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3 Salesforce Alternatives for CRM

Published by in CRM

Salesforce is everywhere, but it’s not the only option. We did the research to give you choices.

Salesforce alternatives that don't break the bank

One of the most popular ways to learn about your clients and improve their experience is by building a customer journey map, and one of the best ways to collect customer data to build one is customer relationship management (CRM) software.

But what’s the right CRM solution for your business? You’ve heard of Salesforce (how could you not?), but is that the best tool for you?

Salesforce made their bones by being affordable and easy to use. But since they emerged on the scene in the early 2000s, has anyone else built on that model—or improved on it?

We took a deep dive into Capterra’s directory of 1,000+ CRM products to answer that very question.

This article looks at three Salesforce alternatives. See the full list of Salesforce alternatives here.

Selection criteria for our Salesforce alternatives

Products featured in this list were identified in user reviews as other products considered at the same time as Salesforce. They also had to meet the CRM software definition which includes the following core features:

  1. Contact management
  2. Interaction tracking
  3. Lead management

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the products listed below (in alphabetical order) and how they compare to the giant that is Salesforce.

chart including top salesforce alternatives


 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM tool. It’s designed for midsize and larger companies, and is fully customizable and extensible through its development platform and tools. Dynamics 365 offers a range of tools for sales (such as sales automation), customer service (with enhanced customer support features), field service management, contact management, talent acquisition, finance and operations, retail, project service automation, marketing and marketing automation, artificial intelligence, sales forecasting, and mixed reality.

This tool allows businesses to unify their operations, projects, and tasks in one centralized platform and improve workflow automation in order to aid decision-making, build relationships with customers, and operate efficiently.

The individual applications within Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used as standalone products, combined with one another, or integrated with a wide range of external business systems in order to provide a completely customized solution.

The platform integrates with third-party applications such as Ameyo, Salesforce, DocuSign, PandaDoc, ADP, Gainsight, Tacton CPQ, and more. Dynamics 365’s artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality facilitate intelligent decision-making and scenario planning in a modern way.

 

Why Dynamics 365 is a good Salesforce alternative

Like Salesforce, Dynamics 365 has a large range of packages and feature sets so that businesses can create a more tailored, customizable software package that will best suit their business needs. It’s a great choice for businesses that need something that can help their sales reps as well as their marketing department with the varied and distinct needs faced by those different teams.

That comes at a price, though, and Dynamics 365 is really tailored first and foremost for larger businesses.

They do offer a package of what they call their essential features starting at $70 per user, per month that’s targeted at small and midsize businesses.

What reviewers have to say about Dynamics 365

With an overall score of 4.3 out of a possible 5 stars, and over 4,100 reviews, it’s clear that users find Dynamics 365 to be a great choice for their business needs.

It suffers some compared to the other choices in this list in the ease-of-use department, though, with only 4 out of 5 stars, which might indicate users find it a little more challenging to use right out of the gate.

But with a customer service score of 4.2 out of 5, it’s obvious that users’ questions and concerns are quickly addressed to a satisfactory degree a majority of the time.

Dynamics 365 gains some ground in its features department where it scores a 4.3 out of 5. It’s no surprise considering that it offers such a wide range of options.

Their value for money score is 4.1 out of 5 which is just barely above the 4.0 out of 5 for Salesforce, leaving them nearly on the same page.

Only 64.9% of reviewers say they’d recommend Dynamics 365 compared to the 70.3% who say they’d recommend Salesforce.

Compare them

Want to see a side-by-side comparison of Dynamics 365 and Salesforce, including screenshots, pricing, reviews, integrations, and more? Use our in-depth comparison tool here.

 


 

Chances are, you’ve heard about HubSpot. Started in 2004 by MIT alums, the company coined and built an entire business around the phrase, “inbound marketing.”

HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based app that offers a visual dashboard with a real-time view of the entire sales funnel. Using the CRM system, businesses unlock more automation by tracking customer interactions through email, social media, live chat, or phone calls, and every interaction is stored in a timeline organized by lead.

The HubSpot CRM marketing tool offers lead generation and email marketing automation features to help businesses improve their marketing efforts. It enables users to create and manage email templates and track how well those emails are performing.

The sales tools help any sales rep to improve the sales process by tracking contacts and deals, managing their sales pipeline, and more. The platform integrates with other HubSpot tools such as HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot Sales Hub.

This system’s complete automation makes it a great resource for smaller businesses that are less familiar with CRM software.

 

Why HubSpot CRM is a good Salesforce alternative

If you’re a relatively new or small business, or need help beefing up your marketing team, HubSpot’s slew of options provided with their free plan should be appealing whether you’re a team of sales reps or a marketing department. It’s rare to get a free piece of software that has this many available features.

What reviewers have to say about HubSpot CRM

With an overall score of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars and over 2,700 reviews, it’s obvious that users find HubSpot CRM to be an overall great choice for CRM software.

Users also gave it a 4.4 out of 5 on ease of use, and a 4.4 out of 5 for customer service, which means the majority of people using HubSpot find it great to use immediately, and, if they couldn’t figure something out, find that the customer service was quick to lend a hand.

Additionally, HubSpot CRM gets a 4.3 out of 5 for features and a 4.4 out of 5 for value for money. The value for money score is obviously that high because you get a complete tool with their free plan.

HubSpot reviewers are also more likely to recommend the software to a friend or colleague compared to Salesforce: 79.9% of HubSpot CRM reviewers said they would recommend the software compared to the 70.3% of reviewers who said they’d do the same for Salesforce.

Compare them

Want to see a side-by-side comparison of HubSpot CRM and Salesforce, including screenshots, pricing, reviews, key features, integrations, and more? Use our in-depth comparison tool here.

 


 

Zoho CRM is a cloud-based CRM platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers sales and marketing automation tools with helpdesk, analytics, and customer support functions.

Zoho CRM helps users respond to customers across channels, such as social media or email, in real-time. Zia, Zoho CRM’s AI-powered sales assistant, uses automation to predict an appropriate time to contact customers, scans emails for urgency, and can display relevant statistics or documents when performing searches. These advanced automation analytics help sales and marketing teams develop better strategies and improve customer support.

Users can integrate the tool with G Suite, WordPress, MailChimp, Evernote, Unbounce, and other third-party systems. Zoho CRM’s software development kits provide tools to build custom functions to add to the CRM software.

Zoho CRM has a free plan for up to three users. But if you have more users or want to upgrade, they offer monthly or annual subscriptions, and customer support is extended via phone, email, documentation, and other online measures.

 

Why Zoho CRM is a good Salesforce alternative

It comes down to pricing with Zoho CRM. While both options offer a wide variety of useful features for any team that deals with customers on a regular basis, you unlock a majority of those features at a cheaper price with Zoho CRM. You lose some of the flexibility and customization that the Salesforce offers, but at a smaller price point to enter.

The free plan for small teams doesn’t hurt either, so if you’re a super-small team looking for your first CRM software, you might want to consider Zoho CRM.

What reviewers have to say about Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has a total score of 4.2 out of 5 with over 4,700 reviews, so it falls in the middle of Dynamics 365, Salesforce, and HubSpot CRM in terms of overall score.

Across the board, Zoho receives pretty great reviews for ease of use (4.1 out of 5), customer service (4 out of 5), features (4.2 out of 5), and value for money (4.3 out of 5).

Only 65.8% of reviewers are likely to recommend it to a friend or colleague compared to 70.3% of reviewers likely to recommend Salesforce.

Compare them

Want to see a side-by-side comparison of Zoho CRM and Salesforce, including screenshots, pricing, reviews, key features, integrations, and more? Use our in-depth comparison tool here.

 


Want even more Salesforce alternatives?

If none of these jump out as the right choice for you as a Salesforce CRM alternative, check out the rest of our CRM software directory where you can read user reviews, run comparisons, and filter by specific features of over 1,200 different CRM solutions.
 


Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.

About the Author

Comments

Comment by Ninya on

Where’s Bitrix24? Easily the best free Salesforce alternative in 2019.

Comment by Sean Work on

Highrise is no longer accepting new sign-ups. I actually wanted to try them out. However, existing users can continue to use it forever (or at least until the end of the Internet).

Comment by Andrew Conrad on

Thank you for all the great recommendations! We will take a look at all of your suggestions when we update this article in the near future.

Comment by Issac Stern on

why is Zoho CRM not listed as 1 of the option ?

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Comment by Scott Ginsberg on

Great post!

As for email, people love to debate ESP versus CRM. Tough call.

Personally, as an email person, I have a preference to work in a more built out ESP. Typically because most of the data that I’ve found useful for email segmentation has come from interaction with email.

In my experience, when running automation, ESPs can do more things on the fly than a CRM, making testing easier and more meaningful. But it’s not an either/or issue. It’s likely that you’ll need both platforms to execute your priorities.

We did a compare/contrast here on our blog, if you’re interested: https://bit.ly/2xF8neG

Hope that’s useful!

Good luck

Comment by Michael Bane on

Hello,
I am quite surprised there is no eWay-CRM, as they specialize on SMB.
Great CRM solution, affordable and easy to use. Check it out!

Comment by Jacquelyn Perel on

I just recently came across this article while looking for a CRM and was surprised not to see InfoFlo. I found InfoFlo to be an easy to use CRM solution for our company. Price point fit our budget dead on. Besides providing an easy to use product at an affordable cost the support provided was above expectations. This should be a must purchase CRM for any business.

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Comment by Helen Armour on

As an update to the notes on Really Simple Systems https://www.reallysimplesystems.com/ we have just launched the first phase of GDPR compliance specific features in our CRM. As part of the Marketing module the features help customers make their email marketing compliant with the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018 and will affect any business holding data of individuals based in the EU.

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Comment by Larry Caretsky on

These products (several of them free) are not cheap alternatives to Salesforce.com. There are just cheap solutions, plain and simple. They provide a fraction of the overall functionality that Salesforce.com does and that’s OK if these basic low cost solutions meet your requirements, but the article leads you to believe you can get similar functionality from one of these alternatives at half the cost. You can’t. The closest alternatives from a functional comparison that are less costly than Salesforce would be Commence CRM, Microsoft Dyanmics and Sugar CRM.

Comment by Nedd on

You should include most popular free Salesforce alternatives in your list (Bitrix24 and Hubspot). In my opinion these two are pretty good at replacing Salesforce for most users and free is better than cheap 🙂

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Comment by Josh Bois on

You forgot Zoho! Fantastic tool for keeping track of multiple pipelines whether investors or clients.

Comment by Appus on

Thank you, Andrew. It is a great list. Personally I prefer Insightly and InStream, but I saw some principle new tools for me. Thanks for that.

Comment by Cleveroad on

Nice list Andrew!
I personal use Insightly and I can say it really comfortable and not very expensive.

Comment by Igna Vect on

Well, you are right. Technically you can get the same functionality and even more by hiring Partner company with adequate Salesforce services like https://www.omi.co/services/. Plus, getting a few extensions. But I doubt that the new cloud will satisfy all needs of banking and financial companies that will purchase the new product. My guess, you’ll still need to outsource some work at the end, and Financial Services Cloud would be just a stronger foundation.

Comment by Nazish Ahshan on

Thanks For the list, we would like to suggest a cloud based sales CRM (http://Growthfactorcrm.com). GrowthFactorCRM is a powerful, feature-rich, cloud-based application that gears up the complete sales and marketing team together in a powerful and smooth way

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Comment by John on

As mentioned in the previous comment, Zoho is the most popular CRM here in India. But considered Zoho and used the trial but ended up choosing http://www.maplecrm.com.

There are a few factors that made Maple CRM win over Zoho. First one is the price factor. Maple is a lot cheaper than Zoho. Being a small company with less than 10 employees and expect to grow up to 50 people in the next 2 years. We cannot afford big price at this time. Until we chose the CRM software, we have been using Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets to manage documents and our sales process. It worked perfectly fine until the number of clients and staff increased. For a small team with a small number of clients, Google docs is still a great option. We tried building a small custom CRM for ourselves but had to drop in the middle since we were not reaching anywhere.

Another factor that made us choose Maple CRM is its simplicity. Somehow, we felt it is made for us. It has all the features we wanted and just the required features. There aren’t too many complicated features that would require skilled people to use a CRM software. Of course, Zoho is a great choice for a large enterprise where a lot of features would be required. Maple, Zoho and Salesforce are mentioned as the most prefered CRM software in India – http://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/172443-Best-CRM-Software-for-Small-Business.aspx
We ruled our Salesforce in the first state itself since it is quite expensive for us.

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Comment by Laura Wyss on

Very informative post! Thanks. I would love to share with you a simple affordable CRM that is great for all type businesses https://www.windsor.ai/ I have been using it for past several months and it worked very good for us, because of the advanced insights, reporting and predicting that it’s giving us for all existing leads and potential customers.

Comment by Ezhilan on

Here we missed the CRM software by zoho, it is suitable for both large and small company business. Basic CRM with the ability to track leads, tasks and events, Google AdWords integration, Basic Workflow automation, Integrated E-mail Marketing and Campaigns and available at affordable price. Now slowly it is developing the additional features of the software and for more details, please visit https://www.zoho.com/crm/

Comment by Lina Ostoukh on

Well I think Nimble is one of the best alternatives, but only for SMB type of companies. When talking about large enterprises, I think no one comes close to Salesforce. But the biggest issue with CRM (similarly to ecommerce platforms) is not the platform itself, but the extensions and integrations that you apply to it. At the end of the day you can have Nimble working better than any other CRM on the market by simply making it powerful with automation and analytics tools. There are companies (https://www.omi.co/) who make a living by taking CRMs and customizing them to corporate needs.

Comment by John Smith on

Being a premium member of SugarCrm randomly I tried one of the freemium software http://fieldmi.com/ – it is one of best automation software for Sales, Service and Field. I picked this up due to faster reliable process when I was looking for more affordable alternatives to SugarCRM. Really worth.

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Comment by Janja Jovanovic on

Hi Michael, tnx for this list! My team have been using https://platformax.com for several months now and it’s worked wonderfully for us, because of the advanced insights, email automation, reporting and predicting that it’s giving us for all existing leads and potential customers. It also offers free one month trial for starters.

Comment by Ryan H on

I recently tried the $25/month Saleforce IQ CRM and was very disappointed in the contact syncing process. Why cant Salesforce write code to pull in Outlook contacts exactly as they are in Outlook? 95% of my contacts came in with name only (no title, company, numbers(s), email, or address). Seems like a very simple code to write for a programmer. Their work around was to import a CSV file and setup the fields in Salesforce to match. It was a work around, not a solution. I’m doing this for ease, not to create a new setup project.

With that said, which program:

1) syncs effortlessly with Outlook as though I was seeing my contact as I entered it in Outlook?

2) has alerts to remind me to follow up

3) is $25 per month or less

4) has opportunity/lead tracking

5) has a to do list

6) as a bonus, can pull in Linkedin

Some can do #2-#6. Which one can do #1? At the end of the day, it is a CRM. Thanks in advance.

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Comment by Janja Jovanovic on

Let me add another one to the list: https://platformax.com My sales team and I have been using it for past several months and it worked very good for us, because of the advanced insights, reporting and predicting that it’s giving us for all existing leads and potential customers.

Comment by MaximoNoviza on

With all due respect, this list is a total bullsh*t. Anybody in the industry knows that pretty much the only free Salesforce alternative is Bitrix24 and the only paid ones are Zoho, SugarCRM or MS Dynamics.

Yes, Insightly has a free version and Capsule is cheap, but they aren’t even close to being Salesforce alternative. Heck, they can’t even compete against free Bitrix24, because they are too basic.

For a CRM to be considered a realistic Salesforce, there are several must have requirements

1. But be built for sales teams. Average Salesforce account size is 21 users. This mean serious access rights and admin options.

2. Must have sales and marketing automation

3. Must have ALL CRM entities, starting with lead (lead, contact, company or account, deal or opportunity, quote or estimate, invoice, etc).

So this is basically a list of inexpensive CRM options. If you want to write an article about real Salesforce alternatives, your list has to start with Zoho, Bitrix24 and SugarCRM, and if you are create a list of cheap ones, then it’s going to be shorter, because Sugar is expensive, and if it’s going to have ‘free’ in the headline, you wouldn’t be able to name anything other than Bitrix24.

Comment by Jacqueline Phillips on

Very thorough overview of the CRM marketplace. I would highly recommend that you take a look at amoCRM. It’s a very good solution for small sales teams who want enterprise level features (like sales automation) on a small business budget.

Comment by Harry Knight on

Thanks for sharing this list Andrew. I’d like to put forward my friends and colleagues at SalesSeek. I work here part time but actually use the system in my other job, since they introduced a new pricing plan I really think it could be a fantastic addition to this list. It’s visual interface is a really nice addition to the platform that aims to align sales and marketing for best results. Let us know if you want a demo before hand 🙂

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Comment by Helen Armour on

I just wanted to make you aware of an error on your updated account for Really Simple Systems CRM. We launched a new version of the CRM recently with a new UI, additional features and a new price structure.
I see you have picked up the new pricing correctly but the text refers to the previous set up. We no longer offer the “pick and mix” style pricing but have introduced a simplified structure with 4 price plans with set feature packages. Customers can upgrade as they need more features by moving to the next price plan.
There’s more information on the new version CRM here https://www.reallysimplesystems.com/blog/introducing-crm-new-version/.

Comment by Kevin Lovelady on

Have you tried http://AgileCRM.com – Sales, Marketing and HelpDesk integrated into a great freemium model. I picked this up due to its marketing automation functionality when I was looking for more affordable alternatives to SF and InfusionSoft. Well worth a look IMHO

Comment by Shauli Daon on

Hey Michael, it’s a great list!

May I suggest another CRM for this list – our newly-launched Simple CRM System available at http://simpleCRMsystem.com

Our main differentiator from the competition is that our solution actually does not look like a CRM. It s a spreadsheet. Since despite having your great list of alternative CRMs there’s still one CRM that is the most popular in the world – the spreadsheet (Excel / Google Sheets), we decided to make a CRM that looks like a spreadsheet. However, it does provide all the advanced functionaity INSIDE the spreadsheet: set reminders, set appointments, sync with your calendar, send e-mails, collaborate with your team and more!

The main advantage is that the salesperson does not have another new & complicated interface to learn. Instead, he/she can still type in data into the spreadsheet as they’re used to. However, gradually, as they choose to, they get exposed to all the advanced stuff that they really need from a CRM. Spreadsheets are still the most popular CRM in the world for
small businesses! (which are 95% of existing businesses).

We’d love to get your opinion and be featured here! Thanks a lot.

Comment by Brian on

Hi Guys,

These are all great CRMs. I would love to share with you a simple affordable CRM that is great for small to medium sized businesses.

http://www.salesmate.io

Give it a try, we focus on simplicity and make sure it is affordable.

Thanks!

Comment by Nedas Sapalas on

Great list! Although I think theres is one nice CRM still missing. http://www.teamgate.com for me is one of the best CRM tools so far. Besides, an award winning for it’s ease of use Teamgate is the only Inbound Sales CRM that makes it easy to improve your inbound process to grow your business. So I think it’s really worth trying for you as well

Comment by mf on

Hello, thanks for this resourceful content. I run and educational program people apply on our website then I can create an excel list. Every few days I take the list of applilcants whom I accept and send them an email welcoming them and giving them instructions on the next steps to take.
However I need to personalize this emails with their last name , gender etc Do all of these CRM programs allow me to create templates that have adaptable fields. It is very time cosnuming for me to open each application and write an email with the parents name, due date (different on each case) , kid name, price.. etc…Any suggestions?
Thanks

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Comment by Stein Eksveen on

eWay-CRM is a CRM-system embedded in MS Outlook. It has all the features you need; companies, contacts, projects, marketing campaigns, products, users, time sheets and reports. You can tailor the system through the administration tool. It’s integrated with all the Outlook features such as e-mail, tasks and calendar. You can store most any kind of document. All communication with the customer is stored in the system.

eWay-CRM Free, is free, for 1 user, limited to 200 MB storage. No other limitation.
eWay-CRM Premium, from $28/user/month, 10 GB storage, upgrade and support included.
eWay-CRM Mobile (Android), free on Google Play, for Premium-users.

English, Norwegian, Czech, German, Slovak and Russian.

http://www.eway-crm.com or eway-crm.no

Please check it out.

Comment by Sarah O'Konnor on

There’a also a nice solution that works inside Gmail – Deskun (https://deskun.com/), it doesn’t have all the big CRM features, but works just fine for a customer support in a small company. I found it when I was looking for an alternative to Streak. And as far as I know, they have API so you can integrate it in your CRM for better customer support. Check it out, it’s worth it.

Comment by Paul Jack on

SlickPie is the soul of my business. I have been using it for one year. It’s a well-supported system that is intuitive and easy to use. Easy and transparent invoicing system. It’s 100% free online accounting system. Cool reports.

Comment by Carrie Teichelman on

Thanks for the list! I’m looking for something that will mostly just manage our contacts, (for a PE firm of 4 people) but also sync with Outlook emails and contacts. Any recommendations there?

Thanks!

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