Gone are the days when 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.
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 Does it look modern or outdated?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?
- 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?
Client Database Management Key Features
Here are a few MUST haves.
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 ideal 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.
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Monday sales CRM is a complete Work OS software featuring robust client management and database capabilities. The platform lets you manage all client and customer-related data: from contact details and recording communications to setting up automatic reminders and assigning tasks.
The platform provides a 360° view of all customer interactions and communications in one organized view, giving you and your team full visibility into all important data at any time. The intuitive interface makes it easy to visualize every part of your client database without having to switch between multiple tabs or screens.
Managing and recording interactions with customers is also made easy using monday.com: send emails directly from the platform, schedule calls, and instantly log all communications in one place. Whether it’s emails, meetings, notes, or other events, log and connect every interaction to your larger sales pipeline.
Best of all, you can connect your monday sales CRM customer database with many of the tools you already use, including Hubspot, Zendesk, Slack, Google Drive, and others. These integrations can be set up alongside automations to seamlessly trigger actions, like “If customer does not respond in 3 days, automatically send follow-up email.
monday sales CRM costs from $10/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Kintone is a customizable client database tool used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique approach to client database tools lets you build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, client databases and activity logs, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Kintone lets you build client database apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more.
Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your client database solution can look and work however you want it to.
What makes Kintone particularly great for client databases is the customizability—users can tailor what information the CRM records and holds, update and change fields or entire workflows without relying on IT support, and create automated reminders to notify sales members of important deadlines.
Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow your team to discuss customers or tasks directly in the database and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize all of the information your team needs about your customers in one place, including your customer database, customer inquiries and interactions, and more.
There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.
Kintone lets you expand its capabilities with both free native plugins built by the Kintone team as well as integrations with other tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.
Kintone costs $24/user/month with a minimum requirement of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and discounted prices for nonprofits and educators. Kintone’s team also offers a free custom app build as part of the free trial process.
Keap is a clean, intuitive client database tool for automating processes around following-up with leads and clients. You can schedule pre-built reminders, automated emails, and texts to make keeping up with customers, or potential customers, faster, saving you and your team time.
The tool lets you build a repeatable sales process to maintain regular client database outreach as well as set-up appointments, track leads, and send quotes. Keap also includes built-in landing pages and a campaign builder to get more leads and turn them into paying clients, as well as reporting and analysis features.
Keap integrates with lots of tools including PieSync, AdEspresso, BigCommerce, Bojoro, AppointmentCore, Automate.io, Zapier, Fix Your Funnel, Deadline Funnel, CustomerHub, Formlift, Gmail, Graphly, Imember360, Instapage, JotForm, LeadPages, My Fusion Helper, OptinMonster, Outlook, PlusThis, Privy, Quickboks, ScheduleOnce, WordPress, and others. This extensive list of connection options scored them very well in the Integration segment of the evaluation criteria.
Keap starts at $79/month for 500 contacts and 1 user; they often have lower price deals for your first 2 months.
Streak CRM integrates directly with Gmail, so users can track and manage their sales pipeline, contacts, and emails right in G Suite. You can also set reminders for easy follow-ups with tasks and clients.
You can import and export client and lead data in any format, including numbers, text, lists, checkboxes, tags, formulas, contacts, and more, making it useful for tracking and reporting on data. Streak CRM will auto-fill data such as ‘Date created’ or ‘Date of Last Email’.
Another great feature is the ability to automatically share emails, notes, and call logs with your team so you can pick up where they left off. Streak CRM offers a mobile app as well, for ease of use and access.
Streak CRM’s open API integrates with G Suite and Zapier to connect your Streak to any existing app or tool you use.
Streak CRM has a basic plan that is completely free. Paid plans cost from $15/user/month.
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.
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.
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.
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 start at $/user/month and have a free 14-day trial.
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.
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.
Need expert help selecting the right Backend / Database Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Backend / Database Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
14 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out monday sales CRM|
30 days free trial (no credit card required)
|From $24/user/month (minimum of 5 users)||Check out Kintone|
14 days free trial
|From $79/month||Check out Keap CRM|
14 days free trial
|From $15/user/month||Check out Streak CRM|
14 days free trial
|From $595/month||Check out Tray.io|
15 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Check out NoCRM.io|
|From $10/user/month||Check out Airtable|
14 days free trial
|From $29/user/month||Check out All Clients|
14 days free trial
|From $25/user/month||Check out Pipeline Deals|
14 days free trial
|From $25/user/month||Check out Salesforce|
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 tools, check these out.
- HubSpot – Free HubSpot CRM includes marketing, sales, and service software that features contact lists, deals data, task lists, and more.
- 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.
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.
What is a client database?
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.
What is client database software?
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.
What are some different types of database software?
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
What is the best Windows 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
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.