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6 Reasons to Reconsider Salesforce

So you’ve been thinking pretty seriously about ending a long-term relationship with Salesforce. Or maybe you’ve been sizing up the sales and marketing giant and aren’t sure if they’re the right fit for your organization. Would it comfort you to know that you’re not alone?

The story might go something like this:

It was a beautiful summer day and you were both at the beach soaking up the hot summer sun—not a care in the world. By mere chance, you exchanged a glance from afar and…

Wrong story. But, just like your high school sweetheart, most Salesforce customers grow highly attached and invested.

Salesforce can form the backbone of your cloud infrastructure. Salesforce can have decades of information on your current clients and prospects. Salesforce can be integrated into dozens of other applications that are vital to ongoing business operations.

And Salesforce is an incredibly powerful and adaptable platform—there’s a reason that it’s trusted by over 150,000 companies around the globe. But, depending on your company’s needs, Salesforce simply might not be the best fit for your organization.

6 Reasons Why Many Businesses are Quitting Salesforce

Salesforce is the most prominent name in the CRM space. Like their name, their offering is also robust. But, lots of companies are reconsidering their relationship with the sales and marketing tycoon. 

Here are a few of the top reasons why:

1. Complex UX/UI

Don’t get me wrong, Salesforce has made great strides over the past decade to improve their user experience and user interface. Let’s do a little comparison of what Salesforce used to look like versus what most users know Salesforce to be today.

screenshot of old salesforce dashboard

Old Salesforce

screenshot of new salesforce dashboard

New Salesforce

But what used to be an issue of a lagging user interface (that had more in common with Windows XP than any recent OS), has now blossomed into a problem of an overly complex user experience. If you’ve ever used a Salesforce offering, then you know how tedious and overly complex it can be to navigate, let alone operate most facets of the platform.

This UX/UI is problematic for a few reasons:

  1. It slows user adoption and prevents proper platform usage. Where applications like Slack lend themselves to being almost perfectly user friendly, Salesforce has grown too large and too complex for a similar experience. This can effectively prevent users from using the platform to its fullest.
  2. It can lead to additional training and support costs. If you can’t figure out how to use your new (or old) tool, your first instinct is probably to ask for help, but it’s not exactly that simple with Salesforce—unless you’re paying for it.

2. Cost

Speaking of costs, Salesforce is EXPENSIVE, and that capitalization was very intentional. 

For starters, as someone browsing Salesforce, it can often be difficult to even solicit an accurate price as the offering has grown so complex with such diverse pricing based on your needs.

Let’s consider the Sales and Service Cloud, which is one of Salesforce’s most popular offerings. Here are the pricing and feature breakdowns.

screenshot of sales and service cloud pricing breakdown

Source: Salesforce

screenshot of sales and service cloud features and additions

Source: Salesforce

At a glance, these prices seem reasonable until you realize this is a per-user, per-month breakdown. If you are a long-time enterprise user, you have likely witnessed your subscription costs grow to be thousands of dollars a month. And these are just the visible costs.

Some of the unseen costs of Salesforce include:

  1. Additional cloud requirements. If the Sales and Service Cloud doesn’t meet all of your needs, you might also need to explore the Commerce Cloud, the Community Cloud, or possibly both. If so, you might end up doubling your subscription cost before you acquire your needed functionality. This can quickly become a bottomless pit of costs for enterprise organizations.
  2. Lead database costs. Data is a precious resource when it comes to Salesforce subscriptions. Your basic Salesforce data limits include 1 GB of basic data storage and 10 GB of file storage (with a few extra gigs to go with Enterprise and Unlimited). Once you reach those limits, the additional costs look something like this:
    1. 5 USD/month per additional gigabyte of file storage
    2. 125 USD/month per additional 500MB of data storage
  3. Implementation. Depending on the size of your organization and the scope of your needs, implementation costs can run anywhere from roughly $5,000 to an excess of $80,000. This generally depends on the degree of set-up needs, custom configuration requirements, as well as any necessary data migration services.
  4. Service and support. Basic support includes access to an online case submission portal, 12/5 phone support and two business-day response times. If you want to upgrade this service level to include 24/7 assistance, 1-hour responses, and 1-on-1 coaching, you can expect to pay at least 15% again on your total subscription cost for Premier or Premier+.
  5. API call limits. Every time a user loads a page of data or loads something that draws data via an integration, a call is used. The default call limit for Salesforce is 15,000/day per organization, which could become a problem for organizations of considerable size. Reaching this limit could require the addition of users or a subscription level upgrade.

 

With Salesforce, it’s a lot like car shopping—what you see on the site is basically just the sticker price. You still have to figure out taxes and interest, determine what options you want, and think about ongoing maintenance and upgrades you may need/want down the road.

3. AppExchange

What most Salesforce users have come to realize is that some of the functionality that they were anticipating from Salesforce is actually missing. That’s where AppExchange comes in.

AppExchange is a marketplace full of software, hardware, and service offerings that you can use to extend your Salesforce functionality. It’s home to some of the biggest names in the game, like PWC, Accenture, Adobe, and many more. It’s also home to thousands of apps and add-ons that you’ve never heard of—many of which were built specifically for Salesforce.  

screenshot of appexchange home page

Source: AppExchange

It looks and sounds pretty powerful, and it is—but like the hidden costs, it’s what you don’t see right away that’s damaging.

AppExchange can be detrimental because:

  1. Almost every new app costs you extra. With only a few free apps available, you might rack up thousands of dollars in additional monthly spend in order to customize your Salesforce experience to meet all of your business’s unique needs.
  2. Integrations are extra too. Apps that are hosted on AppExchange don’t necessarily integrate directly with Salesforce or allow seamless data transfers., Achieving this functionality often requires custom integrations work after-the-fact which only deepens your Salesforce investment.
  3. Data miscommunications can occur. Your data is your livelihood, and not everything listed on the AppExchange marketplace is going to enable you to seamlessly transfer data. This can create additional toil for your internal teams as new manual processes may need to be created.
  4. Security can be compromised. Enterprise cyber security is a growing issue, and each additional cloud service provider that you engage with creates another doorway where cyber criminals can gain access to valuable business information.

4. Mobile App Limitations

The reality is that Salesforce isn’t directly built for mobile. Instead, Salesforce offers the Lightning Builder which enables users to create and configure their own (highly customizable) mobile applications. The idea is that individuals without development knowledge can still create custom mobile applications for their businesses.

salesforce lightning app builder screenshot

Source: Salesforce

But, some of the problems with the Lightning Builder include:

  1. A steep learning curve. Despite being an almost code-free environment, users still need to be highly adept or highly trained in order to effectively navigate the Lightning Builder dashboard. 
  2. Upgrade requirements. If you are on an Enterprise or Unlimited subscription, then you get free access to the Lightning Builder. However, if you aren’t in one of those subscription tiers, you’ll have to pay an additional $25 to $100+ USD per user per month to get this functionality.
  3. Resource investment. You may be starting to notice a trend that most Salesforce functionality requires something more, whether it’s cash outlay, resource outlay, or otherwise. The costs never cease. 

 

If your business depends on mobile devices and mobile functionality, Salesforce could present a bit of a roadblock. Other CRMs like HubSpot, Zoho, and Vendasta are built with more of a mobile-first mentality that enables customers to access and leverage their CRM through either a mobile app or adaptive web portals.

5. Limited Prospecting Capabilities

So Salesforce is a CRM—if not the CRM—right?. Why, then, does it have such limited functionality for prospect automation? Prospecting can often prove to be one of the most difficult parts of the lead generation process, and most Salesforce users know very well that they need to consult other providers to help them with this.

What Salesforce has:

  1. Best-in-class lead tracking capabilities with detailed insights into prospect behavior
  2. Sophisticated lead scoring algorithms to help users determine intent with a high degree of certainty
  3. Cross-departmental event triggers to help sales and marketing departments stay aligned
  4. Custom journey building to trigger events based on different interactions with your business

What Salesforce is missing:

  1. Technology that will seek out sales opportunities in your desired market without lifting a finger
  2. Automated assessments of prospects to determine gaps/needs and identify specific sales opportunities
  3. Highly personalized sales content and pages of tailored documentation that can be created with as little effort as a Google search

 

The reality is that tools like the award-winning Snapshot Report offer needs-based prospect automation capabilities (as mentioned above) that the San Francisco giant simply doesn’t at this time.

screenshot of the snapshot report

Source: Vendasta

6. Size & Fit

You wouldn’t buy a size 11 shoe if you wear a 9, so why would you invest in software that doesn’t fit? The simple reality is that Salesforce is a lot, and a lot too much for most businesses. Before you enter into a partnership with Salesforce (or leave one), you need to think long and hard about what needs you are aiming to fulfill in the partnership because odds are good that there is another provider that specializes in exactly what you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Salesforce is an incredibly powerful platform for sales and marketing professionals. But, it isn’t a best-fit for everyone. Take the aforementioned insights into consideration if you are either sizing up a partnership with Salesforce or reexamining the one that you already have.

About the Author

Brock is a Marketing Analyst at Vendasta with a passion for the more creative things in life. He also answers to Archie - for obvious reasons... And when he's not putting his fingers in paint, or saving Riverdale, he can usually be found asking Google one of the many more embarrassing "how to" questions.

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