What is a personal CRM?
Businesses often use tools called customer relationship managers (CRMs) to keep track of and have good relationships with their clients. A personal CRM, or personal relationship manager, is a tool people use to keep track of their personal relationships. Personal CRMs allow you to jot down important details or facts about your close friends and family. Think of it like an address book, calendar, notebook, and smart reminders all in one. A personal CRM can help you have a super-memory about all the things your friends want you to remember likes names, events, goals, or what you last talked about. Using personal CRM software helps you be the kind of friend you want to be, but can’t realistically be without some help. Whether you’re doing professional networking, keeping track of sales leads, or just trying to be a better friend, a personal CRM can help.
We’ve rounded up the best personal CRM systems around. These include mobile apps for Apple and Android as well as desktop personal CRM solutions. Here are our top picks for 2021:
Nouri is a program to help organize and nurture your personal and professional relationships.
Pros: Nouri is available on the web as well as iOS and Android. It is completely free to create an account and start nurturing your relationships, and you can upgrade to a subscription plan ($49.99/month or $499.99/year) for more advanced business features on the web version.
To use Nouri, you can import your contacts from your phone, LinkedIn, or any .csv file and then can write notes and facts about each contact. If you have information somewhere and don't know how to import it, the Nouri team will help you get your information into program! Nouri also will remind you to reach out to your Connections when you get contact frequency goals for how often you'd like to keep in touch with anyone in your network.
The free version of Nouri also allows you to bcc email@example.com whenever you send emails to your network to keep a long of your latest communications with them.
With Nouri you can also attach events to each contact and set email reminders. This is useful to remember birthdays, anniversaries, or other special events or times that you want to reach out to your contact. When these special events come, Nouri has a page of gifting suggestions.
Cons: Nouri is a newer app and is still in development. Some of the features that it will have later are still in the works.
Cloze is an easy-to-use contact management system that’s formatted for use by small businesses.
Pros: It's best features center around tracking emails, calls, and notes about your clients or personal contacts. Cloze helps you keep track of your business clients and reminds you to follow up so that you can close the deal. Cloze is available as an app or desktop application.
Cons: Cloze’s free version is skinny and only has a few limited features: the ability to organize your social media feeds by those most important to you, being able to view your contacts from email, social media, and phone in one place, and the ability to search your contacts. If you want any of Cloze’s more useful features, you’ll have to pay for one of the plans that range from $17 to $42 per month.
Monica is an open source personal CRM. “Open Source” means that the code is publicly available and anyone can edit it.
Pros: Monica is formatted like a CRM, but with features that focus on personal relationships. It has space to write notes about your friends’ work, family, pets, gift ideas, money they owe you, and set reminders about important dates. Monica also has a feature that allows you to keep a personal online journal.
Cons: Monica is only free if you host the software on your own server. If you’re not able to do that, it will cost you $9 a month. Monica is only available as a desktop software, not as an app where you can take notes about your friends while you’re on the go. Monica has no feature to automatically update when you were last in touch. Monica’s interface is simple and user-friendly, but its design is lacking.
Contactually is a contact management tool tailored to real estate agents.
Pros: Contactually is available via mobile and desktop. By connecting your email you can sync your contacts and communication history. This software allows you to prioritize the relationships that will be the most valuable to you. Contactually helps you create email templates and automation to simplify your workflow. You can group your clients into groups Contactually calls “buckets.” If you’re working with a team you can work together with a connected network of clients.
Cons: After a two-week free trial, Contactually’s basic plan (called “Professional”) will cost you $69 per month. The app has a poor average rating on the App Store with negative reviews complaining about problems syncing contacts, signing up, or other glitches.
Airtable is an easy way to create your own CRM system exactly how you want it.
Pros: Airtable is the build-a-bear of CRM systems. It is a flexible spreadsheet, calendar, and database system that you can configure to fit your needs. Its interface is user-friendly and its free version a high enough data storage unit that using it as a personal CRM wouldn’t be a problem.
Cons: With its heavy features, it will be easiest to use Airtable as a desktop app. Some Android users complain about slow load speed with the mobile app. If you’re looking for something that you can update on the go, a different app might be better.
Professional networking is important for your career and business. LincSphere is a tool to digitize your networking efforts and manage relationships.
Pros: LincSphere has several useful features including the ability to scan business cards, set follow-up reminders at specific time intervals, and streamline sending networking referrals and introductions. LincSphere also provides ideas to develop the acquaintances you’ve made while networking into meaningful relationships.
Cons: LincSphere is currently available only on iOS. In addition to this, LincSphere’s free version caps at 25 contacts. For unlimited contacts, you’ll need to pay $5 per month.
Focusses on managing customer leads and optimizing your sales efforts.
Pros: Sellf is more like a light business customer relationship manager than it is a personal CRM. However, this tool could be used by an independent salesperson to keep track of their leads and customers. The app is available on iOS and Android and has a sleek interface design.
Cons: Sellf offers a 14-day free trial, but afterward the service isn’t free. The website does not disclose the pricing. Instead, you’ll have to contact a Sellf representative to talk about what kind of (paid) plan is best for you.
Everyone likes to keep track of their favorite people differently. If none of these options are quite what you’re looking for, here are some alternative ways to manage contacts:
Streak – a gmail extension to better keep track of your email contacts.
Switchit – a digital business card creator, scanner, and distributor.
Followup – a light CRM tailored to construction companies or contractors that includes the feature to schedule meetings from Gmail.
Hubspot CRM – the free plan includes some general features like form creation, email marketing, and reporting dashboards.
Freshsales – a business CRM known for its clean and streamlined interface.
Covve – a personal CRM tool focused on organized and cultivating business contacts. Includes the feature to take notes on your phone calls and what you last talked about.
Garden – a personal CRM that sends you reminders to stay in touch and reach out to friends.