Review of Salesforce CRM: a highly customizable and powerful CRM
This review is geared toward proprietors of small businesses who are considering using Salesforce as their customer relationship management system.
- For the purpose of providing superior customer service, Salesforce assists in maintaining team organization across departments by providing a centralized data repository.
- Salesforce offers a wide variety of customer relationship management (CRM) products, features, and tools that are designed to assist small businesses in selling more effectively and expanding their operations.
- You can better serve the best deals to the right customers at the ideal time with the assistance of AI-powered tools and efficient algorithms that are included in Salesforce.
Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have been around for a while, but Salesforce is one of the earliest and most well-known of them. The software service provider has an extensive catalog of customer relationship management (CRM) products for use in commerce, marketing, customer service, sustainability, and safety, as well as experiences. In addition to providing a wide range of software solutions that are tailored to specific requirements, Salesforce also provides businesses of all sizes with the option to have the company create bespoke bundles that connect their marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams with a unified solution for every stage of their customers' journeys. In this analysis, we focused on what Salesforce refers to as its Small Business Solutions, specifically the Essentials, Sales Professional, Service Professional, and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement editions. These are the four different types of Salesforce products that are included in this category. A sales team at a small business with fewer than 20 employees and a requirement for user accounts was the target audience for the Professional edition demo account that we created.
Why Did We Select Salesforce for Small Businesses?
We've looked at a lot of different cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, and Salesforce has the most comprehensive range of pricing plans and functionality options. In contrast to the other industry giants, Salesforce tailors many of its product offerings as well as its pricing structure to meet the needs of smaller companies that are just getting started and need a straightforward and efficient all-in-one solution for sales and customer service. Salesforce is able to learn and adapt to the needs of your company thanks to its intelligent tools, which get better with each interaction with a customer. Salesforce, as a centralized source of data, makes it easier to understand how to allocate marketing efforts and tailor messages for different customer segments with helpful recommendations powered by AI from Einstein. This is accomplished through the use of AI. Business owners and small sales teams can focus their energy on providing personalized service and deals at the ideal times in their customers' journeys if they have access to easy-to-use automations, time-saving macros, AI-powered insights, and detailed customer information. This enables them to eliminate manual tasks that are repetitive in nature and frees them from having to perform these tasks.
Every interaction and communication with a customer is recorded by Salesforce, and any registered user at your company can access these records from any device at any time.
- Because it offers such a comprehensive selection of CRM products, Salesforce can scale along with your business as it expands.
- In order to provide improved customer experiences and outcomes for all members of your company, Salesforce serves as a central repository for all customer data.
- Salesforce offers a suite of CRM products that are specifically designed with the needs of small businesses in mind.
- In order to make effective use of Salesforce integrations, larger businesses might be required to pay additional fees.
- Most Salesforce plans require an annual commitment.
- Attempting to get immediate technical assistance outside of normal business hours might be difficult.
Even in the most basic version of Salesforce, known as Salesforce Essentials, which is the company's entry-level offering, automated tools powered by AI and given the name Einstein will log sales activities such as emails and calendar entries. When all of your customer data is stored in a single location, it is much simpler to develop successful sales strategies and to keep track of every step that your customers go through on their journeys. When it comes to customer support, you can assist your clients in resolving common problems by creating and publishing a searchable knowledge center based on a premade template.
You can easily add features to your plan from the AppExchange as your small business expands, or you can upgrade to a plan with better features to accommodate the ever-changing requirements of your customers and employees. You and your team are able to effectively collaborate from any location thanks to the mobile CRM apps, which make all of the CRM's features accessible to you.
Any internet-connected device can be used to view and manage your entire sales process, from new leads to close.
You will have a difficult time finding a popular CRM feature that is not provided by Salesforce in some capacity, either as part of the base product or as an add-on to an existing plan. You will have access to AI-powered features and automations with Einstein Activity Capture even if you have the Essentials plan, which is the base-level subscription. When obtained from other service providers, tools of this kind are frequently only available as part of more pricy, higher-tier subscriptions. Every single Salesforce plan includes all of the features necessary to manage customer sales and support, including data syncing, sales tracking, customer support, mobile access, custom reporting, integrations, and everything else you could possibly need. We have highlighted a few of the features that have proven to be particularly useful for owners of small businesses.
- Sales forecasting. Utilizing real-time sales forecasting will allow you to stay ahead of annual budgets and quarterly goals.
- Lead management. Automated processes and strategic deals will help you close the deal and move on to the next lead.
- Social intelligence. Gain insights into the social engagement that is relevant to your account as well as that which is trending.
- Einstein recommendations. Get personalized recommendations for products and services, powered by AI, delivered at just the right moment.
Salesforce offers a view that is both accurate and up to date of the entirety of your company's sales pipeline. You can motivate your sales reps to exceed their targets by using up-to-the-minute leaderboards to encourage friendly competition. This will help them feel more accountable for their performance. Through an objective and data-driven point of view, you can easily identify areas in which your company is having difficulty, which enables you to make the necessary adjustments and continue making progress toward your revenue goals. The software generates projections by using a number of weighted variables, which may include the owner, the time, the forecast categories, the product family, and the territory. According to Salesforce, sales leaders should generally anticipate seeing accuracy within 10% of their forecasted data. This is the typical range of accuracy that can be expected.
As a sales manager, you can track the progress of your team against quarterly and monthly goals and dig deep into any data for insightful analysis.
Landing pages and email are two tools that can be used to automate the process of adding new leads and assigning them to the appropriate sales representative. Your representatives will automatically have access to all of the data that they require to follow up with a customer by sending an email based on a personalized template with just one click, or by using the in-built dialer to place a call. You are able to personalize the information pages of your leads so that they highlight the particulars that are significant to your company and provide direction to your sales representatives regarding what they should concentrate on and what they should do next. You are able to set up complex macros and automate many manual tasks, allowing you to handle multiple time-consuming actions quickly and easily with just one click. Your sales representatives will be able to spend more time selling and less time learning about their customers if they have access to vital information and helpful automations.
To identify the best opportunities, manually filter leads.
The one-of-a-kind Social Intelligence feature is offered as an add-on for an additional fee of $25 per month. It provides business owners and managers with the ability to harness engagement across social media networks in order to make better sales decisions. This social listening tool makes use of natural language processing to give you an understanding of current events and business trends pertaining to your accounts, as well as those of your competitors and the industry as a whole. You can use this tool to find new leads, set reminders to get in touch with a contact, search for account names, and use keywords to surface important business events and conversations so that you can communicate with your customers where they congregate online.
For the purpose of developing comprehensive user profiles and delivering targeted content across email and the web, Salesforce's AI-powered recommendations combine user behavior from every recorded interaction with the custom rules that have been established for your company. Selecting a product or service from your catalog, deciding which audience segment will receive it, and defining the type of data or previous outcomes that Einstein will use to make a recommendation all need to be done in order to construct a recommendation. For instance, a financial institution can use its Salesforce catalog to suggest a banking product to all of its available contacts, such as an auto loan, based on the actions that the contacts have taken with their bank accounts. Einstein is able to personalize an appropriate and one-of-a-kind offer for each contact by using the information about that contact's bank account. This is done in an effort to encourage the contact to make a purchase.
You can select a sellable item from your Salesforce catalog, set your segmented contacts, and then let Einstein dive into the data to make the best offers to the right prospects at the ideal time for a sale.
The Salesforce Small Business CRM offers four different plans, each of which can be further broken down into three distinct tiers. Everything you require from a customer relationship management system to efficiently run your business can be accessed from a single cloud-based platform with the Essentials edition, which is the entry-level product and has a limit of ten user accounts. You have the option of selecting either the Sales Professional or the Service Professional for the Professional tier in the middle of the tree, depending on the manner in which you communicate with your clients. The price of the upper-tier Marketing Cloud Account Engagement plan is not based on the number of seats, but rather on the number of contacts you manage, and it includes support for up to 10,000 contacts.
Some of Salesforce's plans are priced according to the number of users, while others are based on the quantity of customer contacts.
For additional features or expanded functionality in sales, service, marketing, commerce, analytics, and other areas, add-ons are available for purchase. Most policies demand annual payments.
Starting price (per user per month). $25
Features. Lead management, duplicate blocking, web-to-lead capture, mass email, custom sales processes, mobile apps, offline functionality, custom dashboards, custom reports, file sharing, case management, and a maximum of five automation workflows per organization are some of the features that are included.
- Starting price (per user per month). $75
- Features. Everything that is included in Essentials, as well as a custom sales console app, collaborative forecasts, a forecasting app, contracts, orders, quotes, unlimited custom applications, custom roles, and a developer sandbox Service Professional
- Starting price (per user per month). $150
- Features. Everything that is included in Essentials, including service contracts, entitlements, a case milestone tracker, service orders, advanced case management, work order management, product tracking, custom profiles, an unlimited number of custom apps, and a developer sandbox.
Marketing Cloud Account Engagement
- Starting price (per user per month). $1,250
- Features. Up to 10,000 contacts, email marketing, content creation using a drag-and-drop interface, Sales Cloud integration, subscriber profiles, segmentation, event-triggered communications, automated workflows, basic reporting, A/B testing, and personalized communications are all included.
The level of difficulty associated with establishing a CRM workflow in Salesforce is largely determined by the product you choose, the size of your team, the number of contacts, and the intricacy of your CRM workflows. On the other hand, using Salesforce to set up an Essentials plan in a small business is considered to be a quick and simple process. You will find more than 350 videos on YouTube, more than 120 webinars, and a large collection of on-demand expert coaching videos among the self-help resources available to you. These can assist you with importing your contacts and building out automated sales processes, among other things. During the process of setting up Salesforce, you will be provided with to-do lists and recommended steps that will assist you in connecting to your email, setting up your sales processes, customizing fields, importing data, and beginning the process of collecting and nurturing leads.
Setting up a Salesforce account should be simple for small businesses and anyone unfamiliar with CRM features.
Customer service is available around the clock via phone, email, and live chat at Salesforce; however, it may take some time to locate the specific assistance you require. When customers need to start a new technical support case, Salesforce encourages them to use an online form to submit a request for a support call. Despite the fact that this practice helps ensure that the appropriate person is available to resolve your issue, the waiting period may be frustrating for you if your sales or support activities are disrupted and you need an immediate resolution to the problem.
When we called outside of Salesforce's normal business hours for technical support, we were told that the company was experiencing a high call volume and that we should try to find a solution to our problem on our own by visiting the Help section of the Salesforce website (Help.Salesforce.com).
DocuSign, Dropbox, HelloSign, CodeScience, ActiveCampaign, and Zapier are the only third-party services that can be integrated with the Essentials plan. Although Zapier by itself can cover a good number of the required CRM integrations, you will be required to pay an additional fee for a plan that provides more than 100 automated tasks on a monthly basis.
A yearly subscription is necessary to use the vast majority of Salesforce's product offerings. The majority of CRM service providers make monthly and annual payment options available for most of their plans.
Is there a free version of Salesforce available?
Unfortunately, at this time there is not a free version of Salesforce's customer relationship management software available. On the other hand, it does provide a free trial period of 14 or 30 days for the majority of its products, allowing you to test them thoroughly. When paid for annually, Salesforce's Essentials plan has a monthly cost of $25 per user and comes with a free trial period of 14 days. This plan is the company's most affordable option.
Is Salesforce a platform that runs in the cloud?
Yes. In point of fact, Salesforce was one of the first software service providers to offer their offerings via the cloud. Its software solutions for the cloud cover customer relationship management (CRM), sales, enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing automation (marketing automation), and analytics.
Which businesses are customers of Salesforce?
According to the customer success stories that can be found on the website of Salesforce, a great number of international businesses use the cloud-based service for a variety of purposes, including sales, marketing, communications, and more. These businesses include IBM, Mercedes-Benz, NBC, Herman Miller, RBC, Morgan Stanley, PayPal, AT&T, 3M, ADP, Adidas, AWS, American Express, American Red Cross, and Asana. Other businesses on this list include Herman Miller, RBC, and Morgan Stanley.
We recommend Salesforce CRM for …
- New businesses on the lookout for their initial customer relationship management platform.
- Small businesses looking for a basic platform that combines sales and support functions all in one.
- Scaling businesses that anticipate consistent growth and are looking for a CRM that can adapt to meet their changing requirements.
We don’t recommend Salesforce CRM for …
- Companies operating in specialized fields that do not divide their customers into specific groups.
- Companies that want their customer relationship management system to focus equally on sales and customer service.
- Businesses on an enterprise level that require a large number of tools and features that can be customized.
Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that offers a suite of products that can connect your marketing, sales, commerce, and service teams with the data they need to provide better service to your customers. Salesforce is highly customizable and powerful.