This is the blog transcript of our video “Why You Should Look at an Alternative to Salesforce”. If you’d like to see more of our videos, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.
Ok so you’re looking for a CRM. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, at some point Salesforce is going to come up. So should you be looking at them for your CRM? Or should you be looking at an alternative?
Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we jump into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos.
Love them or hate them, Salesforce is the biggest name in the CRM space, there’s no getting around it.
So why is Salesforce the biggest name in CRM? Well the answer to that is actually pretty simple – for a long time they were the only credible player in the game of SaaS based CRM platforms. Before they came around, we were relegated to platforms like ACT and Goldmine, both of which had to be installed on your computer and offered limited, if any, data sharing capabilities.
At the time there were other online CRMs, but they hardly had any real functionality – and they barely even worked as a contact management system. And there was NO security to them.
Salesforce, when they came around, were actually investing in their platform to develop something that would stand the test of time. And obviously it worked. Those of us in the CRM world, actually owe Salesforce a lot because they were the one group that was able to make online CRM platforms a feasible option for just about any business looking for a CRM.
But, as I’ve been reminded time and again in my career, just because they were first, it doesn’t mean they’re the best. And just because they’re the biggest ones out there, it certainly doesn’t mean they’re the right ones for your business.
This video isn’t intended to knock Salesforce or speak poorly of my competition. But, in a lot of my conversations about CRM, I’m asked why people should look at an alternative to Salesforce while choosing their CRM.
Whatever platform you decide on, Salesforce, Mission Suite, or anything else, my goal here is to simply help you dial in on some of the challenges that I’ve seen other people experience with Salesforce so, if you do choose them as your CRM, you’ll go into it eyes wide open.
They’re an account based system
I talked a little bit about this in my last video. There are big differences between CRM platforms that are contact based and those that are account based (or company based).
The problem with an account based system is that it FORCES you into creating a company and adding their information into the system before you’re able to create a contact inside of that company. What often ends up happening is users have to duplicate the entry of all of that information at the company level and then the contact level.
Even if ALL of the information doesn’t have to be duplicated, any duplicate entry is cause for most sales people and business owners to not even want to bother. And if you have to force the use of a CRM, whether it’s your own business or you’re managing sales people, prevents it from being a tool that can help you actually grow your business and just turns it into a glorified contact manager and to-do list.
Using a contact based system is a lot easier to use because you just have to add the contact information into the contact record to start tracking your conversations with people and let the system start working for you. It’s just easier to use.
Now in the last video, I mentioned that I’ve seen a lot of people who use a target account selling approach prefer CRMs that are account based, and that might be true for some. That said, I would make the argument that using a contact based system is still easier and allows you to have more of a versatile Salesforce alternative that can flex with your needs.
Just something to think about.
They’re “too big”
Another complaint that I hear about Salesforce is that they’re “too big”. And this could mean a number of things, but what I’ve found people to mean is that Salesforce just does too much and it’s easy to get lost inside the system.
I get that concern, and it can be a real concern, but it seems to be that what people are really concerned about here is usability.
See, most CRM systems these days are huge. And that’s actually a good thing. It allows you to work with your CRM and grow into it.
When it becomes a real problem is when you’re forced into all of that functionality and have to sift through everything to try to figure out how to use the parts of it that you actually need to use. At that point, it’s not something to grow into, it’s just something to get lost in.
When you’re working with a new CRM, whether it’s Salesforce or anything else, make sure that you’re able to focus on the functions of the system that you need to use immediately and that you’re going to be able to do so without distraction.
If that doesn’t work, make sure that you have access to LIVE training, preferably 1-1, and someone that you can call for assistance if you do get lost in the system. I know that it probably sounds like crazy talk to think that there are any CRM platforms that offer that but, believe it or not, we’re out there.
Mission Suite, for example, offers live trainers and client service managers who can support you regardless of your account level, making it great Salesforce alternative. And I don’t know for sure, but I can’t believe that we’re the only ones out there that do offer that level of support, so look around for them.
It’s difficult to customize
Customization is another common issue that I head about with Salesforce. Now, in fairness, I haven’t worked inside of Salesforce in a VERY long time, so I can’t speak specifically to their customization capabilities.
What I will do is reiterate a point that I’ve made a few times before – the way that your CRM looks when you launch is almost never the same way you want it to look after six months or a year. So keep that in mind when you’re evaluating this system.
When I was working with Salesforce, before I started Mission Suite, the Salesforce consultants that you had to hire to customize your platform came in somewhere between $150 and $250 per hour. And hiring a Salesforce Administrator for your business was a $100k + position (and I’m willing to bet that price tag has gone up quite a bit in recent years).
You’re going to need to be able to customize your account somehow. Whether you’re able to do it yourself, or you need to hire someone else to do it, make sure you factor that into your decision making process.
Is it going to cost you time or money? And is that cost justifiable or are there other options? Is this a good alternative to Salesforce for my business?
They’re pricing is based on number of users
“It’s too expensive!”
If you’ve talked to anyone about Salesforce, you’ve probably heard about the cost. And yes, it is expensive. They do have some less expensive options but, from what I’ve seen, they’re not usually worth much.
Remember that the power of a CRM comes with its functionality, so you’re typically going to end up forced into a professional level version of the platform or higher. And that’s when you get into the higher costs too.
But the real problem isn’t the cost per user, it’s the fact that they price their platform based on user count period.
Yes, this can be beneficial for some specific industries, but those are going to be few and far between. For most people, from sales teams to consulting practices and everyone in between, going with a user based pricing model is going to rack up the cost pretty quickly.
If you’re used to being a one person band and you bring on an assistant, then all of a sudden your cost doubles. Bring on another person to help with business development and another for marketing, and now you’re paying for four users.
If you’re trying to grow a sales team, then you’re going to end up hiring multiple people, each of whom need their own license, just to find the one person you’re going to keep. And you end up stuck with a bunch of licenses that you’re not using.
This certainly isn’t a deterrent for everyone. Some people really do prefer the predictability that comes with a user based pricing model, but it does get expensive so keep that in mind when you’re doing you’re comparing Salesforce alternatives.
Their support leaves something to be desired
And the big one across the board is training and support. Again, I’m going to try to be fair and let you know that I haven’t dealt with Salesforce in recent years, but from what I hear time and again, the support hasn’t gotten much better since the days when I did.
Again, at some point, you’re going to need help, I can almost guarantee it. If you’re relegated to a community forum or restricted to a help section as your only means of support, you’re bound for frustration.
Remember that you’re the only one who can make this decision
and you need to work with the platform that’s right for you. These are the key reasons that I’ve heard why most people want an alternative to Salesforce, but maybe these aren’t things that you feel you need to factor into your decision. The important thing here is that you focus on your needs and make sure that you’re well prepared to make the decision.
Hey I hope you got something out of this video. And if you did, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and maybe a share so that others can see it too. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos and while you’re at it, check out these videos too!
We’ll see you next time around!