With over 150,000+ customers globally, Salesforce has dominated the CRM market for over a decade. However, it does face competition from other major CRM platforms like Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Sales Cloud, Zoho, and more.
When evaluating CRM solutions, many businesses consider Salesforce alongside the alternatives. Price, ease of use, customizability, and integration capabilities are just some of the factor’s decision-makers’ weigh.
In this blog post, we’ll critically compare Salesforce to its major competitors across common evaluation criteria. We’ll discuss where alternatives like Dynamics and Freshworks fall short and excel. Most importantly, we’ll uncover the unique advantages and strengths that make Salesforce the #1 CRM platform.
In Salesforce Sales Cloud we’ll explore how Salesforce’s family of products outshines point solutions. We’ll also bust some myths about the platform and reveal how innovative capabilities like Lightning and AppExchange support unparalleled scalability and growth.
By the end, you’ll understand why various organizations trust Salesforce for managing customers, why analysts consistently rate Salesforce as a leader, and how to determine if Salesforce is the right solution for your business needs.
Now let’s get started by navigating the features of Salesforce:
Features of Salesforce:
- Contact Management:
Comprehensive profiles of leads, prospects, and customers in one unified database ensure every stakeholder has complete visibility allowing for personalized, contextual engagements.
- Opportunity Tracking:
The End-to-end sales pipeline structure automatically captures deal progress from lead assignment to closure based on milestone achievement for accurate forecasting and optimized coaching.
Highly customizable platform through low code tools like Lightning App Builder, Process Builder, Flow Designer, etc. to model CRM behaviors on existing workflows rather than disruptive overhauls. Supports bespoke add-ons.
- Mobile Access:
Native mobile apps across iOS and Android assure constant connectivity for field reps to update accounts, respond to prospects, and approve orders on the go thereby boosting productivity.
- Integrations & APIs:
Seamless integration with 400+ business apps like email, payments, ERP, etc. powered by a robust API framework keeps surrounding systems and Salesforce updated as a single source of truth.
Top Alternatives to Salesforce
Here is a table comparing key features of Salesforce and several popular alternatives:
|Microsoft Dynamics 365
|Analytics & Reporting
As you can see, Salesforce offers a comprehensive set of features that are suitable for businesses of all sizes. Salesforce continues to dominate the CRM landscape for large enterprises owing to its scalability, extensive library of platform add-ons, and ML capabilities delivering actionable insights.
Yet for many small and mid-sized businesses, migrating to Salesforce may not be the best option – with steep licensing costs and overwhelming complexity that hinders user adoption.
While specialized cloud-based CRM alternatives like Zoho, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Insightly offer compelling options, Salesforce still remains the top choice for businesses. These alternatives pack many premium features similar to Salesforce, such as sales automation, contact management, and project tracking, tailored to growing teams. However, Salesforce’s extensive capabilities and industry-leading position make it the most recommended CRM solution.
For instance, Zoho CRM provides affordable scalability from just $12 per user monthly, along with low-code customization for add-ons like inventory control and field service management. Its simplified interfaces enable rapid deployment and seamless integrations with existing SMB software stacks.
Instead of blindly choosing categories, forward-looking teams conduct audits of current workflows, map user journeys, and ideate future objectives to assess CRM scenarios that specifically fulfill their growth roadmap within budget constraints.
The key to maximizing ROI lies in determining software symbiotic to a unique culture and commercial vision, making Salesforce the optimal choice for businesses seeking a CRM solution that aligns with their long-term goals.
HubSpot’s primary appeal lies in its significant point of differentiation from Salesforce: the provision of its fundamental HubSpot CRM at no cost, with minimal restrictions on users or features. This basic CRM facilitates lead follow-up, opportunity tracking, and customer database management.
Furthermore, HubSpot has an effortlessly navigable interface, delivering substantial functionality, such as a dashboard that provides a full overview of all active deals. Additionally, it integrates with Outlook and Gmail to make it simple to retrieve email data, improving visibility into client interactions within your organization.
Features offered by HubSpot CRM:
- Offers robust CRM capabilities like contact management, pipeline tracking, and email integration in the free version itself to attract SMBs.
- Additional platforms called “Hubs” are available for marketing, sales, and customer service needs.
- Hubs have multiple tiers including free and premium plans based on requirements.
- Strong focus on facilitating customer engagement through data tracking and workflows designed by industry experts.
- Intuitive tools provided for capturing crucial tasks and processes to increase productivity.
- Variable pricing model based on the Hubs subscribed – Marketing, Sales, or Service
- Each Hub has tiered plans: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise catering to business maturity.
- Allows mixing different Hubs based on needs rather than lock-in bundles, offering flexibility.
- Monthly charges apply for additional capabilities beyond the free version requiring advanced customization.
- Enterprise plans are the most expensive but offer deeper analytics, more integration, and premium features.
How does Salesforce Compares with HubSpot?
Salesforce stands out as a formidable HubSpot alternative primarily due to its natively integrated marketing automation capabilities bundled within even the free CRM plan.
Features like email campaign creation, landing page builder, live chat, meetings scheduler, etc. make Salesforce extremely attractive for modern digital marketing teams compared to HubSpot which requires add-on modules.
Especially for service companies relying on inbound lead generation, the ability to deploy conversational chatbots, implement retargeting ads, and track prospect behavior data to feed back into multi-channel campaigns from one unified platform is invaluable.
Going beyond pure sales force automation, Salesforce amplifies the creation of targeted nurture workflows aligned to unique buyer journeys.
Additionally, Salesforce’s guided walkthroughs facilitate rapid onboarding for beginners through interactive tutorials explaining key functionalities. The UI further enhances ease-of-use with logical navigation and process standardization templates helping teams quickly cascade customer insights into protocols, unlike HubSpot.
By offering such feature-rich plans including the starter tier, Salesforce accelerates ROI realization for early-stage high-growth startups unable to afford traditional license investments upfront.
While Pipedrive lacks the enterprise-grade refinement of Salesforce, its niche value proposition as a sales-centric CRM optimized specifically for deal closure makes it appealing to transaction-driven SMBs.
By concentrating exclusively on sales functionality like pipeline and lead management, call tracking, deal forecasting, and centralized communications, Pipedrive eliminates overwhelming complexity that hinders user adoption.
Hyper-focused sales agents can instantly update records on the go with mobile access and intuitive interfaces resembling productivity software over complex databases.
Additional niceties like gamification through leaderboards, activity reminders, daily planners, and email integration further bolster consistency in sales processes – translated into the bottom line. Granular visibility into pending tasks, expired quotes and stagnant deals ensures higher win rates through minimal slippage.
Pipedrive also offers affordable pricing starting at just $12.50 per user monthly alongside free trials – attractive for bootstrapped teams struggling to demonstrate commercial returns on CRM investments encumbered by steep vendor lock-ins. With ROI realization made possible within months rather than years, Pipedrive warrants evaluation.
Salesforce vs Pipedrive: Choosing the Champion
Salesforce and Pipedrive are both powerful CRM platforms, but they cater to different needs. Salesforce is the heavyweight champion, offering a comprehensive suite of features and a vast ecosystem of integrations. It’s perfect for large businesses and organizations with complex sales processes.
Pipedrive, on the other hand, is a lean, mean sales machine. It’s laser-focused on helping you close deals, with intuitive features and a user-friendly interface. It’s a great choice for smaller businesses and sales teams that need a no-frills, easy-to-use solution.
Here’s the deal: if you’re looking for a full-blown CRM with all the bells and whistles, Salesforce is the way to go. But if you’re a sales-driven team that needs to close deals fast and efficiently, Pipedrive is the champion you’ve been waiting for.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Pipedrive’s simplicity and focus. As a consultant, I appreciate the clean interface and easy-to-use API, which helps me build custom integrations quickly. Plus, the focus on sales pipeline management is music to my ears – it’s the lifeblood of any successful sales team.
Read the full comparison here: Pipedrive vs Salesforce: Which CRM Is Best for Your Business?
Freshworks serves as the entity including a suite of dynamic solutions, including Freshsales, Freshmarketer, and Freshdesk. These services are often less expensive than your average CRM and provide adequate functionality.
Users found the UI to be quite intuitive and a robust feature set that includes AI-based lead scoring. Unlock the potential to identify prime sales prospects effortlessly.
Improve your experience with the user-friendly interface offered by Freshsales along with the advanced tools tailored for success.
Freshworks CRM Features
Freshworks serves as the parent company for Freshsales, Freshmarketer, and Freshdesk, offering a range of affordable CRM solutions with robust features.
Our analysis revealed that the user interface is highly intuitive, accompanied by a powerful feature set that includes AI-based lead scoring, enabling businesses to identify promising leads and optimize their sales efforts.
While Freshworks may not offer the extensive data visualization and analytics capabilities of platforms like Salesforce or HubSpot, it provides a comprehensive set of features, particularly geared toward engaging new customers online.
For organizations seeking to economize without compromising on functionality, Freshworks presents an excellent starting point.
Freshworks’ strength in email marketing, having a streamlined setup process for scheduling campaigns. Although users are required to create their templates, once established, sending out emails becomes a seamless task.
Freshworks CRM offers three distinct pricing plans—Growth, Pro, and Enterprise—across its suite of offerings. Additionally, a free plan is available, providing unlimited users with basic functionality, and serving as an ideal opportunity to trial the software before committing financially.
Salesforce or Freshworks – The better choice:
Salesforce and Freshworks are both popular customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions, but Salesforce stands out as the better choice for several reasons. Firstly, Salesforce offers a wide range of features and customization options, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries.
Its scalability and flexibility allow companies to customize the CRM to their specific needs, while Freshworks may be more limited in this regard.
Secondly, Salesforce has a robust ecosystem with a vast array of third-party integrations and a thriving community of developers and users. This means that businesses can easily extend the functionality of Salesforce to meet their unique requirements, integrating it with other tools and systems seamlessly.
Salesforce’s AI capabilities, through its Einstein platform, provide advanced analytics and predictive insights, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions and personalize customer experiences effectively. Freshworks, while offering AI features, may not match the depth and sophistication of Salesforce’s AI offerings.
Salesforce’s reputation as an industry leader and its long-standing presence in the CRM market instill confidence in businesses looking for a reliable and established solution. Its track record of innovation and continuous improvement sets it apart from Freshworks in terms of long-term viability and support.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
For enterprises heavily embedded within Microsoft’s application stack across email, productivity software, cloud services, etc., Dynamics CRM warrants evaluation as an alternative seamlessly integrating different environments.
Unlike multi-platform solutions like Salesforce necessitating migrations, Dynamics interoperability with existing Microsoft deployments translates to greater continuity.
Specifically, Dynamics CRM natively synchronizes with MS Outlook, Excel, Teams, etc. facilitating real-time visibility of customer data and sales collateral from tools sales representatives already utilize daily.
Tighter coupling between MS Office documents, emails, calendar invites, and other workflows reduces data silos and signing-off windows by unifying systems.
Additionally, the breadth of ERP, HRMS, and project management modules covered under the Dynamics umbrella helps in easily scaling operational functionalities using a consistent Microsoft administrating competence without new tool adoption pains. Options exist for gradual module addition based on evolving business needs.
However, smaller businesses unfamiliar with backend Microsoft infrastructure must measure the return on investment from moving to an end-to-end Microsoft ecosystem solely for Dynamics CRM capabilities.
Evaluation criteria should cover capabilities enhancement beyond existing CRM scenarios, learning curve expectations, and license budget allocations before platform migration based on a long-term roadmap.
Salesforce vs. Microsoft Dynamics: The Titans Clash
When it comes to CRM heavyweights, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the reigning champions. Both boast impressive features and loyal followings, making the choice a strategic one.
Salesforce takes the crown when it comes to scalability and flexibility. Its cloud-based nature allows businesses of all sizes to access its vast arsenal of features and integrations, growing seamlessly with their needs. This adaptability makes it a favorite among fast-moving startups and large enterprises alike.
Microsoft Dynamics, however, holds the fort for those already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem. Its integration with other Microsoft products like Office 365 creates a familiar and streamlined user experience, eliminating the need for additional learning curves. This tight-knit integration makes it a natural choice for established businesses ingrained in the Microsoft world.
Personally, I find Salesforce’s sheer power and flexibility to be its greatest strengths. As a consultant, the open-source nature and vast AppExchange ecosystem allow me to unleash my creativity and build customized solutions that perfectly fit my clients’ needs. However, for businesses deeply rooted in the Microsoft ecosystem, Dynamics’ seamless integration can’t be ignored.
Ultimately, the battle between these giants boils down to individual needs and priorities. Consider your business size, technological landscape, and future growth plans before choosing your champion.
While SugarCRM lacks the brand recall of leading CRM giants, it holds a competitive advantage for mid-market enterprises needing high adaptability aligning the platform closely to specialized operational requirements across sales, marketing, and customer service.
Unlike rigid SaaS bundles, SugarCRM allows mixing components with versatile user permission controls granting cross-department data transparency. For example, custom fields and object creation adjust Sugar to capture niche processes beyond out-of-the-box functionalities. White-label UI and branding consistency retain familiarity during incremental enhancements.
Such flexibility coupled with SugarCRM’s implementation options spanning cloud, on-premises, and hybrid models make migrations non-disruptive from legacy systems. Integration adaptors further make interoperability easy for addressing immediate needs first while steadily standardizing information flows.
An intuitive role-based interface simplified for mobile usage also helps gradual user adoption across distributed teams. For fast-growing organizations therefore needing right-fit malleability before large investments, SugarCRM offers promising ROIs starting from as low as $40 per user monthly.
Let’s be clear, Zoho CRM isn’t a direct substitute for Salesforce, especially for big businesses. However, for small businesses in need of a powerful CRM for sales, marketing, or customer service, our research suggests that Zoho CRM is the top choice.
It offers budget-friendly plans, including a forever free version, packed with ample features to meet the needs of small businesses, and a user-friendly platform, even for beginners.
Zoho CRM does not compromise on features despite its affordable pricing. Even with the Standard plan, you will have access to tools like sales forecasting, custom reports, and workflow automation. The downside compared to Salesforce is that Zoho CRM’s enterprise plan has some limitations, which might be a concern for larger businesses.
The pricing for Zoho CRM is economical, with a variety of pricing plans available. There are five different plans, including a forever free option to kickstart your CRM journey.
Additionally, all paid plans come with a 30-day free trial, allowing you to thoroughly test the platform before committing. It’s worth noting that Zoho CRM’s most expensive plan is more affordable than Salesforce’s second-cheapest plan.
Read the full comparison here: Zoho vs Salesforce: Which CRM is Better for Your Business?
Free Alternatives to Salesforce
Many CRM platforms provide free versions, but there are drawbacks to consider. Most have limitations on the number of users or require payment for additional features beyond the basic service.
However, is a wonderful way to test various features and interfaces of different CRM platforms or to experiment with a platform to see if it suits your needs. Nevertheless, a free option is not a sustainable long-term solution.
Free CRM software, even from reputable companies, may change and offer fewer customization options and additional features.
When it comes to sales, Salesforce is a strong CRM choice. Although young startups may feel overwhelmed with the pricing of Salesforce.
For which Salesforce has come up with Salesforce Starter! Salesforce Starter is a streamlined version of Salesforce’s CRM designed for small businesses. It offers essential features such as contact management, opportunity tracking, and customizable reports.
With its user-friendly interface and easy setup, Salesforce Starter is ideal for businesses looking to quickly implement a CRM solution. It provides a cost-effective entry point into the Salesforce ecosystem, allowing small businesses to benefit from Salesforce’s renowned capabilities without overwhelming complexity.
Pricing Comparison of CRM Platforms
Choosing the right CRM platform for your business involves more than just considering features; you also have to factor in pricing. Here’s a comparison of the pricing plans for Salesforce and some of its alternatives:
|Per User Pricing
|Tiered Plans & Features
|$25 – $300 per user/month
|• Essentials: Lead and opportunity management, email integration, reporting and dashboards.
• Professional: Sales forecasting, pipeline management, sales automation.
• Enterprise: Advanced customization, workflow automation, Einstein analytics. • Unlimited: Everything in Enterprise plus unlimited storage and custom objects.
|Storage: $0.50 per GB/month. Custom sandboxes: $50 per month.
|• Extensive features and functionalities.
• Large app ecosystem.
• Scalable for growing businesses.
|$45 – $3,200 per user/month
|• Starter: Basic CRM tools, email marketing, contact management.
• Professional: Advanced sales and marketing features, custom reporting.
• Enterprise: All Professional features plus automation tools, predictive lead scoring.
|Additional features require add-ons.
|• Easy to use and affordable.
• Strong marketing automation tools.
|$12.50 – $99 per user/month
|• Silver: Lead and opportunity management, email integration, activity tracking.
• Gold: Advanced sales features, team management, reporting and dashboards.
• Platinum: Everything in Gold plus custom fields, workflow automation, forecast accuracy.
|Additional features require add-ons.
|• Focus on sales and pipeline management.
• Excellent mobile app.
|$12 – $79 per user/month
|• Blossom: Lead and contact management, deal tracking, email integration.
• Garden: Advanced sales features, custom fields and reports, gamification.
• Estate: Everything in Garden plus workflow automation, custom dashboards, role-based permissions.
|Additional features require add-ons.
|• Affordable and easy to use.
• Strong customer service features.
|Microsoft Dynamics 365
|$60 – $270 per user/month
|• Sales Professional: Lead and opportunity management, email integration, reporting and dashboards.
• Sales Enterprise: Advanced sales features, team management, customer insights.
|Storage: $0.023 per GB/month. Custom sandboxes: $49 per month.
|• Integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products.
• Scalable for large businesses.
|$35 – $150 per user/month
|• Sell: Lead and opportunity management, email integration, reporting and dashboards.
• Serve: Advanced customer service features, knowledge base, ticketing system.
|Storage: $0.10 per GB/month. Custom sandboxes: $70 per month.
|• Highly customizable.
• Open-source platform.
|$14 – $35 per user/month
|• Standard: Lead and opportunity management, email integration, reporting and dashboards.
• Professional: Advanced sales features, team management, custom dashboards.
• Enterprise: Everything in Professional plus workflow automation, data warehousing.
|Storage: $0.01 per GB/month. Custom sandboxes: $40 per month.
|• Affordable and easy to use.
• Strong mobile app.
Why is Salesforce the Top Choice for Businesses of All Sizes?
Salesforce dominates as the global CRM leader for enterprises across sectors and maturity levels due to the unparalleled value it provides securing customer relationships as the source for growth and profitability.
For large corporates, Salesforce enables a “single source of truth” view of customer interactions across regional offices, product lines, and channels – helping deliver consistent, personalized engagements that boost satisfaction.
Its scalable infrastructure supported by dedicated cloud data centers guarantees high performance even during sales blitzes like cyber weekends for ecommerce majors.
Meanwhile, high-growth startups benefit from Salesforce Essentials offering core sales and marketing capabilities that swiftly monetize new opportunities through automated nurturing and help convert leads faster per rep. Robust APIs also facilitate custom mobile experiences attracting digitally native customers.
With customizable dashboards tracking KPIs, easy integration with existing systems and predictive analytics built-in, Salesforce gives organizations of every size the platform to put customers first.
The CRM innovation helps CX leaders stay ahead by quickly turning insights into actions, enabling them to thrive amidst market turbulence.
Salesforce stands out as the most recommended CRM for businesses, offering a vast array of features, scalability, and customization options. In second place, Microsoft 365 provides a comprehensive suite of business tools, including CRM functionality.
Other CRMs, such as HubSpot CRM and Zoho CRM, also offer valuable features and affordability. However, Salesforce’s industry-leading capabilities make it the top choice for businesses seeking a robust and customizable CRM solution.
When considering a CRM, it’s important to evaluate your budget, business needs, growth trajectory, and ease-of-use preferences. Trial versions can help determine which platform best aligns with your workflows and objectives before committing.
A practical approach to finding the right CRM for your business is to consider opting for the platform assisting great solutions. CRM consulting services will help you increase lead conversions, unify customer data, and increase sales rates. Cynoteck has worked with both B2B and B2C companies over the last decade. Our sales intelligence pros help improve conversion and retention rates, which leads to substantial revenue increases.
Our CRM consultants help businesses select and implement a CRM (customer relationship management) solution for their industry. A properly set up CRM helps transform the way their business works and how they interact with clients.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Salesforce offers a comprehensive and customizable CRM solution with extensive third-party integrations, robust automation, and a user-friendly interface, providing a seamless experience for businesses of all sizes.
Salesforce distinguishes itself with its powerful cloud-based platform, AI-driven analytics, and a vast ecosystem of applications on AppExchange, ensuring scalability, innovation, and adaptability that cater to evolving business needs.
Yes, while Salesforce is feature-rich, smaller businesses may explore alternatives like Zoho CRM or HubSpot, offering competitive features at a more affordable price point, making it a suitable choice for businesses with budget constraints.
Salesforce’s cloud-based architecture allows seamless scalability, accommodating the growth of businesses without the need for significant infrastructure changes. This flexibility is a key advantage compared to some on-premises or less scalable CRM alternatives.
Salesforce excels in customer engagement through its integrated marketing, sales, and service modules, providing a unified view of customer interactions. With advanced analytics and AI-driven insights, Salesforce helps businesses build lasting relationships and deliver personalized experiences, setting it apart from many CRM alternatives.