When considering a new software system for your business, pricing no doubt weighs heavy on your decision. And if you’re shopping around for a new CRM, the sticker price of Salesforce may surprise you. However, there’s a reason why it is the world’s No. 1 CRM — it carries the best value. But you have to look beyond it’s CRM capabilities in order to reap the highest ROI.
Most CRMs on the market today such as Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, NetSuite and Oracle, will give you the basic functionality of managing customer records. However, when you need to customize it to your business, it can be very expensive or even impossible. And if you want to extend the solution beyond sales and marketing, you can forget it. That means multiple systems for your people to maintain and log into, low functionality and decreased effectiveness.
“Unless a solution ‘out-of-the-box’ matches your exact business process, the cost of making it work for your business when factoring extra project management and development may far exceed what you pay for Salesforce,” said Matt Dillon, Nuvem co-founder. “And, not customizing a solution to your business processes often results in low adoption. Not only does Salesforce give you a great technology platform, it provides you a best of breed process for sales, marketing and service to follow. Many other solutions give you a cookie cutter software package but Salesforce is so much more.”
For the enterprise Salesforce user, you get a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) as part of the solution. You can build custom apps right on the Salesforce platform that are fully native with your Salesforce CRM, and these apps integrate easily with other applications in your organization through an open API. The platform is also “mobile first,” meaning every app you build is also mobile. Many enterprise customers are choosing to build customer-facing and employee mobile apps on the Salesforce platform because of its rapid development and integration capabilities. And, you also get top-of-the-line security features such as user roles and single sign-on.
Mobile and Integration Ready
Looking Beyond Sales and Marketing
Salesforce.com’s PaaS capabilities mean you can build any app on the same platform as your CRM, enabling seamless integration. You also get access to hundreds of apps in the AppExchange that streamline processes such as expense management, electronic document signatures, sales incentive plans and project management. Many apps are free or charged at a low per user monthly rate. The idea is to run your business on Salesforce to eliminate the maintenance and headache of multiple disparate systems. This means your teams can easily share the data they need, and management gets a full 360-degree view of business performance and opportunities.
Maximizing Sales Cloud Functionality
Another reason Salesforce is the best value for your money is that you can extend the CRM beyond sales and marketing to other areas of your business such as operations, customer service and accounting. Many people don’t realize this can often be accomplished in Salesforce. There’s a lot of bells and whistles in Sales Cloud that aren’t always taken advantage of such as “Cases” for customer service; quoting and price books; demand forecasting for operations; and, workflows for process management. An experienced Salesforce implementation partner can help you design a strategy that maximizes Salesforce functionality.
“The fundamental rule is to take full advantage of what you’re paying for,” said Jack Pereira, Nuvem co-founder. “You have to optimize what’s being offered.”
Making the Call on Salesforce
It can be difficult to do an ROI analysis when considering a switch to Salesforce. There’s not an easy way to put a dollar amount on the costs of saving time and money associated with developing other apps or forcing employees to log into multiple systems.
“At the end of the day, you need to be able to quantify the value of extending beyond CRM, of integration, mobility, customer service capabilities, pricing capabilities and other benefits,” Pereira said.
Pereira recommends considering the long-term, big picture roadmap of your software technologies when considering a new CRM, marketing automation, accounting or operations application. Review the requirements of all software needed and determine what solutions meet those needs. A good consultant can also help with the requirements identification and ROI analysis.
“You don’t want to be penny-wise and a pound foolish,” Pereira said. “For Salesforce, you may spend an additional $50-60 per month per user, but if you bring in thousands of dollars in value, all of a sudden the $60 per user becomes justified. In many cases, if you’re going with other systems, you could be paying more than double the cost to implement and maintain multiple solutions; plus, not having mobile solutions can greatly hinder productivity.”