Alternative Approaches: Salesforce and CRMs

Is “No one ever got fired for choosing Salesforce” the 2020 version of the old IBM proverb? It very well may be. And perhaps for good reason.

Salesforce is on a tear. Once just a vanilla CRM, Salesforce is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for all of your digital platform needs. In addition, Salesforce undoubtedly has the best training resources out there and a cult-like following of its many advocates (any Trailblazers reading this?). The company is also led by a true visionary, the likes of whom we need more of in tech. Whether you want to admit it or not, Salesforce is showing us how to do enterprise software.


Issue Number One

Salesforce is expensive. Actually, it’s really expensive. If you’re in an organization that uses Salesforce, I’d bet my kids’ lunch that you receive multiple emails per week from your organization begging you to login and use it. Am I right? And the thing is, the price you pay the day you sign up, is the lowest it will ever be.


Issue Number Two

Salesforce is complex. Part of their success is offering a feature set that can be almost all things to almost all customers. And, beyond that, nearly limitless ability to customize and configure. They support all of this with extremely deep and high-quality training. However, if your organization has a handful of needs, the solutions will be buried in a deep sea of functionality, thus obscuring quick and simple approaches that typically deliver the best results.


Issue Number Three

You lose competitive advantage. If everyone out there, from small businesses to enterprises, buys into the same digital platform, how do you differentiate and compete when it comes to your digital services and workflows? It is possible but see issue #1. You’re going to be paying consultants top dollar to customize your implementation. These projects run risks of their own, not least of which is clearly outlining the requirements for your organization.


Issue Number Four

Exit ramps are hard to find. I’d like to tell you that the Salesforce stock price is a reflection of customer retention through high levels of satisfaction. And that certainly is true for many customers. However, another truth is that once you’ve invested heavily in the Salesforce ecosystem, it can be hard to get out.


Is Salesforce right for you? Probably. They are the industry leader, without question. You won’t get fired if you choose Salesforce. Are there alternatives that could help you with the issues listed above? Absolutely. Depending on the specific needs of your organization, there are lower cost and less complex solutions that you can introduce quickly for true competitive advantage. The key is defining your organization’s requirements.


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