The global consulting firm, Bluewolf recently released its ‘State of Salesforce’ annual report, which outlines how the best companies are using Salesforce to get measurable results across their entire business organizations.
Included in their findings are statistics showing that 32% of Salesforce clients said the CRM has improved the overall customer experience. At the same time, 43% credited Salesforce with improved visibility throughout their organizations, 46% saw increased collaboration, and 57% reported that Salesforce improves their productivity and efficiency. In fact, Salesforce is so effective, that 42% of Salesforce users are willing to pay for their employees to become Salesforce certified.
While those increases would be impressive gains in any quarterly report, there’s always room for improvement.
The “problem” with growth is that it sets a new reality and expectation. If your business grew 60% last year -- how come it’s “only” increasing 42% this year? In today’s business world, the unfortunate truth is that you’re only as good as your last quarter; there’s always more room for more growth and efficiencies to your bottom line.
Though Salesforce has been the industry-leading CRM for many years, with market capitalization valued at $40 billion, it doesn’t rest. They understand that the CRM industry is filled with competitors looking to take market share, other choices offering freemium products and alternatives with specialized features.
No doubt there’s a lot of options out there. The reason why Salesforce continues to be a leader year-after-year is that self-reflection and recognition that in order to compete requires constant self-improvement and continued innovation.
As mentioned, there’s an entire alphabet soup of Salesforce alternatives on the market. How do they compare to the industry leader? Do any of them offer a viable alternative to Salesforce’s suite of CRM tools and third-party applications? Let’s look at a few of the top competitors.
As the CRM that captures the second largest market share, Microsoft Dynamics CRM approaches the idea of customer relationship management from a different angle. It treats CRM as more of an effect that flows from improved marketing campaigns; the basic underlying premise being that customers love you because you give them what they want, as opposed to you give customers what they want because they love you. Whatever the approach, Microsoft CRM uses social insights, business intelligence, and campaign management to bolster sales. It can be bought in an on-premise package as a service on the cloud, and is specifically designed to integrate with Office 365.
Infusionsoft is designed to handle a wide-range of tasks, from sales, to content management, to marketing, to ecommerce, all through a single, centralized tool. However, while it may be a jack-of-all-trades, it truly is a master of none. Many of its tools are rudimentary at best. And when compared to other, less expensive, equally-effective CRM solutions, it’s high cost is difficult to justify.
At first glance, Zoho seems like an attractive CRM alternative. It’s pricing model is setup to allow new users to be able to test the waters without having to make any big risks. At the same time, it retains many of the important features that are necessary for establishing a comprehensive CRM solution. However, the lack of effective customization options, live customer support, and intuitive user interface really sets it below certain other options.
With what seems like new, game-changing technology being introduced every year, innovation and improvement is what keeps a company from becoming stale. Innovation is what separates businesses that are invested in short term profits over long term growth. From the social media to the Internet of Things to big data to artificial intelligence, Salesforce continues to iterate, improve and innovate its products so that they can continue delivering more value to their customers.
And customers agree.
If your business is small and simple enough then a “free” CRM like Zoho could be a decent alternative depending on your needs at the time. But if so, it’s only for a time when the idea of big growth is nowhere on the radar.
Oracle is a solid blue chip company, but they only adopted Cloud after calling it a “fad” and “buzzword” in 2008 -- that’s important to know if you want a partner that will continue growing with the industry.
Salesforce is rich in features across CRM, sales, customer service, business analytics, and marketing and customizable through the platform and through AppExchange. Even still, Salesforce is priced similarly as enterprise CRM options like Microsoft Dynamic or Infusionsoft, which offer less personalization.
This allows for scalability not found in the alternatives. It’s designed to serve businesses from startup phase, all the way through the enterprise level.
That’s why among all the CRM choices, Salesforce is that very rare combination of big enough to be a proven platform (with 100,000+ customer), flexible enough to fit any solution, yet still forward-thinking enough to be on integrating the latest technologies impacting the industry (Forbes’ Innovative Company 6 years in a row). Don’t underestimate that “innovation premium” when looking at the long-term viability and future of your business.
These three reasons combined is why there really isn’t an apples-to-apples Salesforce alternative.
The best way to get to know Sales Cloud is to get your hands on the actual product. The free trial also comes with unlimited access to our Sales Community, a group of sales thought leaders sharing ideas about sales for salespeople.
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