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Service-Cloud-Consultant Salesforce Certified Service cloud consultant

Course Outline: Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant

I. Introduction to Salesforce Service Cloud
A. Overview of Salesforce Service Cloud features and capabilities
B. Service Cloud architecture and components
C. Understanding the role of a Service Cloud consultant

II. Service Cloud Implementation Strategies
A. Defining service objectives and requirements
B. Designing service processes and workflows
C. Planning for data migration and integration

III. Service Cloud Data Model and Configuration
A. Understanding standard and custom objects in Service Cloud
B. Configuring case management and queues
C. Implementing entitlements and service contracts

IV. Salesforce Knowledge Management
A. Configuring and managing knowledge articles
B. Implementing knowledge article versioning and translation
C. Enabling knowledge base search and article recommendations

V. Omni-Channel and Service Console
A. Setting up Omni-Channel routing and work distribution
B. Configuring Service Console for efficient agent productivity
C. Customizing console components and layouts

VI. Service Cloud Automation
A. Designing and implementing service workflows
B. Utilizing process builder and flow for automation
C. Implementing service-level agreements (SLAs)

VII. Salesforce CTI Integration
A. Integrating telephony systems with Service Cloud
B. Configuring softphone functionality and screen pops
C. Implementing call center analytics and reporting

VIII. Service Cloud Analytics and Reporting
A. Creating service reports and dashboards
B. Analyzing service performance and customer satisfaction
C. Utilizing Einstein Analytics for service insights

Exam Objectives:
- Understand the features and capabilities of Salesforce Service Cloud
- Design and implement Service Cloud solutions based on business requirements
- Configure and customize Service Cloud components, such as cases, entitlements, and knowledge management
- Set up Omni-Channel routing and optimize agent productivity with Service Console
- Automate service processes using workflows, process builder, and flow
- Integrate telephony systems with Service Cloud for CTI functionality
- Create and analyze service reports and dashboards
- Demonstrate knowledge of best practices and industry standards for Service Cloud implementation

Syllabus:
The syllabus for the Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant course will cover the following topics:
- Introduction to Salesforce Service Cloud
- Service Cloud Implementation Strategies
- Service Cloud Data Model and Configuration
- Salesforce Knowledge Management
- Omni-Channel and Service Console
- Service Cloud Automation
- Salesforce CTI Integration
- Service Cloud Analytics and Reporting
Salesforce Certified Service cloud consultant
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Question: 166
Which search mechanism should be used to find case comments from within the lightning service console?
A. Search utility component
B. Comment search component
C. Comments list view
D. Global search
Answer: D
Question: 167
A Contact Center Manager is implementing a new customer care program and wants to specifically measure customer
loyalty.
Which three measures satisfy this requirement? Choose 3 answers
A. customer satisfaction Survey
B. Customer Purchase History
C. Customer Support Requests
D. Net promoter Score
E. Service Level Agreement
Answer: A,B,D
Question: 168
Universal Containers recently implement Service Cloud. The Support Manager notices that cases are being distributed
unevenly across the team.
What should the consultant recommend to address this problem?
A. Configure Case Assignment Rules to use Queues.
B. Configure Omni-Channel Routing Model as Most Available.
C. Configure Case Assignment Rules to use Users.
D. Configure Omni-Channel Routing Model as Least Active.
Answer: B
Question: 169
A company wants to publish knowledge articles to its customer community. The articles should be organized for easy
navigation by community members.
What should a consultant recommend?
A. Define data categories with custom visibility.
B. Define article types with public sharing settings.
C. Define courses for each knowledge article.
D. Define a custom field to identify the subject.
Answer: A,B,D
Question: 170
A company wants to publish Knowledge articles to its Customer Community. The articles should be organized for
easy navigation by Community members .
What should a Consultant recommend?
A. Define Article Types with Public Sharing Settings.
B. Define Data Categories with Custom Visibility.
C. Define courses for each Knowledge article.
D. Define a Custom Field to identify the Subject.
Answer: C
Question: 171
UC has two customer service contact centers and each focuses on a specific product line. Each contact center has a
varying call volume, contributing to a high operational cost for the company. UC wants to optimize the cost without
compromising customer satisfaction .
What can a consultant recommend to accomplish these objectives? Choose 2 answers.
A. Implement a customer self-service portal
B. Enable agents to transfer calls to other agents
C. Cross-train agents on both product lines
D. Prioritize customer calls based on their SLA
Answer: A,C
Question: 172
A manager would like information on the knowledge base searches conducted by customers and call center agents .
Which two metrics are useful for identifying knowledge article effectiveness? Choose 2 answers
A. Knowledge search query with no results.
B. Knowledge articles with the lowest rating.
C. Number of knowledge articles in each data category.
D. Knowledge articles created by call center agents.
Answer: A,B
Question: 173
The Service Manager at universal Containers manages three teams. Each team provides support for the specific
product. Agents have concerns about seeing search results for other products when searching the knowledge base. The
service manager originally provided the teams with full access to the articles.
Which solution will ensure each team sees only the relevant article type for their product?
A. Create an article action for each record type and assign them to each team based on their product specialization
B. Create a permission set for each record type and assign them to each team based on their product specialization
C. Create a page layout for each article type and assign them to each team based on their product specialization
D. Create a data category for each product and assign them to each team bases on their product specialization
Answer: D
Question: 174
Universal Containers wants to implement best practices for its customer support teams and has decided to follow a
Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) methodology.
Which two benefits can be expected from KCS adoption? Choose 2 answers
A. A knowledge article life cycle that is implemented correctly the first time and does not need to change
B. Reduced first contact resolution
C. A knowledge article life cycle that evolves based on usage and demand
D. Reduced issue resolution time
Answer: B,D
Question: 175
As part of a new Salesforce Knowledge implementation, Universal Containers would like to migrate articles from their
current database.
Which factor should a Consultant consider as part of the migration strategy?
A. Convert any articles containing HTML into plain text before importing because HTML is NOT supported in any
article field types.
B. Verify that each article type has field level security on all fields set to read-only prior to import, in order to prevent
any loss of data.
C. Ensure that each existing article type has a corresponding Salesforce Knowledge article type that matches its
structure and content.
D. Prepare a single .csv file that can be used to migrate all articles types at once and include with a properties file in a
.zip for import.
Answer: D
Question: 176
Universal Containers (UC) is updating the Service Cloud console app for its call center agents. Management is
concerned that deploying the new app will disrupt current operations and impact customer satisfaction.
What should the consultant recommend to mitigation these concerns?
A. Deploy the configured and tested app to production, update the agent’s profile to view the app and take away
access to the old app.
B. Configure the new app in a sandbox. Use a change-set to push the configuration to production for testing and
training.
C. Deploy the configuration from a sandbox to production during the next Salesforce version update so the system
only goes down once.
D. Configure the new app m developer org and use an unmanaged package to deploy to production.
Answer: D
Question: 177
How can a Contact Center Manager see which Service Representatives have not accepted new Cases recently using the
Lightning Service Console?
A. Omni-Channel Utility Component
B. Cases report sorted by Rep and Case Owner
C. Cases report sorted by Rep and Case CreatedDate
D. Omni-Channel Supervisor tab
Answer: D
Question: 178
Sales engineer needs visibility to list field edits, emails, case comments, and related objects on ONE page .
How can this be achieved?
A. Customer view of case tab
B. Custom Visual force page
C. Custom report
D. Custom related list
Answer: B
Question: 179
Universal Containers would like to provide their contact center agents with a map image of their customers location
based on the Shipping Address of their Account Record .
What should a consultant recommend as part of the solution?
A. An outbound message to a middleware platform to provide map details
B. A mashup integration on the Account page to a third-party mapping service
C. A Web Service call-out that retrieves map details from the backend system
D. A custom tab of type URL that displays a map image of customer location
Answer: B
Question: 180
Universal Containers (UC) wants to schedule for repair service when an agent is unable to solve the customer’s
problem via the call center.
What functionality should a consultant recommend to satisfy the UC’s need?
A. omni Channel
B. Contact Request
C. Field Service
D. Mobile Connect
Answer: C
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Veeam Announces Updates To Backup For Salesforce On Salesforce Appexchange, The World's Leading Enterprise Cloud Marketplace

(MENAFN- Mid-East)

Veeam customers can now benefit from extended security options and enhanced restores to protect against data loss and corruption.

DUBAI, UAE: – Veeam® Software, the leader in Data Protection and Ransomware Recovery, today announced it has launched Veeam Backup for Salesforce v2, available on Salesforce AppExchange Veeam Backup for Salesforce eliminates the risks of Salesforce data and metadata loss from human, integration, and corruption errors. This newest version from Veeam - the #1 data protection provider - extends support for multiple clouds, provides greater security with single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA), and provides a safe environment for testing and developing via sandbox seeding. Organizations can deploy on-premises or in the cloud, recover exactly what they need when they need it, and experience backup that is custom-engineered for Salesforce data and metadata.

Veeam Backup for Salesforce:

Data loss is inevitable within an organization, so it's important for organizations to protect themselves at all costs. This newest version builds on the success of Veeam Backup for Salesforce with its already powerful, rapid-recovery capabilities for IT departments and Salesforce administrators. It underlines why Salesforce data backup is critical to prevent data loss, ensures compliance and enables fast recovery by providing a comprehensive, purpose-built Salesforce backup solution that gives organizations the ability to recover from Salesforce data loss with speed and confidence.

New capabilities of Veeam Backup for Salesforce include:

    Salesforce business applications: Extended support of the Salesforce platform, including Salesforce Government and Education Clouds, Field Service, CPQ, Person Accounts, and managed packages, is now part of data backup offerings to ensure critical field service data meets compliance and is protected when off-site. Salesforce SSO and MFA: Enable role-based access for backup and restore operators via Salesforce to simplify and Boost the security of your systems. Audit trail will keep track of all the sensitive operations. Sandbox seeding and enhanced restores : Restore to your sandbox with data from production or from another sandbox. Set alternate keys and get better controls over hierarchy restores. Enhance your company's ability to test, develop and troubleshoot with the option to restore production data to your sandbox.

Veeam Backup for Salesforce is a separate standalone paid product that is new to Veeam Data Platform. Available today from Veeam technology partners, Veeam Backup for Salesforce is sold in one- to five-year annual subscriptions, priced per user license. Veeam is currently offering promotional packages through December 31, 2023 for current customers.

Veeam Backup for Salesforce Community Edition is currently available. Community Edition provides fully functional free backup and recovery of Salesforce data for organizations with 50 Salesforce user licenses or less.

Comments on the News:

    “Reliability and consistency of protecting SaaS data is a key driver for improving data protection in 2023, according to the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2023. However, many organizations still don't believe that Salesforce needs to be protected and that their data and metadata are safe in a cloud somewhere. We disagree – and so does Salesforce,” said Danny Allan, CTO at Veeam.“Veeam Backup for Salesforce bookings grew 195% quarter-over-quarter for Q3'23. With V2, we're excited to continue to support our customers and partners in this shared responsibility to ensure that their business is kept running and critical data is both protected and quickly recoverable in case of human error, integration error or data breaches.” “Veeam Backup for Salesforce is a welcome addition to AppExchange, as they accelerate business transformation for customers by backing up and quickly recovering Salesforce data and metadata in the cloud and on-premises,” said Alice Steinglass, Executive Vice President of and General Manager, Platform at Salesforce.“AppExchange is constantly evolving to connect customers with the right apps and experts for their business needs.” “Our exact study on the disconnect in SaaS data protection reveals that while most end-users recognize the importance of Salesforce environments and data, they find it challenging to safeguard these assets from the threat of data loss,” says Enterprise Strategy Group Practice Director Christophe Bertrand.“Veeam for Salesforce V2 provides essential features to mitigate this risk and enhance data and metadata protection at scale, making it an ideal solution for many organizations in need.”

About Salesforce AppExchange:

Salesforce AppExchange, the world's leading enterprise cloud marketplace, empowers companies, developers and entrepreneurs to build, market and grow in entirely new ways. With more than 7,000 listings, 11 million customer installs and 117,000 peer reviews, AppExchange connects customers of all sizes and across industries to ready-to-install or customizable apps and Salesforce-certified consultants to solve any business challenge.

Salesforce, AppExchange, Government Cloud, Education Cloud, Field Service, CPQ, Person Accounts, and managed packages, and others are among the trademarks of salesforce, inc.

About Veeam Software:

Veeam®, the #1 global market leader in data protection and ransomware recovery, is on a mission to help every organization not just bounce back from a data outage or loss but bounce forward. With Veeam, organizations achieve radical resilience through data security, data recovery, and data freedom for their hybrid cloud. The Veeam Data Platform delivers a single solution for cloud, virtual, physical, SaaS, and Kubernetes environments that gives IT and security leaders peace of mind that their apps and data are protected and always available. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with offices in more than 30 countries, Veeam protects over 450,000 customers worldwide, including 73% of the Global 2000, who trust Veeam to keep their businesses running. Radical resilience starts with Veeam.

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What is Salesforce and What Does It Do? No result found, try new keyword!Salesforce is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps businesses connect with and get more information about their customer base. Salesforce is a cloud-based ... Mon, 13 Nov 2023 10:00:00 -0600 text/html https://www.thestreet.com/technology/what-is-salesforce-14796378 Salesforce Starter

Salesforce is regarded as one of the best customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for large-scale enterprises, with its Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional tool earning our Editors' Choice award. However, that enterprise-grade CRM is too complex and costly for smaller businesses. On the other end, the company's entry-level Salesforce Essentials offered limited features at a steeper price than its competitors in the small to medium size business (SMB) space. That brings us to Salesforce Starter, a streamlined version of the award-winning platform designed to replace Essentials on Salesforce's menu of CRM options. Starter is specifically targeted toward SMBs, giving Salesforce a seat at the table with HubSpot CRM, Freshsales, and Zoho CRM (our Editors' Choice pick that features deep third-party integrations).


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

How Much Does Salesforce Starter Cost?

Like its predecessor, Salesforce Essentials, Salesforce Starter costs $25 per user per month, billed annually. That's on the higher end of the affordability scale. Still, Starter does a better job than its predecessor of merging usability and scalability with a comprehensive set of sales, marketing, and service tools that won't overwhelm new CRM users.

The most notable bone that Salesforce has thrown to its SMB customers is that you can onboard up to 325 users on Starter, compared with Essentials' 10-user limit. Salesforce aims to make Starter flexible enough to grow with small to medium businesses, so you won't need to jump to a pricier, more complex solution before you're ready.

As with many of its competitors, you can test drive Salesforce Starter for 30 days without a credit card before diving into a yearlong commitment.

If you need more advanced features, Salesforce Professional is the next tier at $80 per user per month, billed annually. This plan adds tools like sales forecasting, quotes and contracts, and third-party API access. Then there are Salesforce's Enterprise tiers that range in cost from $165 to $500 per user per month, billed annually. These include the sophisticated features, high-level customization, and robust library of add-ons that make Salesforce one of the top CRMs.

How does Salesforce Starter fare against its rivals? Let's take Zoho CRM, for example. Zoho's Standard plan costs $14 per user per month, billed annually, making it notably more affordable than Salesforce Starter. Although it lacks the case management and artificial intelligence-optimized tools found in Salesforce Starter, Zoho compensates by offering lead scoring and sales forecasting. Both platforms are evenly matched when it comes to customization, reporting, and ease of use. Ultimately, your choice boils down to your budget and business needs.


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

How to Set Up Salesforce Starter

Salesforce Starter's setup process is one of its most impressive features. In contrast to earlier Salesforce products, Starter practically holds your hand (in a good way) through onboarding. There's still a noticeable learning curve, but you won't need to outsource onboarding to a Salesforce expert. This will save your business money.

To begin, you fill out a brief form and take a short survey regarding your business goals, which will then bring you to a two-minute video. (The video is merely a Salesforce commercial, so you won't lose much by skipping it.). When you're ready to purchase a plan, click the "Buy Now" button in the application's top-right corner to begin the three-step checkout process.

Then you'll see a homepage split into two main areas. The top section, Quick Look, features shortcuts to essential sales, marketing, and service tools. Click on these for a guided walkthrough of those elements, complete with on-page prompts and a sidebar checklist you can either move, minimize, or snooze as needed. The homepage's bottom half highlights your exact sales activities and suggests the next steps based on those metrics.

The top tabs highlight the Accounts, Contacts, Sales, Service, Marketing, Calendar, Dashboard, and Reports sections. Above these tabs are a universal search bar and a notifications button. Guidance Center and Quick Settings offer setup checklists and admin tools, such as adding users or managing your Salesforce subscription.

These are all welcome features, and they make it clear that Salesforce Starter aims to provide SMBs with a turnkey CRM. Starter doesn't support what Salesforce calls "custom objects," which let third-party vendors integrate their software with the platform. That's in contrast to Saleforce's earlier Essentials product, but the benefit here is a less time-intensive setup. This is ideal for companies new to CRMs or smaller teams that lack the resources to allocate for a lengthy onboarding process.


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

Data Transfer and Syncing Options With Salesforce Starter

There are two ways to sign in to Salesforce Starter: the usual email-and-password method or syncing to your Google or Microsoft account. The latter method streamlines the login process and lets you directly upload contacts, emails, and calendar events to the CRM. Salesforce's Einstein Activity Capture automatically links synced data to appropriate deals, granting you more time to focus on revenue-generating tasks. ("Einstein" is Salesforce's catch-all branding for any feature it claims is powered by AI.)

To import sales data, leads, or opportunities, you must upload a CSV file. You can opt to populate your contacts that way, as well. 


Salesforce Starter's Pillars of Sales Success

The Guidance Center focuses on three main pillars for selling on the platform: Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. These serve as the backbone of your Starter sales operations, housing all the essential information and functions you'll need to initiate and advance deals. 

An unobtrusive pop-up walks you through manually entering data for each section. After saving the data, you're taken to an overview page divided into three parts: personal details, exact activities, and other related CRM data such as Cases and Files. This hub streamlines vital sales activities like sending emails, scheduling meetings, and logging calls, eliminating the need to toggle tabs or swap screens.

You can filter Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities with preset or custom list views. Tailor these lists for targeted marketing campaigns or generate quick sidebar charts to track specific metrics on the fly. You also can switch between table, Kanban, and split view formats, whichever suits your workflow best.


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

Maximizing Lead Generation in Salesforce Starter 

Although Salesforce Starter's target audience is SMBs, many of which will have little or no experience with CRM software, it offers many features that aid growing companies in executing an efficient lead generation strategy without devoting too much time to grunt work (read: data entry). These tools are found in the Marketing hub. They don't rival what's available from standalone email marketing and marketing automation products, but they'll be a boon to smaller companies that don't want to navigate learning multiple applications for their sales functions.

Cadences, a feature also present in Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional, guides you through the prospecting process by mapping out activity sequences. These sync up with Tasks, which automatically update as leads progress through the pipeline. 

Sorting leads and automating tasks is seamless, thanks to Segments and Flows. These sections have a visual interface with drag-and-drop elements and dropdown menus, leveling the playing field for people new to CRMs who don't want to be inundated with lines of unfamiliar, confusing code.

The Campaigns tab has an email builder with customizable templates and myriad components for businesses wanting to level up their outreach. Whether you're sending one email or preparing an email blast, the Einstein Send Time Optimization suggests the best times to hit send (you can disable this if you prefer manual timing).

The Performance tab offers a comprehensive view of your ongoing email campaigns so you'll know what's working and what's not. Notably, this component was often the slowest to load during our tests. (For context, we tested the software against the latest version of Chrome on a 2019 Intel-based MacBook Air.) 

Salesforce Starter lets you send up to 2,000 emails per month, which should suffice for most small businesses. However, if you need to up that allowance, you can pay an extra $10 per month for another 1,000 sends.

Advanced options, such as lead scoring and sales forecasting, aren't part of the package, which is expected given Salesforce Starter's focus on user-friendliness for smaller businesses. Nor is there any integration with social media networks, which is something to keep in mind if you promote heavily on such platforms. However, Zoho CRM is worth investigating if you're looking for such features at a fair price. 


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

Keeping Clients Happy With Salesforce Starter

In addition to its Sales and Marketing tools, Salesforce Starter also has a Service hub to help manage customer queries. The central feature here is Cases, where you log and view every interaction that a customer had with your company about a given issue. This way, any team member can easily step in and pick up where someone else left off for a smoother transition. (Once again, you can think of this as a subset of what you'd get from a standalone help desk product.)

There's also the Knowledge tab, where you write and publish articles about common customer problems and their solutions, all within the CRM. These articles are searchable and accessible right within each customer case, so you can resolve things quickly and keep things moving.

The last Service feature is Quick Text, designed to speed up outreach by letting you create preset email messages for occasions like birthdays or special promotions. We couldn't fully test this due to a minor bug. Still, it's worth noting that at the time of our test, Salesforce Starter was a just-launched product. As of this writing, it's still only available in a limited number of geographic regions, mainly owing to language localization issues.


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

Measuring Success With Dashboards and Reporting

Salesforce Starter has the weakest reporting capabilities among the full family of Salesforce Sales products. However, compared with most CRM competitors in the small business space (like Freshsales or HubSpot CRM), it's robust without the overkill of advanced features better suited for large enterprises.

Salesforce Starter comes with over 60 customizable report types across 11 categories, such as sales, marketing, service, and admin. You'll also have a range of nearly a dozen chart types, giving you the flexibility to present your data in the most meaningful way. You can organize dashboards according to report types and tailor the formatting to your liking. 

You can make reports and dashboards public, private, or limited to specific users. With the Subscribe feature, you can opt to receive notifications for report or dashboard updates in real-time or at scheduled intervals.


(Credit: PCMag/Salesforce)

Is Salesforce Starter Easy to Use?

Salesforce Starter aims to be accessible for newcomers to the Salesforce ecosystem or CRMs in general. While the platform is feature-rich, which could potentially steepen the learning curve, the on-page guidance and easy access to the Guidance Center are a boon for smaller teams that may not have the means to bring in a Salesforce expert to train them. There's also the Trailblazer Community, where you can find resources and answers to any questions you may have. 

Salesforce is known for its high level of customization, and Salesforce Starter also delivers on that front. You can tweak the interface to your liking, which could range from something as basic as choosing between a wide-spaced or compact layout, or going all-in and incorporating the colors and logo of your company for a personal touch. 

On the other hand, unlike its predecessor, Salesforce Essentials, Salesforce Starter doesn't support the platform's custom objects. As mentioned above, this restricts the range of third-party app integrations that are available. But once again, this is likely intentional given the platform's focus on simplicity for small businesses. If building a tech stack is necessary for your small business, look at HubSpot CRM instead.

Salesforce Starter syncs with the Salesforce mobile app, which is free to download on Android and iOS. While it lacks access to the advanced remote features available in Salesforce's Enterprise tiers, the core functionality should meet the needs of most small to medium businesses.


A User-Friendly Gateway to the Salesforce Platform

Salesforce bills Salesforce Starter as a platform for small- to medium-size businesses seeking a turnkey CRM. It succeeds in that regard, thanks to a straightforward setup process and a focus on core sales, marketing, and service tools. Its scalability and ease of use make it a suitable choice for companies that want to streamline their operations, minus the burden that often accompanies the introduction of new technology. For most SMBs, Salesforce Starter is a fine introduction to the Salesforce ecosystem (or CRMs in general).

There are concessions you must make if you opt for Salesforce Starter. Notably, a lack of support for third-party objects and fewer AI-powered tools than other Salesforce products. The trade-off is a CRM that's essentially ready to use out of the box, barring any tweaks you'll want to make to the interface. Editors' Choice winner Zoho CRM is a better value for your money, but the entry-level Starter is an excellent gateway into the broader Salesforce platform that offers room to grow.

Sun, 22 Oct 2023 12:00:00 -0500 en-gb text/html https://uk.pcmag.com/crm-software/149272/salesforce-starter
Veeam Announces Updates to Backup for Salesforce on Salesforce AppExchange

Veeam Software, the leader in Data Protection and Ransomware Recovery, today announced it has launched Veeam Backup for Salesforce v2, available on Salesforce AppExchange Veeam Backup for Salesforce eliminates the risks of Salesforce data and metadata loss from human, integration, and corruption errors. This newest version from Veeam — the #1 data protection provider — extends support for multiple clouds, provides greater security with single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA), and provides a safe environment for testing and developing via sandbox seeding. Organizations can deploy on-premises or in the cloud, recover exactly what they need when they need it, and experience backup that is custom-engineered for Salesforce data and metadata.

Alice Steinglass, Executive Vice President of and General Manager, Platform at Salesforce, said, “Veeam Backup for Salesforce is a welcome addition to AppExchange, as they accelerate business transformation for customers by backing up and quickly recovering Salesforce data and metadata in the cloud and on-premises. AppExchange is constantly evolving to connect customers with the right apps and experts for their business needs.”

Veeam Backup for Salesforce  

Data loss is inevitable within an organization, so it’s important for organizations to protect themselves at all costs. This newest version builds on the success of Veeam Backup for Salesforce with its already powerful, rapid-recovery capabilities for IT departments and Salesforce administrators. It underlines why Salesforce data backup is critical to prevent data loss, ensures compliance and enables fast recovery by providing a comprehensive, purpose-built Salesforce backup solution that gives organizations the ability to recover from Salesforce data loss with speed and confidence.

New capabilities of Veeam Backup for Salesforce include: 

  • Salesforce business applications: Extended support of the Salesforce platform, including Salesforce Government and Education Clouds, Field Service, CPQ, Person Accounts, and managed packages, is now part of data backup offerings to ensure critical field service data meets compliance and is protected when off-site.
  • Salesforce SSO and MFA: Enable role-based access for backup and restore operators via Salesforce to simplify and Boost the security of your systems. Audit trail will keep track of all the sensitive operations.
  • Sandbox seeding and enhanced restores: Restore to your sandbox with data from production or from another sandbox. Set alternate keys and get better controls over hierarchy restores. Enhance your company’s ability to test, develop and troubleshoot with the option to restore production data to your sandbox.

Danny Allan, CTO at Veeam, said, “Reliability and consistency of protecting SaaS data is a key driver for improving data protection in 2023, according to the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2023. However, many organizations still don’t believe that Salesforce needs to be protected and that their data and metadata are safe in a cloud somewhere. We disagree – and so does Salesforce. Veeam Backup for Salesforce bookings grew 195% quarter-over-quarter for Q3’23. With V2, we’re excited to continue to support our customers and partners in this shared responsibility to ensure that their business is kept running and critical data is both protected and quickly recoverable in case of human error, integration error or data breaches.”

Veeam Backup for Salesforce is a separate standalone paid product that is new to Veeam Data Platform. Available today from Veeam technology partners, Veeam Backup for Salesforce is sold in one- to five-year annual subscriptions, priced per user license. Veeam is currently offering promotional packages through December 31, 2023 for current customers.

Veeam Backup for Salesforce Community Edition is currently available. Community Edition provides fully functional free backup and recovery of Salesforce data for organizations with 50 Salesforce user licenses or less.

Enterprise Strategy Group Practice Director Christophe Bertrand, said, “Our exact study on the disconnect in SaaS data protection reveals that while most end-users recognize the importance of Salesforce environments and data, they find it challenging to safeguard these assets from the threat of data loss. Veeam for Salesforce V2 provides essential features to mitigate this risk and enhance data and metadata protection at scale, making it an ideal solution for many organizations in need.”

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 17:40:00 -0600 technuter en-US text/html https://technuter.com/breaking-news/veeam-announces-updates-to-backup-for-salesforce-on-salesforce-appexchange.html
Salesforce vs. HubSpot: Which CRM Is Right for Your Business?
  • Salesforce and HubSpot are industry-leading CRM platforms with advanced sales and marketing features. 
  • Salesforce is highly customizable, with a wide range of features and service plans for businesses of all sizes.
  • HubSpot is often praised for its ease of use and extensive integration library.
  • This comparison is for business owners deciding between Salesforce and HubSpot for their CRM needs.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can save businesses time and boost sales by tracking and automating client interactions. The best CRM software helps businesses organize customer information and engage with leads and customers via multiple channels, creating a consistent and effective communication strategy. 

Salesforce and HubSpot are top-tier CRM solutions that can help many businesses. We’ve evaluated key elements of our Salesforce CRM review and our HubSpot CRM review to help businesses weigh their similarities and differences and choose the right CRM software for their needs. 

Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Criteria

Salesforce

HubSpot

Starting price

$25 per user per month

Free plan available; paid plans start at $20 per user per month

Free trial

Yes (30 days)

Yes (14 days)

Third-party integrations

Salesforce supports API and third-party integrations with a wide range of apps and software services.

An expansive App Marketplace hosts over 1,000 integrations.

Customer support

Customer support is available 24/7 via email, live chat or phone.

Support options vary by plan. Phone support is available only to Professional and Enterprise customers. Starter plan customers can access chat and email support. Free-tier users must consult community resources. 

Sales features

Salesforce CRM comes with robust sales tools, including:

  • Account, contact and deal management
  • Sales analytics
  • Einstein automated activity capture
  • Customized sales paths
  • Customized sales forecasting
  • Lead opportunity scoring

HubSpot offers a wide range of sales features, including:

  • Call tracking
  • Sales management playbooks
  • Pipeline management
  • Automated sales quotes
  • Chatbots
  • Sales automation
  • Conversation intelligence 

Marketing features

Upgrade your marketing with Salesforce’s marketing functionality, including:

  • Email templates
  • Content personalization
  • Customer segmentation
  • Marketing analytics
  • Customer journey builder
  • Mobile marketing messaging

Streamline and automate marketing efforts through HubSpot’s marketing tools, including: 

  • Live chatbots
  • Customer contact management
  • Email templates and tracking
  • Marketing analytics
  • Marketing automation

Who Do We Recommend Salesforce For? 

While Salesforce is an excellent option for any business, we recommend the platform particularly for businesses with advanced customization or automation needs. 

Salesforce is a well-known and highly respected CRM vendor used by thousands of companies worldwide, including big names like IBM, Mercedes-Benz, NBCUniversal, Herman Miller, Morgan Stanley, PayPal, AT&T, 3M, ADP, Adidas and Asana. Its high-level sales and marketing features can help businesses of all sizes generate leads, close sales, and Boost and streamline operations. We especially like its AI-powered Einstein tool, which automates sales tasks and provides rich deal insights, call coaching and sentiment analysis to help your sales team perform more effectively.

We appreciate that Salesforce offers an expansive range of plans to accommodate the needs of various businesses. In this evaluation, we focused primarily on its impressive small business offerings. Salesforce’s lowest tier starts at an affordable $25 per user per month; as businesses scale and their needs grow, they can upgrade to more feature-full plans. 

The following features make Salesforce a top CRM choice:

  • Salesforce’s real-time sales forecasting can help businesses project future sales revenue.
  • The CRM’s Einstein AI tool can provide personalized insights and recommendations to sales reps.
  • Salesforce CRM plans start at $25 per user per month; businesses can take advantage of a free trial to test the platform.

Salesforce dashboard

Salesforce offers easy-to-read dashboards and AI-powered personalized insights. Source: Salesforce

Who Do We Recommend HubSpot For?

We recommend HubSpot for small businesses implementing a CRM for the first time or companies with teams new to using CRM software. Its user-friendly interface promises a short learning curve that can help quickly get your staff up and running. 

HubSpot boasts well-rounded sales and marketing features. Its intuitive setup and navigation will make it easy to manage customer relationships, track customer and lead communications, build a sales pipeline, monitor in-progress deals, and much more. Additionally, its expansive integration options can help businesses connect their CRM to their existing business software, creating a customized solution. 

We were impressed by HubSpot’s free offering, which provides essential sales, marketing, commerce and operations tools to help small businesses on a tight budget manage leads and customers. As they grow, they can opt for the affordable Starter tier for $20 per user per month and gain more extensive sales and marketing features.   

We think the following features help HubSpot stand out among the competition: 

  • HubSpot features a robust App Marketplace that can help businesses connect the CRM with their existing tech stack.
  • The platform offers a convenient deal pipeline that tracks in-progress deals throughout the sales cycle.
  • HubSpot’s free version and affordable Starter tier are ideal for small businesses on a tight budget.

HubSpot’s education platform, HubSpot Academy, offers training courses in multiple areas, including sales training and digital marketing skills development.

Hubspot sales and marketing tools

HubSpot offers a wide range of sales and marketing tools, including email templates and tracking. Source: HubSpot

Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Price and Plans

Salesforce

  • Four plans range from $25 to $330 per user per month.
  • All plans require an annual contract.
  • All plans allow a 30-day free trial. 

Salesforce offers various plans with features to Boost lead management, sales, marketing and more. Various add-ons are available for enhanced CRM analytics capabilities, marketing features, commerce options and more. We like that it offers a reasonably priced Starter plan; however, it’s missing notable features like automations and detailed CRM reporting. We were also disappointed that you must opt for the Unlimited plan to access lead scoring. 

The following prices reflect monthly charges with annual billing. You’ll pay more for monthly billing. 

Plan

Price

Features

Starter

$25 per user per month

Lead management, offline functionality, duplicate blocking, Einstein activity capture, email integration, mass emails, custom sales processes, mobile apps, custom dashboards and reporting, file sharing, and up to five automation workflows

Professional

$80 per user per month

Everything in Starter, plus sales forecast management (desktop and mobile), Sales Cloud Everywhere functionality, offline mobile functionality, order and quote creation and tracking, additional collaboration tools, and five flows per organization

Enterprise

$160 per user per month

Everything in Professional, plus workflow and process automation, advanced pipeline management, opportunity scoring, deal insights, sales console apps, sales team tools, advanced reporting and forecasting, opportunity splits, territory management, opportunity scoring, deal insights, a waterfall chart, and web service APIs

Unlimited 

$330 per user per month

Everything in Professional, plus lead scoring, advanced Einstein tools and insights, built-in AI, premium support, advanced automation, sales engagement tools, and more

HubSpot

  • HubSpot’s generous free plan includes marketing, sales and service tools. 
  • The Starter tier is only $20 per user per month for new HubSpot customers and adds crucial features. 
  • There’s a significant jump between the Starter tier and the Professional plan – from $20 to $1,600 per user per month. And the Professional plan incurs a $3,000 onboarding fee.

HubSpot has various iterations related to marketing, sales, customer service, operations and content management. For our evaluation purposes, we’re looking at HubSpot’s CRM Suite and its pricing. 

We love that HubSpot CRM Suite has a free tier – few competitors offer this perk. While the free tier lacks some crucial features, including marketing campaign management, it’s still a great deal to help businesses get started with using a CRM. 

The following plans and prices reflect an annual billing discount. (You’ll pay more for monthly billing.) 

Plan

Price

Features 

Free tools

Free

Up to 2,000 emails monthly (with HubSpot branding), App Marketplace integrations, marketing tools, service tools, CMS tools, email scheduling, one inbox and live chat (with HubSpot branding)

Starter

$20 per user per month for two users 

($25 for each additional user)

Includes everything in the free tier (removes HubSpot branding from emails and live chat), plus access for two users to HubSpot Sales Hub Starter, Marketing Hub Starter, Service Hub Starter and CMS Hub Starter

Professional

$1,600 per user per month (for five users)

$100 for each additional user

One-time $3,000 onboarding fee 

Everything in Starter, plus access for five users to Sales Hub Professional, Marketing Hub Professional, Service Hub Professional, CMS Hub Professional and Operations Hub Professional

Enterprise

From $5,000 monthly for 10 users

Enterprise-level tools, including 10,000 marketing contacts

Winner: Tie

We’re calling a tie in this round; your business’s needs and budget will dictate the most affordable package for you. HubSpot’s free plan is unmatched; however, it may not be enough for your business’s sales and marketing goals. The Starter plan adds essential features, but there’s an enormous price jump to its Professional plan if you need more extensive functionality. Salesforce may end up being a better value if you need a higher-level plan. Its Professional Plan is $80 per user per month, offering businesses a way to upgrade beyond essential features without incurring exorbitant expenses.

Check out our review of monday Sales CRM to learn about another popular CRM platform with a generous free tier.

Free Trial

Salesforce

Salesforce offers a 30-day free trial, allowing businesses to thoroughly test its CRM platform. No credit card is required to sign up for the free trial. To sign up, you’ll complete an online form with essential information like your name, contact information, company size and company name.

HubSpot

HubSpot offers a 14-day free trial for its paid service plans. Additionally, businesses can sign up for a free account to access a more limited range of CRM tools.

Winner: HubSpot

While both vendors allow you to test their software for free, HubSpot wins this category. Businesses can use its free offering as long as necessary before upgrading to a paid version.

Third-Party Integrations

Salesforce

Salesforce can integrate with various software packages and productivity applications, including Slack, Google Cloud, Dropbox, Mailchimp, QuickBooks and DocuSign. Salesforce integrations can be managed through Zapier, AppExchange plug-ins or API integrations.

HubSpot

HubSpot offers robust integration options within its App Marketplace, including popular business software like Gmail, Asana, Zapier, Microsoft Outlook and Calendly. It even offers integrations with competing CRM tools like Salesforce, Zendesk, Pipedrive, Freshsales and Zoho CRM. 

Winner: HubSpot

HubSpot offers an expansive range of integrations in its user-friendly App Marketplace – over 1,000. Additionally, setting up integrations with HubSpot is exceptionally quick and easy. 

CRM integrations are crucial for many businesses, allowing them to utilize existing software, including productivity and communication apps.

Customer Support

Salesforce

Salesforce’s customer service team is available 24/7 by phone, email and chat. However, the support line frequently experiences a high call volume that may lead to long wait times. Salesforce encourages customers to take advantage of the available online self-help tools or request a support call via an online form. 

HubSpot

HubSpot’s customer support options vary depending on your plan:

  • Free plan subscribers can’t access customer support. HubSpot recommends they use the HubSpot community forums to get assistance with CRM questions or issues.
  • Starter plan subscribers can obtain chat and email support.
  • Professional and Enterprise plan subscribers can access 24/7 phone support in addition to chat, email and community resources.

HubSpot also offers many self-service features and training options online. 

Winner: Salesforce

While Salesforce’s customer support options aren’t perfect, we appreciate that the company offers 24/7 support through multiple communication channels. We think it’s crucial for small businesses to have access to phone support, as even the most user-friendly CRMs have a learning curve.

You don’t need to be a HubSpot customer to access the company’s training library. HubSpot Academy courses and certifications are free, providing a great resource for training on skills like sending marketing emails and improving SEO.

Sales Features

Salesforce

  • Account and contact management: Get an easy-to-read overview of customer information, including key contacts, past activity, communications and internal account discussions.
  • Deal management: Track deals throughout the sales cycle with an easy-to-understand dashboard and deals tracker.
  • Sales analytics: Sales managers and staff can customize dashboards and reporting to easily review key sales data and analytics.
  • Einstein activity capture: Automatically capture activities like calls, emails and meetings by syncing your email and calendar with Salesforce.
  • Customized sales paths: Customize sales processes and milestones to fit your team’s unique needs.
  • Customized sales forecasting: Adjust the key information and metrics used for sales forecasts to get the most accurate picture of your business’s upcoming sales and revenue.
  • Opportunity scoring: Predict which leads are most likely to convert to sales.

HubSpot

  • Call tracking: Track sales calls and record call notes in customer profiles.
  • Sales management playbooks: Provide call scripts, competitive battle cards and other sales training resources to help sales teams close deals.
  • Deal pipeline management: Use the deals pipeline dashboard to monitor deal progress and assign sales tasks.
  • Sales quotes: Quickly generate professional, branded sales quotes for clients within the platform.
  • Sales automation: Enhance lead nurturing by setting up automated sales emails and follow-ups to maintain frequent communication with prospects.
  • Conversation intelligence: Capture call details and access AI-powered recommendations.
  • Live chat: Capture leads when visitors are on your website and connect them with the right salesperson.

Hubspot features

HubSpot offers a wide range of sales features, including deal tracking. Source: HubSpot

Winner: Salesforce

Salesforce offers comprehensive and user-friendly sales features, even in budget plans. The Salesforce CRM is one of the most popular tools for sales teams because the platform offers strong sales tracking functionality along with robust analytics, forecasting capabilities and AI-powered insights to help boost sales teams’ productivity and performance. We also like how well Salesforce organizes lead data and routes leads to the correct sales team member.

Marketing Features

Salesforce

  • Email templates: Create targeted, automated email campaigns with prebuilt email templates.
  • Content personalization: Build email and content flows to deliver the right content to the right customers.
  • Customer segmentation: Segment customers and leads into different lists for more targeted and personalized outreach.
  • Marketing data: Review dashboards and reporting to analyze the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
  • Journey builder: Build customized and automated content journeys for customers.
  • Mobile messaging: Create targeted mobile marketing with app push messaging and text messaging.

Salesforce analytics

Track the performance of specific marketing assets or campaigns with Salesforce’s helpful marketing data dashboards. Source: Salesforce.

HubSpot

The HubSpot Marketing Hub includes the following features:

  • Chatbots: Interact with visitors on your website using chatbots that provide targeted welcome messages and automated chat messaging.
  • Contact management: HubSpot has excellent contact management features that help you organize customer contacts and distribute targeted email marketing messages.
  • Email templates: Quickly build branded, professional emails with customizable email templates.
  • Email tracking: Track which customers open your emails, and send follow-ups or receive tracking notifications as desired.
  • Marketing analytics: Explore HubSpot’s built-in data dashboards, reports and analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
  • Marketing automation: Access lead scoring, automate email campaigns and more with HubSpot’s marketing automation tools.

Hubspot reporting tools

Access advanced marketing reporting with visual charts and graphs with HubSpot’s marketing features. Source: HubSpot

Winner: HubSpot

HubSpot’s marketing features shine, with multiple options and ease of use. We also like that the vendor offers marketing skill-building courses to train marketing teams.

Salesforce vs. HubSpot Recap

Both Salesforce and HubSpot provide essential CRM features; however, one may be better than the other for your specific business needs. 

Choose Salesforce if:

  • You want enhanced customization options.
  • You need advanced sales forecasting capabilities.
  • You’re looking for a vendor with 24/7 phone support.

Choose HubSpot if: 

  • You want free or lower-cost CRM software.
  • You need extensive integrations.
  • You’re looking for a user-friendly CRM solution.

FAQ

Salesforce does not have a free plan but does offer a free trial. If you are looking for a free CRM option, consider HubSpot’s free CRM plan.

HubSpot has different plans and features targeted toward different functions, including sales and marketing. A stand-alone Sales Hub can be purchased by companies that just need sales-focused features.

Both vendors offer comprehensive CRM tools that can meet the needs of a wide range of businesses. HubSpot offers more affordable pricing and a shallower learning curve, making it a great option for many small businesses. Salesforce’s enhanced customization options make it well suited for larger businesses.

Yes. QuickBooks offers a Salesforce Connector that can integrate data between Salesforce and QuickBooks.

According to HubSpot, over 184,000 businesses globally are using its service.

Thu, 26 Oct 2023 11:59:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/salesforce-vs-hubspot
salesforce inc.

Salesforce research on generative artificial intelligence users found divides between older and younger people in their use of AI tools, with Gen Z and millennials leading the way.

Two issues plaguing San Francisco could force Salesforce to potentially pick another city for future instances of its Dreamforce conference, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Salesforce CEO says San Francisco's downtown 'never going back to the way it was' as downtown officials struggle with businesses leaving The Golden City.

The Supreme Court's ruling rejecting the use of affirmative action and consideration of race as a factor in college admissions could prompt challenges to companies' diversity programs.

Several websites including workplace messaging service Slack experienced widespread outages for hours on Tuesday, leaving many customers in the lurch.

Trailblazer Ranch is a 75-acre, 140-room campus located in the redwoods of Scotts Valley, California, about 70 miles south of San Francisco.

Ford is aiming to deliver more to America's plumbers, electricians and first responders.

About a week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the ability of members of Congress and their spouses to make stock trades, the California Democrat disclosed several major purchases.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will now have a co-CEO, the company announced Tuesday

Salesforce, an American cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, is offering to help employees who have concerns about access to "reproductive healthcare" to move out of Texas in light of the state’s new law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected around six weeks.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023 10:01:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.foxbusiness.com/quote?stockTicker=crm
Why Salesforce Stock Was Falling on Monday

Shares of Salesforce (CRM 0.93%) were down about 2.5% at the start of trading on Monday before rallying by midmorning. Piper Sandler downgraded the stock to a neutral rating, citing the potential for slowing growth.

The stock has rebounded this year following a sharp sell-off in 2022. However, the stock is still 33% off its all-time high. 

Macro headwinds could hold Salesforce in check

Salesforce has been a high-growth leader in the customer relationship management (CRM) market. The company regularly posted annual revenue growth of 20%-plus for many years before the weak macro environment caused top-line growth to slow around 11%. This initially sent the stock spiraling downward last year, which is why the downgrade from Piper Sandler might have spooked investors today.

Piper Sandler analysts cited internal research that found customer demand slowing for leading cloud companies. Because of this finding, the analysts believe this year's growth estimates for Salesforce are too high. The consensus Wall Street estimate has Salesforce revenue growing 11% year over year. 

Investors have been optimistic about Salesforce's focus on growing free cash flow and the potential for a turnaround in enterprise spending. This has pushed the stock up 51% year to date, but Salesforce is not out of the woods yet. During the most exact earnings call in August, management noted that macro headwinds are still leading to longer sales cycles, which is pressuring revenue growth. 

Is artificial intelligence (AI) demand an opportunity for Salesforce?

Piper Sandler sees risks from the focus on generative AI in the near term. As companies shift their focus to investing in this breakthrough new technology, it may shift some spending away from Salesforce.

Salesforce should benefit from AI over the long term. It has already been investing heavily in this technology, which led to the launch earlier this year of Einstein GPT, which brings chatbot capabilities to Salesforce's CRM platform. Investors should watch how Salesforce characterizes demand for these services in the next quarterly earnings report.

John Ballard has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Salesforce. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 00:36:00 -0500 John Ballard en text/html https://www.fool.com/investing/2023/10/23/why-salesforce-stock-was-falling-on-monday/
Salesforce CRM Review and Pricing

Editors Score:9.5/10

The Salesforce CRM offers an impressive selection of features, customization options and tailored workflows within a single ecosystem, making it our pick for the best CRM for growing businesses.

  • The Salesforce CRM is highly customizable; with time, you can modify almost every element to fit your specific business needs.
  • The lowest-priced plan includes advanced features such as mass emails, marketing campaign management, a drag-and-drop app builder, and lead auto-assignment.
  • Salesforce has an immense selection of support materials, videos and tutorials, as well as a helpful online community.
  • Due to the sheer volume of customization and automation options, setting up the Salesforce CRM to match your business's specific processes and needs can be time-consuming. It may require training for your in-house marketing team and administrators.
  • You must know CSS, HTML and other coding languages to customize specific elements within Salesforce.
  • Salesforce's pricing model can be confusing; there's a lack of clarity around add-ons, which can drive up costs.

Businesses must successfully convert leads and manage and grow customer relationships to succeed. Salesforce CRM features myriad customization options to achieve these goals, empowering businesses of all sizes – and across various industries – to better understand and support prospects and customers. You can adapt nearly every aspect of the software’s interface and performance to help sales, marketing, customer service and technical support teams succeed. Salesforce CRM features thousands of fully integrated apps, plug-in scripts, and a superior API interface to help businesses create a flexible, customized solution. Once implemented, you’ll enjoy a beautifully designed product that’s speedy, powerful, and perfectly tailored to your company’s specific needs and processes.

Salesforce CRM Editor's Rating:

9.5 / 10

Customization, add-ons and integrations
9.8/10

Why We Chose Salesforce as the Best CRM for Customization

Salesforce is arguably the best-known CRM provider on the market. It has an established community and a well-earned reputation for being a leader in the customer relationship management field. While it was created to meet the needs of enterprises and large businesses, Salesforce has expanded its scope and now actively targets businesses of all sizes.

Unlike more rigid competitors, Salesforce CRM provides countless personalization and customization options, giving businesses a high level of control over how the system looks and acts. We were particularly impressed by how Salesforce handles workflow automation and by its pioneering integration of AI in CRM customization.

Notably, Salesforce was one of the first CRM platforms to open itself up to third-party developers, giving it more apps and customization options than any other provider. If Salesforce doesn’t have a built-in function you need, there’s almost certainly an app to compensate. If not, a developer can create and deploy a specific solution. 

Salesforce CRM’s initial setup requires time and IT skills. Its learning curve is far steeper than those of many other CRM providers we reviewed. However, you’ll enjoy flexible CRM software guaranteed to accommodate all custom processes and meet the changing needs of your business. For all these reasons and more, Salesforce is our top CRM choice for customization.

Salesforce CRM’s pipeline management feature gives an overview of your sales opportunities. Source: Salesforce

Salesforce may not be the best choice for businesses with less complex operational needs. If your SMB’s CRM needs are straightforward, check out our review of monday.com CRM and monday.com comparison to learn about a well-executed system designed for SMBs.

Ease of Use

Despite its complexities, Salesforce is surprisingly easy to implement and use. Here are some notable ease-of-use factors we discovered. 

  • Salesforce’s navigation process is straightforward. We like that Salesforce keeps the navigation process simple. The upper tab-style layout is typical across business and personal software, making it easy to grasp; categories like “Home,” “Contacts,” “Accounts,” “Leads,” “Tasks,” “Reports” and “Opportunities” need no explanation. You can get instant help from the question mark icon in one of the corners of the screen – a handy feature we’ve seen on many other CRM packages.
  • You can use Salesforce at a limited level out of the box. Because of its numerous features and customizations, setting up the Salesforce CRM takes more time and expertise than other solutions we reviewed. However, we appreciate that Salesforce’s smart default setup options help businesses use the CRM out of the box. You can gradually modify contact, opportunity, account, task and workflow elements as you explore the software’s full scope over time.
  • Salesforce doesn’t provide practice data. Note that you’ll need data to practice on during onboarding; Salesforce doesn’t supply this. To get practice data, you can duplicate and isolate existing data or use a service like Mockaroo to create dummy data.
  • Salesforce’s onboarding and support resources are robust. We were pleased to see that Salesforce offers a wealth of support materials, webinars and guides to facilitate the CRM implementation process and resolve usability issues. Its global Trailblazer community is also an excellent resource. Additionally, the vendor promises a two-day query response time.
  • Onboarding users and updating permissions is straightforward. While in-house administrators may need specific training, we appreciate that Salesforce provides excellent admin controls. Setting up various permissions based on groups or individual users is simple. This is notable because some CRMs allow only admin settings by group. Creating different displays and workflows for various departments and employees is also straightforward. If you have even moderate technical expertise and admin experience, you should have no trouble onboarding users, updating permissions or managing this CRM daily.

Salesforce visual dashboard

Salesforce’s visual dashboards help your team pinpoint problems and work on solutions. Source: Salesforce

Salesforce’s upper-tier plans provide business owners access to live support, coaching sessions and adoption guidance for an additional fee. This may be useful if you’re considering switching CRM systems to Salesforce.

Salesforce Features

The Salesforce product boasts an impressive array of CRM features that make it one of the best on the market. Here are some of the most notable features that provide excellent CRM software benefits.

Comprehensive Business Ecosystem

We like that Salesforce’s business products seamlessly integrate. Businesses can grow with the Salesforce CRM and gradually adopt new features as needed. Additional Salesforce product categories include:

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud
  • Commerce Cloud
  • Safety Cloud
  • Heroku (Heroku is an app development platform.)
  • Quip (a collaboration tool)
  • Salesforce Platform (with high-level development, customization, analytics and built-in AI)

You can use Salesforce’s impressive range of third-party apps to run many aspects of your company, from marketing to fulfillment. HR, data analytics, workforce collaboration and finance apps plug directly into Salesforce CRM. You can even add ERP apps to Salesforce to build a system close in function to the ERP platform described in our review of Oracle NetSuite CRM. 

We also like how Salesforce’s AppExchange breaks down apps by industry. There are 12 sector-specific areas on AppExchange, including communications, financial services, manufacturing and professional services.

Salesforce is a capable solution for companies that want to Boost customer service performance. Read our review of Salesforce Service Cloud to discover how it helps supervisors and teams manage ongoing customer relationships.

Customization

We were impressed by Salesforce CRM’s vast customization capabilities – an area where it truly stands out among the competition. While many CRMs we reviewed offer options for customizing deal and contact fields, email templates, and dashboards, Salesforce lets you do much more. 

Here are some of our favorite customization options: 

  • Change how pages look and function. You can change how pages look and function to suit your specific needs. Use the CSS settings to adjust the spacing between page elements, colors and fonts. You can modify customer records to show just the lists, sections and fields you want particular co-workers to see, improving employee collaboration. 
  • Use object control to customize the system. The Salesforce CRM’s object control is superior to that of other CRMs we tested. Objects are “fields” within databases (like name, address, email, etc.). Salesforce makes it easy to add objects so you can record exactly the information you want on accounts, contacts and leads. You can set permissions on records and fields to determine who else can view and edit fields. You can even make objects actionable by adding buttons, actions, triggers and links to create processes for adding a new customer, supplier or co-worker to the database.
  • Use the developer console to create custom apps. We really liked Salesforce’s developer console. Many businesses, particularly SMBs, won’t have in-house programmers but may use freelance developers to develop specific functions within Salesforce. Salesforce gives these developers a dev console where they can write, test and debug code for your custom applications. We found the inclusion of Apex triggers within the dev environment particularly helpful because it will shorten the development cycle in most instances. A developer sandbox and an app builder are included with every plan. 

Salesforce custom dashboard

Sales managers can customize their dashboards with specific objects. Source: Salesforce

Integrations and Add-ons

We like that CRM users can build customizable systems and integrate their favorite business apps via the Salesforce AppExchange store. Other CRM software companies we reviewed have similar online stores for add-ons, but Salesforce’s is far more comprehensive, with thousands of available integrations. 

The company makes it easy to search for add-ons based on the product name and view industry-specific product bundles. Because Salesforce is such a huge company, its industry-specific add-ons are expansive. There’s even a separate section for small business-specific add-ons, many of which are free.

On the AppExchange, you’ll find five different solution categories:

  • Apps: Similar to mobile apps on Apple’s App Store or Google Play, AppExchange apps are direct, preprogrammed plug-ins that interact with Salesforce. You can customize most apps via their settings. Apps add new functions or Boost and augment existing functions on your platform.
  • Lightning Bolts: Lightning Bolts are prebuilt templates providing extra features to employees, partners, suppliers and anyone accessing your Salesforce CRM. Hundreds of Lightning Bolts have various use cases. For example, there are supply chain management bolts for suppliers, project management tools for employees and tools to access client account information. 
  • Flow solutions: Salesforce incorporates Flow Builder, a tool that simplifies workflow automation via a simple drag-and-drop approach. Flow solutions are prebuilt workflows or processes you can import directly into the Salesforce Flow development tool. 
  • Lightning data: These are customer tracking tools that can enrich customer and prospect data and keep them updated regularly. We saw four such tools during our review process.
  • Components: Components are reusable features you can deploy to build your own apps within Salesforce. There are nearly 300 free components and around 30 paid ones.

Salesforce is embracing the “low code” and “no code” trends with its Lightning App Builder and Salesforce Flow drag-and-drop tools. Read our HubSpot review to learn about another CRM with drag-and-drop functionality.

Salesforce CRM AppExchange

New apps are added to the AppExchange daily, further enhancing its appeal. Source: Salesforce

Intuitive Productivity Tools

We were pleased to see Salesforce’s intuitive productivity-boosting tools, particularly its built-in project management features. (Freshworks has similar tools; read our Freshworks CRM review to learn more.) Once implemented, sales and marketing departments – as well as managers – will find it easy to manage and build workflows, assign and follow tasks, and check off permissions. 

Salesforce’s visual dashboards allow sales reps to check KPIs and track their progress toward quotas, facilitating productivity and accountability. We like that you can add meetings straight from the calendar tab and see an instant overview of your schedule. 

Additional add-on productivity tools are available through the AppExchange.

Artificial Intelligence

Salesforce’s artificial intelligence (AI) strides impressed us with capabilities beyond those of the competitors we reviewed. Salesforce was a CRM-AI pioneer, launching its high-profile AI tool, Einstein, in 2016. Today, the company has picked up the pace amid breakthroughs in the generative large language model AIs (like ChatGPT and Bard) that power tools like Einstein. Einstein is available on Salesforce’s upper-tier plans or as a paid add-on.

Einstein can do the following after gathering data from system use and user input: 

  • Help salespeople with call prompts
  • Handle web chats via the Service Bot chatbot
  • Recommend products to clients to facilitate upselling and cross-selling
  • Create excellent product presentations
  • Generate workflows to make companies more efficient 
  • Predict with a high degree of accuracy which deals will close
  • Deep dive into social media and present you with sentiment analysis about your brand
  • Help CEO decision-making with decision support systems that provide advice based on live analytics 

Einstein, in its current form, is amazing, and we look forward to seeing its next iterations. We expect AI (and the solutions other CRM providers develop) to be integral to corporate life and CRM adoption in the coming years. We’re not awarding best use of AI in this round of CRM reviews; however, if we were, Salesforce would win.

Einstein can flag emails in which leads express critical concerns that could prevent a deal from moving forward, allowing a sales rep to prioritize those messages and act fast to grow and sustain customer relationships.

Salesforce Einstein tool

Salesforce’s Einstein tool can help with sentiment analysis so you understand how your brand is perceived. Source: Salesforce

Trailblazer Community

Nearly every CRM vendor we reviewed has some form of an online community. However, Salesforce’s Trailblazer community is particularly impressive, replete with documentation invaluable for admins. You can find step-by-step guides on everything from creating custom CRM reports to turning on user notifications. 

There’s also an extensive user-only forum for direct communication with other admins and CRM users and a comprehensive Trailhead learning platform with various product-related courses, upskilling opportunities and official certifications. 

Salesforce Pricing

You can purchase Salesforce’s Sales Cloud CRM via one of four subscription tiers:

  • Essentials
  • Professional
  • Enterprise
  • Unlimited

Unlike Salesforce competitors monday and HubSpot, there’s no free plan.

Only Essentials is available on a month-to-month basis; all other plans require an annual contract. Bear in mind that annual contracts often require you to pay for the whole year upfront, which may not be ideal for some businesses.

All costs below are applied when billed annually. All plans allow you to send 5,000 email marketing messages daily from the platform, which is much more generous than many other providers we reviewed. 

Essentials

Price: $25 per user per month; available for up to 10 users

Features: Account, contact, lead, task and opportunity management; lead auto-assignment; prevention of duplicates; automatic capture of a  lead’s available web information; mass email; marketing campaigns; customizable reports and dashboards; email integration with Gmail and Outlook; and Salesforce mobile app

Professional

Price: $75 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Essentials plan, plus pipeline management, lead registration, rules-based lead scoring, collaborative forecasting, a forecasting mobile app, quote and order management, roles and permissions, and a developer sandbox

Enterprise

Price: $150 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Professional plan, plus workflow and approval automation, sales teams and territories, opportunity scoring, and advanced reporting

Unlimited

Price: $300 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Enterprise plan, plus a sales engagement hub, AI-powered sales insights with Einstein, sales cadences and 24/7 support

Other Charges

Salesforce is pricey compared to other CRM solutions we reviewed. It’s a massive product with many add-ons and customizations; the subscription costs listed here should be considered jumping-off points. 

You can spend considerably more on Salesforce. For example, CPQ & Billing, which allows you to quickly configure, price and quote complex solutions, costs $75 per user per month. Other add-ons include Pardot, Quip, Einstein AI and Sales Dialer – all sold separately. There are additional costs if you opt for training or help with implementation.

Many other SaaS products offer free versions and low-cost, entry-level subscriptions that can be used indefinitely. While $25 per user per month isn’t exorbitant, it’s not a realistic long-term option for most small businesses because only 10 users are supported at that level. The next plan jumps to $75 per user per month – significantly more expensive than the competition. 

We recommend taking advantage of Salesforce’s 14-day free trial to ensure this CRM is worth the investment.

Onboarding and Implementation

Implementing CRM software always takes care and patience. But due to its breadth of customization options, Salesforce CRM’s implementation process can vary drastically, taking anywhere from a few days to several weeks. While that may seem alarming, users will quickly see that this CRM is worth the effort once it is set up.

Salesforce and third-party agencies can manage your initial implementation and launch for you. Still, this help comes at a cost, depending on your company size, number of employees, data volume and complexity, third-party integrations, and customization level.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to create a complex solution immediately. You can use the software out of the box and modify it as your business needs evolve. Thanks to the Salesforce CRM’s intuitive design and overall sophistication, the learning curve isn’t steep for non-admin users after implementation.

In addition to a vast library of training materials, Salesforce offers adoption guidance and coaching services for an extra cost. That may be worth it for business owners concerned about setting up the CRM and onboarding users.

Use the Data Import Wizard from the Setup menu to import up to 50,000 standard objects – like contact, lead and account information – from a CSV file.

Customer Service

While Salesforce is a market leader in CRM technology, integrations and capabilities, we found that it falls short in the customer service department. When we reached out for information about the company’s services, the response was delayed.

When we did communicate with customer support reps, they were very helpful and used real-life situations to explain the product’s features and answer questions about the program. They were very clear and offered several solutions to help further our understanding. However, compared to other providers we called, their answers could have been more detailed.

Unfortunately, Salesforce has a C-minus rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and isn’t an accredited BBB business. It earned 1 out of 5 stars and closed 55 complaints within the last three years. That’s disappointing and surprising for a company that’s so well regarded in the industry. 

On the plus side, Salesforce provides an extensive selection of self-guided resources, access to the Trailblazer community and basic technical support. Additionally, its Unlimited package comes with 24/7 assistance. 

For an additional fee of 30 percent of your total monthly service fees, users can access 24/7 phone support, expert coaching and a dedicated account manager.

Limitations 

Salesforce CRM is an excellent solution; however, we did identify some limitations: 

  • Customizations can be complex. Salesforce’s biggest strength – its customization capabilities – is also a potential downside. Setting up a fully customized CRM tailored to your business’s specific sales funnel, structure and workflows requires time and, ideally, a dedicated IT team. Entrepreneurs and smaller companies might be better off with an easy-to-use yet still customizable solution like Zoho. (Learn more in our detailed Zoho CRM review and Zoho comparison.)
  • Salesforce requires technical knowledge. Most of the Salesforce CRM’s customizable elements require some basic technical knowledge of CSS and HTML. This is slowly improving since the introduction of the Lightning App Builder and Salesforce Flow tools. For example, the Lightning Email Templates use a more interactive drag-and-drop functionality, similar to some rival CRMs we reviewed. Salesforce is getting simpler and more intuitive over time. However, it’s not there yet. 
  • Pricing can be challenging to understand. Due to the number of available add-ons and platforms, it can be difficult to estimate the final price of your desired CRM solution. However, Salesforce’s sales and support teams are happy to provide a unique quote for your business.

Methodology

When evaluating the best CRM software, we conducted extensive comparative research of dozens of software solutions in the category. Our product review process was designed to help you find the right CRM for your business. It included customer support team communication, trials to evaluate product functionality, and an evaluation of each provider’s tutorials, webinars and support materials. We also took pricing into consideration. When looking for the best CRM for customizability specifically, we examined customization options, available integrations, reporting and analytics, and sales automation.

Salesforce FAQ

Though the Salesforce system has an extensive collection of CRM features and add-ons, its intuitive design and standard CRM lingo make it easy to learn. The vendor also provides various training materials and courses on Trailhead, the company’s free online learning platform, to get you started.

Salesforce doesn’t have a free plan; its pricing starts at $25 per user per month. However, the company offers a 14-day free trial so you can assess whether it’s a good fit for your business. 

Bottom Line

We recommend Salesforce CRM for …

  • Businesses that need a flexible and highly customizable CRM solution.
  • Companies that want access to a large collection of integrations and add-ons to suit their processes and industries.
  • Businesses looking for a CRM that can expand with their evolving needs.

We don’t recommend Salesforce CRM for …

  • Businesses that want a free CRM solution or advanced CRM functionality at an affordable price.
  • Entrepreneurs and small businesses with limited IT resources.
  • Companies that need a straightforward CRM system that works right out of the box and is easy to customize with no technical skills required.

Nadia Reckmann contributed to this article. 

Tue, 07 Nov 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.business.com/reviews/salesforce-crm-software/
Top 10 Salesforce Competitors & Alternatives 2023

With so many companies out there, it can be tough to nail down the best Salesforce alternative for your business. To find the right one for you, consider your goals, budget and must-have features. Additionally, consider user reviews and review articles to get a fuller picture of what the CRM software is like. We also suggest asking friends or colleagues from other companies to see what they use for their business and if they recommend it.

Essential Features

You may have certain CRM features or integrations in mind that are necessary for your business to run smoothly. If so, be sure to write them out and reference them during your search. Consult your team and other relevant stakeholders to review the list and add to it, if applicable.

  • Automation tools: Your CRM software should be a central hub for finding leads, turning leads into customers, and relating with them to build customer retention. That means you need a CRM with automation features for lead management, contact management, sales forecasting, sales completion, project management, pipeline management and even email marketing.
  • Reporting and analytics: Your business requires a CRM that provides in-depth and easy-to-understand CRM analytics. The data and reports you’ll get will guide your teams to develop and maintain the marketing and customer relationship strategies they need to achieve better and faster results.
  • Integration capability: Ensure the CRM you’re considering enables integration with third-party apps. That’s because you’ll need CRM integration with customer data platforms, marketing software, VoIP services, email marketing software, scheduling tools such as Calendly and Doodle, and others to relate with your customers appropriately and from one place.
  • Mobile accessibility: You need a CRM that provides access to CRM features even when you’re away from your desktop. That means accessing essential customer data and insights, staying on top of relevant information and initiating or completing necessary customer relationship tasks—on your Android or iOS devices with easy navigation.
  • Customization options: Choose a CRM platform that allows you to customize the app to suit your business operations. You should be able to select dashboard elements, customize workflows, personalize communications and customize your package via multiple pricing plan options or add-on availability. Even better is a CRM that enables application programming interfaces (APIs) for enhanced CRM software configuration.
  • Robust data security: Ensure your chosen CRM can secure customer data. Security features to look out for are encryption, two-factor authentication and advanced user permissions.

Goals

Aligning with your team is the first step you should take when looking for a Salesforce alternative. Understand what they need or don’t need in a CRM and ask if there are any pain points with Salesforce in particular.

Measure these against your business’s priorities. Review past reports to identify gaps or areas of improvement, and make sure that a CRM can help you reach your goals. For example, if you find that your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) numbers were lower than expected, a CRM can help you streamline your customer support management to provide better service.

Pricing and Budget

CRM providers vary in price. Companies such as Freshsales CRM and monday.com offer free versions, but you’ll need to pay something per month or year to get their premium features or add as many users as required. Generally, CRM pricing ranges from a few dollars per user to hundreds per month. It all depends on your needs. However, consider factors such as a CRM’s per-user per-month rates and whether discounts are available for bulk subscriptions.

Also, check for the need for specific contracts, add-ons or integration capabilities. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables software integration only when you pay for its add-on feature. So, consider each CRM’s pricing peculiarity and nail down your budget ahead of time to make your search easier.

Ease of Use and Support

You need a CRM that is easy to set up and navigate. So, choose one with user-friendly layouts that allow you to create tasks, import and export data and update information. Also, ensure the CRM supports its users via various channels, including phone, live chat and email. Other popular support channels to look out for are tickets, user forums and resources such as webinars, tutorials, live demos and a rich knowledge base of answers to FAQs, infographics and videos. A CRM software that is easy to use will help you enjoy CRM benefits, and a reliable support team will make sure you don’t miss out on those benefits due to glitches.

Wed, 08 Nov 2023 21:47:00 -0600 Mimi Polner en-US text/html https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/salesforce-competitors/




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