It’s no secret, that Salesforce pioneered CRM space by introducing cloud-based solution and since 1999 has been steadily conquering more and more share in the market. But does the best in the market really mean best for you? Let’s run over major Salesforce pros and cons based on real users’ feedback to see if it makes sense for your company to invest into this platform.
Salesforce has become McDonald’s in cloud-based software world and its innovativeness never ceases to amaze.
Not only this company has managed to grow from a garage-based SaaS startup to the self-sufficient ecosystem with $297 million of operating income, but, also, it continues to surprise with sums invested into new companies purchases like Slack ($27, 7 billion), and Acumen Solutions ($570 million) that took place in December, 2020 alone.
It goes without saying, that Salesforce long ago crossed the line of just a company to a unique concept in its ambition to combine integrity, comprehensibility, and accessibility.
Even though Salesforce constantly tries to make its platform simpler by introducing “Click-not-code” concept and extending its capabilities almost infinitely to cater to the needs of multiple business vectors, it still can be difficult and costly to operate and maintain Salesforce org.
And, frankly speaking, these are not the only contradictions of the platform.
As any tech solution, Salesforce has its pros and cons that should be considered prior to launching the project. We will try to surface major ones in our honest overview for you to make more informed and unbiased decision.
Salesforce Pros and Cons: Two-Faced Solution
To analyze Salesforce better, we will look at it from different angles like functionality, pricing, customer service and will support all the statements with real users’ reviews from independent platforms.
Implementation & Set Up
Salesforce is a super-reliable cloud solution that seems to be a more cost-effective investment comparing, for example, to on-premises CRMs. Because for implementing this system you need to hire fewer developers and have less IT resources to maintain it.
Nevertheless, you still require the admin’s assistance in the platform’s configuration and addressing users’ needs. But upside is that Salesforce’s popularity makes it much easier to find any type of professionals: in-house, outsourced, freelance, etc. with the necessary skills.
But, despite its seeming deployment simplicity that supposedly requires just a browser and internet connection, it’s definitely not for dummies and should involve expert consulting support along the whole implementation way, and, respectively, considerable upfront infusion of money.
Besides money investment, its launch requires significant input, that’s why this option may not be a good fit for small projects with limited budget and resources.
What’s more, even though Salesforce provides data storage, it provides it with a limit of 10 GB per organization that is, most likely, not enough for larger or growing companies. And if you decide to purchase additional space, you will become more dependent on Salesforce upgrades and downtimes at their own schedule.
To sum up, here are general Salesforce pros and cons in relation to implementation and launching:
- This platform can be accessed from any place in the world where you have an Internet connection.
- It is a tried and trusted solution with a 20-year reputation in the world’s CRM market. On the TrustRadius review platform, many users praise its reliability and that is among the top Salesforce advantages.
- Salesforce is an immensely popular platform so it won’t be a problem to find the right consulting or technical partner for any taste and budget.
- The project can engage fewer IT resources and its configuration and administration are much easier compared to on-premises CRM systems.
Some reviewers on TrustRadius.com even say that Salesforce’s benefits, power, and easy implementation outweigh the licensing costs:
- Salesforce relies fully on the Internet connection so it should be stable and reliable.
- Because of full reliance on the Salesforce database, you can have less control over CRM upgrades and planned downtimes.
- Considering all the expenses, it’s not a cheap solution, so it can be not the best fit for small companies and it’s what has been highlighted in the review on Capterra.com:
Salesforce is almost limitless in its ability to sync with various external systems like document management software, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), IT service management software, personal planning software, and others.
You can seamlessly integrate Salesforce with any software via AppExchange (Salesforce app marketplace) apps, Salesforce Connect, or Force.com to centralize all the processes and ensure mutual data exchange among all connected systems.
However, like any tools, out-of-the-box Salesforce integration solutions have certain technical limitations and some projects may require custom development of the integration tools or customization of the existing apps offered on AppExchange.
Additionally, some complex integration projects can be quite time-consuming and significantly extend the implementation process.
To summarize, there are general Salesforce strengths and weaknesses connected with integration capabilities:
- Salesforce is internationally renowned for having its own ecosystem that goes far beyond the CRM system. It provides a full list of integration solutions and tools as well as technical environment for developing custom software on top of Salesforce.
And Mike A. on Capterra.com has also mentioned the ability of Salesforce to synchronize with other systems among CRM system pros:
- AppExchange marketplace already offers over three thousand ready-to-install apps, Lightning Components, and BOLT solutions for seamless integration.
- Even though AppExchange has free apps, most of them are paid so you need to add subscription costs to the list of your CRM expenses.
- Too many integrated systems can significantly slow down Salesforce org and the whole project and also result in more bugs after each release or new integration. This point was brought up by one of Salesforce reviewers on TrustRadius.com:
Catering to All Business Needs
If you are looking for a solution that will unify all the complex business operations and automate key workflows tailored to your specific goals, then Salesforce is exactly what you need. You can do 99% of anything you want with it.
Salesforce is a multi-faceted platform for any business vector and a one-stop-shop for customer service, sales, and marketing activities automation due to its products also known as Clouds.
This CRM goliath offers a vast range of Clouds like: Sales, Service, Marketing, Pardot, Financial Services, Community, Commerce, Einstein Analytics, etc. for industries like Finances, Healthcare, Communications, Transportation and Hospitality, Non-Profits and others.
And even if there is no solution for your business, most likely Salesforce AppExchange partners like Ascendix have already built it for your niche.
Having over 1,500 registered partners, Salesforce lets other companies develop and sell solutions on top of their standard functionality.
Moreover, Salesforce enables you to remove/add new features, create your own applications and communication portals with the help of the Lightning Platform or even build your own website with the Salesforce tool called site.com.
However, you should be ready that all the functionality extensibility is not free of charge and so that to leverage additional features, you need to be ready to pay for them.
In addition to this, many users complain that excessive functionality may be too confusing for an average user and may cause frequent stopping and freezing of the system.
Also, any Salesforce edition: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, and even Unlimited has its limits in terms of number of custom fields created per object or amount of validation rules.
In terms of meeting needs of various business domains, there can be featured the following advantages and disadvantages:
- Salesforce can serve as an all-in-one tool for a great number of major industries.
- Due to its versatility this platform can be tailored to any business needs even those that require custom development.
Rich. O on Capterra.com claims that Salesforce capabilities have managed to meet the needs of their company that belongs to high-reliability industry: Critical Medical Aviation.
- Standardized functionality offered by Salesforce solutions can either be not enough for some large enterprise companies, or, vice versa, too excessive for small projects. And if in the first case you need to pay for the additional tuning of your platform, in the second you will have to pay for the full kit of features, half of which you, probably, will never use.
- Salesforce doesn’t offer ready-to-set-up-and-go solutions for smaller niches like Commercial Real Estate, Investment Sales, or Construction. Here is one of the reviews on Capterra.com claiming exactly the same:
Such industry sectors require custom functionality development or purchasing customized CRM solutions on top of Salesforce, like AscendixRE CRM.
Our product combines best practices of Salesforce platform seasoned with out-of-the-shelf features specifically for commercial real estate brokers.
Configuration & Customization Capabilities
Depending on your org needs, you can tailor Salesforce by configuring or customizing it. Configuration of your solution implies using point-and-click tools to introduce additional custom objects, tabs, and fields on top of existing objects.
Customization involves custom development of rules, reports, or other objects that are not readily available in Process Builder and require custom coding.
The good news is that basic configuration doesn’t require deep technical knowledge and due to Salesforce popularity, you can easily find the developer or admin that will perform necessary adjustments.
The bad news is that despite being a highly scalable solution, Salesforce customization has its weaknesses.
For example, sophisticated customization projects may require hiring a whole team of Salesforce experts like: consultants, developers, and admin that may reflect in higher expenses.
Moreover, over-engineering of your solution can result in a lower level of CRM adoption and poorer productivity.
Generalizing all Salesforce pros and cons in solution optimization capabilities, there can be highlighted the following ones:
- It is an agile CRM product that can be relatively easy configured and which has a great ability to be programmed to do what you need.
- Its unified code base enables faster creation of Salesforce-based tools using pre-set components and an existing solution as a basis for additional development.
- Low code Salesforce solutions can be tailored to the business needs faster comparing to the custom-coded solutions.
- Vast scope of customization alternatives makes this platform the perfect option for organizations that are rapidly expanding.
The recent feedback on Getapp.com shows that Salesforce users compliment on its customization options.
- Some object can be quite difficult to customize the, for example, reports.
- Over-customization can result in CRM system being too clunky, difficult to navigate, and in extended loading time.
Salesforce cost structures are quite flexible so you may choose the model that exactly fits your company size, budget, project complexity, etc.
Your subscription cost is influenced by the number of user licenses in your organization, selected Salesforce edition, and additional products and services you buy.
But it should be noted that even if the pricing of Salesforce products is stated in user/per month, the fees are paid annually.
Consequently, this initiative can end up in serious investment and it should be considered on the planning stage.
Add to this related services like CRM implementation, customization, plugin integration, and maintenance and you will see what lump sum it can result in.
Broadly speaking, Salesforce pricing pros and cons are:
- Flexible cost structures depending on selected editions and number of licenses.
- Ability to find professionals for Salesforce consulting, development, and administration for any budget and purpose due to their great selection.
- Considerable pricing is justified by available functionality. It also was stated in one of Salesforce reviews on TrustRadius.com:
- Definitely not the cheapest CRM solution on the market, especially, considering the fact that Salesforce subscription should be paid upfront for a year.
- Numerous related and hidden fees for third-party tool integration, customization.
- It may seem that there are always add-ons you need to buy.
The review by Tanuj D. highlights one of the above-mentioned disadvantages:
Salesforce Customer Support
Salesforce support team offers various channels of contacting them.
Among the biggest advantages of Salesforce is that it truly tries to be closer to their customers by offering various helpful resources like self-service portals (Trailblazer Community), an online training hub (Trailhead), and Salesforce official blog.
On these sources, you can learn various new features, communicate directly with Salesforce experts, admins, and other fellow-users and get answers to your questions, share your experience, and ideas on improvements, read knowledge articles, reports, and listen to podcasts.
However, aid provided by self-service portals is quite limited and some questions can be unanswered for a long time that’s why it’s not the best place to seek urgent help.
On top of that, it may be difficult to reach out to a live Salesforce customer service team that reflects in multiple reviews on various platforms complaining about the inability to get in touch with support agents.
It should be mentioned, that 24/7 support is a premium feature and isn’t available for free, so if you want to have your issue addressed immediately, you need to pay for it.
But even this can’t guarantee that it will be solved soon, according to some Salesforce users.
Customer service is a subject of hot debates on review platforms, and, probably, is the most frequently mentioned item on Salesforce pros and cons list:
- Customers like Jennifer Reid on TrustRadius.com praise Salesforce support for comprehensiveness, response speed, and various channels for contacting:
- Salesforce offers self-service and self-education portals to make customers less dependent on the support line.
- Many customers claim that Salesforce customer service is unresponsive and some emails and calls can remain unanswered for months.
- Also, when users reach out to support for help, they seem not to have a solution for their problem.
Jerry A. is one of the reviewers that mentioned Salesforce customer support as their weakness:
To get professional and on-time help you may refer to Salesforce consulting companies like Ascendix. Our consultants will provide comprehensive answers to all your questions and your challenges will be addressed without any delays.
Salesforce is always on the way to make its products more user-friendly and understandable for its users.
Introduction of new features like Sales Path or Einstein AI helps to turn digital walkthroughs via Salesforce functionality into a more enjoyable experience due to the strep-by-step guidance.
Constant UI upgrades improve visibility into working processes, activities tracking, interaction history, and power up organization efficiency and productivity.
What’s more, system updates take place 3 times a year and after each of them, you may notice that some UI objects can significantly change their layout.
To be prepared for such modifications you need to have proper Salesforce administration that will help you to be on track with all the rolled-out features and provide trainings or workshops for your users.
Also, some customers highlight cluttered Salesforce that results in unnecessary clicks and complicated navigation.
Here is the summary of Salesforce pros and cons related to its interface:
- Many users like Salesforce UI for good customization and easy adoption capabilities. It was brought up by one of the reviewers on Getapp.com:
- It also offers a responsive, simple, and straightforward design.
- Salesforce UI can seem a bit outdated, not easy and user-friendly, and can be improved and simplified according to feedback found on Getapp.com:
- Complicated and not intuitive Admin UI and search.
It’s a fact that there is no lack in educational resources for learning Salesforce that range from free of charge gamified online training on Trailhead platform to paid workshops and preparation courses for particular Salesforce certifications.
And with each release and company acquisition, Salesforce adds new items to the study list.
Along with the never-ending intent to make Salesforce more comprehensive and intuitive, the learning curve is becoming never-ending as well.
So, to keep up with all the updates and upgrades you need to spend quite some time or have a dedicated person that will monitor and take necessary actions accordingly.
Speaking of functions, some users claim back-end data structure to be quite confusing and it can take quite a long time and practice to master it.
The learning curve in Salesforce has its own pros and cons:
- Trailhead trails are fun and a great way to learn new features and the review of Kira G. proves the words:
- Steep learning curve
- E-learning and user manuals are not easy to understand
Here are what Salesforce users are saying about learning of the product:
Reporting in Salesforce is another intricate feature with its pros and cons. On the one hand, reports in Salesforce can be customized with flexible filters, they are supported with AI-powered predictive analytics and various reports delivery options.
On the other, basic Salesforce reports capabilities lack intuitive features and it can be really challenging to pull out essential information about your performance and to export it to Excel, for example.
Some users claim that it’s easy to create reports, but it can be maddening to get them right and that it can be hard to run reports or create working “views” for customer-oriented teams.
- Highly efficient reporting functionality mentioned Theresa Wilkins on Getapp.com
- Enhancements to the reporting elements of the Sales Cloud product.
- Slow report generation
- Reports are not easy to create, understand, and manage without the admin’s help as stated in the review:
Updates and Upgrades
To prove its name as an innovation leader, Salesforce continuously enhances its products and introduces new ones.
For better or for worth, you can’t decline or postpone org updates and have to get used to regular system updates after each release.
Prior to any release, you can test all the new or upgraded features so it shouldn’t be a complete surprise for you.
But still, such forced updates can disrupt UI and custom features of your current version so, at least, it can be difficult to discover well-known items.
Not to turn each post-release period into a nightmare and make the adaptation process easier, your Salesforce org requires constant administration and ongoing training of your users.
Salesforce users, also consider, that system updates and upgrades have their pros and cons:
- Constant upgrades and new features keep Salesforce fresh and allow the organization to expand its use.
- Lack of control over system upgrades & planned downtimes.
Salesforce is an extremely flexible, powerful, and agile solution, however, not easy to set up and maintain without qualified in-house experts and consultants. That’s why, prior to launching it you should evaluate all the risks, expenses, and resources involved in a prospective project.
To make it easy, you can just answer one simple question: will you save more money and effort by implementing Salesforce in a long run comparing to the sum you are going to invest in it? If your answer is “yes”, then Salesforce is the perfect choice for you.