Salesforce has been the biggest name in the CRM game for quite some time, but not the only. There have been new CRM systems popping up everywhere and each offers something different. You may have seen Salesforce’s pricing and ran to the hills searching for any cheaper option or maybe you’re just browsing to see what CRM is best for your business. Either way, this list will hopefully make your research process much easier. But let’s begin with the defining characteristics of the best Salesforce alternatives.
The Biggest Differences
You might be looking at all the options and pricing plans in a tizzy just wondering what it all means. If that’s you, I’ll break down the biggest differences in CRMs systems and give you a list of CRMs of each type and show you how they all compare.
Contact-based vs. Account-based
Salesforce is an account-based system. In account-based sales (ABS), quality rather than quantity is the goal. This approach targets high-value companies to create a list of contacts that matches their customer profile. An account-based system makes it so that you have to input each account’s information fully before you’re able to create a contact. A contact-based CRM just has you add contact information before you start tracking your conversations with customers, making it much easier to use. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell whether a CRM is contact- or account-based until you dive into a demo, but it is something to be aware of.
Collaborative vs. Operational vs. Analytical
Collaborative CRMs are meant to ensure all departments and personnel have the same customer data. If keeping everyone on the same page is your struggle, then look into a CRM with collaborative capabilities.
Operational CRMs are great for businesses that need automation and a more distanced view of their customer lifecycle. If you want to get more out of your contacts and leads, then a CRM with operational capabilities is ideal.
Analytical CRMs are for businesses with large amounts of customer data that have no idea how to use it.
Although these are not all the differences, these are the important ones that should affect your CRM choice.
Collaborative Salesforce Alternatives
Mission Suite offers all the CRM and automation tools you need with email marketing, automated email triggers, sales management, and inbound marketing at your fingertips. With Mission Suite, you have a collaborative, operational, and contact-based platform all in one system. You won’t need to pay for multiple platforms to get things done. In addition to having all the tools you need, Mission Suite also includes all training and support in the cost of your account.
You won’t have to settle for community forums or an online knowledge base to get answers to your questions. With Mission Suite, you can schedule a Zoom training session to get your questions answered by a live support professional whenever you need them. There is a startup cost, but the low monthly subscription makes it worth it, especially considering that whatever your needs or desires are for your business, Mission Suite will help get you there.
Arctic PinPoint is a good choice for quality, but their price is steeper compared to other CRMs on this list. With Arctic PinPoint, you have a collaborative, operational, analytical, account-based system, making Arctic PinPoint the best for established small businesses that want growth. Another awesome feature is that if you just want the collaborative system, then Arctic Sales might be a better choice for you. They also have Arctic Desk for customer support, so whatever you need, they have it. You just might have to pay a steep price for it.
EngageBay allows users to buy their CRM & Sales Bay separately or with the Marketing Bay, their All-in-One Platform. Both options include their Service Bay. EngageBay’s free plan doesn’t allow for the same number of contacts or emails as Salesforce does, but their prices are very affordable, especially considering how many services they offer. Their midrange plan, the Growth plan, covers all your marketing and sales needs, but lacks the analytics that Salesforce has. Their most expensive plan, the Pro plan, is a good choice for businesses looking for more analytics and customer support. They have a free plan available if you want to check out the interface and try before you buy. EngageBay also has a free migration service, making changing CRMs super easier.
Ontraport is good for businesses that are looking to start an affiliate partner program and won’t need too many users. It has software built-in to allow for an affiliate partner program and Ecommerce abilities. However, even their most expensive plan only allows for 5 users. If you’re expecting to have more than 10 users, then Ontraport may not be the best choice for your wallet. It’s definitely not the cheapest option, but the Basic package is fairly affordable. What makes Ontraport great is that it gives you everything in one easy-to-use platform. With Ontraport, you will have an excellent operational CRM to handle all your sales and marketing automation. They have guides, templates, blogs, and podcasts to help you level up your business. They also have many marketing, sales and support tools that make it worth the higher price.
Zoho CRM is another great alternative to Salesforce. It’s modern and pretty easy to navigate. Their Ultimate package is $52 a month, which includes all of their tools and services. They have up to 25 different views for contacts, leads, etc., and they also have a 30-day free trial to help you make your decision. The rest of their packages do not include the trial, just the Ultimate package. They say their Enterprise package is their most popular, but I would try the Ultimate package to see what you need, and then downgrade if necessary.
Operational Salesforce Alternatives
Drip is an amazing operational CRM for Ecommerce businesses. You can build any automation system you need at the price you want since their prices start as low as $19 a month. They have hundreds of Ecommerce and featured integrations. Drip also has their own blog and training that contains valuable information that can help you further your Ecommerce business. What I like about Drip is their scalable pricing. If you know how many people are on your email list, then choose the plan that will allow for a few thousand more to leave room for growth. They have Email and Email+SMS plans, which differ slightly in price, so I’d suggest the Email+SMS plan to have the option of SMS, but it’s not necessary. They also have a 14-day free trial to try before you buy.
Groove is a comprehensive operational solution that mostly focuses on intelligence, sales acceleration and management for your business. Their product is simple and easy to set up. Their product is geared more toward medium- to large-businesses, but they are a great option to consider for businesses that foresee significant growth in the near future. Their product is also configurable and integrated with nearly every digital tool and social media site. However, it might not be the most affordable solution for small businesses and startups.
Pipedrive is a great choice if you have a tight budget. They have a number of features for a decent price, and all of their packages allow for a 14-day free trial. Their interface is clean and easy-to-use, and they have their own affiliate partner program. If you use their program and find that you love it, then you can become an affiliate partner with them and make commission from referrals. If you want to be approved for an affiliate partnership easily, it’s best if you have some sort of blog, YouTube channel, or network of some sort. Using partnerships can be a great way to subsidize subscription costs.
ActiveCampaign is great for small businesses. Whether it’s B2C, B2B, or Ecommerce, ActiveCampaign can support you. Their systems and services are quite extensive, making their prices competitive, but not cheap. You need the Pro plan to do more than the bare minimum, which costs $49 a month. They also only allow for annual billing, which can make mid-year upgrades difficult if you find that you need it. If paying annually is not an issue, then you’ll find that ActiveCampaign has pretty much anything you’ll need.
Freshsales provides good quality systems and tools for a low price. Their reports focus on leads, which makes the sales team happy, but the marketing team may see much to be desired. Freshsales’ interface is clean and simple, and their pricing is straightforward. You can try out their free plan first, then upgrade as needed to a Grow, Pro, or Enterprise plan. Each price plan has its own customization and visualization tools, such as AI-powered Predictive Contact Scoring, Visual Sales Pipeline, and custom reports and dashboards. Freshsales is great for small businesses, but you could find it to be lacking as your business grows.
GetResponse is great for any business that engages with their customers through webinars and sells ecommerce because of their Autofunnel feature does all the sales heavy-lifting for you. Their prices are quite reasonable and scalable for growth. They also have pricing for mid-sized and large companies with their MAX options. You can create your own funnel of landing pages, emails, and even payment processing through gateways like Square and Stripe. Moreover, their prices decrease the further you pay in advance, making it a great budget option for startups and small businesses. They also give you a free account option that has the basics for you to see if you like their interface and set-up.
Sendinblue is great if you desire simplicity. If you just need marketing automation, web tracking, and a built-in CRM, the free and lite packages are your best choices. However, their Premium package, which starts at $65 and allows for only 3 users (Mission Suite allows for unlimited users), doesn’t quite measure up to the other plans and packages that other companies have to offer. Nonetheless, if you try their free package and find that you love their interface and customer support, then maybe the higher price point will be well worth it to you.
Analytical Salesforce Alternatives
Ruler Analytics is used to improve the customer’s journey. If your business is struggling to track conversions, then Ruler Analytics can help to close that gap. It takes revenue data you put into your CRM and sends it to the analytics tool instead of focusing on lead generation. It doesn’t offer any CRM tools or marketing automation. Instead, it links with tools that you might have already. It’s not the cheapest option, but it does a good job of tracking analytics.
IBM Analytics has three parts: Cloud Pak for Data, Netezza Performance Server, and Cognos Analytics. The Cloud Pak for Data is an AI platform that integrates and organizes data on the Netezza Performance Server to be analyzed by Cognos Analytics. IBM’s services are extensive, for they also offer collaborative and operational solutions; however, their analytical solution is more highly rated than their other solutions. This CRM would be a great choice for any business that wants detailed analytical reports easily. Their AI infused platform makes reporting easy and their other solutions might make IBM an all-in-one solution for you. It just depends on your budget.
Salesforce has great CRM software, but its pricing and tools aren’t suited for every business. There are a number of CRMs for you to choose from. There are also a number of tools and softwares that are a bit more expensive, but may be worth the price for your business’ needs. If it’s important that you be able to try before you buy, then maybe focus your energy on the companies that offer free trials. However, a company’s free package still may not be enough to figure out whether you truly like it.
If you need a collaborative system, try Mission Suite, Arctic PinPoint, EngageBay, Ontraport, and Zoho CRM. If you need an operational system, try Drip, Groove, Pipedrive, ActiveCampaign, Freshsales, GetResponse, and Sendinblue. If you need an analytical solution, try Ruler Analytics and IBM Analytics.
If you like this, don’t forget to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what your experience is with any of the services that you try from this list!