The number one question we get about Salesforce is – why does Salesforce cost so much money? If you are a Salesforce customer, this is definitely a question you should be asking yourself. What exactly are you paying for and how does it compare to other big hitters in the CRM market? Let’s compare Salesforce vs Zoho and see how these two giants stack up in terms of pricing and functionality.
In short, Salesforce costs three times as much as Zoho. But that’s just the beginning. That’s before you dive into the functionality and the hidden costs, of using Salesforce. Below we’ll dive into the software costs, consulting costs, and hidden fees associated with using Salesforce vs Zoho.
The most straightforward cost comparison is to examine the different pricing options of both CRM systems. both systems offer several different packages. each package comes with various options, storage space, and general functions. Luckily the packages are named similar.
Professional and Enterprise are the editions that our business clients make use of. These are the primary pricing options for both Zoho and Salesforce. Zoho does boast a free edition as well, but it’s not much more than a digital Rolodex, so we’ll skip it for our comparison
Salesforce professional begins at $75 per user per month. This version is your basic CRM system. It doesn’t come with many bells or whistles and is suited for smaller teams. This version doesn’t allow much customizing either and comes with the smallest amount of storage space offered.
Salesforce Enterprise edition starts at $150 per user per month. This version allows for everything most companies need including customization. Although actually customizing the system isn’t included, just the capability of doing so. More on that later.
Zoho professional begins at $25 per user per month. Much like salesforce’s professional version, this is your basic CRM. Not many Bells, not many whistles but it is suitable for small teams with simple needs. one big bonus for Zoho here is that it is customizable even at this price point.
Zoho Enterprise Edition is $35 per user per month and is comparable in functionality and customizability to the Salesforce Enterprise edition. One key difference though is that the customizability can easily be done to by an end-user. You don’t have to pay Zoho more money for them to customize the system.
There’s no doubt that Salesforce costs more than most CRM systems. How much more was actually a bit of a surprise to us. We expected 30% to 50% higher pricing at the most. 300% seems a little outrageous.
The only thing we could find to justify a higher rate? The Salesforce annual convention. After business topics are out of the way, you get to watch Metallica and Kanye West perform. I like music as much as the next guy, but I don’t want the cost of concerts wrapped up into my CRM subscription.
Already you can see a huge disparity between the two price points. Clearly, this must mean something’s wrong with Zoho right? Wrong. Zoho and Salesforce both have the same feature set, user ratings, reliability, and support. They both accomplish the same goal. And they both yield the same returns. One simply costs a lot more money.
Let’s look at the cost difference for a 10 user team over the course of one year. Most of our business clients use the Enterprise level of the software. The pro versions lack the customizing requirements that our customers find necessary for success with their CRM. At this level, one year of Salesforce costs $16,800 more than Zoho.
The above chart breaks down all four pricing options for both Salesforce and Zoho. You can quickly and easily see from this chart how much more the software costs are for Salesforce. As mentioned above, this is just the beginning.
CRM systems are complicated. Any company taking their CRM seriously will need some help from a qualified partner. This help comes in the form of customizing the system, user training, and technical support.
The cost of this type of consulting varies from firm to firm. Most consulting companies don’t actually publish their hourly rates and work by the project instead. After a bit of online research, and a few phone calls, one thing is clear – the cost of the supported CRM software dictates the cost of the consulting.
The average cost of a Zoho consultant seems to be in the $150/hr range. It fluctuates around $120 – $180. Geographic location seems to be the biggest factor here. The average cost for a Salesforce consultant seems to be around $215/hr. We saw it ranging from as low as $160/hr and as high as $275/hr. Again, the geographic location seemed to be the biggest factor for this range.
The takeaway? When you pay 3x more for the software, you can expect to pay around 45% more for the consulting as well.
All CRM systems have a lot of functionality built into them. Customizing data input screens, building letter templates, designing report templates and email integration, for example. Most users would assume that functionality like this simply comes with the product. And in most cases, with most CRMs, this is true.
Unfortunately, for Salesforce users, this is not the case. Many of the standard CRM functions you’d expect or actually hidden behind a paywall. We are calling them hidden fees because on the face of it it’s hard to determine what you do and don’t have to pay for.
Below is a list of the items that don’t actually come with your Salesforce subscription.
- Email Integration
- Tech Support
- CRM Views
- Field-level Security
- Sub Forms
- Copy Customization
- Custom Related Lists
- CRM Analytics
- Marketing Automation
- Website Visitor Tracking
- Auto Responders
- User Portals
- Sales Force Automation
- Scoring Rules
- Lead Enrichment
- Artificial intelligent assistant
- User level social media integration
- Social media tab
In the interest of comparing Salesforce to Zoho, the above list are items that do come with the Zoho subscription at no additional charge.
Salesforce hides this under the guise of only paying for what you use. But since you’re already paying three times the amount for your subscription, you’d expect everything to be included. Zoho, on the other hand, doesn’t have additional paid options. You simply get everything for the one price, a price that’s considerably less than Salesforce.