Salesforce is likely among the top candidates in your consideration set if you’re shopping for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. For most, it’s the most recognized name in CRMs, but Salesforce may not be the best fit based on your specific business needs.
Technology is moving faster than ever, and new era CRMs are popping up like dandelions in the summer sun. It can be easy to get lost in the noise. Below is a curated list of CRM alternatives to Salesforce, highlights of the unique attributes and strategic benefits to each, as well as a ranking and scoring index to help you make an informed decision.
The Case for Salesforce
Founded in 1999, Salesforce has remained a CRM industry leader for the better part of two decades. It has evolved from its on-premise hardware roots into a robust cloud-based platform with an expansive solution set. Today, Salesforce offers products for sales, marketing, support, HR, supply chain management, ecommerce, and much more—growing ever-closer to earning enterprise resource planning (ERP) classification.
Here are some of Salesforce’s greatest benefits:
- Lead tracking and analytics. Few solutions in the world rival the depth of prospect and customer data that Salesforce gathers, tracks, and provides to users. Every touchpoint is logged and analyzed, allowing users to make informed sales and marketing decisions.
- Cloud security. Salesforce is a cloud pioneer and among the most secure and compliant platforms in the industry. Large organizations that manage sensitive data see this as a major asset.
- Salesforce ecosystem. AppExchange is Salesforce’s app and developer marketplace, built to allow Salesforce users to shop for other solutions that can be integrated with their CRM. This marketplace is home to more than 3,150 apps, two million developers, and has already bolstered millions of successful applications.
The Case Against Salesforce
Over the years, Salesforce has continued to add richer features and functionality. Performance has never been greater, but the CRM giant has also grown increasingly complicated and difficult to use. If simplicity and a product-led user experience are what you’re looking for, then Salesforce is not the product for you. But that’s not all.
Some of the less appealing aspects of Salesforce include:
- Cost. If you’re looking for a low-cost solution to ease your marketing pains, then Salesforce is not the answer. Seat-based pricing tiers and numerous modules make Salesforce among the most expensive options on the market.
- AppExchange. Although this can be a powerful resource, it can also be a productivity inhibitor and a major cost bucket. Most of these apps must be purchased in addition to your existing subscription, usually require custom integrations, and many don’t communicate with or exchange data well with your core platform.
- Enterprise-scale. Salesforce is predominantly an enterprise-scale application, so it might not be the best option for small and medium-sized organizations.
Check out this article on 6 Reasons to Reconsider Salesforce to find out more.
Each of the alternatives on this list has been allocated a score out of 10 based on the criteria of user-friendliness, breadth of functionality, ease of deployment, pricing, as well as integrations. These scores have been determined based on research from G2Crowd and Capterra.
The Top 7 Salesforce Alternatives for B2B Companies
Carefully consider each of the options on this list before making a definitive decision about a CRM. Each of these Salesforce competitors boasts unique features and advantages that might speak specifically to your unique business needs.
Here’s our countdown of the Top 7 Salesforce alternatives.
7. Oracle CX
CX is the Oracle equivalent of an enterprise CRM that can orchestrate smarter, cross-channel marketing and sales for both B2B and B2C applications. This division of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant is comprised of Marketing, Sales, Commerce, and Service modules.
- Oracle ecosystem. If you already use the Oracle cloud suite, then this product easily integrates with any of those modules. Alternatively, if this is your first Oracle deployment, then you should be aware that there are dozens of additional cloud offerings that can connect to the CX platform.
- World-class security. Oracle is the only solution on this list that might rival or even surpass that of Salesforce from a feature function and IT security standpoint. Oracle covers it all - from data protection to advanced threat intelligence and research functionality.
Oracle doesn’t provide list pricing as most contracts are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. If you’re interested in finding out more about the cost of an Oracle solution, your best bet is to visit this pricing list or else make the call.
Overall Score: 5.2
Oracle is a leader in global enterprise software and employs nearly 200,000 people. However, they are lagging in the CRM space as a result of an outdated user experience/user interface (UX/UI), modular fragmentation, and pricing that puts them out of reach for many markets.
SugarCRM’s M.O. is customer experience with a focus on giving their clients the clearest possible view of those they serve. Their portfolio includes solutions for marketing and sales automation, plus customer service (as well as on-premise and small-business solutions for select customers).
- Great customer service. As the four-time PCMag Business Choice Award Winner for Customer Experience, the team at SugarCRM scores big on their willingness to lend a hand.
- HD-CX. This is an artificial intelligence (AI) enriched functionality that enables users to create and analyze comprehensive historical records on every customer account. This provides greater clarity on the buyer’s journey and aggregates key insights for more informed future decision making.
SugarCRM is not the most affordable solution on the market. With 10 user minimums on all subscription tiers, the minimum monthly contract is effectively $520 for Sugar Professional. However, it’s a complete solution with no add-ons or hidden fees.
Overall Score: 5.4
SugarCRM is a somewhat expensive CRM alternative that may not have the functionality to back its price tag. That being said, it could still be a great option for businesses struggling with customer retention as much of the platform is geared towards management of the post-purchase relationship.
Pipedrive is a sales management tool designed to help small sales teams navigate intricate or lengthy sales processes. Primary features include lead/pipeline virtualization, call/email tracking, and automated reporting. Pipedrive is also available and optimized as a mobile app for sales reps that need to take their work on the road.
Source: Fit Small Business
- Easy to implement and use. G2Crowd rates Pipedrive as the easiest sales tool to implement. Reps just log in, upload their pipeline, and start selling.
- AI-powered sales assistant. Pipedrive users get access to a virtual sales mentor that provides each rep with personalized advice to help them continuously improve their craft.
- One-click integrations. Pipedrive has a marketplace of 150 apps that can be integrated to boost the platform performance. Many of these integrations can be completed with a single click.
Pipedrive is a great option for teams on a tighter budget. Starting at $12.50 a seat, Pipedrive is built for smaller sales teams. Not included in the prices (below) is the LeadBooster add-on which clocks in at an additional $32.50 per month. Other additional costs stem from additional integrations from the Pipedrive marketplace.
Overall Score: 6.4
Pipedrive is a niche product, designed for smaller teams that need a specific solution. It’s a focussed platform with great UI/UX, but it often leaves a lot of needs unmet and doesn’t foster a strong sales and marketing relationship. If you have a larger team or a more complex sales and marketing funnel, then Pipedrive likely won’t be the best fit.
Zoho is one of the leading CRMs for small-to-mid-sized sales organizations. Founded in 1996 and headquartered in India, Zoho is an international company that has grown from it’s CRM roots to include an app ecosystem that is home to more than 60 Zoho-based offerings.
- Conversational sales AI. Dubbed “Zia,” the Zoho CRM comes with a powerful assistant that is activated through conversation with your sales reps. Simply ask her a question, and she will help you find historical data, make lead and deal predictions, and send you reminders/alerts so that you don’t miss prime contact opportunities.
- 60+ O&O apps. Rather than having to source external integrations to beef up your CRM, Zoho has a network of owned and operated apps that can be added or removed to scale your solution to meet your unique business needs, without clunky integrations.
- SalesIQ. This app is a mashup of live chat, visitor tracking, and advanced analytics. The most compelling part of this app, however, is that it provides sales reps with real time updates on visitors who are actively interacting with the website.
The Zoho CRM is a more affordable CRM system, priced from $12 per user for a Standard subscription.
However, the CRM is just one facet of Zoho’s tech stack. Zoho’s complete app repertoire is more than 60 solutions strong and growing. These apps can be purchased and plugged in individually or purchased in bundles. Zoho One is the most popular of those bundles and commands a slightly higher price tag for access to 40 of their apps.
Overall Score: 6.8
Considering what you get, the Zoho CRM is priced to sell and offers users a lot of unique tools through an easy to use interface. The broader Zoho ecosystem also gives users the opportunity to grow and expand their stack to meet additional needs as their business grows and evolves.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 falls somewhere on the spectrum between CRM and ERP platforms. It is built for enterprise use and has apps for marketing, sales, customer service, field service, finance, operations, commerce, HR, and more. Additionally, many of these modules and apps are infused with mixed reality and AI enhancements.
Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Microsoft familiarity. For those that are part of the Microsoft ecosystem, Dynamics 365 UI/UX should feel incredibly familiar.
- Microsoft ecosystem. Beyond familiarity, Dynamics 365 also integrates with other Microsoft apps that you already know and love, such as Power BI, SharePoint, Office, Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, OneNote, and more.
- Mixed reality software. This emerging division of Dynamics 365 offers users an unparalleled virtualization experience. From remote assist tools to enhanced collaboration in a mixed reality setting all the way to virtual reality (VR)-enabled product visualizations to help sell products and services.
Dynamics 365 pricing is broken into eight core modules, each individually priced and packaged. Depending on the module, these apps are either priced on a tenant or user basis, with discounts for customers who have already purchased a module or any of the apps within. The theme across all of these modules is that they are extremely expensive unless you fall within the enterprise business cohort.
Here is an example of pricing on the Sales module:
Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365
Overall Score: 7.0
In terms of direct Salesforce competitors at an enterprise level, there are few that check as many boxes as Dynamics 365. If you are a larger company already using the Microsoft suite or are interested in leading-edge VR tools, then you should consider Dynamics 365.
Vendasta is a B2B platform that is equal parts CRM, reseller marketplace, and software vendor—all built under a white-label model. Everything you do with the Vendasta platform can be re-skinned with your branding and tailored to your unique customizations.
- White-labeling. Vendasta is a white-label company, meaning that almost every facet of the platform is rebrandable and resellable. This is a great opportunity for B2B companies looking to grow their offering and diversify their client revenue streams.
- Marketplace. Vendasta’s Marketplace lets you pick, price, and package hundreds of solutions that can be instantly added to a pre-configured ecommerce store. Solutions available include Mono Websites, Microsoft 365, G Suite, GoDaddy, and hundreds more.
- Snapshot Report. This award-winning tool gives customers powerful prospect automation reports. In one click, the Snapshot Report conducts a comprehensive assessment of a business’s online presence, identifying strengths as well as potential gaps and sales opportunities.
- Extensive free functionality. While many CRMs have limited free functionality, Vendasta’s Sales and Success Center has unlimited access at the free tier. The only limits are Snapshot Report and Local Business Online Toolkit volumes, as well as an email volume cap.
As previously mentioned, Vendasta offers a free tier that allows you to sign-up without a credit card and gain access to the entire CRM. You can try it first before making a purchase.
Source: Vendasta Pricing
Vendasta’s paid tiers vary slightly based on the contract discounts, but here is what you can expect from a monthly or yearly subscription.
Source: Vendasta Pricing
What you will notice is that Vendasta is much lower-priced than alternatives that charge large premiums for additional seats, and have dozens of other hidden costs. With Vendasta, what you see is what you get.
Overall Score: 7.6
Vendasta takes a CRM and turns it into a comprehensive business hub. If you think there is an opportunity for you to expand your business by selling new white-label apps, reselling world-class brands, and still get everything you need out of a B2B CRM, then you should book a demo with Vendasta.
Check out the Vendasta platform and learn how you can unlock your B2B growth potential.
HubSpot is a popular CRM that has been an up-and-comer for most of the company’s 14-year history. However, that reputation is changing. Today, HubSpot is arguably Salesforce’s greatest challenger and among the most powerful platforms available to businesses. From ad and content automation to pipeline plus service and support automation, HubSpot has an answer for every step of the journey—as long as you have the bankroll.
- A size for all. HubSpot has built different tiers of software and functionality to fit the needs of all businesses, regardless of their size. However, the shopping experience can be clunky and confusing.
- UX/UI that scales. From free to enterprise, HubSpot has maintained a user-friendly interface that continues to delight customers.
- Cross-platform communication. With HubSpot, everything is connected. Most similar platforms are quite fragmented, but HubSpot maintains strong communication and collaboration between modules. It’s a key feature for businesses that need to align sales, marketing, and success.
- Specialized software. HubSpot offers niche software that (otherwise) generally needs to be sourced from independent vendors. For example, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub includes adaptable website components such as smart web pages, CTAs, and forms that allow users to personalize site aspects for each prospect that visits.
Much like Salesforce, HubSpot pricing has become complex. Plans are broken out based on free tools, the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, the Service Hub, and the CMS Hub. However, it’s almost impossible to determine an exact price without consulting the HubSpot pricing calculator.
Here are some general pricing tiers for the Sales and Marketing Hubs.
Overall Score: 8.2
HubSpot is a robust CRM that outshines Salesforce in almost every category. If you are a large business looking for comprehensive functionality and apps, then HubSpot deserves serious consideration. For small businesses, HubSpot’s free tools and lower subscriptions may provide all of the functionality you need.
There are many credible CRM alternatives outside of Salesforce. It’s wise to seriously consider some of the options previously outlined to find one that is the best fit for your organization and it's unique needs.
Here’s that ranked list once again:
- Microsoft Dynamics 365