As the market leader, it goes without saying that Salesforce has gotten more than a few aspects of CRM right. Over time, however, the software’s popularity has led to more light being shined on its weaknesses. More and more companies — SMBs, in particular — are discovering that the most popular CRM isn’t necessarily the best one for their businesses.
One common complaint concerns ease of use. Salesforce’s power seems to be in direct proportion to how complex and fiddly its interface is. Contacts, for example, can’t be searched for using only account names. There’s a general sense of user-unfriendliness; it takes far too many clicks to accomplish what should be simple tasks like checking other contacts within an account.
“When working within a specific account and searching contacts for the contact field, it brings up ALL contacts from ALL salesforce accounts – ridiculous,” says G2Crowd.com reviewer Eric B.1 “This isn’t anything special in my opinion – and support for normal folks seems pretty non-existent right now.”
As the above quote suggests, slow and generally poor customer support is another common complaint.2 One reviewer on TrustRadius.com, Andy Hasselwander, goes so far as to call Salesforce.com’s customer support “horrible”.3 Lili V., a reviewer on G2Crowd.com, also called out Salesforce.com staff for being unhelpful. “They want to know if you are worthy of them before they talk to you,” she noted.4
Customizability also took a hit, although it’s not because the app locks out developers and coders. It’s more a matter of cost. While Salesforce is extremely customizable, that’s only true if you have the money to pay for the more expensive editions, app integrations, and maybe even a dedicated developer or two.
Storage is another issue. Most Salesforce packages or editions come with relatively low free storage. This might not seem like a big problem at first glance, but users who regularly enter large amounts of data into the system will feel the pinch sooner rather than later. When you exceed that storage limit, be prepared to shell out massive fees for extra space. The more you use the platform, the more you have to pay.
For a solution focused on communicating with and handling customers, Salesforce also has a less than robust email handling system. Some reviewers point out that creating well-designed mailers and newsletters can be an uphill battle, while others have complained about slow uploads that, according to a G2Crowd.com reviewer, can take up to “5 or 10 times slower than a regular email service”.2
Restrictions on batch emails have also become a problem with some users. As reviewer Mel, who found out that she can only send out 100 emails at a time, relates on SoftwareAdvice.com, “I have 4,000 emails to send each month. That means I have to sit and send 40 emails one at a time!”5
Beyond those levied against the product itself and how it functions, perhaps the most common criticism of Salesforce is its cost. Salesforce is now generally seen to have left behind its initial thrust into the small business market,6 with small business customers complaining that professional services options have become too few and extremely costly.
These “feature gaps” can be remedied, but only if you have a budget large enough to soak annual lock-in contracts and hidden fees. The platform’s complexity can even be cause for unexpected expenses when you’re forced to hire external consultants just so your team can get the most out of Salesforce.
“Salesforce entered the market as the alternative to huge and expensive Oracle or SAP implementations,” laments one G2Crowd.com reviewer. ”Now it’s become the same.”7
Startups and SMBs go through a fast period of growth. The system you’re using right now may end up too specialized to handle any new products or services that you intend to offer. In the case of Salesforce, this will likely entail upgrading to a more expensive edition that has what you need.
An all-in-one online CRM, however, paints a very contrasting picture. You get what you pay for and more up front without forcing you to shell out extra for additional functionality such as project management, billing, sales, social media integration, and customer support. Through a variety of highly-customizable modules such as custom fields, custom sales processes, and custom projects, the system can scale according to your needs.
It gives users full control of the whole customer management lifecycle right out of the box. You can turn emails into leads and contacts, roll out projects quickly using templates, fire out invoices to customers, and accept, track, and resolve support tickets using just one cloud-based CRM solution.
Best of all, you don’t have to spend weeks getting your team up to speed on the new system. A well-designed all-in-one CRM can be intuitive and user-friendly enough to allow for same week configuration and onboarding. It does away with extraneous applications and lets you concentrate on getting your team to learn the ins and outs of only one app.
1. “Salesforce CRMReview by Eric B.”. G2Crowd.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
2. “Salesforce CRM Review by G2 Crowd User in Marketing and Advertising”. G2Crowd.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
3. “Salesforce.com Review by Andy Hasselwander”. TrustRadius.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
4. “Salesforce CRM Review by Lili V.”. G2Crowd.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
5. “Salesforce.com CRM Software | 2014 Reviews, Free Demo & Pricing”. SoftwareAdvice.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
6. “Is Salesforce.com Outgrowing SMBs?”. lauriemccabe.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
7. “Salesforce CRM Review by G2 Crowd User in Internet”. G2Crowd.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
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