc.) and provide ample resources from there.
Integrations include MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, Robly, PieSync, ActiveDEMAND, Akita, and more using Zapier with the AllClients API.
The major critique to be noted is the limited customizability of the landing page builder. More layout options and integration possibilities would be a welcomed update.
All Clients starts at $/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.
6. PipelineDeals – Full visibility into customer accounts pre- and post-sales to manage key deliverables, project details, milestones, and deadlines.
Calling themselves a “sales pipeline enablement platform”, PipelineDeals helps users plan and manage key deliverables, project details, milestones, and deadlines. This tool boasts unlimited dashboards and reports, easy data migration, iPhone and Android apps, and more.
PipelineDeals is very intuitive and easy to use—it keeps you logged in, the interface is clean and simple, contacts are well organized and easily searchable. That scored the software favorably in the Usability section of our evaluation criteria.
Integrations include Google Apps, MailChimp, Outlook, Excel, Quickbooks, Dedupely, Paycove, Helpscout, Meldium, Userlike, INinbox, Import2, Bitium, Bedrock Data, 123 Form Builder, Webmerge, PieSync, ActiveDEMAND, Callrail, Kixie, and hundreds more through Zapier.
One minor con is that any improper formatting of leads as you input them into the system can cause overwritten or lost data, or even software errors.
PipelineDeals starts at $25/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.
7. Salesforce – A robust client database system that helps you forecast sales, improve service satisfaction, task automation, and more.
Founded in 1999, Salesforce pioneered the idea of replacing traditional desktop CRM software with a cloud-based alternative. This tool focuses on everything from employee productivity, team collaboration, customer loyalty, sales generation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Some of the strengths of this software include the ease of use and plentiful customization capabilities; the unification of their client database and associated notes; and responsiveness of their customer support team.
App and tool integration is done through the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform. You can bring data from any system, like SAP, Oracle, Workday, and more, directly into Salesforce using this system.
Salesforce does its best to keep you within its own infrastructure, which is why integrations are siloed through their own platform: MuleSoft Anypoint. Their unwillingness to promote independent app add-ons lost them some marks in the Integrations category of our evaluation criteria.
Salesforce starts at $25/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.
8. Ontraport – Store every customer click, purchase, and action throughout your campaigns and use landing pages and forms to bring people in.
Boasting award-winning customer support, Ontraport features a variety of tools for users of their CRM suite: email and text marketing, landing pages and forms, UTM data for lead sources, fulfillment lists, automated follow-up, process mapping, API access for integrations, and more.
Something Ontraport does particularly well is helping you map the customer journey from landing page to ongoing relationship support. You’ll have access to perfectly tailored event steps like initial forms, email confirmation automation, and future campaign navigation.
Integrations include Quickbooks, Xero, Acuity Scheduling, Calendly, Google Calendar, Schedule Once, Time Trade, Bloom Forms, ConvertPlus, ConvertPro, Freshdesk, Helpscout, ZenDesk, Beaver Builder, Leadpages, Megaphone, Lob, MailLift, Thankster, LearnDash, ZippyCourses, Shopify, WooCommerce, and many more. You can also connect tools through API helpers like Apiant, Fuzed, PieSync, PlusThis, Webmerge, and Zapier.
In our Value for Cost evaluation criteria, we look for two things: General affordability and transparency in pricing. Ontraport lost a few marks here because the monthly cost is only for a single user with additional users racking up another $47/user/month.
Ontraport starts at $79/month and has a free 14-day trial.
9. Agile CRM – A cloud-based SaaS service with sales enablement, marketing automation, customer service, and more.
Free for up to 10 users, Agile CRM is an excellent option for small to mid-sized businesses. Features vary between free and paid plans and may include sales enablement through gamification, marketing automation, customer service, contact management, and more.
Agile CRM’s monthly subscription price is one of the lowest per-user on this list, not to mention they have a freemium version for 10 users or less. This ensured they scored top marks in the Value for Cost section of the evaluation criteria.
Integrations include Twitter, Facebook, TowerData (Rapleaf), LinkedIn, Zendesk, ClickDesk, HelpScout, LiveHelpNow, Tidio Chat, UserVoice, IMAP, Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, Twilio, VoIP, RingCentral, Bria, Mandrill, SendGrid, Amazon SES, FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks, and many more. Connect additional tools using Zapier, as well.
A few cons to note are limitations/restrictions in certain automation capabilities, some cumbersome sales tracking elements, and a lack of search/sorting fields.
Agile CRM starts at $8.99/user/month and has a freemium version for up to 10 users.
10. Freshsales – Client database and CRM that lets your team use AI-based lead scoring, phone, email, activity capture, and more.
Boasting over 150,000 clients and users, Freshsales aims to simplify CRM solutions. To do so, they offer AI-based lead scoring; phone, email, activity capture; sales lead acquisition assistance; sales pipeline management; event tracking (website and app); and more.
Freshsales does email segmentation, sorting, and display-by-relevance very well. This tool categorized conversations in a way that makes them easy to retrieve and sort by customer and it also uses conversation records (text, call, chat, email) to their full potential.
Native integrations include Freshdesk, Freshchat, Freshconnect, Freshcaller, Google calendar, Mailchimp, Segment, Office 365 Calendar, Hubspot, Freshsales for Web, PieSync, Google Apps, Quickbooks, Google Contacts, Xero, and many more through Zapier. Other integrations include Calendly, Facebook, GetAccept, Clenty, Justcall, Toky, 24sessions, Integromat, Akito, Trello, Magento, and more.
Setting up and learning the software was quite time-consuming, losing them some minor points in the Usability section of the evaluation criteria. Migrating from another CRM platform, in particular, has many pain points.
Freshsales starts at $12/user/month and has a free 21-day trial.
Other Client Database Options
Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy client database, check these out.
- Maximizer – Lead, contact, and campaign management to segment and track your marketing and sales efforts with a variety of CRM features.
- GreenRope – A fully integrated sales, marketing, and operations platform that taps into email marketing, social media, advanced marketing automation, and more.
- Insightly – Build robust pictures of your customers by unifying marketing, sales, and project delivery teams data in one system.
- Zendesk – Build and log customer interactions across phone, chat, email, social media, and any other channel you use for your business.
- Accelo – A cloud-based software solution for your service and client operations that includes integration with other popular project management platforms.
- Pipedrive – Manage leads and deals; track calls, emails and other communication; and automate administrative tasks so that your team can focus on selling.
- Copper – A CRM specially designed to work with G Suite so that you can manage all your contacts, deals, emails, files, and more.
- Zoho CRM – A customer relationship management software that taps into every contact channel, be it calls, email, social media, live chat, and so on.
- HubSpot – Free HubSpot CRM includes marketing, sales, and service software that features contact lists, deals data, task lists, and more.
What Do You Think About These Customer Data Management Tools?
Have you tried out any client database tools listed above? Is there something that you think we are missing from our list? What system(s) do you use for your database management needs?
Are you thinking about switching or upgrading anytime soon? Do you use free customer management software or prefer a paid service? One-time-fee or subscription? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments below.