A contact manager is software that allows a user to store, organize, and search phone numbers, addresses, dates, notes, lists, and more. Similar to a personal information manager, a contact manager is designed for sales representatives and others who need to store information about customers and sales prospects, schedule meetings and phones calls, and organize email and text documents. With the massive amounts of data a person encounters each day, a single location for storing that data is attractive. Features of a contact manager might also include the ability to store passwords, important dates and appointments, and the capability of sharing data with another computer or personal digital assistant. Some contact managers can allow multiple users to access a shared database of contacts.
A contact manager can also generate reports and organize, forecast, and track sales activities. Some feature the ability to attach a photo, which is great for those who can't always remember names, or documents to the contact's record. Automatic backup is an important safety feature on a contact manager. Another available feature is the ability to group and categorize contacts.
Instead of making notes on scraps of paper or keeping a notebook, many users opt for a contact manager with a "notes" feature. Using this feature, you can type, cut and paste, or clip sections of Web pages into your contact manager. The software will automatically time and date stamp your entry to help you sort through your notes. Some devices also allow you to hand write notes with a specialized stylus.
Like personal information managers, a contact manager might also have a calendar feature. Using a calendar management program, you can keep track of meetings, holidays, birthdays, and so on. Audio reminders can alert you that an assignment is due or a meeting time is approaching.
The search feature of a contact manager is extremely valuable. You can search by date, category, phrases, or other methods to find the material you are looking for. A contact manager might also contain templates for common tasks, such as phone messages, expense records, or to-do lists.
Many versions of contact managers exist. Some systems are Internet-based, which means there is no software to load. Other contact manager software can be loaded onto a company's server so that databases of customer information are accessible to multiple employees. Others are part of another software application, such as Microsoft Outlook, which has a business contact manager feature.