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Flavio A. Manfredi Lebrao
Founder and CEO at Praxi Solutions, Inc.
Reseller
Low-code, intuitive, and easy to use CRM platform
Pros and Cons
  • "Intuitive, low-code CRM platform that's easy to integrate and use."
  • "The marketing feature needs to be improved. Documentation on their website, or their knowledge base, also needs expansion and improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We're using Sales Creatio for its basic purpose. We provide service to our clients, particularly tech support, and that's very important. Clients call in if something's not working, because we implement Sales Creatio and other solutions to clients, e.g. general clients. If they have a problem, they'll send us a ticket. We register the ticket, provide support within one hour or two hours depending on the agreement we have with these people, and that's just the basic with the client.

We also have sales, particularly sales processes. We qualify the leads. We have the marketing processes. We have the lead qualification. Once we get to a certain level, the lead gets assigned to the sales person and that person starts the process, and we go through each of the stages until we close. We then close the loop by assigning a team to implement and install. Now, we're done with our sales.

It's a project. We go through the whole cycle of the sales process. We have the lead qualification, then the sales assignment, then we close the project, and then it becomes a project. We manage the project: all the stages, meetings, and schedules.

When everything is said and done, clients start calling in for tech support. That's what we do.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefits that Sales Creatio brought to our organization: The bottom line is my members didn't want to go ahead and utilize the previous solution (Infor CRM) because it was so cumbersome. We had to go through several different screens to get things processed. Not only that: If they needed to make an ad hoc change, or if they needed to make a process, they were not able to do it. They had to ask my IT guys to create a process for them, or customize a field, or get a specific page or information they needed. It was not that easy.

Sometimes it was easy for us because we were trained, but the new guys, they didn't want to do it. They said: "Well, we worked with Salesforce before. We worked with Microsoft before. Infor is not that simple or intuitive." We then started to go into Sales Creatio and it was very easy to use and very, very intuitive. They could create all kinds of processes on their own. I didn't have to explain as much because it was new technology. Infor CRM, on the other hand, was stuck in time. They didn't develop much. It was just nice-to-have.

With Sales Creatio, utilization was improved by 80%. The database is clean and alive, and we see usage every day. My team loves this solution, both mobile and Windows.

What is most valuable?

I like that Sales Creatio is low-code. I'm not a programmer and I'm not a developer, but I can create my own flows and my own marketing processes. We do that a lot. Being able to do basic things is what I like about this solution.

Guess who said: "No, no, no, no, no. Nobody touches that. I'll do that"? I was the one creating some of the processes. I am able to follow through the whole process because it's low-code and sometimes no-code. That's something that we like.

Lead qualification is fantastic. Project management is a must. Again, each of those four characteristics that we like are directly associated with the fact that it doesn't require our team to develop code, though we can do that if you want. We can integrate back to our ERP. We can integrate it to a number of things, e.g. platforms and APIs, but what's cool is I can do most of it without asking for their help, unlike with Infor CRM.

All these characteristics that we like are directly associated with the fact that we can work on the platform as a low-code and no-code.

What needs improvement?

My main pet peeve with this product is marketing. I love marketing, and even though I'm an engineer, I like it. Sales is great. It's perfect. The service is great, but the marketing can be improved. It has everything we need, but it's so tricky to configure, and I think they did not do a good job onboarding whoever comes on board for the marketing. They do provide videos and they do provide some instructions, but even to this date, we're figuring things out.

To my surprise, they too are not aware of some of the problems we detected. We were able to send them a lot of little things and we had to ask them how to do it. It takes two, three, or four days because they themselves are still figuring out how to do certain things. The result is that sometimes they create a workaround and they explain: "Well, on the next version we're going to make a change here." Bottom line, marketing is definitely one area. Even though it's great, it's not perfect, and there's a lot of room for improvement. I still wouldn't go with any other platforms, though. I think once you manage that, once you've figured things out, Sales Creatio is the way to go.

Documentation also needs some improvement. If you claim yourself to be a platform that's very intuitive and low-code, your documentation, or your Academy (this is what they call themselves), needs to have complete information. For example: You can go to the Academy and get information, but there isn't much information there. They just have a very basic set of videos that my mom can understand and sounds nice and dandy, but when you try to apply things, you'll go: "Oh, wait a minute, here. How about this? Oh, this is not on the video." You have to call in and if it's too complex, it may take a couple of days or more for them to reply to you.

More often than not, the explanation is not really on the documentation. They can improve documentation. They should improve the videos. The should improve the onboarding. Once they fix that, and that should be on the next version, that'll be great as well. That would bring marketing up to par with sales and service.

An additional feature I'd like to see in the next release for this solution is the creation of APIs. We do have the capability for that, but it could be explored better.

There's another feature I'd like to see and that is the generation of PDFs. You would say: "Whoa. It doesn't generate PDFs." No, it doesn't. You can create proposals in Word, but not in PDFs. To me, that should be basic. Most people have that and it's embarrassing when I can't. It could have something to do with their relationship with Adobe, or it might be a licensing issue, not a technical capability. That's what comes to mind.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution since 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very, very stable.

Two years ago, we had an issue because one of our sites was with Azure and that did not go so well. They moved the site to Amazon and everything went beautifully. No delays. Everything was solid. We figured it out. That was three years ago.

Today, they are much more detail-oriented. They don't put everybody on the same network. Depending on where you are, e.g. we have clients in different areas of the globe, so they connect them to Azure or Amazon based on where they are located. That's been working out fine. Short answer is Sales Creatio is stable. I have no complaints.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From our perspective, it's hard to say whether this solution is easy to scale or not. 

We have 20 users approximately. I don't see any problem taking them to 100. I have to give you an answer based on our experiences with our clients. We have clients with up to 2,000, or 3,000 users. We also have clients with five or 10 users. It is scalable. We've never had much more than 2,000 or 3000 users, and we never had any problems.

I did hear that when you get up to 10,000, or 15,000 users, it's strongly advisable to have an on-premise implementation. That helps a lot, but I can't confirm that because we haven't had any real case. It's just rumors, or people I've spoken with. 

From my perspective, with the day-to-day clients that we have, our average is about 50 to 400 users from our clients. 100% of them is cloud-based. Once they get the right platform: Amazon AWS or Azure, it's a breeze. We haven't had any issues at all. Scalability is not a problem. In fact, I hope to have more users as that helps all of us big time.

How are customer service and support?

In general, Sales Creatio's support is fantastic. They are very on the ball. They pay attention to us. They escalate if necessary. They have several levels. They have different programs and they do a great job. It was only with marketing that we have had issues in the past. It took longer to get the ball rolling and they had to escalate to different levels, but they fixed the issue.

Today, I had a question for them regarding our DNS. We sent them an email. Within five minutes, they were able to get back to us with a suggestion. They probably realized last year that they needed to change and up their game and they did. Bottom line is I have no complaints. I celebrate their improvement. 

Sales Creatio has gone a long way. That's an impressive process they've come up with. I have worked with Microsoft before, also Salesforce and Oracle, and sometimes I felt like we were not important. Sales Creatio was able to make us feel very important.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

A little bit about ourselves here: We used to be the master distributors for SalesLogix. SalesLogix is an Infor CRM today. It's a solution. They didn't do anything to the product. We spent a lot of time on it and they downgraded the quality.

We decided to look for something else. We did some research and obviously tried Salesforce, Microsoft, and Oracle. We did them all, tried them out, and we decided to go with Sales Creatio back in 2016. It's an excellent service with people who were very eager to please. Their support was great and their management was fantastic. The product was very good.

Going back to SalesLogix, it was sold to Infor. Infor is a very, very large ERP organization that acquired SalesLogix. Their goal was to transform SalesLogix into a more modern, flexible, new technology which integrates with their ERPs. To a certain extent, they did that. I don't want to blame them, but at a certain point in time, they did not evolve as fast as we expected, so they had to recreate the platform from the bottom, from scratch almost, because that was an old technology. They had to really bring it up to the Cloud. Instead of bringing that old technology to the Cloud, they developed a new platform.

The problem was it was no good. When you compare their platform to Sales Creatio, particularly the flexibility and the no-code, Sales Creatio was hard to beat. It's easy to go into a client and beat Infor CRM. That was frustrating for us. They were not a CRM-geared organization. They were a customer experience in general, which is fine.

When you talk to Sales Creatio, it's a lot easier to deal with because it's one product. It's one platform. Another thing that sets Sales Creatio apart from its competitors is that it has marketing, sales, services, and the studio: all with the same DNA. It was all developed from the same platform.

Other platforms, including Infor, in order to get something done, what they do is they acquire the other platforms and then they have to integrate. What they'll have at the end of the day is too many moving parts. You can really see and notice how hard it is to move data from one end to the other, and how hard it is to make sure things look the same. You see that on Salesforce. You see that on Microsoft. You see that on Infor. On Sales Creatio, it's transparent because it was born from a BPM platform. They claim to be CRM but the bottom line is the engine is BPM which evolved to a layer where you have marketing, sales, and service on top of it.

This is phenomenal because you don't realize that all three units are integrated. That, to me, was key to us selling Sales Creatio to our clients. Selling Infor was a nightmare. We were attached to Infor. We were Infor's exclusive distributors in Latin America at one point. We were very loyal to them, but we were losing projects left and right.

When you bring something new like Sales Creatio, it's night and day. We wanted to make a demo. To create a process with Infor, it would take us hours. With Sales Creatio, it only took seconds, or minutes. It's very visual, very icon-oriented. It's so much easier. Our presentations were much more effective. Clients loved this solution. At the end of the day, they said: "Guys. Forget about Infor. Let's use Sales Creatio for the project. Present to us, send us your proposal for Creatio." We then realized that we had to make the switch, so we decided to scrap Infor CRM internally and started using Sales Creatio.

How was the initial setup?

The setup for this solution was straightforward.

We are savvy. We are implementers. We've been doing this for the past 20 years, so my team is really, really good. Implementing Sales Creatio was way easier than implementing Infor CRM.

We were very specific on how we wanted to do things. We had our people certified first. We set up a few platforms on our own, then we implemented our own platform. It took less than two weeks, maybe even less than that. We were just tweaking here and there and creating processes here and there. Implementation was almost out of the box to begin with, then we started customizing some of our processes.

I wouldn't even say customizing. We were configuring things. Sales Creatio is so good with that, particularly with the sales process and the service, so all of our processes were already there out of the box. All we needed to do was to configure it according to our methodology and how we utilized, but then again, that's not a surprise. We are an integrator. They are vendors. We are software vendors/implementers, so Creatio understands that. That's what they do.

If we were a hospital, or if we a store or a vet, for example, we probably would have to configure it. Even in that situation, it doesn't change as much because the software is so flexible. To customize, implement, and configure it is really a breeze. We do this for a living. We just now finished a large implementation in Texas and that is very, very, very complex, yet it was simple compared to any other platforms that we are familiar with.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this in-house, but we also had to solicit help in terms of marketing. Here's the thing: Sales Creatio marketing utilizes ESPs. We are connected to Elastic or SendGrid and you have to change your DNS. You have to change a few configurations, so that's not straightforward. We had to have some people from Sales Creatio tell us what to do. Once we knew how to get that, we figured it out on our own and things started to flow with no problems. The implementation went well.

What was our ROI?

We haven't computed the ROI. Some of our clients do that, but I don't have that off the top of my head. In general, it's positive, but we don't do that as much, so I don't have the number.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

At the level we're at, we have the Sales Creatio corporate licenses. These cost $60 per user. We are implementers and partners, so we have special pricing. Bottom line is that Sales Creatio's cost is half of Salesforce's cost. If I'm not mistaken, Salesforce is priced at $120. Microsoft's more like us, but we have everything. $60 per platform per module and we can pick and choose. If you have five users for sales, that's five times 60, so that's $300 a month, times 12.

They also have other versions. They have the lighter version for $30. You don't need everything in sales. It's attractive in terms of pricing, plus you're going to get a lot of features. You're going to get a lot of flexibility. These are part of what makes Sales Creatio attractive.

To get the same thing on Salesforce, you're going to have to invest. As you go on, surprising, surprise. You will be hit with additional charges here and there. That's when people don't realize when they're going to close a project. They think they're paying something, then six months down the road, they'll be hit with another invoice. They'll go: "What is this?" Then they'll find out it's for additional storage, or additional platform for marketing, or that they're utilizing too many contacts.

Sales Creatio is straightforward with their costs and charges. We've never had an issue and neither do our clients. Their costs are upfront. It's $60 for a license per month, per user. Pricing is plain and simple. Only if you really need storage, they're going to charge you additionally for storage. There is an additional charge for documentation and database, etc. If you're using marketing and you're marketing to 10,000 contacts, the pricing is going to be different than marketing to 200,000. The number of contacts will change the pricing for marketing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Infor, Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft CRMs.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the latest version of Sales Creatio: 7.18.5 and 1500 as a partner and implementer. We get the software and we automatically update the versions. Our team does that. We don't have to call anybody else. We're self-sufficient. We are experts. We have people in the team who are fully certified.

We could've gone both ways in deploying this solution, but we decided to go with public cloud deployment, and we're happy with that decision. Our system is connected to Amazon AWS.

For maintenance, we have our people, e.g. our managers, and our project manager or admin. We have our team, but if your operation does not have a heavily certified team, or a specialized team, you should not worry because Sales Creatio, every two to three months, comes up with a new version or an add-on. It automatically changes. They do that on their own. You don't have to worry about it. They will warn you and they will let you know. For example, they'll contact you and say: "Hey. When is the best time for us to implement the new version?" Then you say: "Let's do Friday after 5:00." We coordinate and Sales Creatio takes care of it, and we, including our clients, don't have to worry about it.

It's extremely lean and easy to maintain, unless you really want to do something crazy, or have redundancy, it maybe best to back your system up, or have a copy. 

Another thing is that we not only have our production, but we also have our development environment. Every now and then, we have to copy specific environments and copy backup, so we can do development for third parties, for our clients, mainly. That's when my heavy artillery comes in and they do what they have to do, but for a regular client operation with five to 10 people, you can pick one administrator and the person should be able to handle that without a problem. It's basic, intuitive, and requires very little maintenance.

We go to a client and a big name competitor like Salesforce is really one issue that we have. You can imagine just how everybody knows Salesforce. We have to tell clients why Sales Creatio is better than Salesforce or Microsoft, for example.

Just recently, we got a 450 license project. We were competing against Salesforce and they did what they had to do. The client called us and said: "I'm so happy we selected you guys and Sales Creatio because we felt we were important during the sales process. You guys make us feel special every single day." That's the word I got from one of our clients: Alex. He is happy and I agree. Sales Creatio: It could be because of it's size, but I hope that when it is the size of Salesforce, it does not transpire that way. I will make sure, from my end, that they don't get too cocky. I hope they stay humble and nimble and continue to serve clients as they do today.

I hate to be biased but let's try to be unbiased with the advice I'm giving to people looking into implementing Sales Creatio. One is to make sure you understand why you're bringing a CRM platform on board. Is it because it's cool, or is it because your sales team wants to use a certain platform? You need to find out what your objective is, why you're bringing in a new platform, and what it is you want to achieve. Based on that, go ahead and bring the best, more flexible CRM. Don't make your choice based on the name, pricing, or factors that sound cool, but at the end of the day is going to cost you more money and is going to take more time. Implementation will be half more expensive.

Do some research first. Understand why you need it. Bring on board, bring in-house something that is flexible, intuitive, and one that your people will utilize. People hate using something very specific or very complex. You have to try and focus on the simple things, and that is Sales Creatio to me. It might not be as well-known as the big brands, but that's where you're going to capitalize. You're going to be able to explore and get much more for your money than anybody else.

Do your homework. Explore the best partners in your area and go for it. Do some research and assign a leader for your project. Then again, I'm going to start talking about projects and that's not the case. Bottom line is to look for something intuitive, easy to use, and requires less money. This sounds obvious, but a lot of people like the expensive solutions for no reason, apart from them being cool, and I find that sad.

I'm rating this product a nine out of ten. Nothing's perfect. There's still room for improvement. I think they're not perfect and they're not a 10 at this point in time. I don't think there's a 10 in the market. Salesforce: I would just score it a seven or eight, for many reasons. Sales Creatio at nine meets the needs of our clients big time. Even for projects we lost to Salesforce, I'll still give Sales Creatio a nine. They don't know what they're getting themselves into and they will pay for it.

Sales Creatio, in my view, was really the right decision since 2016 and because of that decision we made back in 2016, we were able to recover several clients. We were able to help many, many clients become more successful. We learned a lot and we're ready to face any challenges now. These are large corporations, medium-sized, and small corporations. I wanted to justify why I gave a nine out of ten rating for this solution.

We are an implementer. We are resellers. It is a strong relationship. We're not totally biased because we have other solutions. We sell other solutions, but we choose Sales Creatio whenever possible because through it, we can achieve what we promised. We can achieve it most of the time. If the client says: "No. I have to stick with Infor." then we have to sell Infor. That happened just recently and that's fine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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