8 Salesforce Competitors and Alternatives for Small Businesses

In this article, we will go through some of the best Salesforce competitors; let’s get started!

Did you know that, according to Statista, in 2019, the CRM market size was valued at $41.93 billion, and by 2027, it is expected that it will reach $96.39 billion?

Several businesses and organizations use customer relationship management (CRM) to build and maintain relationships with their potential customers, existing customers, partners, vendors, suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders.

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Source: HubSpot

Saying that Customer Relationship Management is essential in today’s world would be an understatement. CRM is one of the most essential and valuable tools for an organization as it improves several business processes.

According to TruJay, a customer relationship management software can:

  • Boost the revenue of a business by 41% per sales rep.
  • Improve the lead conversion rate by 300%.
  • Decrease marketing and sales spendings by 23%.

Another advantage of using CRM software is that it helps identify customer purchase preferences and trends. You can leverage this data to create new opportunities, such as personalized deals and new innovative products, leading to customer satisfaction and delight.

Whether you’re a small business or just starting out, a CRM system can help you nurture your existing customer base and generate new leads.

If you choose the best CRM there is for your small business, it can help with the following:

  • Increase sales
  • Attract new clients
  • Build stronger relationships with existing customers
  • Create the right environment for growth.

A customer-related CRM database for small businesses also provides an insight into customer purchasing behaviors, which is a highly essential piece of information for small businesses.

The importance of customer relationship management (CRM) is an indisputable fact. It is the foundation of your business, so it is crucial for you to choose the best CRM system to succeed.

Salesforce is currently the leader in the CRM software marketplace and had a share of 16.8% in 2018. However, there are many other Salesforce alternatives in the market for the specific needs of a small business.

In this article, we will compare several CRM platforms to make your evaluation easier and provide you with insights on how these Salesforce competitors can serve your small business better.

What is Salesforce? What is Salesforce used for?

According to Statista, companies that switch to Salesforce witness an average of 25% revenue increase, but what is Salesforce, and what is Salesforce used for? Let’s take a look.

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM platform with applications for all of your essential departments such as customer service, marketing, sales, e-commerce and performs other functions that help bring companies and customers together.

Using a CRM platform like Salesforce provides organizations with a competitive advantage as the software can be customized according to your unique business needs.

How to Use Salesforce

To understand more about what Salesforce is and how to use Salesforce, you need to know the different services provided by the CRM giant.

Through Salesforce, you can access a number of products and services, such as the Cloud and Marketing domains.

How to Use Salesforce Sales Cloud

Step 1: Log in to your Salesforce account.
Step 2: Click on Products and choose Sales.
Step 3: After the new window opens, click on Campaign or Account, Lead or Contact, depending on your objectives.
Step 4: Add your details and click the Save button.

How to Use Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Step 1: Log in to your Salesforce account.
Step 2: Click on Products and click on Marketing.
Step 3: After the new window opens, connect your Marketing Cloud account with your Salesforce account.
Step 4: Now, click on select Setup, click on Users, and select the Create button.
Step 5: Select your Time Zone.
Step 6: Set a temporary password.
Step 7: Click on the Save button.

Cons of Salesforce

It works wonders for many big organizations; however, for a small business, it does have some cons, such as:

  • It’s expensive
  • To get the most out of the platform, you have to pay for add-ons
  • Setup and configuration are complicated and time-consuming
  • It has a cluttered interface
  • Customer support has a bad reputation

When it comes to the features of Salesforce, you just cannot complain. The CRM giant has about every feature that you need in a CRM system, and you can customize features according to your requirements and needs.

However, one of the deal-breakers for a small business is pricing and usability.
The system is quite complex to set up and makes even the simplest tasks very frustrating to complete.

Why Should I Pick A Salesforce Competitor?

Salesforce provides several integrations, but if you’re a small business, it is likely that you won’t go for an overly expensive CRM platform.

If you check the prices out on Salesforce’s website, you will see that the pricing plans look relatively affordable.

Remember that the prices you see are per user, per month, and are billed annually. However, you would also have to pay for implementing the CRM software, the customizations you require, and the additional plugin costs.

According to Venture Harbour, Salesforce could cost a business at least 5,000 USD for a single user annually. Considering this, your business, consisting of a small team, would have to pay up to 50,000 USD per year.

According to a survey by Small Business Trends, 71% of respondents said that they expect small businesses to provide better service and attention. If they do so, they will be rewarded accordingly.

However, since there is an unavailability of service agents on Salesforce, small businesses struggle with customer support of Salesforce as they require individual attention and are not entirely satisfied with it.

Salesforce is indeed a fantastic software if you have millions of customers, but for a small business, you probably won’t even use 10% of the functions provided by the platform.

Besides that, as mentioned above, it is pretty expensive, with the prices being extremely high for a small business. Thus, if you are a small business, Salesforce is definitely an overkill.

There are several other businesses that tried Salesforce but, due to a poor experience, had to switch to other CRM platforms.

So, what are some of the best Salesforce alternatives for small businesses to consider?

Below, we break down eight Salesforce competitors for small businesses who are on the lookout for another CRM platform.

8 Best Salesforce Competitors For Small Businesses

1.HubSpot

One of the best Salesforce alternatives, HubSpot, is a complete CRM software with all the tools you need to grow your small business.

With HubSpot, you can accelerate sales, increase leads, provide better customer service, and build a fantastic website.

The best thing about HubSpot? The basic version of it is completely free. It also offers forever-free plans to ensure that if in the future the prices increase or something else changes, existing users will be safely locked into their current HubSpot plans.

Following are some of the foundational tools found in HubSpot’s CRM platform:

  • Features
  • Contact management
  • Contact website activity
  • Deals
  • Tasks
  • Company insights
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Custom support form fields
  • Ticketing
  • Forms
  • Ad management
  • Shared inbox
  • Reporting dashboard
  • Email templates
  • Documents
  • Ability to schedule meetings and much more.

Favorite feature:

Automation for sure! Users can use automation for many objectives, such as:

  • Client onboarding
  • Training new team members
  • Enhancing project management

As a Salesforce alternative, HubSpot’s automation feature will save you hours every single day.

Pricing: The basic CRM software is free; however, the CRM suite, which is a bundle of marketing, sales, and customer service hubs, starts at 45 USD per month. You can also customize a bundle according to the needs of your business.

The prices of the Professional and Enterprise packages are pretty high, though, at 1,600 USD per month and 5,000 per month, respectively.

You can also request a demo or start a free trial.

Learn more about the pricing here.

2.Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM offers an array of sales, marketing, customer support, finance, and recruitment features and functionalities to help your small and medium-sized businesses grow.

The free version of Zoho can support three users. As well, this alternative to Salesforce is fantastic for project management and can organize contacts, manage sales transactions, automate marketing, manage sales transactions, and deliver excellent customer support via chat.

With approximately 75 million users globally, one of the best things about Zoho is that it respects the privacy of its users and does not have an ad-revenue business model, including the free version.

Features:

  • CRM views
  • Leads
  • Contacts
  • Accounts
  • Deals
  • Tasks
  • Advanced filters
  • Page customization
  • Custom list views
  • Standard reports
  • Email notifications
  • Email authentication
  • Direct messages
  • Reviews
  • Ability to attach documents and much more.

Favorite feature: You’ve heard of Siri and Alexa, but have you heard of Zia?
Zia is the AI-powered conversational assistant built into Zoho CRM and helps users with everyday tasks just by listening to your voice commands. We are obsessed!

Pricing: The free version is absolutely free for three users. It is 14 USD per user a month for more users, billed annually and 20 USD per month billed monthly.

Learn more about the pricing here.

HubSpot vs. Zoho

HubSpot and Zoho are both fantastic CRM platforms and great Salesforce alternatives. However, choosing one of them is quite a challenging task.

Take a look at HubSpot vs. Zoho below to see who wins:

1.Pricing

We mentioned above that when it comes to the pricing of HubSpot, the free edition is absolutely free and provides several free features. However, there is a catch!

With the free version, you get limited documents and email templates and only one link for scheduling meetings.

The most expensive version of HubSpot costs a whopping 5000 USD per month, with its starter package falling to 45 USD per month.

On the other hand, Zoho is not as expensive as HubSpot, and its ultimate plan costs 65 USD a month only. So, if you’re a small business, Zoho is the perfect option for you.

2.Key Features

Both Salesforce competitors have several features that you need in a CRM platform. Some of them are listed below:

  • Contact management
  • Lead management
  • Email marketing
  • Sales forecasting
  • Integrations for Microsoft 365, G Suite, and several social media applications.

HubSpot also has an integration for e-commerce, and this is what Zoho lacks. However, Zoho has an advantage when it comes to customization.

Thus, if you need customization features as a small business, Zoho is where you need to go!

3.Automation

As mentioned earlier, both Salesforce competitors provide sales automation.

However, Zoho wins with features like assignment rules, scoring rules, assignment rules, and currencies when it comes to advanced features. HubSpot, too, has the same features, but they’re way more expensive, while you get the same features for less with Zoho.

4.User Interface

Zoho’s user interface feels quite outdated. As well, the CRM platform at higher prices gets quite complicated.

Thus, when it comes to the user interface, HubSpot takes the win!

HubSpot vs. Zoho – Winner

Based on the categories mentioned above, it would be quite easy to simply say that Zoho is the winner of HubSpot vs. Zoho. However, when it comes to CRM tools, the winner cannot be decided on the basis of wins and losses and requires more insights.

The right CRM platform for you is the one that matches your requirements, objectives, and business goals. Thus, evaluate the features and make a list of your requirements, and then work with the CRM software that best suits your needs.

3.Less Annoying CRM

Created especially for small businesses, Less Annoying CRM was started in 2009 by two brothers to help them succeed.

The platform is an amazing Salesforce alternative and provides small businesses with everything that they need, and just like their name, it actually is a less annoying CRM platform as it has no annoying buzzwords, no long-term contracts, and no complex pricing plans.

Features:

  • Contact management
  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Leads and pipelines
  • Multiple users
  • Easy collaboration
  • Customization
  • Mobile access
  • Easy importing
  • Free updates
  • One-click export
  • Free email and phone support

Favorite Feature:

Are you worried about losing your potential leads? This CRM system provides you with an up-to-date list of every business lead, including the priority and status, contact information, and the note from the last time you talked to the lead.

Pricing:

You can get Less Annoying CRM for just 15 USD per user a month. The best thing about it is that you can get a 30-day unlimited free trial, so you can thoroughly test all the features before deciding if you want to pay for the platform.

Another thing we love about Less Annoying CRM is that when you sign up for the free trial, they don’t ask for your credit card details, so you don’t have to worry about canceling it at the end of the trial.

Learn more about the pricing here.

4.Freshworks

A great alternative to Salesforce, the CRM platform Freshworks makes it easy for small businesses to delight their employees and customers by taking a fresh approach.

Freshworks is affordable, easy to implement, and is designed for the end-user. It doesn’t matter if you belong to HR, IT, customer service, marketing, or sales personnel; the best thing about this platform is that it is extremely easy to use for everyone.

Features:

  • Analytics
  • Neo Admin Center
  • Collaboration
  • Events and Notifications
  • Unified Customer Records
  • Messaging Channels
  • Marketplace
  • Customer Spotlight
  • Freddy AI

However, one of the most significant drawbacks of Freshworks is that it does have a few third-party integrations with third parties; however, they’re pretty limited.

Favorite Feature:

Freddy AI, no doubt! Its AI capabilities include automation, insights and recommendations, and chatbots. It is also trained to deliver customized solutions to support marketing, sales, and IT departments.

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Source: Freshworks

Pricing:

Freshworks has different pricing for different plans, starting at 15 USD per month, billed annually. You can also try their free trials for different divisions, such as Freshdesk, Freshsales, Freshmarketer, Freshservice, and Freshteam.

The platform is a fantastic Salesforce competitor and has two free tools:

Freshping: Powerful but straightforward website monitoring.
Freshstatus: Manage incidents efficiently with a live status page.

Learn more about the pricing here.

5.vTiger

Another great Salesforce competitor is vTiger, a CRM software that helps businesses improve both current and potential customer experiences by automating marketing, sales, and customer support functions. It also allows users to manage their work on the go with their mobile applications, available for both iOS and Android.

vTiger is an award-winning CRM platform, making it the perfect alternative to Salesforce.

Features:

  • Sales automation
  • Communication & collaboration
  • Helpdesk automation
  • Calculus AI
  • Sales enablement
  • Analytics & intelligence
  • Pipeline management
  • Sales engagement
  • Administration
  • Tools
  • Marketing automation, and many more.

Favorite Feature:

Calculus AI is a feature on vTiger that recommends and predicts the next action for your business on the basis of conversation analysis, helping you improve customer experiences.

The AI system performs a number of procedures, such as sentiment analysis and call quality analysis, and then provides the sales team with relevant data on their AI-powered dashboards.

Pricing:

Prices start at 20 USD per user a month, billed annually. vTiger also provides users a “Forever Free” account along with free trials for their Professional and Enterprise versions.

Learn more about the pricing here.

6.SuiteCRM

This Salesforce competitor enables you to transform your business by allowing the following:

  • Create a single tailored repository for all data of your customers.
  • Capture crucial leads, manage opportunities and create personalized offerings to save time.
  • Engage with your customers with consistent messaging, personalized experiences, and targeted marketing content.
  • Enable quality customer support.

Features:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Reports
  • Dashboard
  • Configuration studio
  • Activity management
  • Case management

Favorite Feature:

SuiteCRM provides you with a 360-degree view and enables you to truly know your potential and existing customers by developing a repository for all of their data. You can then take advantage of these insights to enhance the customer experience and nurture your relationships with them.

Pricing:

The basic plans do not cost anything; however, add-ons such as SuiteCRM OnDemand start at 95 USD per month billed annually. SuiteCRM also provides a free 30-day trial.

Learn more about the pricing here.

7.Pipedrive

Founded in 2010, Pipedrive started incorporating activity-based selling – an approach that is about tracking, scheduling, and completing activities.

Pipedrive also provides users with visual pipelines, allowing you to see where each deal stands.

The CRM platform also allows businesses to have a customer-related CRM database for small businesses and several other easy-to-use features and functionalities.

Features:

  • Manage leads
  • Manage deals
  • Track communications
  • Contact management
  • Email (scheduling, syncing, tracking)
  • Documents
  • Sales pipelines
  • Insights
  • Reports
  • Security
  • AI chatbot
  • Mobile integration and apps

Favorite Feature:

Visual pipelines is the feature that takes the win! It allows users to:

  • Organize deals
  • Customize the stages according to your business’s sales cycle
  • Create team pipelines
  • Filter by stage or rep

Pricing:

Pricing plans start at just 12.50 USD a user per month. The most expensive pricing plan costs 99 USD per month per user. The platform provides a 14-day trial, so you can check out the plans before paying for them.

Learn more about the pricing here.

8.Really Simple Systems

This fantastic CRM alternative is perfect for small businesses as it is designed for growing teams needing an easy-to-use and simple CRM platform for marketing, sales, and customer service.
Really Simple Systems also works great if your small business staff works remotely.

Currently, the platform has more than 18,000 customers, making it an excellent Salesforce alternative.

Features:

  • Contact management
  • Pipeline management
  • Tasks & calendars
  • Email integration
  • Lead management
  • Email marketing
  • Campaign management
  • Reports and forecasts
  • Customization
  • Marketing automation
  • Case management

Favorite Feature:

We just have to pick campaign management! The features allow users to run marketing campaigns directly from the CRM platform, thus, allowing them to track their success right from the system.

It also enables users to create multiple marketing campaigns on multiple social media platforms for different customer segments of your target marketing. You can also create automated marketing campaigns.

Other features of campaign management include managing email marketing campaigns as well as Google Ads and PPC.

Pricing:

The basic version of Really Simple Systems is absolutely free, while the starter package costs 14 USD a user per month, billed monthly. The most expensive package is relatively cheap compared to prices of other alternatives to Salesforce, costing only 46 USD a month per user, billed annually.

You can also try the free trial of their Professional package that provides 5 GB of document storage, unlimited contacts, and 5,000 company records.

Learn more about the pricing here.

Take Away

In this article, we went through eight Salesforce alternatives for small businesses, as Salesforce may not be the right choice for them due to its extremely high prices, complex usability, and unavailability of service agents.

So, if you have a small business, know that there are several Salesforce competitors CRM platforms you can use.

Most CRM platforms provide a free trial and have a free version, so you can test them before deciding if they are worth paying or not. We’ve provided you with a list consisting of eight Salesforce competitors and alternatives, so do your research and start with the one that aligns the most with your business goals and needs.

It is impossible to say which customer relationship management system is the best; as discussed above in HubSpot vs. Zoho, as it depends on the nature of your business and the specific needs of your team.

Suppose you have a business that does most of its promotions through online ads (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn) and is involved a lot with social media. In that case, platforms like Zoho, HubSpot, and Really Simple Systems might be good for your business.

However, if you require a CRM system for day-to-day tasks, sales, and projects, a customer relationship management platform like Less Annoying CRM and Pipedrive are excellent options for you.

In the end, just know what your business needs, and don’t be afraid to test different CRM platforms to ultimately find the one that works the best for you.

Before making the final choice, remember that some CRM softwares, such as Zoho, allow you to add multiple users for free without paying anything. You can ask your employees, partners, and team members to test those platforms out with you so you can see which one works the best for all of you.

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