February 19, 2024

Best CRM for networking

Discover folk - the CRM for people-powered businesses

Fed up with misplacing all those business cards you get at events? A CRM can help you store all your new and existing contact information into one platform.

Unless you want your business cards to pile up and the hassle of manually finding someone’s contact information. A CRM can help you automate your workflow process, share contacts with your team, 

In this blog post, we unpack the top CRMs that align with your networking efforts, the features you should look for in a CRM platform and the pros and cons of each. 

Network a lot? Here’s why you need a CRM

If you’re still using a spreadsheet, it might be time to upgrade to a CRM. 

On top of keeping track of contact information, a CRM can help you stay on top of intimate details of the last interactions you’ve had with someone. Moreover, you won’t have to do so manually thanks to some of its handy features and integrations. 

Doesn’t that sound good? Below are some specific features that you should look out for, specific to your networking efforts.

Top 5 features networkers need to look for in a CRM

1. Contact management and contact sync: A good contact management feature will help you effortlessly organize your contacts into one place. Make use of additional integrations to further customize where you can import contacts from including Gmail, Outlook and social media platforms.

2. Pipeline management: This feature will help you get an overview of your business pipeline. A good CRM will be able to help you visualize this in multiple ways including a Kanban board style, or a listicle. A great one can be fully customizable to mimic your internal sales cycle, group contacts and more.

3. AI support: AI is more than a buzzword - it’s a feature that can help alleviate your manual tasks. From personalizing email campaigns to multiple recipients to drafting messages.  

4. Email marketing: With all your contacts in one handy platform, it would be amiss for a CRM not to provide an email marketing feature that can allow you to sort out contact lists. 

5. User experience: While a CRM should come with a lot of handy features that will streamline your workflow process, it should not require your team to proactively block out time to train themselves to be able to use it. Good user experience means that it should be intuitive to use, without that steep learning curve.

A comparison of the best CRMs for networking


folk is an all-in-one CRM that is loved for its Notion-like interface. It’s easy to use and packed with powerful features designed to help streamline your workflow process. It also comes with a complementary Chrome extension, folkX designed to help you import leads directly from the web page, without switching platforms. You’ll be able to import individual profiles and search lists with a single click. 

Key features:

  • Contact management: folk allows users to aggregate contacts from multiple sources, providing a centralized database. It automatically updates contact information, ensuring users have access to the latest details. 
  • Pipeline management: folk can be easily customized to mimic your internal sales process. Choose from a easy to use Kanban board view, or list form.
  • ‘Magic Field’ AI support: folk can help you personalize email campaign messages to multiple recipients. 
  • Multiple business function use: folk isn’t a CRM that is limited to sales. It can support sales teams, recruitment, marketing, investing and more.
folk supports multiple databases


  • Interaction tracking: Through Google synchronization, folk can import email and calendar events from Google. You can choose to keep these private or share it with your team.
  • Tagging and segmentation: Users can organize contacts into different segments or groups using tags. 
  • User experience: folk is loved for its Notion-like experience. Unlike other CRMs, new users do not face a steep learning curve and can get started from day one.
  • Affordable price plans: folk is affordable and packs a powerful punch. It’s free version is limited to 200 contacts but is free forever. Annual subscription plans start from $18 per user per month, including unlimited contacts, bulk emailing, and AI features. Advanced options, like migration services and priority support, are available for $29 per user per month. Monthly payments and custom enterprise solutions are also available.
  • Email marketing: Through folk you can create email campaigns and track their performance.
  • Complimentary Chrome extension: folkX allows you to import leads to your folk CRM directly from the web page without interrupting your workflow.


  • Reporting is not available yet in folk, but it is coming soon.


HubSpot offers a free CRM that is designed to help teams boost sales and marketing efforts. It’s useful for marketing teams that need a CRM that offers features to boost inbound campaigns such as a chatbot, landing page, lead capture forms and more. 

Key features

  • Free forever CRM plan: Great for businesses on a limited budget that need to get started with a simple CRM. 
  • Marketing and sales support: HubSpot’s features are mainly sales and marketing led designed to help teams streamline workflows and boost inbound leads. 


  • Contact and lead management: HubSpot allows users to organize contacts, segment them into lists, and track every interaction with their network. This includes emails, calls, meetings, and social media interactions.
  • Sales enablement: HubSpot provides a visual dashboard that enables users to track where prospects are in the sales pipeline, helping to identify opportunities for follow-up or engagement.
  • Marketing support: HubSpot provides email marketing, chatbot and social media support features. Users can create email campaigns and monitor social media interactions and publish content directly from the platform.


  • Price plans: Once your business is ready to scale, HubSpot becomes an expensive option. 
  • Steep learning curve: HubSpot is known for its clunky user interface and steep learning curve. Often requiring new users to block out time to train their teams to fully use the platform.


Streak is a CRM that is particularly well suited for Gmail users, thanks to its powerful integration that turns your Gmail account into a CRM.

Key features

  • Gmail-first CRM: Streak lives inside your Gmail, allowing you to manage your pipelines without switching between applications.
  • Pipeline management: Users can create custom pipelines for different networking objectives, such as partnership outreach, event planning, or lead tracking, directly within their email interface.
  • Email tracking: Streak provides email tracking features that notify you when your emails are read, which is invaluable for timely follow-ups in networking.
Streak CRM


  • Seamless email integration: Being directly integrated into Gmail makes Streak exceptionally convenient for those who frequently use Gmail. 
  • Affordable pricing: Streak offers a free version with basic CRM features and competitive pricing for its Pro and Enterprise plans, making it accessible for individuals and small businesses.
  • User friendly: The learning curve for Streak is relatively low, especially for users already familiar with Gmail, making it accessible for networking individuals and teams of all sizes.


  • Limited to Gmail users: Since Streak operates within Gmail, it's not suitable for individuals or organizations that use other email platforms for their primary communication.


If you’re looking for a versatile product, Monday.com which was originally built as a project management tool, is a good option. But be prepared. You won’t be getting CRM features that help you automate manual tasks or scale with you. This drawback has led them to build a sales-centric CRM but many still use the original product as a basic CRM. For this review, we’ll be looking at the original product as it’s still a popular option.

Key features

  • Custom workflows: Monday.com offers highly customizable workflows that can be tailored to manage contacts, leads, and customer interactions.
  • Visual sales pipeline: Users can visually track their networking and sales processes, from initial contact through to deal closure, helping to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for engagement.
  • Collaboration Features: The platform facilitates collaboration among team members, allowing for shared access to contacts, tasks, and projects, which is particularly useful for teams involved in networking.
Monday.com is a project management tool


  • Versatility: Monday.com's ability to be customized for various uses, including CRM functionalities, makes it a versatile tool for individuals and businesses focused on networking.
  • Learning curve: The platform’s intuitive design and user-friendly interface makes it easy to use for all technical levels
  • Dashboards: Provides real-time information from 30+ widgets on specific information such as performance breakdown. 


  • Limited CRM features: Expect to update contact information manually without the benefits of traditional CRM features that help you do the heavy lifting.
  • Price plan: With its limited CRM features, chances are you might have to invest in a separate traditional CRM further down the line once your business is ready to scale. 


If you’re still manually updating a spreadsheet after meeting some potential business contacts at a networking event, it’s time to upgrade to a CRM that can help you do the heavy lifting. While it might be tempting to go for a versatile product such as Monday.com, it’s limited CRM capabilities will not be able to support your needs in the long run. Instead, you should opt for a user-friendly CRM platform that can support solo users and teams such as folk. So that you can get the benefits you need to streamline your networking efforts. Try folk today, free.