If you’ve ever used a CRM or at least done some research on cloud-based systems, chances are you’ve come across the name Salesforce. The company, whose full brand name is actually Salesforce.com, is one of the biggest cloud computing companies in the world1. The surge in popularity of cloud-based CRM services has helped position Salesforce as a market leader, especially at the enterprise level.
Salesforce is typically used as the banner term for Salesforce.com’s different cloud-based suites, each of which focuses mainly on only one aspect of the customer management lifecycle. These include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Data Cloud, Force.com, and others. Let’s take a look at two of the more popular suites: Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
When people talk about Salesforce the CRM, they usually mean Sales Cloud, Salesforce.com’s primary CRM offering. Sales Cloud is most notable for integrating the sales force automation (SFA) module, Salesforce.com’s first product and its main revenue stream.
Sales Cloud supports traditional account, contact, activity, and opportunity management as well as basic marketing campaign management. It also comes with Chatter, Salesforce.com’s company social network, and the Salesforce1 mobile app.
Unlike an all-in-one CRM, Salesforce.com has chosen to offer their customer support system as a separate product called Service Cloud. The Service Cloud suite is also available at the highest tier of Sales Cloud.
This suite focuses on customer service and includes such key support features as live chat, a knowledge base and a customer portal. Social tools such as Chatter and social network integration also provide new engagement channels between customers and your support team.
Taken as a whole, Salesforce.com offers a very powerful and extensive CRM solution. Unfortunately, licensing the whole thing is a very expensive proposition. While the basic modules all offer certain features common to most CRMs, the issue of “feature gaps” that require additional fees to plug gives full Salesforce implementation a very high entry barrier for SMBs.
As CRM Search notes, SFA functionality is “not materially different than other SaaS CRM products”.2 The site further mentions that in some areas, Salesforce actually offers fewer feature sets than several competitors. It offers a large number of industry-specific and vertical market solutions, but the broad reach comes at the cost of somewhat shallow functionality.
For additional functionality, users can implement additional Salesforce suites and third party applications or turn to Salesforce.com’s AppExchange. Both solutions, however, come with additional costs and expenses. For example, if you already have the basic Contact Manager edition of sales cloud but you want an integrated knowledge base for your team, you’ll have to spring for the far more expensive Performance edition.
Similar to Sales Cloud, most of the top-tier features of Service Cloud are only available in the more expensive editions. Capturing support cases from emails and the web, for example, are only available in the Professional, Performance, and Enterprise editions and not the far cheaper Standard edition. Strangely enough, the integrated knowledge base, which is available in the Standard edition, requires an additional fee if you want it to be activated in the Performance edition.
WORK[etc] goes around all of these additional licensing fees and vendor management headaches by integrating everything from project management and customer support to sales and billing into its CRM system right from the get go. Users can forget about spending thousands of dollars just to extend the basic version’s functionality; WORK[etc] offers complete control over the entire customer management lifecycle at a fraction of the cost.
By integrating all of these features into one intuitive and easy-to-use cloud-based system, WORK[etc] makes it easier for SMBs to reach full software implementation across all of their different teams. The WORK[etc] iOS and Android apps also allow users to access all of the web app’s functionalities anytime and anywhere without the need to install additional apps and services.
1. “Market Share Analysis: Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2013“. Gartner.com. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
2. “Salesforce.com Review“. CRMSearch.com. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
3. “Sales Cloud Full Edition Comparison Chart“. Salesforce.com. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
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