Before we get into our ten Salesforce alternatives, it would be helpful to know who Salesforce is and why they’re considered the top cloud-based CRM software company. Salesforce was founded in 1999 when CRM software was still a very new concept. Salesforce went above and beyond by developing cloud-based CRM software that is more accessible to businesses of all sizes, no longer requiring expensive, up-front investments in in-house software and hardware, and long-term IT teams to maintain them. Salesforce offers all kinds of CRM solutions and systems, which include Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Data Cloud, Community Cloud, App Cloud, and IoT, to over 150,000 customers. As of recently, especially in 2016, Salesforce has been expanding their business by acquiring and integrating with tons of smaller businesses.
Who is Salesforce?
Salesforce is the leading pioneer of cloud-based CRM software. They have the experience and resources to determine how business is changing, and use their expertise and resources (money) to develop groundbreaking business software before other companies can understand what’s actually happening. This makes them a consistent leader in the world of cloud-based CRM software. Salesforce is also in a position to acquire tons of smaller companies they feel are going to leave a lasting impact. These partnerships allow Salesforce to focus exclusively on the technology that will inspire other providers to follow suit, rather than focusing on developing technology that only helps them stay relevant. They were, and continue to be, ahead of the curve when it comes to CRM innovation.
Why is Salesforce Number One?
Salesforce is the consistent leader in cloud-based CRM software, but that doesn’t mean their sales CRM software is the only solution worth considering. Many small businesses have trouble adopting CRM software, while understanding the benefits of CRM software, but the hassle of learning how they operate often gets in the way of actually doing business. Salesforce comes with tons of features and integrations, uses the latest technology such as AI, and has multiple pricing plans, but they aren’t all catered to SMBs. If your small business wants a solution with a ton of features, but doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on CRM software, Salesforce is out of the question. There’s no need to choose between more features for higher costs and less features for lower costs. Below are a list of ten providers -- that aren’t Salesforce -- who offer affordable sales CRM software solutions to SMBs without sacrificing features, integrations, and customization tools.
Salesforce Alternatives for SMBs
Freshsales is a better alternative for businesses interested in sales CRM software that isn’t Salesforce. It’s an easy-to-use and easy-to-figure-out software built for businesses with lots of clients where sales happen at a fast pace. Their automations help businesses speed up the entire sales process, which allows them to give every lead and customer the attention they deserve. Freshsales uses drag-and-drop navigation and intuitive visual graphs to showcase data. Their pricing is also very affordable and significantly cheaper than Salesforce’s pricing plans. Freshsales’ Forest plan, which is built for enterprises, is only $79 dollars. This gives SMBs the ability to upgrade their plans in order to get more out of the software without having to break the bank. Freshsales also offers a free version that doesn’t come with much, but comes with Google Calendar and Freshdesk integrations.
1. Why Freshsales is a Better Alternative
Salesforce’s pricing plans may be more expensive, but their plans come with tons of powerful customization features. Salesforce’s Einstein is also a more useful AI tool for businesses looking to gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are. Freshsales’ AI is built specifically for lead scoring, but it’s not enough to consider the entire sales CRM software a game changer. Salesforce, in general, is more inclined to businesses looking to customize their software to fit their specific needs while Freshsales is simply giving businesses an all-in-one, what-you-see-is-what-you-get software. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing depends on what your agents find most useful.
What Salesforce can do that Freshsales Can’t
Pipedrive is designed specifically for SMBs. This starts with their pricing plans. The most expensive plan is $63/mo, billed annually, and comes with everything Pipedrive has to offer sales teams. This plan is less expensive than Salesforce’s Lightning Professional plan, which comes with just as many features. The difference with Pipedrive, however, is that Pipedrive offers tools like the click-and-drag feature and customizable templates to make the whole experience much simpler. With a direct focus on optimizing the sales pipeline, Pipedrive is a strong choice for sales oriented businesses.
2. Why Pipedrive is a Better Alternative
Salesforce’s Lightning Professional plan is only $12 more than Pipedrive’s enterprise plan and offers powerful integrations like Google Apps and Microsoft Exchange. Google and Salesforce recently announced more powerful integrations with one another, which will benefit companies that rely heavily on Google. It makes the transition much smoother. Salesforce also offers sales insights, forecasting, and an in-depth knowledge base.
What Salesforce Can Do that Pipedrive Can’t
Base is a better Salesforce alternative for businesses interested in sales CRM software for a few reasons. Base’s features are all displayed on a visually-appealing interface that makes it easy for businesses to understand the numbers being generated by the software. Base also comes with the option for businesses to mix and match other products with their CRM software to give every business their own unique experience. What Base lacks in its actual software is also covered by the number of integrations it offers. Utilizing the service Zapier, users can integrate Base with over 1,000 other applications, offering a truly customizable solution. Finally, Base emphasizes the user experience on their mobile app, which makes sense for sales agents and managers who are continually on the run.
3. Why Base is a Better Alternative
Salesforce is surprisingly a slightly cheaper option with just as many features. Although they aren’t as customizable, and their mobile app isn’t as powerful as Base’s, their features are exactly what businesses of all sizes need, and their sales CRM software doesn’t have to rely on powerful integrations and products to give their users a much better experience. Salesforce’s Lightning Professional plan is still customizable for businesses capable of taking on added costs when the time comes.
What Salesforce Can Do that Base Can’t
4. Why Keap is a Better Alternative
Keap caters to microbusinesses (1-20 employees) with additional tools that allow for more efficiency and business growth through automated processes specifically in the marketing and sales areas of the business.Keap offers far more in sales and marketing automation than Salesforce. Finally, Keap offers SMBs a marketplace where they can purchase upwards of 800 apps in order to make their sales CRM software more personalized and powerful.
Salesforce offers businesses similar features for a significantly lower price. Keap claims their products have the same quality as enterprise-level CRMs, but the fact remains that Salesforce is still in a class of their own. Salesforce also offers more contact and lead management tools than Keap and is better for organizing teams, especially large ones. Keap is advertised for small businesses, however, the cost is still significant.
What Salesforce Can Do that Keap Can’t
Sugar CRM isn’t built specifically for SMBs, but they offer powerful features that are typically found with other SMB-based, sales CRM software providers. One feature that really stands out is the sandbox tool. Businesses can use a sandbox to test all different kinds of scenarios like changing the colors of the website and adding more buttons to see if they help generate more sales. Salesforce offers a sandbox, but at an added price. SMBs can’t afford to take those kinds of risks. Sugar CRM is also unique in that it offers businesses an on-premise option. This might not be the best solution for SMBs, but if the money and space is there for the software and hardware necessary for an on-premise solution, it’s a great way for a business to take full control over their sales CRM software.
5. Why Sugar CRM is a Better Alternative
Despite being the biggest CRM software provider in the world, Salesforce does offer sales CRM software catered to SMBs. Salesforce offers the same management tools Sugar CRM offers, plus a sandbox, and more sales-oriented features and reports that give users a more complete picture of their customers. Salesforce might be more expensive, but you get more out of it.
What Salesforce Can Do that Sugar CRM Can’t
Zoho CRM is a better Salesforce alternative mainly because of how affordable it is. Their most expensive plan is only $100, and it comes with powerful features like a sandbox, advanced CRM analytics, and advanced customization tools, whereas Salesforce’s Enterprise plan costs $50 more. Zoho also offers SMBs an intuitive free version of their software, which is more than enough for inexperienced businesses only trying to dip their feet in the water before committing to more expensive sales CRM software.
6. Why Zoho CRM is a Better Alternative
Salesforce’s Enterprise and Lightning Unlimited plans are much more expensive than Zoho CRM, but they also offer many more features. One of those features is Einstein, a powerful AI feature that is changing the way businesses use CRM software. AI is a powerful tool that is already playing a significant role in sales CRM software, giving sales agents an even closer look at their customers. Zoho has powerful automations, integrations, apps, and analytics, but AI is the future and Salesforce is ahead of the game.
What Salesforce Can Do that Zoho CRM Can’t
Insightly is a better alternative for SMBs because of their pricing plans, the amount of features available in each plan, and the fact that they offer a free version for extremely small businesses with less than five employees; this is unlike Salesforce, which has a significant drop off in features available in their low-cost plans, while their more expensive plans don’t offer businesses enough features to make up for the higher cost, and on top of it all, they don’t offer a free version of their software.
7. Why Insightly is a Better Alternative
Salesforce, along with its higher price tags, comes with extremely powerful customization and AI tools businesses can use to paint better pictures of their customers with -- features Insightly is currently missing. Salesforce’s cheapest option also comes with online training, which makes it easier for businesses to understand the software. Their plans are also customizable to fit your business’ needs, meaning if you need more features for your CRM software, they can be purchased.
What Salesforce Can Do that Insightly Can’t
ProsperWorks is a better Salesforce alternative because of how closely integrated with G Suite it is. Many businesses already take advantage of the apps Google has to offer, so being able to use a CRM that will transfer all that data over seamlessly instead of having to do it manually. Salesforce is working closer with Google as of recently, but ProsperWorks is designed to work with Google from the ground up. ProsperWorks also has a RingCentral integration, which is ideal for business who take advantage of business VoIP. If your business uses RingCentral, there is no longer a need to go back and forth between the two services; calls can be made and recorded using ProsperWorks, and then stored automatically.
8. Why ProsperWorks is a Better Alternative
ProsperWorks is designed to work specifically with G Suite, but it doesn’t go above and beyond like Salesforce. Salesforce offers many more sales-oriented features designed to make the lives of sales agents easier. ProsperWorks is a one-dimensional sales CRM software built for businesses not quite ready to move on from Google. Some of the features Salesforce has that ProsperWorks doesn’t includes a sandbox, AI based software, and opportunity management. Salesforce also works closely with Google, so it’s possible for Salesforce users to get the same level of integrations ProsperWorks offers.
What Salesforce Can Do that ProsperWorks Can’t
HubSpot CRM is free to use unlike Salesforce. This is ideal for SMBs because SMBs understand the benefits of switching to CRM software, but many solutions are out of their budget. HubSpot gives SMBs no excuse not to try. Plus, if they like the software and wish to upgrade it, there are paid plans they can switch to as they grow. Salesforce does not offer a free version of their software, so users are stuck between three different pricing plans.
9. Why HubSpot CRM is a Better Alternative
Salesforce doesn’t have to offer a free version of their sales CRM software for customers to benefit from their features. Salesforce recently jumped on the AI bandwagon with their Einstein tool, which is used for better reporting and analytics. Salesforce also has deeper, more powerful customization tools and configurable reports. Salesforce has a sandbox tool and custom applications that can be fine tuned to fit every business’ needs.
What Salesforce Can Do that HubSpot CRM Can’t
Bpm’online is a better alternative to Salesforce because they use elements from sales, marketing, and customer service to ensure SMBs are given a complete picture of what their customers expect, how they interact with the company, and how far along they are in the sales process. Salesforce focuses primarily on sales, which is good, but it could do more to offer businesses a bigger picture of their customers’ actions. Bpm’online is also a very inexpensive option to choose from compared to Salesforce, while still offering all the essentials.
10. Why Bpm’online is a Better Alternative
Salesforce offers a more intuitive interface, displaying graphs and reports on the dashboard in a more appealing way. The info in those graphs and reports is as well-rounded as Bpm’online’s because the number of extra sales features they offer make up for the lack of different perspectives that Bpm’online offers its users. Salesforce also uses AI to develop deeper understandings of their customers, which is a significant trend making CRM software in general an even more powerful tool than it already is.
What Salesforce Can Do that Bpm’online Can’t
We would also like to break down the features included in each provider’s sales CRM software while providing you with links to each provider’s pricing pages. Both the price and features included have been the general reason behind why we think these ten Salesforce alternatives are better options for SMBs. It makes sense to lay it all out in an easy to read way so your business can quickly determine what best fits its needs.
|Account, Lead, Sales, and Contact Management||AI Insights||Sales Forcasting and Pipeline||Google Integrations||Mobile App||Sales Automations||Customizable Dashboards||Sandbox||App Marketplace/Zapier Integrations||Advanced Reports and Analytics|
|Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (App Exchange)|
|No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes (Multiple integrations come with apps)|