Which CRM provider is best for your business? We put them to the test
- Free plan available
- Easy to use and set up
- Looks good, with striking dashboards and a colourful interface
- Low-cost pricing plans
- Lacks the range of integrations offered by other big CRM providers
- Online reviews claim that it’s too simplistic
- Offers a suite of advanced sales and business analytics
- Wide range of integrations
- Industry-leading, world class features
- Highly scalable and customisable
- More expensive
- 24/7 phone support not available to customers on its more basic plans
So, you’ve decided that you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Good decision – the benefits of CRM are well-documented, and it’s no coincidence that CRM is already the biggest, fastest-growing software market in the world.
But deciding that you need CRM software is only half the battle – you still have to decide which provider to go with. And, when there are so many CRM suppliers to choose from, separating them can be a daunting, energy-sapping endeavour.
That’s why we’ve taken two of the most popular, well-known CRM systems – Freshsales in one corner, Salesforce in the other – and made them go toe to toe, with Expert Market wearing the stripey top. We compared the two CRM providers on the metrics of price, features, customer support, and satisfaction levels, before giving our verdict on each.
Click here to find out who came out on top, or read on to see how the bout plays out.
Freshsales vs Salesforce
Established in 1999, Salesforce is the undisputed heavyweight of CRM software. You’ve probably heard of it – innovative, industry-leading software that’s boosting businesses around the world. Last year it posted more than $10 billion in worldwide sales – so it must be doing something right!
Freshsales, meanwhile, launched in 2016 as CRM offering Freshdesk, a customer support software company. But while you could say Freshdesk is a tad more ‘fresh-faced’ than Salesforce, the company still posted an impressive 2018 revenue of $100 million.
So, while there are shades of David and Goliath to this contest, Freshsales is no minnow. But is it feature-rich and savvy enough to topple Salesforce?
We know it’s probably the first question on your lips – which provider is cheaper? The short answer is… it’s Freshsales! But how much bang do you get for your buck?
A lot, it turns out. Because you don’t even have to spend a buck to get started. That’s right – Freshsales offers a free plan, as well as four tiers of paid pricing, the most expensive of which comes in at £65 per user, per month. Freshsales also offers a 30-day free trial on all plans.
|$0||£12 per user, per month||£20 per user, per month||£40 per user, per month||£65 per user, per month|
Salesforce doesn’t have a free plan. It starts at a modest £20 per user, per month, and the next pricing plan up will set you back a reasonable £60. From here, though, the pricing gradient starts getting steep; for the Lightning Unlimited package, you can expect to pay up to a whopping £260 per user, per month.
Like Freshsales, Salesforce offers a 30-day free trial.
|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|
▶ Read more: How much does CRM software really cost?
Features and benefits
It would be impossible to compare these providers on every feature their CRM systems possess. Both are highly customisable, cloud-based systems that let you better manage your relationships with your clients.
Both display your deal, pipeline, and lead information in a format that’s easy on the eye. Both present data that’s simple to understand, export, and present. And, crucially, both make it easier to turn customers into sales.
CRM software comes with a lot of features that are dependent on the package you choose. Because of this, your ultimate decision will need to take into account your business’ size, growth rate, sales volume, priorities, and – most importantly – budget.
We put two of these companies’ lower shelf offerings head to head.
Freshsales Garden Plan vs Salesforce Essentials
|Freshsales Garden Plan||Salesforce Essentials|
|£20 per user, per month||£20 per user, per month|
|Multiple pipeline management||Allows access on multiple devices|
|Send limit of 500 bulk emails per day||Send limit of 5,000 bulk emails per day|
|Territories and lead assignment||Single, 360-degree view of your business’ data|
|Configurable sales reporting and forecasting||Automates data entry from email, calendars, and spreadsheets|
|Integrates with Zapier, Freshdesk, Google, and Mailchimp||Access to a huge range of integrations via the Salesforce AppExchange|
There’s not too much to separate these two plans. But as a general rule, Salesforce offers a wider range of integrations with the apps your business uses every day. Plus, it lets you send more emails, making for wider, more ambitious marketing campaigns.
And, while it’s tough to choose between these more basic plans, Salesforce’s more premium offerings blow Freshsales’ out of the water.
Salesforce also brings intelligent extras such as Einstein Analytics to the table. While pricey, this aptly-named optional add-on represents some of the finest reporting and sales analytics money can buy.
Essentially, what we’re trying to say is that smaller businesses can get away with Freshsales – and it will no doubt make life much easier. But if you’re a bigger business and you’ve got the cash to splash, Salesforce should be your first point of call.
Freshsales offers 24/7 email support with all its plans, as well as 24-hour phone support Monday to Friday. There’s also a super handy help page on its website, with a huge range of videos and articles. These walk you through the ins and outs of Freshsales' features, and help you with setting up the software, or migrating from another CRM.
With Salesforce, the level of customer support you get depends on the plan you’ve gone for. ‘Standard Support' gives UK customers phone support between 8am and 6pm, on weekdays only. If you’ve gone for a plan with ‘Premier Support', though, you’ll be able to reach someone around the clock, seven days a week.
All Salesforce customers benefit from its two-hour response time policy, meaning you’ll get an expert response to any question within 120 minutes. You’ll benefit from insider knowledge through its forum – a community of over two million Salesforce customers. There’s also access to events and webinars, where you can learn from CRM experts.
What are Freshsales customers saying about its services? Does Salesforce have the backing of its digital audience? We took a look at three of the big online review aggregators for tech and software products, to see which CRM was the real people’s favourite.
|G2 Crowd||4.7 (474 reviews)||4.2 (8,227 reviews)|
|Capterra||4.5 (412 reviews)||4.5 (11,675 reviews)|
|Software Advice||4.71 (412 reviews)||4.5 (11,670 reviews)|
|Average||4.64 (433 reviews)||4.4 (10,524 reviews)|
As it turns out, Freshsales actually has a better approval rating across the board. With a total combined score of 4.64 stars out of 5, it just pips Salesforce’s 4.4 stars out of 5.
However, we’re a discerning bunch, and did notice that Salesforce has more than 24 times the amount of reviews than Freshsales does. That means the scores are skewed a bit in Freshsales’ favour – which is why we’ll award a point each.
Freshsales fought well. With a simple, accessible interface, a free plan, and a range of low-cost pricing tiers, it’s still a great option for small businesses.
But there’s a reason that Salesforce has dominated the industry for so long. With advanced analytics and a superb suite of scalable sales features, Salesforce wins this skirmish. A comeback for the ages!
But, uh… what does it mean for your business? In other words – what now?
Well, since you’re clued up on what the best CRM software has to offer, why not delve a bit deeper? Don’t just take our word for it – dive into our free quote-finding form, and find out for yourself which CRM supplier suits you best.
Click here to try it out – it takes about 45 seconds, and it’s free. All you do is enter a couple of details about your business. We’ll make sure you get tailored quotes from top CRM suppliers, including Freshsales and Salesforce. It’s that easy.
▶ Read more: Top 5 best CRM software providers 2019