Salesforce CRM review 2019

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By Rob Binns | Senior Writer

Salesforce offers the most powerful CRM software on the market – but is it right for your business?


salesforce crm interface

Salesforce CRM review

Features
Ease of use
Help and support
Value
Interface
Integrations
Customer satisfaction
Overall
Reviewed by: Expert Market31/05/2019

Pros:

  • Advanced analytics and sales insights
  • Highly scalable and easy to customise
  • Visually striking and intuitive interface

X Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Expensive
  • Lower pricing plans lack some key features
In a nutshell: Salesforce represents CRM software at its finest. Sure, you’ll pay a premium for its best features – but the benefits for your business should dwarf the costs.

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What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a cloud-based software company founded two decades ago in San Francisco. Today, it’s the market leader in CRM software, raking in over $13 billion of annual revenue and boasting more than 150,000 customers around the world.

And, while Salesforce dabbles in other software, it’s the company’s flagship Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that’s been the secret to its phenomenal success.

But what does that software actually do? How much does it cost, what do you get for your money, and – most importantly – will it benefit your business? Let’s take a look.

Quickfire facts

Time to believe the hype? Salesforce:
worlds most innovative companies award forbes salesforce

  • Commands around 20% of the CRM market share
  • Employs around 35,000 people
  • Was named the “World’s most innovative company” by Forbes… four years in a row
  • Serves more than 88% of Fortune 100 companies
  • Can boost your sales productivity by 44%
salesforce interface

Salesforce sports a sleek, stylish interface – no matter what device you’re using it on


Salesforce features and benefits

Powerful analytics

One of Salesforce’s unique selling points is its superb suite of sales and business analytics. Salesforce’s AI-augmented data discovery features can crunch the numbers, helping your business make smarter decisions.

Meanwhile, Saleforce’s customisable, intuitive interface visualises your pipeline and sales in a way that’s easy to interpret – and nice to look at.

Integration heaven

Emails, spreadsheets, billing and invoice software… the reel of programs your business uses every day is endless. That’s why it’s crucial that your CRM system works with them – not against them. Here’s where integration comes in.

Luckily, integration is something Salesforce does very, very well. It offers integrations with all the apps you need to run your business. Think G Suite, Slack, Quickbooks, MailChimp, Dropbox… the list goes on. Also, the Salesforce AppExchange provides an online hub where anyone can create, publish, and install extensions to Salesforce. Tidy!

More engaging marketing

Writing good emails – not to mention sending them to as wide an audience as possible – isn’t always the easiest part of the job. With Salesforce, though, you can make your bulk emails not just faster, but better-looking, too. Create personalised emails, then automate their delivery – for a quicker, cleaner way of responding to prospects.

Cloud-based convenience

Salesforce is completely cloud-based software. That means all your business’ client, deal, lead and product info is stored ‘in the cloud’. No more spreadsheets, downloads, or tatty, overstuffed folders – just log in from your smartphone, tablet, computer, or watch, and start working.

Cross-country collaboration

Switching to Salesforce helps take (most!) of the hassle out of working in an international team. Each CRM user can log in from wherever they are in the world, and instantly see team progress. It won’t make time zones any easier to navigate, but it will make it easier to close deals!


Salesforce pricing

Salesforce offers two main CRM packages – Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Each one is tailored to a specific industry, so you’ll only pay for the features your business needs. You can buy these packages separately, or in a bundle for a lower rate.

Salesforce CRM pricing plans

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

Service 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

Both Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are available in four pricing tiers. Each one brings more advanced features to the table, but budgets be warned – the costs do add up, and fast. Let’s take a look at what you get for your money.

Salesforce Essentials – £20 per user, per month

Salesforce Essentials gives you just what its name suggests – the essentials. And though it’s low-cost, it’s far from feature-free. This pricing plan promises:

  • Account, contact, and opportunity management
  • Lead assignment and routing
  • Email templates
  • Full offline mobile functionality
  • Configurable reports and dashboards
  • Unlimited online training
Our verdict: Perfect for small businesses, this plan comes at a great price point, and does almost everything you need it to. That said, Salesforce Essentials does lack sales forecasting features, as well as billing tools – and it’s nowhere near as customisable as the more advanced plans.

Lightning Professional – £60 per user, per month

Lightning Professional offers everything Salesforce Essentials does. But for an extra £40 per month, it adds billing and some sales forecasting features into the bargain. It also brings in a rules-based lead scoring feature, which lets you know how engaged a prospect is with your brand.

Our verdict: This plan comes at triple the cost of its predecessor, but doesn’t add anywhere close to triple the value. You’re better off with the Essentials plan, or paying a bit extra for Lightning Enterprise, which unlocks far more features.

Lightning Enterprise – £120 per user, per month

Lightning Enterprise is a big step up in price. But don’t let that shock you – ambitious businesses will no doubt find that it’s a step in the right direction. This plan adds:

  • Territory management
  • Advanced sales insights and reporting features
  • Lightning Platform
  • Workflow and approval automation

Among other benefits, the features included here help you map sales reps to territories for a more efficient workflow. This helps you gain a deeper understanding of what makes your business – and your customers – tick.

Our verdict: We recommend this plan. It’s a bit pricey, sure, but it’s still only half the cost of the next tier up. It also boasts far superior features to Lightning Professional, with more forecasting, management, and automation unlocked. Go for it.

Lightning Unlimited – £240 per user, per month

Salesforce’s Lightning Unlimited plan is the whole shebang… or at least, you’d think so. But how much more does your extra £120 per month get you?

This plan adds 24/7 toll-free support (which you’ll definitely require to get your head around some of its features!) as well as access to premier success resources. You’ll also get developer support, along with access to ‘accelerators’ – quick, personalised work sessions to help solve any Salesforce issues you’ve run into.

Our verdict: Apart from vastly-improved customer support and a smattering of features, Salesforce’s final tier plan doesn’t add as much as you’d expect – especially when it’s doubling up on the costs. But if your business is looking to make it big and needs the most hi-tech sales analytics on the market, the Lightning Unlimited plan is your best bet.
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Salesforce reviews

There’s no doubt about it – Salesforce’s CRM is feature-rich, and packs a powerful punch. But does that translate into what reviews on the web are saying about it? We took to several online aggregators to get the scoop on Salesforce.

Review siteSalesforce rating
G2 Crowd (8,227 reviews)4.2/5
Capterra (11,675 reviews)4.5/5
Software Advice (11,670 reviews)4.5/5
Average (31,572 reviews)4.4/5

The verdict? Pretty good, across the board. Even with a whopping total of more than thirty thousand reviews, Salesforce still registered a respectable average star rating of 4.4/5. And in the savage world of the digital review space, that’s not too shabby at all. So what else were the people saying?

Some recommended the synergy and ease of use Salesforce brought to their business:

“We like to be able to manage the work staff, in addition to the history of expenditures and income for them. It is easy to export databases in different formats, and synchronise sales funnels in the cloud. We like that the premium version does not limit the amount of emails that can be used, and its Lightning Essentials tool has excellent support, in addition to being quite automated.”

  • Alejandra, Salesforce customer

Meanwhile, others found Salesforce’s high levels of customisation a bit baffling:

“Whilst you can change so much, doing so is a difficult task, and you need to know the Salesforce terminology to be able to do so. Also, you can change a lot, though very often these are “tweaks”, and you do feel like you can’t really get into the back end to change things in a more logical way.”

  • Ethan, Salesforce customer

Expert verdict

What does it all amount to, then? Well – to put it simply – Salesforce offers the best CRM in the world. Its range of app integrations, analytics, and forecasting features make it an unparalleled customer relationship management tool.

The caveat? Smaller enterprises might struggle with the higher asking prices of Salesforce’s top tier plans. However, the good news is that most businesses should find that its basic plan (Salesforce Essentials) ticks all the boxes. And with a free 30-day, no-obligation trial, why not give it a go?

If you’re still undecided about the CRM option that’s right for you, don’t fret – we have you covered. Simply fill in our quick quote-finding form, and we’ll put you in touch with top CRM suppliers. It takes 30 seconds, and it’s free!

Rob Binns
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, social media monitoring, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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