Salesforce CRM Software Review

Salesforce
4.2
4.2 of 5 stars 1 review
  • Pricing
    (2.5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Support
    (5)
User Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Pros

  •  Has a comprehensive set of features for every use case
  • Largely customizable according to the organization
  • Built-in intelligence and analytics providing insights

Cons

  • The cost can be high for a small organization
  • There are too many features, which make it challenging to sift through them and decide on which ones will add the most value
  • Once you set this up, it is difficult to move the entire firm from this tool to another one.

ABOUT

Salesforce was founded in 1999 as a Software as a Service (SaaS) company by Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Frank Dominguez, and Dave Moellenhoff. After writing the initial test automation code, the founders launched the tool between September and November 2009.

After going public in June 2004, the company raised US$110 million. The stock symbol was CRM. Early investors included Larry Ellison, Igor Sill, and Hasley Minor of Geneva Venture Partners.

Since October 2014. the company has come up with a slew of innovations that have flooded the SaaS markets. From a Customer Success Platform to a Facebook Analytics tool for B2B marketers, Salesforce has always reveled when technological change comes around.

Who is Salesforce for?

Salesforce helps a firm manage contact databases and assets besides assisting the company in track deals from the moment the lead comes in till the time the client signs on the dotted line.

The tool specifically helps the departments of sales, customer service, and account management. It helps the folks in the said departments take control of the accounts, qualify leads, store contacts, map opportunities, monitor sales performance, and circle on related tasks and objectives.

The Key Performance Indicators of the Sales and Account Management team, namely call management, follow up visits, and call rate, can be served on a silver platter to the reporting manager with Salesforce at the helm.

Products

Salesforce has a slew of products on offer:

1-Sales

The Sales Cloud does it all, from closing deals, keeping an eye on the pipeline, and helping your sales folks be more productive in general.

2-Service

Good service tools help you address customer needs, but the best ones, like Salesforce Service cloud, anticipate their needs and prepare your call center and support team accordingly.

3-Marketing

Personalization is the new trend in every department, and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps provide personalized customer experiences through email, advertising, mobile services, etc.

4-Small Business Solutions

This is a CRM exclusively for small businesses, helping them with smart and quick selling, customer support, and scaling up with business.

5-Other Products

Salesforce has a whole assortment of products that cater to the needs of e-commerce, analytics, and other productivity-enhancing tools.

PRICING

Anyone can get a free trial for 30 days by signing up with one’s details. The best part is all features that are part of the Unlimited plan shown below are part of the trial.

Plans/FeaturesEssentialsProfessionalEnterpriseUnlimited
Plan BriefThe basic sales and support appComplete CRM for a professional organizationCustomizable CRM for your organizationUnlimited CRM and stand out support
Price$25$75$150$300
Price categoryPer user per monthPer user per monthPer user per monthPer user per month
Account, Contact, Lead, Opportunity ManagementYesYesYesYes
E-Mail integration with Gmail or OutlookYesYesYesYes
Salesforce Mobile AppYesYesYesYes
Lead registration and rule based scoringNoYesYesYes
Collaborative ForecastingNoYesYesYes
Workflow and approval automationNoNoYesYes
24/7 workflow and configuration servicesNoNoNoYes
Find and Manage Leads better
Lead ManagementYesYesYesYes
Lead assignment and routingYesYesYesYes
Duplicate blockingYesYesYesYes
Web to lead captureYesYesYesYes
Mass emailYesYesYesYes
Campaign ManagementYesYesYesYes
Email TemplatesYesYesYesYes
Rules-based lead scoringNoYesYesYes
Lead registrationNoYesYesYes
Campaign influenceNo3 campaigns/opportunity5 campaigns/opportunity5 campaigns/opportunity
Manage customer and sales details
Account and contact managementYesYesYesYes
Opportunity ManagementYesYesYesYes
Customizable sales processYesYesYesYes
Task Management, Activity feedYesYesYesYes
Person AccountsNoYesYesYes
Sales Console AppNo1 custom app per orgYesYes
Sales TeamsNoNoYesYes
Calendar AllNoNoYesYes
Sell from anywhere on any device
Salesforce Mobile AppYesYesYesYes
Full Offline Mobile FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Forecast sales more accurately
Collaborative forecastingNoYesYesYes
Forecasting mobile appNoYesYesYes
Custom Opportunity fields in forecastingNoNoYesYes
Opportunity splitsNoNoYesYes
Enterprise territory managementNoNoYesYes
Create and track quotes and orders
ContractsNoYesYesYes
Sales OrdersNoYesYesYes
Products and price booksNoYesYesYes
QuotesNoYesYesYes
Insights valuable for the Sales folks
Dashboards and Reports customizable for Sales and MarketingYesYesYesYes
Features to help in enhanced reportsNoNoYesYes
Collaboration transcending departments
FilesYesYesYesYes
Relevant Topic recommendationsYesYesYesYes
ChatterYesYesYesYes
Cross sell and upsell more easily
Case ManagementYesYesYesYes
Knowledge (Read only)YesYesYesYes
Process Automation and Customization
Lightning flow automationYesYesYesYes
Building app in quick timeYesYesYesYes
AppExchangeYesYesYesYes
Data Storage per userYesYesYesYes
File storage per userYesYesYesYes
Unlimited custom applicationsNoYesYesYes
Customizable Profiles and Page LayoutsNo2 profiles per orgUnlimitedUnlimited
Roles and PermissionsNo2 roles per orgUnlimitedUnlimited
Record types per objectNo3 types per objectUnlimitedUnlimited
Developer sandboxNoYesYesYes
Developer Pro SandboxNoAvailable for purchaseAvailable for purchaseYes
Partial sandboxNoNoYesYes
Full SandboxNoNoYesYes
Customer 360 platformNoNoYesYes
Workflow and apparelsNoNoYesYes
Connect sales info to any app
E-Mail integration with OutlookYesYesYesYes
Google Apps integrationYesYesYesYes
Lightning SyncNoYesYesYes
Web Services APINoAdditional $35 AUD per user per monthYesYes

FEATURES​

Imagine if your sales cloud homepage could look like the regular news feed on your social media account. Well, you don’t have to, because that is precisely what Salesforce’s homepage looks like! The homepage quickly brings you up to speed with the goings-on in your firm. Playing catch up within the firm should be the last thing on an employee’s plate, and Salesforce helps put his mind at ease. The features are as follows:

Salesforce-Sales Cloud

1-Contact management

Salesforce helps your sales guy skip the small talk and get right to business. In essence, he gets to lay his hands on critical customer data, including communication history of critical contacts, within a matter of minutes. The tool helps your team get an insight into how and where they should engage with the contacts to close the deal efficiently.

With access to the customers’ social media feed, you can uncover insights about the problems they have and lay down solutions on the table at your next meeting. Further, with contacts on the Cloud, organization-wide collaboration is relatively simple and easy to manage. Finally, as Salesforce has gone mobile, there is no need for nerves before a big meeting. All the insights you need will be right where you left them.

2-Opportunity Management

All details of customer activity are there for you to see in the opportunity tab. Besides the activity details, there is also deal-related information, including standard price, quantity, and quotes. You can generate a quote and email it to a client using Salesforce. What’s more, you can customize the Sales cloud to reflect different stages of the entire sales cycle with a focus on productivity and consistency. And with the mobile app, all your notes and quotes are right where you need them when you need them, even when you are on the go.

3-Lead management

All the emails and marketing campaigns, among other pre-sales activities, aim to do one thing: increase leads. But leads by themselves are useless unless they can become opportunities. The activity timeline gives you a glimpse of the right information that can help turn a lead into an opportunity. Salesforce’s lead management activity timeline lets you in on the latest contact information and related documents brought to you by Sales Path.

By setting up an automatic lead scoring, no lead will ever fall through the cracks. In addition, the right sales reps will be on the leads when they are hot.

Even social media becomes a necessary channel to track campaigns. You can easily show whether or not a marketing campaign is effective with the data available here in lead management. This data helps the company be wise about future investments.

4- Reports and Dashboards

With Salesforce, you don’t need the help of IT to build yourself a dashboard or a report. With the inbuilt CRM analytics, you have to drag and drop some fields and apply suitable filters and charts for immediate real-time view.

The dashboards are for tracking the team performance. The reports have to reflect the changes in the dashboard. The Sales cloud allows you to modify the chart so that you can see these changes on the report on the same page.

5- Mobile

Going mobile gives you access to every crucial piece of data in one place. What’s sensational is that you can access and update customer information, even while you are offline. From in-app notes to real-time updates, the mobile app has got everything you need to make you productive. Further, the mobile app not only helps you access files anywhere but also collaborate instantly with your team by creating and managing conversations on the go.

6-Email Integration

Lightning for Outlook and Lightning for Gmail help with the integration. This integration is important because you get to view customer mails on every device. You can also create deals on the go with the contact view. With mobile, you can send emails from the feed. Besides these advantages, Salesforce Inbox helps update pipelines, providing real-time insights to sell smarter.

7-Sales Forecasting

Salesforce provides Forecasts at the rep, period, and summary levels. Without changing the underlying data, you can modify other details that help better forecasting. A comprehensive view of the pipeline, coupled with forecasting, enables you to make smart decisions. With the complete view of everybody’s pipeline and sales data, the manager can track the best performers and keep them motivated. Further, the manager can create overlay splits and project forecasts for complex sales teams as well.

8-Workflow and approvals

Process Builder helps you auto-assign approvals as the deal progresses through the various stages. The tool also enables you to automate the different steps and processes if they are complex, with workflows and intelligent recommendations. There is also this tool called Chatter that helps a manager approve requests directly.

9-Files Sync and Share

A manager can collaborate with his entire team and check the latest version of a file that is uploaded. There are always different versions when two or more sales folks are involved in a complex deal. Uploading a file is just a drag and drop maneuver.

Quick filters help a user find a file that he is looking for in a group, library, or repository. A manager can also check out commonly viewed files and classify content across various libraries.

10-Salesforce Engage

Sales folks can send and monitor personalized messages with the help of Engage Campaigns. With activity tracking, a salesperson will know exactly when to act to land a deal. Besides the above benefits, access to data like CTR and mail open of campaigns helps sales folks uncover trends and understand what exactly needs to be communicated to the client to close a deal fast.

11-Sales Collaboration

Finding required information at the right time helps Sales to a great extent, especially if the gathered data can be viewed and edited in one place, like the feed. Salesforce does precisely this, and you can also track any person who would have the right information through a simple search. With sales opportunities and organizational knowledge in one place, a salesperson can easily drive progress even from the mobile app.

12-Territory management

Choosing the right kind of territory modeling improves the conversion rate of leads. Salesforce allows the manager to decide the hierarchy and territory assignments, and the same assignment rule can be used for different territories if the manager thinks the success is replicable. The Run Rules option helps you assign territories from the confines of a hierarchy.

13-Sales Data and Intelligence

It is evident from the above features that every process in the Salesforce is intelligence and data-driven. The customer data, their social media activities, the questions they ask, the problems they have, and the solutions that your firm has for the said problems, among other information, are processed to give you actionable insights.

14-Partner Management

Building an ecosystem of resellers to help with the go-to-market move is more straightforward with Salesforce. With out-of-box features, your firm can enhance partner engagement. The firm can train and onboard these folks, and easy knowledge sharing can accelerate the process.

Extending Marketing Cloud with clicks can help any firm manage co-marketing campaigns with partners driving their demand up and forging a long term, rewarding partnership. The firm can design a dashboard for partners and help the latter understand where they stand vis-à-vis their KPIs. Further, guided setup and customizable information access work wonders to help a firm maintain a relationship with a vendor without compromising on security.

Salesforce-Marketing Cloud

1-B2C Journey Management

Attributes and purchase behavior of your customers help understand them better. You can process this data to trigger them with real-time events, including purchases, mobile app downloads, and closed service cases, to boost your customer management and embrace change by continuously tracking their course corrections in predicted purchase behavior.

2-Email Marketing

Scheduling messages, distributing custom reports, and importing data from any source, helps you focus on creating great campaigns and not fuss about menial tasks. Einstein, an option in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, helps with the content recommendation for customers. These recommendations identify engaged subscribers and increase conversions. This way, you can leverage your profile data using DMP targeting subscribers across channels.

3-Audience Studio

The audience studio helps you capture relevant consumer data, process this data, create segmentations, and reach the customer segments who are likely to respond and activate the data from anywhere.

4-Mobile Messaging

Automating mobile campaigns can help send attractive MMS and SMS messages. A user can build complete user profiles from data across all channels and CRM tools. With a simple push message, any marketer can send phone alerts, deals, and discounts.

5-Social Media Marketing

Using Salesforce, you can Gather intelligent feedback from marketing, sales and service campaigns, put them together, and process reports. Further, you can watch out for trends that are up and coming from customizable dashboards. This is supported by machine learning sentiment analysis and image recognition, which help to monitor discussions.

6-Digital Advertising

With data across all the cloud products-Sales, Marketing and Service included, your advertising can now become more relevant, thereby driving the sales numbers up. Irrespective of the audience size, you can synchronize customer data from any digital channel and ensure it is up to date. Further, captured audience records help you understand which social media channel would be best to target them for advertisements.

7-Interaction Studio

Using Salesforce, you can understand and view all the paths your consumer takes on the channels you own and identify customers who swerved from the path and re-engage with them.

8-B2B Marketing Automation

Use triggers like time and user interactions to automate sending emails and performing marketing tasks, and target offers personalized messages based on preexisting information.

9-Datorama

When you think Salesforce datorama, think cross channel analytics and insights-for B2C Marketers (Email, social, advertising, etc.) For B2B Marketers, you can optimize pipeline projections and lead conversion through a unified report with analytics. Further, it enables you to publish optimum content with the help of built-in tools to get you insights and analytics.

Salesforce-Service Cloud

1-Lightning Console

With productivity tools, including keyboard shortcuts, ready-to-use templates, and macros at your agents’ disposal, the console helps provide a 360-degree view of the customer.

2-Case Management

You can quickly resolve cases by combining processes and requisite information captured from each customer interaction.

3-Knowledge Base

By optimizing article search and recommending articles, you can resolve cases with excellent turnaround time and increase agent productivity.

4-Workflow and Approvals

Automation of tasks like approval removes the time lag to move from one process to the next, either in the resolution of cases or addressing a service request. Further, by visualizing workflow, you can identify bottlenecks. This visualization can also help describe the approval process in a sequence of steps, thereby simplifying the said process and improving efficiency.

5-Service Analytics

Four words-Discovery, integration, centralization, and action.

Use Einstein Discovery to analyze data, integrate Lightning console and Service Cloud, centralize your Key Performance Indicators, and take action when and where required to ensure complete customer and agent satisfaction.

6-Telephony Integration

Association is everything when it comes to a service call-logging your calls, and associating them with contact records helps you simplify everything that pertains to a service request or an escalation. Behind each phone call is information, a force to reckon with thanks to the numbers becoming clickable links. You can use Service Cloud to make every call and capture every relevant data possible without touching your phone.

INTEGRATIONS

Salesforce can be integrated with any or all of the following applications:

  • GSuite or Google Cloud
  • Slack
  • Intuit Quickbooks
  • Mailchimp
  • LinkedIn
  • DocuSign
  • Jira Software
  • HelloSign
  • CodeScience
  • Active Campaign and
  • Dropbox

Devices Supported

Desktop Browser AppAndroid AppiOS AppWindows Phone AppApple Watch App
YesYes

Android 6.0 or later

Yes

iOS 12.0 or later

NoNo

More About Salesforce CRM Software

Set up, Ease of Use and Support

There is extensive help documentation available on the Salesforce website to aid you in setting up the software. Here are some steps to help you find direction:

  1. Before going all out on implementation, take the trial download by filling up the form and try setting it up for your organizations. The trial will have filled out information to help you understand which info goes where.
  2. However, besides just filling information, some permissions have to be defined so that you can set the information to which different levels of users are privy.
  3. Moreover, some customizations have to be taken care of, which differ from one organization to another.
  4. Next, you must monitor how well your workforce is adapting to Salesforce.
  5. You can call the toll free number or send a request to the folks in customer service. They respond swiftly, with a solution.

Customer Support

In each of the Product pages, there is a CTA that says Watch Demo. Here, you can learn about what that feature does for you. Also, there is a helpline number with a bot chat available. You can choose to chat if you merely need a few details. However, most users go for the full-blown demo of all the features so that they can get the most out of the tool.

Note: Be sure to ask the sales executive to give the demo to customize the demo according to your organizational setup.

What Customers Think

The larger firms usually get the best deals with Salesforce because of economies of scale. These firms have no problems reporting an increase in sales, quarter after quarter, and lavish praise on Salesforce for the same. This situation is especially true for IT product and IT service organizations with a large workforce.

The smaller and mid-sized firms offer mixed reviews. While organizations do enjoy the benefits of the features, they feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of the options available. While the smaller ones go for the Salesforce product designed to cater to small businesses, they still maintain that cost is an impediment. The mid-sized firms are selective about the plans and mostly stick to the basic one. One thing is for sure – they would choose Salesforce over any other CRM tools out there.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  •  Has a comprehensive set of features for every use case
  • Largely customizable according to the organization
  • Built-in intelligence and analytics providing insights
  • Large number of customer service agents
  • Supposedly the #1 CRM Cloud software in the market
  • Best bet for large organizations with many wheels

CONS

  • The cost can be high for a small organization
  • There are too many features, which make it challenging to sift through them and decide on which ones will add the most value
  • Once you set this up, it is difficult to move the entire firm from this tool to another one.

CONCLUSION

With a legacy of over 20 years, Salesforce has stood the test of time. The CEO, Mr. Benioff, even bought the TIME magazine sometime in 2018-19. That should tell anyone the tremendous success story of Salesforce. As far as the product is concerned, it is still the very best out there, and if organizations make optimal use of the features, they stand to benefit greatly. In essence, Salesforce Cloud is making it rain at many, many organizations.

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