Freshsales vs Salesforce: Which CRM Provider is Best for Your Business?

freshsales vs salesforce

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.

Jump into the list to the left to navigate straight to the metric that's most important to your business, or read on to see how the bout plays out.

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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 Freshdesk, a customer support software company. But while you could say Freshsales 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?

Freshsales vs Salesforce: pricing

We know it’s probably the first question on your lips – which provider is cheaper?

Well, the short answer is that, though Salesforce's cheapest plan for sales teams (Salesforce Essentials, at £20 per user, per month) is cheaper than Freshsales' cheapest analogous plan (Sales Cloud, which starts at £25 per user, per month). This wasn't always the case (Salesforce is well-known for its notoriously expensive pricing plans), but recently, Freshsales experienced a price hike.

However, Freshsales' pricing is more reasonable overall – the price for its Sales Cloud rises to £45 per user, per month (for the ‘Growth' plan), and then £79 per user, per month for its most expensive plan, ‘Enterprise'.

Salesforce, by contrast, gets really expensive – and quickly. The next step up (‘Lightning Professional') is £60 per user, per month, while after that it'll cost you £120 per user, per month (for ‘Lightning Enterprise'). Salesforce's most expensive plan, ‘Lightning Unlimited', will set you back £240 per user, per month.

Oh, and that's not even taking into account Salesforce's range of add-on analytical and marketing modules – all of which come with their own considerable price tags.

So how much bang do you get for your buck?

Freshsales pricing

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 three tiers of paid pricing – the most expensive of which comes in at £99 per user, per month.

As well as these pricing ‘tiers' (which Freshsales dubs Pro, Growth, and Enterprise), it also offers three ‘cloud' packages to choose from, depending on the nature of your business' operations. These are called Sales Cloud (for sales teams), Marketing Cloud (for marketing departments), and Customer-for-Life Cloud. This cutely-named last one collects Freshsales' key sales and marketing automation features, and packages them together with extra chat and telephony functions – all at an affordable price point.

On top of all this, Freshsales offers Freshdesk – the company's answer to the pain points of customer service teams. This help desk software is available from just £11 per user, per month, so is slightly more affordable than Freshsales' other cloud-based CRM offerings.

Freshsales also offers a 21-day free trial on all plans.

Sales Cloud*£12£29£55
Marketing Cloud**£12£29£55
Customer-for-Life Cloud*£12£29£55

* Priced per user, per month

** Priced per month (flat-rate)

Salesforce pricing

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 EssentialsLightning ProfessionalLightning EnterpriseLightning 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 CloudNot available£80 per user, per month£140 per user, per month£260 per user, per month

Oh, and that's just Salesforce's packages for sales and customer service teams. If you also plan on using your CRM for marketing automation purposes, you'd likewise better plan to open your wallet. Salesforce's “Pardot” B2B marketing module will set you back a minimum of £1,000 per month, while its email, mobile, and web marketing begins at a monthly cost of £320.

And, should you wish to get granular with your reporting, Salesforce's analytical CRM module – the aptly-named Einstein Analytics – will cost you at least £60 per user, per month. Opting for this (albeit expensive) luxury isn't something Freshsales customers will have to worry about – it doesn't offer an analytical add-on at all!

To find out more about how much CRM software really costs, check out our CRM pricing guide.

Verdict: You just can’t look past a free plan. Freshsales 1 – 0 Salesforce.

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Freshsales vs Salesforce: 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 Sales Cloud Pro Plan vs Salesforce Essentials

Freshsales Sales Cloud ‘Pro' PlanSalesforce Essentials
£25 per user, per month£20 per user, per month
Multiple pipeline managementAllows access on multiple devices
Territories and lead assignmentSingle, 360-degree view of your business’ data
Configurable sales reporting and forecastingAutomates data entry from email, calendars, and spreadsheets
Integrates with Zapier, Freshdesk, Google, and MailchimpOffers 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 CRM campaigns.

And, while it’s tough to choose between these more basic plans, Salesforce’s more premium offerings blow Freshsales’ similar versions right 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. Plus, with more third-party software integrations than you could shake roughly 2,000 sticks at, Salesforce is more than a CRM – it's an all-purpose tool for handling all your business' day-to-day processes.

Salesforce's versatility also means that it's easily adaptable to various industry-specific roles or duties. Whether you run a hedge fund, a law firm, or a university, chances are Salesforce (via integration with niche software) will cater to it.

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 part of a more expansive enterprise and you’ve got the cash to splash, Salesforce should be your first point of call.

Verdict: Sorry, Freshsales – where features are concerned, Salesforce comes out on top. The scores are tied: Freshsales 1 – 1 Salesforce.
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Freshsales vs Salesforce: customer support

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.

Verdict: Events, decent phone support, and an enormous community to fall back on – Salesforce edges ahead. Freshsales 1 – 2 Salesforce.

Freshsales vs Salesforce: customer satisfaction ratings

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.

Review siteFreshsalesSalesforce
G2 Crowd4.7 (804 reviews)4.2 (10,777 reviews)
Capterra4.7 (453 reviews)4.4 (14,856 reviews)
Software Advice4.5 (453 reviews)4.5 (11,670 reviews)
Average4.63 (1,710 reviews)4.37 (37,303 reviews)

As it turns out, Freshsales actually has a better approval rating across the board. With a total combined score of 4.63 stars out of 5, it just pips Salesforce’s 4.37 stars out of 5.

However, we’re a discerning bunch, and did notice that Salesforce has more than 21 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.

Final verdict:  Freshsales 2 – 3 Salesforce.

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Freshsales vs Salesforce: expert verdict

Freshsales fought well. With a simple, accessible interface, a free plan, and a range of low-cost pricing tiers (and ‘clouds'), it’s still one of the best CRM system 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?

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What’s next?

Compare CRM software quotes with us

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.

It takes about 45 seconds, and it’s free. Simply provide us with a few details about your business' CRM requirements – how many users it'll need to support, the specific features you'll require, and what (if any) CRM-like system you're currently utilising. Once we have this info, we’ll match you with leading CRM suppliers in the UK, who'll provide you with tailored quotes including those from Freshsales and Salesforce. It’s that easy!

How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

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We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.

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  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.

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We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at

Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.