Salesforce, Pipeline Deals or Zendesk Sell CRM

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Jul 22, 2014

 Salesforce, Pipeline Deals or Zendesk Sell CRM
Update: Novem­ber 2018: Base has joined with Zen­desk Sup­port. Their new name is Zen­desk Sell. Their pric­ing struc­ture has changed as well. It spans from $19, $49, $99 and $199 per user. I use the words Base CRM in the arti­cle below, writ­ten in 2014. I was recent­ly asked if I had writ­ten an arti­cle com­par­ing Sales­force to Base CRM. The con­trac­tor had also tried Pipeline Deals as a CRM. This got me think­ing that I need­ed to write a blog about the CRMs I per­son­al­ly use the most and the dif­fer­ences between the three. I hope you will find this post help­ful if you are in search for a CRM. Warn­ing: If you are cur­rent­ly using a CRM effec­tive­ly, do not be quick to jump ship and try anoth­er CRM. Before switch­ing, make sure you know the miss­ing link in your cus­tomer reten­tion, what it will take to fix it, and if switch­ing CRMs will be the solu­tion. Many times, switch­ing appli­ca­tions just make for more chaos. In today’s post, I’m not going to tell you which CRM is best for you. They all have their place. I will just share a few high­lights and do my best to com­pare how they are dif­fer­ent.

Sales­force SF

Sales­force has been the lead­ing CRM on the mar­ket ever since I can remem­ber. Before Sales­force, ACT! was the pre­mi­um soft­ware used by most small busi­ness­es. Sales­force came out of nowhere and pro­duced one of the first and best cloud CRMs. Sales­force grew rapid­ly in the cloud com­put­ing world and com­pa­nies from small, medi­um and even some larg­er enter­pris­es began to switch to Sales­force. In a nut­shell, Sales­force can pret­ty much do what­ev­er it is you want to do when it comes to lead gen­er­a­tion, inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, excep­tion­al report­ing, sales automa­tion, light project man­age­ment. What Sales­force can­not do out of the box, one of their many APIs or plu­g­ins can typ­i­cal­ly do the trick. They have allowed for devel­op­ers to build Apps to work nice­ly with their prod­uct. Yet using more fea­tures with­in Sales­force tends to get a bit expen­sive. On aver­age, a busi­ness would need to spend around $125 a user/​per month for the enter­prise ver­sion. Some­times you can nego­ti­ate this price down a bit with Sales­force. If you want to have a lot of flex­i­bil­i­ty with your CRM, the Enter­prise ver­sion is most like­ly where you will be. As you can see, this can add up and get expen­sive for the small busi­ness con­trac­tors with 5+ employ­ees. The one draw­back with Sales­force is that it can be com­pli­cat­ed. Most of the clients I know who use Sales­force don’t real­ly uti­lize the pro­gram to its full poten­tial. I had one client fly their oper­a­tions man­ag­er to the Bay Area for a sev­er­al day course on advanced fea­tures with­in Sales­force. That was a cou­ple of years ago and to this day, they are still hav­ing prob­lems with Sales­force. This is not Sales­force’s fault! Will they switch? No! They have too much invest­ed in Sales­force. It works fan­tas­tic for their call cen­ter and sales team. Yet, it comes with a steep price tag too!

Who Should Be Using Salesforce

If you want the best with all the bells and whis­tles and cus­tomiza­tion, Sales­force will do the trick. If you have an inside sales team mak­ing cold calls, need­ing some good sales automa­tion (task, reminders, fol­low ups, emails) this is a great prod­uct. If it’s just you, one oth­er sales guy, and you are very ana­lyt­i­cal and detail-ori­ent­ed, you’ll be hap­py with Sales­force.

Base CRM

base-crm-mobile Base CRM just moved their offices to the Bay Area from Chica­go. One of the rea­sons they did this was to have even more access to the tech com­mu­ni­ty: design­ers, pro­gram­mers, engi­neers etc. They have pro­duced one of the best scaleable CRMs I’ve seen. What I mean is that a small, one man shop can use BASE CRM and a com­pa­ny of 50+ employ­ees can as well. It is capa­ble of just the Facts Jack” fea­tures up to a num­ber of advanced fea­tures such as call record­ing, sales automa­tion, sales, scripts, geo-map loca­tion and more. Although this can change from year to year, Base still has per­haps the slick­est and most advanced Mobile CRM on the mar­ket. It works incred­i­bly well on the iOS devices and even bet­ter on Google’s Android plat­form. When Apple released iOS 8 this fall, my guess is that Base will run even bet­ter! A cou­ple of draw­backs on Base as of July 2014: Export­ing data is a pain in the neck. The only way to do this is to export all your data into CSV files. At that point, you can do what you want with it. I get the rea­son why Base makes it painful. I think they want you to use their reports and not have to do a lot of your own ana­lyz­ing and report­ing out­side of Base. That brings me to the oth­er draw­back: their reports are good, not great. For most com­pa­nies, you’ll prob­a­bly be quite pleased with the slick, easy to read reports. It shows most of you what you want to know; but if you want to dig real deep into your orga­ni­za­tion, Base CRM’s reports have room for improve­ment. They are work­ing on this, and I’m sure in a year or so, I’ll have to update this post. Base also does not have as many plu­g­ins and fea­tures like Sales­force. It has some basic ones such as Google, MailChimp, Xero to name a few. Yet it is miss­ing some key plu­g­ins to small busi­ness tools such as Quick­books. Final­ly, it does­n’t do a great job of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions like Pipeline and Sales­force. You have to rely more on email to com­mu­ni­cate with inside/​outside sales teams. It would be nice to be able to leave com­ments and send noti­fi­ca­tions to oth­er users with­in the Base. Base CRM and most CRMs lack the cus­tomer fol­low up process too. Most CRMs deal with the pre and dur­ing sales process. Once the sale is com­plete, there isn’t a great way to man­age a project, con­nect to a good project man­age­ment soft­ware or have a sys­tem to stay in touch with a cus­tomer. Well, there are ways, but it isn’t easy.

Who Should Be Using Base CRM

Because I love mobile tech­nol­o­gy so much, I’ve set­tled on using Base CRM for my com­pa­ny. I love the updates and fea­tures Base brings on a reg­u­lar basis. I like the task and sales automa­tion fea­tures too. It works real­ly well with Google Apps, which I use for my email and cal­en­dar. I’d say if you real­ly like a slick design, easy to use CRM fea­tures, Base CRM is a great CRM. It also has plans to go neck to neck with Sales­force. So I sus­pect the next 12 months, Base CRM will real­ly make some great updates to their prod­uct. Each one I’ve seen the past few years has been fan­tas­tic. An inside sales team that wants to make calls from their com­put­er, have sales scripts and call record­ing will also ben­e­fit from Base CRM. If you are a small ser­vice busi­ness that will be using Google Apps for your busi­ness and want a qual­i­ty CRM, Base will do the trick. It does not have as many bells and whis­tles as Sales­force, but it has the poten­tial to do quite a bit out of the box. The cost is a bit more rea­son­able too. Most small busi­ness­es (con­trac­tors main­ly) can ben­e­fits from spend­ing around $45 a month per user. I know a few that do just fine at their starter pack­age too: $15 a month.

Pipeline Deals

pipelinedeals-1 pipelinedeals-2 pipelinedeals-3 I like to call Pipeline Deals Old Faith­ful.” This does not mean that Pipeline Deals is old and out of date. Not at all. Pipeline Deals has qual­i­ty apps for the Android and iPhone and has some of the best report­ing fea­tures for a sim­ple CRM. It also has great inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion fea­tures. So if I get a call from a client, I can type in a note about the call and tap a but­ton to noti­fy some­one in the com­pa­ny about the call I had with that par­tic­u­lar client. Pipeline is just a rock sol­id CRM. They have per­haps the best cus­tomer support/​service I’ve ever expe­ri­enced too. You can call, chat, or email them just about any­time and get a live per­son in sec­onds! They are more than will­ing to help small to medi­um size busi­ness­es set­up their CRM as well. Pipeline basi­cal­ly is a sim­ple CRM for those who just want the basics: enter and keep track of cus­tomers and sales. The com­pa­ny does make updates to their prod­uct a few times a year, and the updates are very well thought out and bug free. A few draw­backs to Pipeline Deals would be the fact that it real­ly is a sim­ple CRM. It does not come close to what Sales­force can do, and I don’t think Pipeline Deals thinks of Sales­force as a com­peti­tor. Although Pipeline works with Google Apps, it is not with­out a few issues. I think it is a bit clunky and don’t both­er with the inte­gra­tion. Their sales automa­tion is also a bit dat­ed and not as auto­mat­ed and wor­ry-free as Sales­force or Base. For exam­ple, set­ting up fol­low up task in Pipeline can be done, but get­ting remind­ed about them is a bit of a chore. Final­ly their mobile apps are pret­ty basic. If you want a robust mobile solu­tion, Pipeline has a bit more work to do here.

Who Should Use Pipeline Deals

I have an account with Pipeline Deals and do keep up on all their updates. I also know that many of my paint­ing clients use and like Pipeline Deals. These guys don’t need a com­pli­cat­ed CRM. It’s very easy to learn how to use Pipeline Deals and the cost is rea­son­able at $24 per user/​month. For that rate, it’s easy to have a large staff use the basic or advanced fea­tures of this CRM. I trust you have found this post help­ful. If I did not address your ques­tions, com­ment below or send me an mes­sage.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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