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Salesforce CRM Review

Last updated: January 2, 2021

keap-ontraport-review

Mike Markus
He is a CRM software enthusiast/analyst and the co-founder of CRMAdvice.org. He studied MC-IT Course from Melbourne University.

Salesforce CRM claims to be “The World’s Number One CRM Service”.

Even their domain name says that:

Salesforce-CRM-page

While they have an abundance of endorsements and sponsorships and offer an admittedly feature-rich product, the question remains “Can they live up to their own hype?”

Salesforce-CRM-page

Salesforce CRM is rated 6,5 out of 10 on CRMAdvice.org

In this Salesforce CRM review, I’ll give you a detailed answer to that question.

I will take an unbiased look at Salesforce CRM, analyze everything – the company’s background, services, features, pros, cons, pricing, and more.

Let’s get started.

SALESFORCE CRM Overview

Salesforce CRM Pros:

1. Bye-Bye Salesforce Classic
2. Know your next move with Sales Path
3. The kanban View
4. Set up a Personal Dashboard for a meeting
5. Great Search Tool
6. Tons of Integrations

Salesforce CRM Cons:

1. Password Expiration Duration
2. The Salesforce Pipeline
3. High Additional Cost (READ THIS Before Making That Decision)

Salesforce CRM Pricing and Plans
Do I Recommend Salesforce CRM?
Conclusion

NEW USER EXPERIENCE: Can be incredibly confusing to a new user
USABILITY: Below acceptable as many team members struggle
to follow the processes
CAMPAIGN BUILDER: Not good. They even say on their page: “Campaigns are one of the most underused features in the Salesforce toolbox.”
AUTOMATION: They have six tools to automate business processes – complicated for small and medium-sized businesses
EMAIL CONNECTION: Salesforce CRM syncs to your email through main email integration features
EMAIL TEMPLATES AND EDITOR: Great + you can have up to 500 email templates of any kind
COMMUNITY: Salesforce CRM Trailblazer Community –
I find it helpful and use it a lot
REPORTS: Great for reporting, but not an easy platform to learn
SUPPORT: Helpful, but YouTube and Google are the best resources
MONTHLY RATES: From $25 per user per month (billed annually)
TRIAL: 30 to 90-day free trial
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.Salesforce.com

Salesforce CRM Pros

1. Bye-Bye Salesforce Classic

Salesforce Classic started in 1999.

Even though the new Salesforce CRM Lightning Experience has been around since 2016, we still have to appreciate this move of theirs.

They have said: “Lightning is the CRM we would have built in 1999 if all the technology that we have today had existed then.”

I say that it’s not just a great new user experience.

It’s also packed with new features to help you sell faster, work more productively, and make better decisions.

Firstly, the Activity Feed gives you an overview of what has happened in an account and what you need to do next.

Zoho-CRM-Office-365

The Activity Feed does just that.

Next, the Customizable Dashboards – dashboards are available with more than three columns. In fact, you can have up to nine.

Salesforce-Dashboard

After talking to their customers, customizable dashboards were the most requested feature in their product planning process.

Now it’s all reality.

The Opportunity Board gives you the complete picture across all your deals.

You can drag and drop deals from stage to stage like digital sticky notes.

Finally, you can now see everything going on with a customer without going to different pages in the application.

Zoho-CRM-Office-365

Overall, before drastically changing the old Salesforce CRM tool it was a wise move to talk to thousands of salespeople to know what tools they need to be more productive and drive their business forward faster.

It used to be just a database for tracking contact information, now it’s a proper application that has a point of view on sales and drives new levels of efficiency.

2. Know Your Next Move with Sales Path

Like any kind of path, Salesforce CRM’s Sales Path leads you where you need to go. Your company’s sales process is unique.

With this Sales Path tool you can bring your sales strategy right into Salesforce helping your sales reps adopt the process and close more deals without getting sidetracked.

Think of Sales Path as a helpful assistant. It gives sales reps guidance and next steps at each stage of the deal.

Sales Path works with many objects in Salesforce.

I want to show you the Opportunities, because it’s your one-stop shop for everything related to the deal you’re working to close.

Salesforce-opportunities

On the Opportunity record you’ll find all the details about the deal: information about your contacts, the sales team (that deals with this project), notes, and attachments.

Note: You can configure (means drag-and-drop edit) this page to suit your sales team’s needs.

There is a lot of good information on this one Opportunity page, but you need a way to share best practices and guidance for sales reps.

That’s where Sales Path comes in…

First, what is a sales path?

A sales path is a visual representation of the stages that sales reps need to start working through in the sales process.

Certain activities within these stages must be completed for the deal to progress to the next stage.

This helps sales reps complete key fields, or even alert them to potential catches in the sales process.

Well, that can be a sales path.

Salesforce-salespath-path1

But it depends on your business needs – it could be a training path, for example.

And it can be customized for each of your clients:

Salesforce-sales-path

Here you can see:

  • A training path from being totally new all the way to Training Complete
  • Information about this client
  • Additional notes and details for a particular client

Important: While creating paths, make sure that you ask your sales team for feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

3. The Kanban View

Another great feature of Salesforce is the Opportunity Kanban.

Kanban is a visual summary of all the opportunities for a particular sales path.

With Kanban you see all your deals on one screen organized by stage.

Salesforce-CRM-Kanban

Each record is displayed as a card.

On these cards you can display up to four fields.

Salesforce-record-card

These are:

  • The name of the opportunity
  • The amount ($)
  • The name of the account
  • The closing date.

And lastly, if you have been working on an opportunity and it has progressed to a new stage.

One of the cool features of Kanban is that you can simply drag and drop a card to a relevant stage (to the next stage of the sales path).

Salesforce-Kanban

Overall, Kanban is a great alternative to a typical list view and helps you keep deals moving, watch the pipeline, and keep your teams on track.

4. Set Up a Personal Dashboard for a Meeting

For example, let’s say you’re the director of sales at a computer hardware company and you have to show your team how they’re performing.

There will be a meeting this afternoon, and you’ll have to present your results.

With Salesforce CRM dashboards you can easily bring together the results of multiple reports into a visual hub for quick reference with a variety of highly customizable styles.

Dashboard is made of components; each component shows data from one underlying report.

But try to reverse-engineer what metrics are important to your business and which ones you need on your dashboard.

Let’s say the end result (two examples) should be like this:

Salesforce-dashboard-1

Or like this:

Salesforce-dashboard

You can quickly edit this dashboard in as many ways as possible from customizing the report chart to refreshing the dashboard to always have up-to-date information.

You can even move the reports:

Salesforce-moving-reporst

Overall, dashboards are supereasy to set up and will deliver important information straight to your fingertips.

Note: When sharing your dashboards with others you first need to save the reports in the folders that your dashboard viewers have permission to access.

5. Great Search Tool

The Salesforce CRM search function is excellent as it is customizable and brings in multiple search options instead of one fixed search setting (ex. accounts, opportunities, cases, etc.).

And it allows for search across the entire CRM database.

Let me show you.

Imagine you’re a salesperson about to meet your customer Jason Price.

You need to QUICKLY look up some notes on your contact record.

Salesforce-search

This takes you to Jason’s profile.

Salesforce-Jasons-profile

Back in the office later you want to post to the “Sales Rockstars” chat, and let your colleagues know how the meeting went.

Using a dropdown list next to the global search gives you a fast and easy way to narrow a search to any searchable object from anywhere in Salesforce CRM.

Searching for Groups and “Sales Rockstars”

Salesforce-rockstars

And here you are, sharing how the meeting went.

Salesforce-meeting

So when you need any reports, customer profiles, and opportunities, you can do it as fast as possible with the Salesforce search.

6. Tons of Integrations

Simple integrations with almost every piece of software you can imagine.

Like other CRM tools on our list, Salesforce offers a lot of flexibility in setting up integrations for utilizing other popular business tools.

All that in order to keep your business moving forward.

Salesforce CRM is fully featured as it has constantly been developing for almost two decades, and the company has tried its hardest to build every single feature that sales teams need to be more efficient.

However, it doesn’t do everything out of the box.

That’s why the Salesforce AppExchange features thousands of apps.

The list goes from marketing through productivity to collaboration and beyond.

Salesforce CRM Cons

1. Password Expiration Duration

Honestly, one of the most random things of Salesforce CRM is the password expiration duration.

As a salesperson I keep having to enter a new password every 30-45 days or so.

I wish there was an option to extend the duration of the password expiration.

At the same time I completely understand that it is a security feature.

All good, Salesforce team.

2. The Salesforce Pipeline

Sales management pipelines have long been sales managers’ go-to places for monitoring high-level performance.

While searching for the Salesforce CRM pipeline…

Salesforce CRM doesn’t offer the visual pipeline view of sales.

New to a sales pipeline?

No problem at all.

In short, it is a visual snapshot of where prospects are in the sales process.

The formula for understanding the four key metrics to measure it is straightforward.

salesforce-example

It’s the deals you work on.

The bigger the deals are, the higher percentage you’re able to convert them into, and the less time winning a customer takes – the higher the revenue.

Again, if a visual sales pipeline is a feature you don’t get from Salesforce CRM, you have to look elsewhere.

Luckily, Pipedrive developed sales software based on the principle of a sales pipeline from the ground up.

This is what it looks like:

Salesforce-pipeline

Pipedrive is a sales CRM designed to help you sell better by using the visual sales pipeline.

So if you need a sales-focused CRM, read this.

3. High Additional Cost (READ THIS Before Making That Decision)

This platform takes a considerable amount of training to really grasp its reporting and data entry capabilities.

Besides everything, this product is not cheap!

Even if the front-end pricing with Salesforce CRM is kinda OK, I am not sure it is worth the cost for smaller companies.

Is it worth the investment for larger organizations? 100%

Additionally, due to the complexity many small organizations may not have the overall budget to dedicate to a Salesforce Power User (a six-month self-paced online course of 30 hours, 510 USD per student).

Plus it takes a lot of customization to get the level of “user-friendly” interface and all the integrations.

We had to expand the customization scope twice after the initial contract.

Overall, the cost per user was much higher than budgeted.

Important Things You Should Know

salesforce-profit

If you are a for-profit company, be aware that Salesforce CRM builds an annual 7% licensing cost increase into its contracts (a sales rep can often guarantee you no price increase if you sign a 3-year contract).

As a result you will be continually negotiating and renegotiating with them to keep the licensing costs reasonable.

They also continually rotate their account managers.

This can be very frustrating for a customer because just when you feel that you’ve built a good relationship with your account manager Salesforce will switch people and you’ll have to build a new relationship.

Salesforce CRM Pricing and Plans

One of the things about Salesforce CRM is that only the Essential plan is available with a monthly contract. All other subscriptions are paid annually in advance.

Salesforce-CRM-pricing

Note: The packages start at the price for 5 users, so if you are a small business with two employees, you will pay for 5 users even though you may only need 2 or 3 users. (at least $125)

While these prices are nowhere near as cheap as some of their competitors’ (I’m looking at HubSpot CRM and Zoho CRM, they offer better starting prices for just one user as well.

You’ll quickly realize that you can find other high-quality easier to use and friendlier CRM tools for new users 3-4x cheaper than Salesforce CRM.

I appreciate Salesforce and its pricing for its complexity a lot.

However, to truly determine whether Salesforce CRM is worth the investment you need to know what you get in return for your investment.

Do I Recommend Salesforce CRM?

I have an answer from a very interesting person:

“We’re doing great because everyone else in CRM sucks” – Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO.

Wow! An interesting statement from the CEO. Now, based on such a bold statement can you imagine Salesforce’s share in the CRM market?

90% – No

80% – No

70% – No

60% – No

50% – No

40% – No

30% – No

.

.

.

.

95% – Big No.

Salesforce holds an estimated CRM market share of about 20%.

So 80% of the CRM users worldwide employ other CRM solutions.

Then how is Salesforce CRM better than other CRMs?

Salesforce might be better than a few other CRMs independently, but it is not better than all other CRMs.

So the answer is:

It depends on what you are looking for.

I would NOT recommend Salesforce unless you are an organization with hundreds of salespeople. It would be too much for you.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business with 1 to even 100 employees, you could use something cheaper or more flexible.

Examples: Zoho CRM, HubSpot CRM, and only sales-focused Pipedrive.

Conclusion

Salesforce is a well known choice for its enterprise level CRM tools.

But is it “The World’s Number One CRM Service”?

To answer this question:

Salesforce isn’t better than other CRM solutions.

They are 6th in our ranking.

Salesforce CRM might suit larger businesses; the complexity of the Salesforce CRM is great for teams where everything is highly integrated or beneficial alongside other systems in their information architecture.

Although many other CRM solutions on our list have improved the standard set by Salesforce and offer much better features for relatively lower costs.

If you’re a solopreneur, startup, small, or medium-sized business, a simple CRM tool is likely to fit your needs better.

For example, we found Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM to be much friendlier to new users and easier to use, and with a lower price tag.

Salesforce CRM isn’t bad, but the high cost, difficulty of use, and the simple fact that you can find better/easier CRMs to use more cheaply make it hard for me to recommend to more than companies with more than 100 employees.

Our CRM Software Review Process:

  1. Using Each CRM Software for 5+ Years.
  2. Ran Businesses With All of Them.
  3. Attended their Events.
  4. Tested for Consulting Industry,
  5. Business or Life Coaching,
  6. Authors,
  7. Blogging,
  8. E-commerce,
  9. B2b Marketing & Sales,
  10. Offline Business,
  11. And for Pipeline Based Sales Model Business.
  12. Compared Usability, Cost & Value.