Salesforce is everywhere, but it’s not the only option. We did the research to give you choices.
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.
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:
- Contact management
- Interaction tracking
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.