Salesforce CRM (Sales Cloud) puts everything you need at your fingertips — from anywhere. From Social accounts and contacts to Mobile, Chatter, and Analytics, collaboration across your global organization and getting deals done faster is not only possible, it's easy.
We used Salesforce to be our CRM and Professional Services Automation (PSA) system. We custom-built the PSA, but the CRM piece was mostly Salesforce out-of-the-box.
Ultimately, if you can figure how to keep your licensing and other add-in costs in check, then Salesforce can be the right tool for you. Otherwise, you may find what we found, which is that Salesforce's continual cost increases eventually cause the platform to lose its ROI. We ultimately switched from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics 365 after Salesforce continually and forcibly raised their costs beyond our ROI threshold. The system was functionally fine, but the annual costs had simply become too much.
As a CRM platform, it's everything you could ask for. Also, its AppStore is top notch. From a functionality perspective, you cannot go wrong with Salesforce. Also, as one of the biggest and most widespread platforms, there are plenty of Salesforce resources out there, so there is no shortage of help available should you need it. If you are a small non-profit particularly, Salesforce can be an incredible resource as your first 10 licenses are free (as long as you qualify as a non-profit with Salesforce)
If you are a for-profit firm, be aware that Salesforce builds in an annual 7% licensing cost increase into it's contracts. As a result, you will be continually negotiating and re-negotiating with them to keep licensing costs reasonable. Even then, Salesforce will continually look to increase your spend with them. Their sales teams/account managers can be very aggressive and a lot of things you may want or need will cost you extra. They're also continually rotating their account managers. This can be very frustrating as a customer because just when you feel that you've built a good relationship with your account manager, Salesforce will switch people on you and then you have to work to rebuild a new relationship.
My current company had been using Constant Contact before I arrived, and it was poorly managed... a huge mess, even... partially due to the staff being unable to coordinate, and partially because the software was a bit clunky. I was brought on during the SalesForce onboarding process, and 36 months later, with very little management efforts from our marketing/BD staff, our data is standardized, uniform, and easily accessible. Emails are scheduled to go out once a week, months in advance, based on templates first developed by our onboarding process, and we have been able to shift our marketing staff to more analytical projects that have given us the edge we needed to be on track to make our profit-sharing bonus numbers for the first time in years.
The ability to customize really makes SalesForce its own beast. I've worked for two companies that have used the software, and both looked very different, yet still intuitively the same. I like that if there isn't currently a solution for you, there are add-ons and plug-ins that can be fitted into your experience to make it an extremely tailored solution for a wide range of companies. Not only that, the customer support staff have some great tools at their disposal that give you an even deeper dimension of control, should you be unable to quite round the edges for your perfect fit. I like the seamless integration with Pardot. In addition, with Pardot's automation platform, you can literally save hours' worth of work as contact/prospect data can sync in nearly realtime, depending on the rules you've set up. If all this sounds perplexing, don't worry too much, as Salesforce has an amazing onboarding team that will work with your designated admin staff to utilize most of the software package from nearly any education/experience level.
There are some frustrating limitations with reporting in Pardot, and sometimes SalesForce integration with plug-ins can be a bit of a hassle if they weren't set up during the initial onboarding, but overall these are speedbumps at worst and don't detract from the overall experience enough to really worry about.
Salesforce has been the single most valuable tool for us in tracking prospective students through a funnel, communicating with them across channels and tying together the rest of our marketing stack.
We use the Higher Education Data Architecture platform on an Enterprise level instance of Salesforce through Salesforce's philanthropic Power of Us program. As a small, private religious institution of higher education, we need a CRM that allows us to customize contact profiles to an unusual degree, as well as automating basic tasks and integrating with our various other communication and tracking platforms.
Salesforce offers us unparalleled customization and allows us to combine analytics on mass emails, texts and website visits from our automation platform with individual emails, SMS, notes and phone call logs. We can analyze data not just about locations and high schools, but also about churches and youth conferences. It's also a useful tool for communication, and has a terrific integration with Twilio for 1-to-1 SMS conversations.
We've found that the learning curve on Salesforce is steep. We took care of onboarding, set-up and training ourselves in order to save money on the fees, and have regretted it. I would strongly recommend getting professional help to tailor the platform to your needs from the outset.
Based on my experience, I would recommend Salesforce to anyone looking for a powerful CRM product.
It can be customized to fit almost any use-case
Support is helpful and enthusiastic
It has a vast range of features
The extensive training available in Trailhead
Reporting capabilities are deep
Importing records is fairly simple
It has a massive range of integrations with other software and services
No automatic email reply capture
The learning curve is steep
It's incredibly complex, and it can be difficult to fully take advantage of it
It's hard to take advantage of some functionality without spending money on other solutions
Some simple functions are tedious to perform
The interface isn't always intuitive
Switching between Lightning Mode and Classic Mode to perform tasks is annoying
We're a union, so we have a little bit of a different situation than a lot of businesses who use Salesforce, but it's been incredibly helpful in allowing us to build an internal leadership structure where we can show the relationships between our members. It has also allowed us to track member activity & engagement in some very powerful ways, and to track the work of our organizers and representatives.
Really allows you to track your customers/clients/members/leads and see the arc of their interaction with your organization. If you also use something like Pardot to manage emails and online forms, it will give you a complete life timeline for the individual and how they have interacted with you. Allows you to create a journey & experience based on their interactions with you and to give quick follow-up when someone shows signs of life.
The only caveat here is that you have to be ready to use it. That means more than just having people trained in how to use the interface, but making sure everyone is on board for how this kind of data can and SHOULD inform and change how you interact with your clientele. If you're used to getting back to people within 24 hours, you need to be ready to shift that to 20 minutes. If you're used to treating everyone the same, you'd better be ready to create drip/nurture programs based on behavior.
If you aren't ready to use it to its full capacity, it isn't worth the investment, but if you are able to use it the way it's meant to be used, it's incredibly powerful.
It has a steep learning curve. I've been using it for a couple of years now, and I know that I still have barely scratched the surface of what I could be able to do, but I don't have time to devote to just learning SalesForce when it's not my core job. Definitely recommended for larger orgs where you can have a team devoted to support. Also, I hate the way they continually try to sell you new add-ons to the core product.
I have had fantastic experiences with sf.com in several capacities including as sales manager and a front-line revenue producer (hunter). The software is very intuitive so tracking appointments, birthdays of clients, last conversations had (and all other last activities) can not only be saved but can be set up with a time stamp/alarm for follow-up. As a direct sales contributor, sf.com was the only tool I needed to be successful and is comprehensive in its ability to keep an eye on the business. All quotations can be done through the software and the metrics from each quote go into "the system" so that pipeline reports by sales person, group, region, or entire company can be seen and used as a management tool. Literally, I could go on and on about all the benefits of the software. If used properly any sales person should see increased revenue from adding this software as it is a time-safer and organizer.
Packs a punch in features that can be turned on and turned off as needed when business trends and sales needs change. Worth the price as a stand-alone sales CRM and sales tool for a small business with just a handful of reps while at the same time being equally effective as a platform for a company with 1000+ sales people that want integration between multiple departments. Excellent security against both outside and inside threats and manipulation. User definition fields so numerous that it allows for unique user roles for every employee on the system if desired.
Like most software tools, sf.com has a learning curve and there will be some in the company that are resistant to the change. If those people are not pushed and required to use the system completely it detracts from the overall benefit of the software.
The software is more expensive than its competitors - many times significantly more expensive. Also the packages start at the price for 5 users so if you are a small business with yourself and two employees, you will pay for 5 users even though you may only need 2 or 3 users.
Basic sales and marketing for up to 5 users
Complete CRM for any size team
Deeply customizable CRM for your business
Unlimited CRM power and support
- Super-charge your sales
- Deliver amazing service
- Join all the important conversations
- Build custom apps and sites
- Collaboration across your global organization
- Mobile: Anywhere access to the live data you need
- Get insights you need to make smarter decisions.
As one of the largest and most well known CRM solutions on the marketplace, Salesforce is highly regarded thanks to its suite of tools designed to help businesses sell more and grow faster. Salesforce has introduced hundreds of features that give professional users ways to connect with leads, accounts, contacts, and important business information all from within a unified web-based system.
Designed for sales, service, and marketing professionals, Salesforce runs on the Salesforce1 Platform. Regardless of the device they are using, professionals are able to log calls, respond to sales leads, track ongoing opportunities, and check dashboard statistics. Salesforce also providers its users with strategic ways to collaborate with teammates in real-time.
At the heart of Salesforce is a CRM solution that provides ways for professionals to successfully manage their relationships with customers. Salesforce provides tools for learning about customer behaviors, which in turn help businesses develop healthier, stronger, longer-lasting relationships with their most important customers.
Over the years, Salesforce has branched out. It now provides users with advanced features that go outside those of a traditional CRM solution. For example, Salesforce now offers social media and social enterprise elements within its cloud-based business application. Mobile, Chatter, and Analytics features are just a few of the benefits that Salesforce provides.
Using lead scores, sales teams can follow up with their highest impact leads, while their marketing teams take the time to learn which campaigns are leading to the best results for their companies.
Through the Leads tab, you can get a complete view of all of your most recent sales leads. Click on any lead for more detailed information, and collaborate with colleagues to reel in leads and close more sales. Salesforce allows you to work as a team, and it gives your bosses (such as VPs and CMOs) a better feel for how the sales pipeline is actually flowing.
Using Salesforce’s forecasting tools, businesses are able to plan and predict sales cycles. Collaborative Forecasts are also useful for managing sales expectations.
As an account administrator, you are able to create up to four different types of forecasts for your organization. Switch between forecast types by clicking on the titles. You can also view forecasts and related opportunities by forecast category. For example, if your company uses product families, then you can see forecast summaries for each product family that you use.
Sales and marketing professionals who use Salesforce are able to connect with their teams through the solution’s enterprise social network, Chatter. Using Chatter, teams can communicate and work more efficiently by utilizing social feeds.
Feeds sit at the heart of Chatter, providing you with a straightforward way to keep up with projects, topics, and teams from within a collaborative environment. In addition to providing you with a method for easily communicating with colleagues, Chatter also finds the information and experts you need. The enterprise social network recommends relevant contacts and files based on the deal or case you’re working on right now.
With Sales Cloud, users are able to find their best sales leads and get complete and accurate contact information for thousands of companies. Companies can align their sales and marketing managers around the same leads and opportunity pipelines, and they can connect with new accounts to close more deals in minutes rather than hours.
Find useful contacts based on keyword searches for any company or website, and get up-to-date company profiles courtesy of Dun & Bradstreet. Leads are automatically routed to Salesforce users, and scheduling time to qualify leads is a straightforward process through the integrated calendar system.
Salesforce provides professionals with the ability to close deals from anywhere. Download Salesforce’s apps to a mobile device, and you can stay on top of the latest information.
Open the Salesforce app to get a 360-degree view of your upcoming day, or to dial into a call with your team or an important client. Using Salesforce on mobile, you’re able to get real-time insight into your pipeline and your current ranking on the sales leader board. You can also get answers from teammates before company meetings, and keep your entire team in-sync when it comes to important contact details.
Salesforce integrates with more than 50 popular business apps, including (but not limited to) Kayako, JIRA, Intacct, HappyFox, and SurveyGizmo. Through the Customer Platform, Salesforce has made new APIs and tools available to enable businesses to build connected apps that integrate with the Salesforce platform, as well.
Pricing for the Sales Cloud starts at $5 per user, per month (for the Contact Manager plan), and ranges all the way to $300 per user, per month (for the Performance plan). The company’s most popular plan is the Professional plan, which costs $65 per user, per month.
Most well-known CRM solution in the marketplace
Helps businesses sell more and grow faster
Connect with leads, accounts, contacts, and business information
Collaborate with teammates in real-time
Mobile tools for staying connected
Below are some frequently asked questions for Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Salesforce Sales Cloud offers the following pricing plans:
Starting from: $25/month
Pricing model: Subscription
Free Trial: Available
Basic sales and marketing for up to 5 users
Complete CRM for any size team
Deeply customizable CRM for your business
Unlimited CRM power and support
Salesforce Sales Cloud offers the following features:
Salesforce Sales Cloud has the following typical customers:
Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Small Business
Salesforce Sales Cloud supports the following languages:
English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Salesforce Sales Cloud has the following pricing plans:
Salesforce Sales Cloud supports the following devices:
Android, iPhone, iPad
Salesforce Sales Cloud integrates with the following applications:
Birst, CogniDox, Gold Lasso, Intellect, InterWeave Smart Payment Gateway, Nirvaha Commissions, O2B, Sofon Guided Solutions, SurveyGizmo, TeamSupport
Salesforce Sales Cloud offers the following support options:
FAQs, Forum, Knowledge Base, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials