Why are companies switching away from Salesforce? Are there better CRMs on the market that better balance price and features? Keep reading for our take on why Salesforce isn't "the best" option for most businesses (yep, so that probably means you - now aren't ya glad you found this article?).
First, a quick refresher on how you got here — you + Salesforce = breaking up 💔
Praise for Salesforce comes from its ability to do "everything", be "flexible", and "highly customizable". Companies are often told "If you ever want to scale, you'll end up eventually using Salesforce anyway" and this sounds appealing, we know, especially if you want to continue growing your business.
You hired the consultant. You paid a ton of money. The cost of Salesforce and maintaining it keeps getting higher. Team members aren't fully using it. It isn't quite doing for you what you had originally thought it would. Suddenly, you're not so happy with your decision.
Then you arrive here, realizing that Salesforce's "strong suit" of being highly customizable is what also makes it a double-edged sword. Too much customization is often overly complex for the majority of businesses - especially small-to-medium sized ones (talking 1-300 employees).
"Nobody gets fired for implementing Salesforce"
Pressure to implement Salesforce often also comes from inside the company. How? Hiring that rockstar employee (lets say a Sales Manager or VP) who used Salesforce at a previous company. They will likely be an advocate for Salesforce because people tend to move toward familiarity.
Salesforce was made for enterprise businesses who are doing usually hundreds of millions in revenue, and high hundreds of employees (even thousands and tens of thousands) using the CRM. This is their target market. Not you. Though, do they want to market to you (small & medium businesses) to try to get you onto their software super early so you're locked in for life? Absolutely! And they have endless resources to do this. More than any other CRM on the market.
So when new employees come in and say "Oh we gotta use Salesforce, I used it at my last company and it did everything!" take a moment and analyze the size of the previous company in comparison to yours. Are you a similar size?
Remember, enterprise companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions, in some cases 💸💸💸) over the course of years to get Salesforce to be configured to what that team member is used to using it as. So when an employee says "Oh, Salesforce is the best and it does everything" the question to ask is — how much was spent to get there? And who is it doing everything for? Take upper-management for example, who may just need to use it occasionally for reports, they often have a way better experience than those actually using it in the day-to-day.
Your business may not have 500+ employees using the CRM though. Maybe your company has has 100, maybe 50, or gosh — even 10 or less employees that actually need to use the CRM in their day-to-day. Different size teams, different needs, different budget, different outcome.
There are CRM's built for SMBs that come ready out of the box for a fraction of the cost. We cover some of them below.
These smaller CRMs take the needs of thousands of businesses and build the features that the average non-enterprise business needs. Before you start thinking about the uniqueness of your business and how pre-built features couldn't possibly work, we're here to tell you that we've yet to meet a business that is so unique that it can't use one of the below CRMs. Businesses sell things, they have relationships, they have clients/customers. A CRM gives you the ability to do most (if not all) of the things you'd need to do with these business functions, and with some proper thought, you can mold any of the below options to work great for your business.
In your research, you will likely come across Hubspot as a recommendation. We don't usually sing Hubspot's praises because they too are trying to be an enterprise tool. They offer free plans for small-medium businesses, and then piece-meal price each of their features. By the time you've added your contacts to the CRM (upgrade to raise your contact limit), marketing features (upgrade to send emails), cool new feature released (upgrade to unlock that as well). "But they are giving me a great deal, I get all the features at a reasonable price!" - yep, they will do that for a year, and then your bill will 2-4x the following year, right after you've invested hundreds of hours into setting up the CRM. We've seen customers go from $0-$5k for their first year to $20-40k their 2nd/3rd year, and every-single-time, we hear the same thing, how "trapped" they feel, and the "I don't understand how it got to this because it was free when we first started!"
If you're at all worried or wondering if a CRM like Copper will scale with your growing business, here are some facts that may put your mind at ease. Our largest customer is doing upwards of $100 million in revenue (using Copper along with some custom integrations that we built for them). Copper will work if you have anywhere from 1-200 seats (talking actual employees that using Copper in the day-to-day). With the right knowledge, we've proven that Copper can scale. Not to mention, it's also more enjoyable to use while also being more affordable than its Salesforce and Hubspot counterparts. We've still yet to meet even one sales rep that enjoys using Salesforce (VP's & managers at large companies, sure, but actually someone that is living in the CRM on the daily, not even 1 person).
(It's not uncommon for us to get messages like these from employees of companies that were forced to switch to Salesforce from Copper for no reason other than "it's more scalable"):
Your business will gain more value by taking the user-experience of your software into consideration. Why? Because it directly affects user adoption. Give employees a tool that they enjoy using and they will be more likely to adopt it into their daily workflow.
While SMB tools are technically trying to be "out of the box" solutions, you still need to:
Making sure that your CRM is working in a cohesive way, with all team members following the same process, is essential for a successful CRM implementation. A good CRM implementation will typically take 2-3 months to truly get off the ground.
Hiring a consult to outsource this project is a good idea because — frankly, it's going to save you a ton in staff wages. If you have employees with decent wages, wouldn't you rather them be working on something that they are actually qualified for instead of figuring out the best way to set up a CRM?
Our customers have reported saving dozens of hours per month in wages by outsourcing their CRM implementation.
Every business goes through growing pains when deciding which CRM to use as the center of their business. This decision should more or less be made once, and with the correct implementation, you shouldn't need to switch CRMs (unless your business model drastically changes - like you were doing B2B sales and now you've switched to selling T-Shirts online 😬)
We've seen companies cycle through CRMs year after year because the current solution "just isn't working", and they blame the tool. It's often not the tool that needs to be improved, it's the CRM implementation. With Salesforce, you will end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over years to get the "implementation that you dreamt of" (that you employees still will not enjoy using), while with SMB tools, you can spend a fraction of that to do most of what you want.
Finally, constantly switching CRM's will only leave you in limbo and you'll continue to have nothing to show for it. Investing the time and resources in a proper implementation compounds, year after year, and will pay dividends in the long run.
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Why are companies switching away from Salesforce? Are there better CRM's on the market for a greater bang for your buck? Listen to hear our thoughts on why Salesforce isn't the best first choice.
- Why companies choose to set up Salesforce and then regret it
- CRMs for small-medium sized businesses (1-300 employees)
- Solutions better than Salesforce for a fraction of the price