Back in 2017, Salesforce pioneered with a command of 20% of the CRM market share.
Today, with $10.48 Billion as the annual revenue, the tool definitely has maintained the momentum in Customer Relationship Management.
But chances are Salesforce will not be on top for long.
Now Why did I say that?
Because new kids are on the block.
As demands of businesses have risen, these new kids (and some old ones) have turned CRM into the huge software industry – with advancements in AI and IoT.
They’ve mixed Project Management, HRMS, CRM, Time Tracking, and integrations with third-party apps to create a kind of ‘CRM hubs’ to meet business needs.
For the last few years, many brand new Salesforce Alternatives have arrived and they are doing great catching up with the market leader.
At TeamWave, we love to explore different CRM, HRMS, and Project Management tools. Learning about our competitors helps us in making our software better.
So, today, we decided to review the best Salesforce alternatives, highlight their key features, discuss the pros and cons of each tool, and see what makes them an ideal startup CRM.
Before I begin the analysis, here’s a question?
Is Salesforce the right CRM for your startup?
For some enterprise-level startups, Salesforce may be the best CRM solution. However, the vast majority of startups – the SMBs that aren’t generating an annual revenue of billions, should not use Salesforce. And we’ve reasons for saying this:
- Salesforce is Expensive
- You need add-ons to get the most out of it
- Complex setup
- Configuration is time-consuming
- Poor Customer support
- A cluttered interface that makes simple tasks unnecessarily complex
- The learning curve never seems to end
Yes, Salesforce is one of the most comprehensive CRM platforms but you really have to pay plenty for those privileges. And if you’re a startup, you’d probably need something more intuitive to get started.
And that takes us to our next question:
What makes a great Startup CRM?
- An ideal Startup CRM should have essential features like contact and lead management, reporting, task automation – along with unique features that make it stand out.
- For Startup or Small Business CRM, the cost is usually the major consideration. A cost-effective CRM makes for an ideal Salesforce Alternative.
- Startup Founders shouldn’t need a specialist to manage the CRM. So, ease of use is non-negotiable. The tool should be approachable for everyone – the CEO, manager, salespeople, marketing team, and others.
- For this review, we also looked at onboarding and checked if the implementation process was self-explanatory.
- A dedicated Email and Chat Support makes a CRM solution reliable – different channels like phone, chat, email, and online knowledge base is important as they represent levels of urgency.
- Finally, the CRM should integrate with important tools like G-Suite, Email, Accounts, and Marketing platforms to help startups expand their capabilities.
With these points in mind, let’s take a look at the best Salesforce Alternatives for Startups:
TeamWave as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: All-in-One CRM
TeamWave is straightforward, easy to use, and super affordable—everything you’d expect a Salesforce Alternative to have. It’s particularly a great CRM tool for businesses that are just starting out.
TeamWave is geared towards maximising your time spent on contacting, nurturing, and converting leads. Everything is designed to manage more contacts, build better relationships, close more milestones, and win more deals.
What sets TeamWave apart as a salesforce alternative is affordable flat pricing, user-friendliness, and all CRM features like:
- Sales Management: Visual Sales Pipeline, Sales Forecasting, Sales report, and more.
- Contact Management: Track all history, Attach documents, Smart Contact Data, Smart filters, etc.
- Project Management: Organize, Collaborate, Share Notes, Project Milestones, Time Tracking, and more
- HR Management: Time-off Management, Automatic Check-ins, Records Management, etc.
- CRM API Integration: Gmail, Zapier, QuickBooks, MailChimp, GSuite, and more
For both startups and small businesses, the intense focus on nurturing leads and driving more revenue is the most crucial part of growing business. So, when you want to keep your priorities on track, manage the potential leads, and deliver the best, TeamWave can help you be at the top of your game.
HubSpot as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: Cost-Effectiveness
HubSpot can get small businesses up and running in no time. It is a good choice for startups that don’t need all the complex CRM capabilities but could use basic assistance to systemize their business data.
It’s unique selling points include sequences, templates, integrated contact profiles, and streamlined calling.
Compared to Salesforce, HubSpot is easier to pick up. However, it has fewer customization options than Salesforce. HubSpot lacks the depth and flexibility offered by Salesforce.
Freshsales as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: For Ease of Use
Freshsale, as a leading CRM, helps teams keep track of their contacts and manage leads. As a dynamic analytics contributor, it offers useful sales insight.
Freshsales’ key features are pipeline management, lead scoring, and intelligent workflows.
Like any other software, Freshsales has areas that could use some improvement – small email limit, average user experience, less flexibility in reports, and limited integrations.
Insightly as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: For Integrations
Insightly is a full-fledged CRM for startups. It focuses on three major areas that make it a good choice for businesses that are just starting out: Boost Sales, Build Relationships, and Deliver Projects.
Insightly offers customizable reporting – allowing businesses to get an analysis of where they’re today, and what they should care most about in the future.
While Insightly has been around for over twelve years, it’s interface still needs major improvement. It looks and feels outdated. Moreover, the app could use more essential CRM features like real-time analysis, time-tracking, and automatic notification.
PipeDrive as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: For Easy Setup/On-boarding
With Pipedrive, Startups can get ahead of the game by streamlining the processes from the get-go and actively monitoring their deal pipeline.
PipeDrive is user-friendly, cost-effective and easy to set up – landing it here on our list of best salesforce alternative for startups.
However, PipeDrive doesn’t give you an option to view the pipelines privately. All your team members can have access to all sales pipelines. Moreover, It does not offer native QB integration.
Zoho as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: For Integrations
Zoho makes the cut as a Salesforce alternative for startups. It strikes a balance between providing essential CRM features and highlighting different options for integrations.
Zoho, as a comprehensive CRM solution retains many important features like lead gathering, workflow automation, contact management, analytics, lead–conversion tools, and social collaboration.
At the same time, Zoho is too difficult to get started with – specifically for users who are not familiar with CRM terminology or concepts. Simply put, it has too steep of a learning curve.
Keap as a Salesforce Alternative
Why it’s On the List: For Support
Keap is favoured by startups and small business because of its user-friendliness and comprehensive set of features.
The Keap users give it good marks for its ability to improve marketing and project management processes. Moreover, Keap has a dedicated help centre to provide Call-in, Chat, and Email support.
At the same time, startup owners are also on the outlook for a low-cost CRMs, and Keap does not fit their bill in this category. Keap’s plan for small businesses starts at $79/mo.
Final thoughts on choosing the best Salesforce alternative
Whether you are looking for a simpler and user-friendly Salesforce alternative or economical Salesforce competitors, these 7 tools are a great pick. You can choose any of them.
But when you’re making your final decision, consider asking these seven questions about your potential vendor:
- Is it built for small business?
- Will I get all of the CRM features?
- Does the tool have an intuitive, user-friendly interface?
- How easy is it to use? Can I easily train employees?
- How easy is it to integrate with other solutions I already use?
- What is the total cost of the software? Are there any additional fees?
- Will you get proper support?
Since we mentioned TeamWave at the top of the list and called it the best Salesforce alternative, we must answer these questions for our product:
✓ Yes, TeamWave is built for SMBs
✓ You get all CRM features including Sales, Contact, Project & HR Management
✓ Yes, a highly intuitive, user-friendly interface
✓ TeamWave is easy-to-use (for both tech-savvies and novice users). At least, that’s what our customers say.
✓ It’s fully integrated with Gmail, G-Suite, Zapier, Quickbooks, etc.
✓ No per-user fee or additional pricing. All features for unlimited users.
✓ Yes, an easily accessible knowledge base and 24/7 Support
That sums up why we call TeamWave the best Salesforce Alternative for Startups.
But, at the end of the day, nothing beats actually taking your potential CRM solution for a free test drive. So, how do you like the idea of 14 days of free trial?