I help implement solutions for customers like retailers and the automotive industry. It's used typically to help them with the cold sales process and help them go digital as much as possible into the cloud solutions. That's where we recommend Salesforce solutions based on the discovery we do with customers. We help implement the Sales Cloud platform for the customers. It's a software as a service primarily.
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Vast, configurable, and offers great ROI
Pros and Cons
- "The development cost, maintenance cost, everything will be drastically reduced - unlike traditional infrastructure where we maintain everything on our own."
- "With the solution being very vast, they need to prioritize features."
What is our primary use case?
How has it helped my organization?
From the company perspective, the benefits would be the quicker return on investment, especially into the sales and service model. It's great for any company deeply into the sales and service model. In terms of investing in Salesforce, which could be Sales Cloud or Service Cloud, two of the offerings that come from Salesforce, the biggest win when I reach out to customers is showcasing to them the quickest way to ROI.
What is most valuable?
From the customers' point of view, if someone is using this product, Sales Cloud, since it is software as a service, it's pay as you go. The development cost, maintenance cost, everything will be drastically reduced - unlike traditional infrastructure where we maintain everything on our own. With Salesforce being a cloud computing solution, that's less of a headache.
I pay for a number of users who will be using the system in my company. It's license-based and there are various plans available based on the size and type of the organization that I have. That gives a lot of flexibility. You don't need to have strong developers or coders to build something moderately complex. You can do it using a few clicks.
It's really vast. The features that we have and everything else that we can do on the platform are really vast. Salesforce keeps coming up with a lot of new ideas to make sure people can learn this in various ways very easily. They're also targeting importing the admins - not only the developers. They want everybody to be able to click and configure rather than read through some code, et cetera. That's a positive side. Salesforce has been doing a very great job in bringing that to all people as much as possible.
It's a great product and most of the customers are getting a benefit out of using Salesforce.
What needs improvement?
With the solution being very vast, they need to prioritize features.
So many features being released can be a bottleneck for 90% of the customers. Salesforce has it in their roadmap for the near fix. There are some things that have been on the roadmap for a long time, and there's just so much. You wish they could get certain things out faster.
One thing that's lacking, especially when I talk to a lot of customers, is the forecasting and revenue capabilities. That's missing from the Sales Cloud itself. You don't have a great way of forecasting or projecting revenue or growth from the information that you currently have in Sales Cloud. That requires a lot of customization and dependencies with a lot of other systems. It would be really great and attract more customers if that becomes readily available out of the box.
I wish the licensing costs and everything else would really become feasible for most of the customers. If it was more affordable, Salesforce would continue to see a lot of customers using their product.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using it quite for some time. It's kind of my day-to-day interaction.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There will be hiccups around releases sometimes. Salesforce releases will be four times a year. Every quarter they do release major upgrades and a lot of new features across the clouds of sales, service, and marketing as well as several other clouds. At times, we see some bugs introduced unintentionally due to the new features or upgrades. In 99% of the cases, Salesforce is quick enough to fix them with an immediate patch or release. In very few cases, they wouldn't be able to and they will take a little bit of time. It may take a couple of months to apply the fix.
Overall, it's great. I have never seen the system being down due to a bug or an upgrade. On the other hand, there could be incidents with the DNS or the network provider - issues with the hardware side that could bring down your sales, for instance, for a few minutes or a few hours. The worst I have seen was one day - and that's in my entire decade Salesforce career.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's easy to scale. It's 100% scalable.
I happen to work for all types of businesses, meaning startups to large enterprise organizations. Salesforce also offers an unlimited edition which is the premium one. It's a little pricey, however, you get all the features and benefits. Typically, large enterprise organizations will go with the unlimited edition. You can have a professional edition or a couple of other types. People choose enterprise versus professional based on the size of the organization and the number of users who would use the system.
80% of clients are happy with it and are likely to keep using it.
How are customer service and support?
Technical support is very good. Tech support comes based on the type of edition that you're using. If you are a premier customer, you have thousands of users and licenses. If yours is the unlimited edition, you will have the A-plus support. If anything comes up, the resolution time is one hour. It goes down based on the type of edition, the type of support package that you have with Salesforce. Overall, it's good. If anything is down in production, they address it within eight hours.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is straightforward. They give us some sort of trial log. You take a few weeks and just look around. If you are comfortable, you'll sign the contract and they convert it to the production log, so that trial becomes your sales production.
Typically, unless you are very sure about buying the product, what happens is we recommend, as a consultant, that you can talk to Salesforce and get a trial log. They give you a Salesforce instance. It is not a production instance, it's more of a trial log. The recommendation is you take one or two consultants and set up something really quickly, in a week or two as a prototype, and see if you really like it and your users would like it. You need to ask: are you getting really the benefit of using Salesforce, or not? That would be the quickest way to come to a conclusion, whether this is the right product or not.
Once you want to move forward with Salesforce, we have two options. Either we can get a brand new log, or Salesforce is capable of converting that trial log into your production version so that you can continue to build your stuff there.
One person can do it by themselves in terms of setting it up. You don't need a big team.
There's no maintenance necessary. Once we set it up, it'll be theirs and that's it. You just need to log in and start using it.
What was our ROI?
Clients have seen very good ROI. Especially users. The data is very good in most of the organizations where we have recommended and implemented Salesforce. That's improving the productivity and they have seen a very good return on investment in several aspects. Some of them are tangible and some of them are soft savings, however, the overall ROI is really good for most of the clients.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
You need to pay for the license per user per month. For example, you need to pay $100 per user. If you have 200 users using your Salesforce, that would be multiplied by a hundred, that's $20,000 per month and a quarter million per year. That never stops.
That's a recurring cost. If someone is not ready and hasn't thought through, maybe they would be disappointed in terms of the cost and price. 20% might drop off of Salesforce for various reasons. Mostly, they come to think that Salesforce might not be the right platform for them.
If you get the unlimited edition and a huge number of licenses, the price will go down for sure due to the size of the business. However, if you are starting with really a small fit, it is pricey.
There are additional costs. That depends on, for example, if you have Salesforce Sales Cloud. That's the primary product. After a while, if you decided to enhance or extend it to Service Cloud, you might want to buy a call center product which is Service Cloud.
For that Service Cloud, all you need is additional feature licenses as you already have Salesforce and Sales Cloud on top of that. Some of your users will be part of the call center. In those cases, you will pay a little bit of additional money for those Service Cloud licenses. Again, it depends on the type of product that you're looking for. Those additional features will come with a feature license cost.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did evaluate other options. We also try to recommend the best product for customers. For example, we go through the requirements and current processes, and everything else as part of the analysis and discovery phase. We see that the phase of the customer and their income and everything else that says the cost that they need to pay for Salesforce. More importantly, we see the day-to-day business that they do. If it is not that heavy, they really don't need Salesforce for what they're doing. In those cases, we recommend building their own solution using Java. It's a one-time investment. They won't have a recurring cost. That's an option for some.
There's also Pega, which is fulfilling Salesforce in the CRM world. There's also ViVA and a few other CRM products competitive to Salesforce, however, they have light pricing and are very affordable. Of course, they're not as super scalable as Salesforce.
What other advice do I have?
We are just end-users. We don't have a business relationship with Salesforce.
Anyone considering Salesforce should choose the right implementation partner. They should consider choosing a professional implementation partner right from the beginning. It really helps taking professionals that can evaluate and tell you right at the beginning whether Salesforce is the right fit or not. Even if it is the right fit, they will help you build in the right direction. It could go completely wrong if you don't have a very good architect in the first place when designing the system. Once you design and start accessing it, you will create a good number of records and data.
Down the line, in a couple of years, if you realize that this model won't work, then it is a huge cost to be paid if you want to redo the whole thing. I have seen this multiple times with a lot of other clients, where they were not really knowledgeable and screwed up and ended up paying more for rectifying everything. Therefore, invest money and time in the beginning rather than being sorry later.
I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Last updated: Jan 12, 2022Flag as inappropriate