Not convinced that Salesforce is the right CRM system for you? We review the best alternatives for UK businesses
If you’ve spent even a minute or two on the internet looking at the best customer relationship management (CRM) systems, chances are you’ll have already come across Salesforce. As the market leader in CRM software, and with more than 150,000 customers around the world, Salesforce is a big deal.
And rightly so – its CRM software dominates the industry with scalability, superb analytics, and an array of advanced features. Salesforce offers the most powerful CRM on the market, and even claims to boost sales productivity by 44%. Put simply, it’s the kingpin of CRM.
But the question remains – is Salesforce the right fit for your business? Or are there CRM systems out there that are cheaper and easier to use, and offer better customer support for SMEs?
Read on to find out.
Salesforce: is it right for your business?
Before we dive into the best Salesforce alternatives for your business, let’s take a quick look at Salesforce itself. How much does it cost? What does it do well, and what could it do better? And most importantly – is it right for you?
Salesforce’s prices start at £20 per user, per month – which, as we’ll soon see, is about standard for CRM software. For that, you’ll get access to Essentials, Salesforce’s most basic offering. While this should satisfy your business’ most basic needs, you won’t be getting access to the really juicy features.
Indeed, you’ll be missing out on almost everything that makes Salesforce what it is. To even begin making the most of Salesforce’s features, you’ll need to stump up a monthly fee of at least £120 per user, which will get you the Lightning Enterprise plan.
|Salesforce Essentials||Lightning Professional||Lightning Enterprise||Lightning Unlimited|
|Sales Cloud||£20 per user, per month||£60 per user, per month||£120 per user, per month||£240 per user, per month|
|Sales and Service Cloud||Not available||£80 per user, per month||£140 per user, per month||£260 per user, per month|
The bottom line? Salesforce is expensive. But what do you actually get for all that money?
What Salesforce is good for:
Salesforce integrates with over 3,600 third-party apps via the Salesforce AppExchange. It’s like an online forum where you can view, create, and download apps that work with Salesforce. These apps expand Salesforce’s functionality, and let you do even more from the central hub of your CRM.
Salesforce’s plethora of app integrations includes not only the programs you use every day (think G Suite, Jira, and QuickBooks, to name a few), but also anything and everything else you need to grow your business.
Salesforce lets you harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to make better business decisions. Its aptly titled ‘Einstein’ analytics feature leverages your business’ data to predict future outcomes, and provides you with insights and actionable tips to plan ahead.
Salesforce is highly scalable, customisable, and feature-rich CRM software
What Salesforce isn’t so good for:
As we’ve just seen, Salesforce doesn’t come cheap. Making the most of its industry-leading features will set you back £240 per user, per month. Ouch.
X Ease of use
Unsurprisingly, Salesforce’s advanced analytics and glut of features also make it very difficult to get the hang of. It’s a steep learning curve, and you’ll likely have to spend plenty of money (and time) getting your staff trained up before they can start exploiting Salesforce’s full potential.
There’s a reason Salesforce serves more than 88% of Fortune 100 companies. Salesforce’s price, customisability, and advanced analytics are top of the range. That makes Salesforce great for large businesses with big budgets, but also means it may not be the best option for smaller businesses.
If you are a small business and would like to receive CRM software quotes tailored to your business, click here to fill out our free webform. Otherwise, read on as we unpack the best, cheap Salesforce alternatives.
Top 5 alternatives to Salesforce CRM
Salesforce is good, but it won’t be the right CRM system for everyone. Of the several Salesforce alternatives for small UK businesses, we found the best to be Hubspot, Insightly, SugarCRM, Freshsales, and Zoho.
Top 5 Salesforce alternatives for UK businesses:
What Hubspot can offer that Salesforce can’t: a free plan
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but a free CRM system? Absolutely. While Hubspot’s paid offerings are some of the most expensive you’ll encounter, it also offers a version that won’t cost you a penny. Better still, Hubspot’s free CRM allows unlimited users, and up to 2,000 daily bulk email sends. Factor in its excellent online and phone-based customer support, and you have on your hands a totally free, featureful CRM that’s an excellent alternative to Salesforce.
|£0||£42 per user, per month||£655 per user, per month||£2,624 per user, per month|
Sales Hub/Service Hub
|£0||£42 per user, per month||£330 per user, per month||£990 per user, per month|
- Generous free plan comes with plenty of features
- Social media integration is simple and effective
- Extremely expensive to upgrade beyond the first pricing tier
▶ Read more: Best free CRM software
What Insightly can offer that Salesforce can’t: ease of use
With a colourful interface and a range of visually stunning dashboards, Insightly sets the bar for good looks and ease of use. Its slick user experience (UX) sets the standard for CRM systems, and even trumps Salesforce for style. Throw in all-day support, a stunning mobile app, and a free plan for up to two users, and you’ve got a smart, affordable Salesforce alternative.
|£0||£23 per user, per month||£39 per user, per month||£79 per user, per month|
Prices converted from USD, accurate as of 10/07/2019
- Intuitive integration with G Suite applications
- Exceptional customer support and onboarding makes it easy to hit the ground running
- Not the most customisable CRM on offer for UK businesses
What SugarCRM can offer that Salesforce can’t: simple pricing
For simplicity, you can’t look past SugarCRM. Its three pricing plans aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they are simple. No hidden fees or murky payment terms – just predictable, transparent pricing suitable for businesses of all sizes. SugarCRM also offers a product that’s fully customisable, adaptable, and easy to deploy. All told, SugarCRM is a solid alternative to Salesforce – and certainly represents a sweet deal for small businesses.
|Sugar Professional||Sugar Enterprise||Sugar Ultimate|
|£32 per user, per month||£52 per user, per month||£120 per user, per month|
- Mobile app is slick and user-friendly
- Simple to add or edit contacts, leads, and deals
- Email marketing lacks the level of functionality offered by its competitors
▶ Read more: How much does a CRM system really cost?
What Freshsales can offer that Salesforce can’t: better phone support
With a free plan, simple setup, and vibrant interface, Freshsales has burst onto the CRM scene with aplomb. Its five pricing plans are affordable, and offer flexibility and value for small UK businesses. And if you get do get stuck using it, there’s 24/5 phone-based customer support available. This is actually better than the 8am to 6pm weekday support Salesforce offers its ‘Standard Support’ customers. So if phone-based support is a top priority for your business, Freshsales should be the first name on your list.
|Free!||£12 per user, per month||£20 per user, per month||£40 per user, per month||£65 per user, per month|
- Brilliant online customer approval ratings
- Sales and marketing reports are easy to create and share
- Some businesses may find Freshsales too simplistic for their needs
▶ Read more: Freshsales vs Salesforce
What Zoho can offer that Salesforce can’t: value and flexibility
Okay, we’re not saying that Salesforce isn’t flexible. But when it comes to delivering the best range of affordable, versatile pricing plans, Zoho is our top pick for small businesses. Zoho’s interface and email marketing tools are not only notoriously easy to use, but they look good, too. And the best part? It’s a cheap, cheerful Salesforce alternative. And if you do want to splash out on a more expensive plan, Zoho’s Ultimate Edition offers an impressive tableau of futuristic features.
|Paid annually||£10 per user, per month||£16 per user, per month||£30 per user, per month||£85 per user, per month|
|Paid monthly||£14 per user, per month||£24 per user, per month||£36 per user, per month||N/A|
- Intelligent analytics let you easily track visitors to your website
- Boasts intelligent sales forecasting features
- Poor online customer approval ratings
So what have we learned? Well, when it comes to finding the right CRM software for your business, Salesforce isn’t the be all and end all. Larger businesses will certainly find much to love about Salesforce’s customisability and analytical tools, as will medium-sized enterprises looking to scale quickly.
However, small businesses may be better off looking at one of the above alternatives. Whether in the form of a free plan, superior phone support, or ease of use, each one does something just that bit better than Salesforce.
We recommend trying out one of the CRM systems featured here, especially if you’re new to business. They’re a great avenue into the world of CRM – dip your toes, test some software, and see what works for you. Then, you can upgrade to a more featureful software like Salesforce further down the line.
And if you’re still not sure which CRM system is right for the specific needs of your business, let us help. Take advantage of our quick, free quote-finding form today. Simply answer a couple of questions about your business and industry, and you’ll receive tailored CRM quotes from top suppliers.
▶ Read more: Best CRM solutions for 2019