CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a class of Software that helps businesses capture details of leads, opportunities, customers, sales visits, schedules, and sales data and generate actionable analysis based on the same. It also can automatically churn emails to leads and customers and helps you obtain a centralized view of details like the number of visits each salesperson made, orders in the pipeline, and the ratio of conversions of leads into customers. It also fosters sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and logistics collaboration.

Salesforce was one of the first CRM packages to be developed 20 years back, and at one time, it was synonymously and interchangeably used with CRM, like Xerox was with photocopying. It made splashes because it represented a novel, revolutionary concept, extending to sales applications, marketing applications, and customer service for service-oriented organizations. It still retains its dominant position with a 20 % CRM market share.

Why Salesforce is Rated as the #1 CRM Software

Salesforce
Source: Tech9logy Creators

Salesforce has been consistently ranked as the most superior CRM. What are the factors that propelled Salesforce to the premier position?

Firstly, it is Cloud-based and SaaS-based software. One can set it up in a day, which is relatively easy to comprehend. It is customizable to a large extent, i.e., you can configure it to satisfy your unique requirements without too much difficulty. For example, you could configure reports and dashboards and even add fields. Almost all browsers support it. It covers all features of CRM as we know them today. It covers the entire customer life cycle, from the first time a lead visits to the first order received from him until the customer opts out of the system. Let us find out what these features are.

  • Contact Management. Details of contacts of leads and customers can be entered. These could be average leads, intermediaries, or existing customers. Details of the contract would include his name, mobile number, email ID, Social Media contacts, etc., his demographic details, a designation within the organization, age, gender, or any other observations about the individual you may consider pertinent.
  • You can quickly enter and obtain the details on mobile phones anytime and anywhere. You can use these real-time insights to create a content-sharing workspace for all the relevant executives.
  • It tracks the sales activities of the salesman on a typical working day.
  • Salesforce is a system that is easy to manage. It’s also easy to learn, often saving business training costs. This cost reduction can sometimes help offset the package’s increased price.
  • It tracks all the interactions that have historically been made with the lead or customer. For example, a real-estate builder may have promised a customer to split the drawing room into a smaller drawing room and a dining space. The salesman who made the promise may have resigned, but the details will be stored in the system. Similarly, a dealer may have been promised 15 days’ credit. It would be lost on the new salesman in case the old one has left or has been transferred out.
  • It assists in framing quotations. The process can be automated if the salesperson quotes at the regular price. However, quotations may sometimes require unique pricing, which only the Manager or Director can sanction. The request for sanction pops up immediately, and approval is granted, withheld (seeking clarifications), or rejected. Communication is instantaneous.
  • The reporting tool can be used to track sales and collections. Although ERP systems are strictly meant for registering sales and collections, a few salesmen prefer to enter it through Salesforce because of the ease of use, thereby capturing the entire Quote-to-cash cycle. Data can flow later to the ERP system through Integration software.
  • Sales opportunities can be defined. It is at the early stages of the Sales cycle. Depending upon the attractiveness of the prospective deal, it may need support from various departments like the Technical staff, the Sales Director, etc. The information is obtained in real-time in a dashboard, including requests for support.
  • Apart from Sales, it also services Customer Service. It can track every single customer interaction, complaint, and suggestion. It could be voiced through multiple channels – chat, voice, emails, and even social media like Twitter and Facebook – captured under the customer’s record. The customer service executive can attend to calls from any location through his mobile device. A list of calls pending resolution or response and the productivity of Customer Service executives. is available at the press of a button.

It allows CTI (Computer-telephony-integration) to store calling numbers and the customer who has called up (when he calls from his usual number). It immediately displays the total view of the customer on the screen. Chatbots are provided to chat intelligently with him. Omni-channel communication helps while conversing, identifying the customer as a unique entity across channels.

  • It provides a singular view of the customer. His profile, the past conversations with him, the promises made to him, the total sales and collection values (broken up month-wise, week-wise, or day-wise), and the complaints he registered through various communication channels. The dissatisfaction of the customer with your products or services is also captured.
  • Salesforce can be used by any business, including small and medium business units, because you only need a single technical person at your end. Even if you must download the data onto Excel for further analysis, that’s just a breeze.
  • It provides collaboration tools for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Logistics, and top Management to view and comment on firm orders and orders at various stages of maturity in the pipeline.
  • The Reporting and Analytics tool provides brilliant insights into the marketplace. It captures the percentage of conversions of leads into customers and the sales statistics at various levels of disaggregation – customer type, region, and product. Customers whose sales value has gone down recently need to be talked to. E.g., an Airline may notice that a customer who flew twice a month with you is now using it only once in three months, or a mobile user’s talk time may have decreased drastically. These could be signs of customer dissatisfaction. Einstein Analytics allows integration with other pieces of Software like ERP solutions and Data warehouses and provides a holistic view. The tool is known to be an intelligent tool with elements of Artificial Intelligence built in.
  • Lead Management is critical because It is imperative to follow an adequate strategy to convert leads into customers and may require engagement at various levels.
  • Auto emailing. Salesforce allows you to generate context-specific emails to customers to engage correctly automatically.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps create and manage marketing campaigns – to personalize emails, plan and optimize marketing campaigns and events, and manage data.

Salesforce Pricing

There are three pricing tiers offered. The prices are 25 $ per user per month for the Essentials version, 75$ for the Professional Version, 150$ for the Enterprise version, and 300 $ for the Unlimited version. Lead Management and Basic Analytics are offered with the basic version, whereas Advanced Automation and Workflow Management are offered with the Enterprise and Unlimited versions. The unlimited version also offers unlimited users.

Compared with Zoho or Hubspot, Salesforce is expensive. Small businesses are advised to only go for it if the Basic Version will suffice for a considerable period or you genuinely expect your business to scale up. However, Salesforce offers many more options and features than the others.

What are the Disadvantages of Salesforce?

  1. Expensive pricing compared to other CRMs. Hubspot and Zoho, for example, offer the package free of cost for a limited version against 25 $ per user for Salesforce. However, it is worth the bucks spent but may only be suitable for some businesses.
  2. Competition like Sugar and Microsoft are gearing up to try and make their CRM products equally versatile. Salesforce needs to keep adding additional features to stay ahead of the curve.
  3. There is a limit on APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that can be used to integrate with other pieces of Software. The customer must upgrade to the Unlimited version if it exceeds the limit. A similar issue will arise if your business has suddenly grown in terms of the number of sales associates.
  4. A single-tenant system means that whenever an upgrade occurs, necessitating downtime, the user has no choice but to follow the same, irrespective of his preferences. It is because all customers are loaded onto the same instance.

Conclusion

While some of the features have been discussed, there are many more – like Sales Forecasting, Territory Management, and Channel Management. Salesforce is one of the best in offering a comprehensive tool to manage your customers, leads, and opportunities, satisfy your customers, and grow your sales. However, since it is costly, a detailed cost-benefit analysis must be performed before purchasing.

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I am a consummate writer and a marketing professional, with over a decade of experience in Digital and Content Marketing. I have written blogs on technology, marketing, health, travel, and many more. I have many published articles to my name and have written for websites like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Harper's Bazaar, etc. Enjoy reading my blogs here!