10-second breakdown:

A veteran of the market, Salesforce is a behemoth of CRM software solutions. There’s a reason Salesforce’s name has become synonymous with CRM. While it may not be cheap, Salesforce offers plenty of useful features packed in and offers the option to expand with other products in the Salesforce family.

Salesforce is used in small (0–50 employees), medium (51–1,000 employees) and enterprise companies (1000+ employees).

The good:

All, and we mean all, of your marketing/sales/customer management can be handled within the Salesforce universe. If you need a suite of tools that can help your marketing and sales teams have a well-documented and streamlined process — you may have found it.

The platform is cloud-based making it faster and not reliant on your own processing power. This could be a huge win for small and large organizations alike.

Salesforce is a big player in the game making third party help and community some big selling points that will help you utilize this solution to its full advantage.

The bad:

Due to the age of the platform, there are newer options with current functions. However, Salesfusion has acquired new tools and updated the current ones to keep up with the market well.

Customer support seems to be wanting in terms of responsiveness.

How it works:

Founded back in 1999, you don’t stay in business through the dot come bust without a willingness to keep with the times and adjust accordingly. Salesforce recently did that with the rollout of a brand new user interface called ‘Lightning UI.’ While the interface is still packed and you might need help with the occasional feature, Lightning UI streamlined the program and made all of the screens similar so if you know where a feature is on one page you have a good idea where it probably is on another.

Getting started with Salesforce is a snap, on your first log in the system asks what your role is such as sales rep or manager, then takes you on a guided tour of the features that are most beneficial to your position. It takes you through all of the standard CRM features like managing your pipeline or setting up contact activities. If the system missed a feature you like there’s a getting started tab that is loaded with videos and has a user guide PDF.

As a CRM solution, Salesforce checks off all the boxes. You can track deals, customers and opportunities. What, and how you track in your pipeline is up to you, with tons of settings to get the workflow to suit your individual needs. There’s even a neat feature that will remind you to follow up with a client if it slipped your mind.

What really sets Salesforce apart from the competition is it’s world class support for integrations. They have one of the best third-party app stores that include tons of partners. From big name brands to small niche companies, there’s a good chance you can find an integration with all of the programs you already use.

If you are in the market for more than just standard CRM capabilities, Salesforce offers a few other products developed in-house that play nice with each other. If your business has a customer service department, Salesforce offers ‘Service Cloud’ to help you run a virtual service desk. There’s a ‘Marketing Cloud’ that builds email marketing into your system and a ‘Community Cloud’ that brings customer self-help features to the table like an online help library.

Pricing for Salesforce is simple enough, keep in mind that the packages we list below are priced for only the CRM module, if the other clouds interested you then you’re going to have to give Salesforce a call and see if they can get you a better rate for bundling in more products.

First up is the ‘SalesforceIQ CRM Starter,’ it’s $25 per user per month and maxes out at 5 users. It comes with all of the basic CRM features you need like customizable sales tracking but this plan is very bare-bones. You won’t get any kind of opportunity tracking or email integration. If you’re just getting started and only care about core functionality, the starter pack won’t do you wrong.

Next up is ‘Lightning Professional’ and this plan is $75 per user per month with no limits on the number of users. It’s a much more complete package, it offers everything the starter edition does but tosses in the opportunity tracking, email integration, customizable dashboards and contact management that was missing. If you’re looking for a complete CRM solution with all of the bells and whistles Lightning Professional is the right choice.

Salesforce also offers ‘Lightning Enterprise,’ the next step up from Lightning Professional. Enterprise costs $150 per user per month and comes with everything Professional offers. They ramp up the customization of the system with workflow automation, integration via web service APIs and the ability to limit what fields users can see based on permission levels. If you run a larger organization where security is an issue, Enterprise can make sure employees only see what they need to do their jobs.

Last but not least is the ‘Lightning Unlimited’ plan. It will set you back $300 per user per month, and comes with everything the Enterprise edition offered. In addition, they toss in more cloud storage, dial the support up to 11 with toll-free 24/7 support and offer unlimited online training to help new employees get adjusted.

All of the plans offer a 30-day free trial, but if you decide to commit you’re required to pay for at least one entire year upfront.

With Salesforce you’re paying for what you get. While it won’t be friendly with your checkbook, in return you’re getting an industry-tested, highly customizable system that can compete with the best of them in performance.

For complete rankings of all CRM software, go here.

via http://authority.org/crm-software/salesforce/