20 January 2021
7 best Salesforce alternatives: Which features to look out for
So, you’re looking for alternatives to Salesforce and want to know which you should use? Then you’ve come to the right place!
You are reading the Business Development, Services and Marketing (BDSM) Blog. Named to reflect the punishing amount of discipline required to master the core tenets of the industries we service, we blog about current affairs, industry tips, tech developments and more.
Salesforce is probably THE tool that comes to mind when people think of CRM software.
In 2020, it dominated the CRM market with a whopping 19.8% in market share. It’s no wonder that it’s the go-to CRM solution for many businesses.
That said, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Not every business will be inclined to use Salesforce.
Perhaps it’s too expensive, or perhaps it has too many advanced features that smaller and new companies don’t need.
If you’re looking for Salesforce alternatives, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we list some CRM software and its features that could be suited for your business size and functions.
Here are the 7 best Salesforce alternatives:
But before we get to discussing these software, let’s do a quick analysis of Salesforce.
What makes Salesforce great
1. Data security
Data security is a must-have for many businesses today. With so much of our data being put on the internet, it’s important to have security measures in place to put both customers and businesses at ease.
Luckily for you, Salesforce prioritizes data security and has pre-installed security features such as user authentication, limiting access to certain users, and data encryption.
2. Integration with the various third-party software
For a big name like Salesforce, it’s a given that it should have been integrated with other software solutions.
Aside from the usual integrations to communication solutions like Slack and MailChimp, Salesforce integrates with other third-party platforms like WordPress, Microsoft Dynamics, and even Novocall and TimeSync!
Just take a look at Salesforce AppExchange, an app marketplace where Salesforce showcases all the solutions that are customized for it and have integrated Salesforce with their systems.
3. Salesforce cloud apps
Salesforce cloud offerings serve as a platform for particular business functions and collectively make up the Salesforce Cloud. Some cloud apps include the Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Sales Cloud.
From customer service to sales pipeline monitoring, all your business activities are managed from a common platform. This helps to streamline processes and enhance communication between your departments.
In other words, you can run your entire business just by using Salesforce!
Downsides of using Salesforce
1. Complex reporting
Don’t get us wrong here, Salesforce does a good job at reporting and analytics. However, the data could seem too complex for many businesses.
According to some reviews on Capterra, some users have stated that it requires extensive data input which became too time-consuming and put a strain on the company’s manpower.
For smaller companies, they would probably appreciate simpler reporting that is easier to understand and handle.
2. Complex customization capabilities
Salesforce has rich customization capabilities that make for a smooth and effective sales and data management process. On the downside, the complexities of its customization options prove to be too much for some businesses as it can be challenging to use.
Reviews have stated that the customization function was too time-consuming, which led to users abandoning the software entirely.
3. Lacks customer support
Unfortunately, a unanimous complaint about Salesforce is the lack of customer support. Additional customer support is charged, and for other queries, their team will simply direct you to a FAQ bank where you have to find solutions to problems on your own.
Long wait times also seem to be an issue many customers faced.
7 best Salesforce alternatives
Agile CRM is a cloud-based CRM software with sales, marketing, and service automation all on one platform.
The software has a customizable and highly-intuitive user interface that is easy to use, making for a smooth onboarding. It is also one of the more affordable options that give you access to many of its important features and integrations.
Its free version allows up to 10 users, 50,000 contacts and companies, custom data fields, appointment scheduling, and email tracking, just to name a few.
Some other Agile CRM features:
- Syncs with your calendars to notify you about upcoming events
- Multiple plug-ins and integrations so you can use your favorite apps
- Track email marketing campaigns to identify campaign effectiveness
- Lead prospector to automate the process of finding leads
💡 Best known for: Affordable yet full-featured plans
💡 Standout feature: Agile CRM’s automated lead scoring feature helps you assign a numerical value to each lead for actions that you have set. The system will automatically send a notification to your reps when a certain lead score is achieved.
💡 Pricing: Free plan, Starter Plan – $8.99/month, Regular plan – $29.99/month, Enterprise plan – $47.99/month
Apptivo is a cloud-based solution that offers CRM, project management, invoicing capabilities, and more.
Although its free plan is limited to only three users, this is a good choice if you have a small team as you still get all the important features you need. Their paid plans begin at $8 per user, which is extremely affordable if you’re just starting out.
Some other Apptivo features:
- Email marketing to help plan, track, and analyze campaigns
- Mobile app availability increases productivity by managing contacts and invoices
- Digitize your signatures with its electronic signature software
- Web-to-lead captures so you never miss a lead
💡 Best known for: Financials and cash management capabilities
💡 Standout feature: Apptivo has call center capabilities to manage inbound and outbound calls.
💡 Pricing: Starter plan – Free, up to three users, Lite plan – $8/user/ month, Premium plan – $12/user/month, Ultimate plan – $20/user/month
Most people are familiar with the name Hubspot. HubSpot’s CRM platform offers a full suite of tools for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service.
It acts as a central hub to all the places your sales take place – websites, social media platforms, and phone calls.
Hubspot is easy to use and makes onboarding a breeze for your team. However, its wide range of tools and complex data reporting makes it more suitable for enterprise teams.
Some other Hubspot features:
- Integrated blogging platform to write, edit, and publish blog articles
- Landing page builder to create and publish new landing pages
- Workflow automation to automate repetitive tasks
- Build custom forms that connect to your CRM database
💡 Best known for: Managing web content
💡 Standout feature: Hubspot’s content strategy tool gives you recommendations on how to optimize your site for SEO, allows you to plan your content strategy, and shows you detailed reports on it.
💡 Pricing: Free plan, Started Plan – $63/month, Marketing Professional plan – $1,120/month, Sales Professional plan – $630/month, Customer Service Professional plan – $504/month, Marketing Enterprise plan – $$4,480/month, Enterprise plan – $1,680/month
NetHunt Gmail CRM
NetHunt is a CRM software for Gmail and other GSuite apps. This allows you to organize business processes and communications, and manage customer data without having to leave your Gmail account.
Known for its reliability and performance, this CRM has several powerful features such as workflow capabilities that automate mundane and tedious tasks. You can also collect customer data from various platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook messenger, and WhatsApp.
Some other NetHunt features:
- Capture leads from web forms so you never miss a lead
- Email sequences to easily nurture your leads
- Create and send highly personalized email templates to your contacts
- Lead scoring allows you to assign a numerical value to each lead, determining which lead to prioritize
💡 Best known for: GSuite capabilities
💡 Standout feature: It’s Gmail capabilities allow you to easily integrate the software into your Gmail and GSuite accounts.
💡 Pricing: Professional plan – $24/month, Professional Plus plan – $28/month; Enterprise plan – $48/month
Founded in 2010, Pipedrive has been gaining traction and is becoming one of the top CRMs in the market.
Unlike Salesforce, which has a steeper learning curve and is more suitable for enterprise companies, Pipedrive’s platform is easy to use.
Its clean and visual interface makes onboarding fairly simple. They also have several powerful features such as email marketing and goal tracking.
Some other Pipedrive features:
- Detailed insights and reports that can provide key information to help you close deals
- Workflow automation to streamline the sales process for your team
- Integrations with multiple apps to work with all your favorite apps
- Accessible on mobile devices to get a headstart on the go
💡 Best known for: Ease of use
💡 Standout feature: Pipedrive offers 24/7 customer support which isn’t common in many CRM software (or usually comes at an additional cost).
💡 Pricing: Essential plan – $12.50/month, Advanced plan – $24.90/month, Professional plan – $49.90/month, Enterprise plan – request for quote
Salesflare uses artificial intelligence (AI) to trawl your company’s databases, email applications, social media accounts, and servers, to collect information about your customers.
In other words, Salesflare relies heavily on automation to ensure that you get the most accurate and updated information about prospects, leads, and customers. This helps to streamline your business processes so you can focus more on sales.
Some other Salesflare features:
- Built-in email client to send individual emails straight from your inbox
- Easily create email templates that you can also use within Gmail
- Connects to calendars and mobile phone to log meetings and calls with customers
- Real-time notifications notify you about customer interactions and activities
💡 Best known for: AI technology for automation
💡 Standout feature: Salesflare allows you to scan business cards in real-time, so that you can capture a customers’ card information from within their mobile application.
💡 Pricing: Growth plan – $29/user/month, Pro plan – $49/user/month, Enterprise plan – $99/user/month
This platform is suitable for companies that house many tech talents because of its completely open API. This means that the software can be highly customized to suit your business needs.
Although the dashboard isn’t as visually appealing when compared to Salesforce, its user-friendly data makes for easy viewing and navigation.
Some other SugarCRM features:
- Multiple third-party integrations to work with your favorite apps
- Its AI-powered technology uses external data to give you accurate predictions to improve performance across various departments
- Email and calendar integrations to easily schedule meetings
- Relationship intelligence feature automatically searches the web for relevant data about customers
💡 Best known for: Open-source
💡 Standout feature: SugarCRM’s advanced reporting capabilities allow businesses to create custom reports using a single or a combination of Structured Query Language (SQL) statements. This allows for a more flexible and extensible reporting process.
💡 Pricing: Sugar Professional – $52/user/month, Sugar Serve – $80/user/month, Sugar Sell – $80/user/month, Sugar Enterprise – $85/user/month, Sugar Market – $1000/user for 10K contacts
Should you stick to Salesforce?
We hope that this has given you a better idea of what your options are.
So which CRM should you go for?
Well… It’s really up to you.
While Salesforce is able to support you with comprehensive reporting and powerful features, that might not be a priority to you. In such cases, you might lean towards Pipedrive or Apptivo.
If you’re all about that customization, we’d suggest looking into SugarCRM, though you’ll need a tech-savvy team to back you up there.
But here’s where our advice might come in handy: before jumping right into purchasing a software, take some time to familiarize yourself with its features to know if it’ll fit. If they have a free demo, take advantage of that to test out the software!
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