Salesforce.com CRM Review
What can be said about Salesforce.com that the company hasn't already said about itself? Founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com has become the cloud CRM software market share leader. The company is largely known for its flamboyant and controversial leader who seems to be either regarded as a visionary or a blowhard depending upon who you are speaking with. The company's use of guerilla marketing tactics, near limitless marketing spend and frequent gifts for industry media and analysts have earned it an interesting and mixed reputation - from being referred to as the next Google to being referred to as the SaaS industry bad boy.
Since beginning its corporate life as a SaaS customer relationship management system, the larger than life company is aggressively seeking a new direction away from focused business applications and toward platform applications - and as is traditional with Salesforce.com, the company latched on to the next big marketing term of "platform as a service" (PAAS) in order to steer the business sector it seeks to serve.
While the Salesforce.com CRM application is not the strongest in the online CRM software industry, the company down plays the limited value of commercial off the shelf business systems and instead attempts to expand the value proposition with a comprehensive third party directory of integrated products called AppExchange and a custom programming environment called Force.com. The growth of AppExchange has been impressive, however, the integration between AppExchange products and Salesforce.com is many times trivial, giving the appearance that the third party solutions are using AppExchange as just an additional sales outlet. Force.com is a very respectable development environment, however, getting the development community to part with open and industry standard development tools such as Java or .NET and move to a proprietary development environment is of questionable motive and no easy task.
The company segments its flagship product among a few different editions. The Professional Edition is a scaled down version and priced at USD $65.00 per user per month. Enterprise Edition is the most popular and is priced at USD $125.00 per user per month. Finally, the Unlimited Edition is priced at USD $250.00 per user per month. One of these last two editions are normally required if an AppExchange product is necessary. The Salesforce CRM price can vary significantly based on editions, software scope, user count and specific configuration.
While the company's growth has sky rocketed, there have been some serious bumps in the road along the way. A series of intermittent system interruptions have plagued the software's system uptime assurance, however, the company continues to make strides in more redundant data centers and improving upon historical performance. Despite CRM software delivery interruptions, very few customers receive a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Salesforce.com advantages include its never before witnessed marketing promotion backed with evangelism and thought leadership, strong brand recognition, industry-first use of social CRM and social media tools, reasonable ease of use, good online product documentation and array of programming tools to customize and integrate the CRM software.
Salesforce.com disadvantages include high recurring subscription costs, very limited small business professional services options, mixed customer support reviews and a lack of feature sets and functionality that forces many users to pay extra for AppExchange products or pay for customization tools (and programmers) to accomplish what several other SaaS CRM systems deliver out of the box.
When evaluating Salesforce.com or identifying and recommending the most relevant and direct Salesforce competitors for comparison, we typically align specific company objectives to Salesforce software functionality and consider company size, user count, user goals, vertical market, geo-locations, internal resources, constraints such as budget and technical considerations such as integration and customization.
1 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: (415) 901-7000
Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce.com
and the standout Cloud Pleaser
Benioff is regarded as the self proclaimed leader of what he has termed "The End of Software," the belief that multi-tenant, on-demand CRM software will democratize CRM by delivering immediate benefits with reduced risks and costs. Under Benioff's leadership, the company has grown from a visionary idea into a publicly traded company that is the market leader in software as a service Customer Relationship Management.
Prior to founding salesforce.com, Benioff spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation from 1986-1999. Prior to Oracle he worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh Division. In 1979 at the age of 15, he started an entertainment software company called Liberty Software. Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1986.
Salesforce.com Reference Sites