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4 Salesforce problems you should know before making a purchase

Salesforce Consultant and Business Analyst.


In its annual report, Salesforce claimed the revenue of $13.3 billion for the fiscal year 2019, which exceeds the revenue made in 2018 by almost $4 billion, and makes Salesforce an uncontested leader of the CRM market.

Despite its numerous advantages and indisputable leadership, the Salesforce system still has a couple of drawbacks for users that hinder its absolute success. So, let’s enumerate major Salesforce problems and see how to decrease their negative effect.

Salesforce problems

Salesforce issues of major customer concern

Based on our Salesforce consulting practice, we see that customers most often face the following Salesforce problems:

  1. Expensiveness and implicit costs.
  2. Customization can easily get off track.
  3. Limited deployment options.
  4. Steep learning curve and user adoption issues.

Let's explore them in detail.

1. Salesforce is expensive and has implicit costs.

Some Salesforce customers complain that the system is heavy on the pocket. A considerable growth of Salesforce expenses may result from the data and storage limits. Although the free storage capacity increased tenfold in 2019 (and now constitutes 10 GB of data storage and 10 GB of file storage per org), it’s still may be insufficient for an organization, which has a huge customer base and stores vast amounts of customer data along with sales and marketing materials, like contracts, proposals, presentations, demos, etc. To solve the problem of data and file storage limits, Salesforce customers purchase external databases and DMSs (like SharePoint).

Another problem is the extra cost of Salesforce support. The basic support envisaged by the free Standard support plan is rather limited. It includes Level 1 support from a Salesforce technical team and access to a number of free self-service resources, like Trailhead, Trailblazer Community, etc. Obviously, to address the Salesforce support needs (like, ongoing CRM administration and constant system monitoring) in full, the company will either have to purchase a more advanced support plan (like Premier, or Premier+) from Salesforce or resort to third-party support services.

Solution: Consider your potential investments from the start. If Salesforce seems too expensive even before making a purchase, you’d better opt for another CRM.

2. Salesforce customization can easily get off track in terms of the scope and budget.

No doubt, Salesforce is an extremely powerful platform. Yet, to feel this power, one may have to build in numerous complementary components. In essence, this work may soon remind setting up a Lego house – one may start with small blocks and then spend a long time choosing additional fancy blocks to create a ‘perfect’ solution that fully satisfies one’s needs. However, with the customization capabilities so ample, it’s easy to go beyond the reasonable limits and make the solution too complex for users.

Solution: Dividing custom features into groups, like “Essential”, “Useful” and “Nice-to-have” and delivering them in order of importance will save your Salesforce solution from excessive customization, and keep the customization costs under control.

3. Salesforce offers limited deployment options.

All primary Salesforce competitors, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle CRM, SAP CRM and others, provide multiple deployment options to their customers (e.g., on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions) as well as different cloud deployment models, like a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud. Salesforce, has only the cloud deployment option and the public cloud deployment model, which may be an issue for companies that want to manage the infrastructure and security of their CRM themselves.

Solution: In case you need to be responsible for the security, performance, and maintenance of your CRM system, for example, due to strict industry regulations, the only solution is not to use Salesforce.

4. Steep learning curve and user adoption issues.

To master Salesforce features (like quote, proposal, contract management and other functionality), users should complete introductory training, which may be rather lengthy. The training duration depends on the number of custom-built features to master in addition to default CRM functionality. Still, a couple of weeks is the bare minimum for efficient user training, which combines self-learning and instructor-led sessions.

However, even with all the required training sessions passed, there’s no guarantee that users will regularly use the system. If Salesforce CRM isn’t configured with user convenience as a priority, user adoption will still be low. For instance, filling in hundreds of ‘required’ fields with customers’ and prospects’ data can be very tedious for sales reps and impact the adoption of Salesforce CRM.

Solution: To speed up user training, it can be accompanied by release notes on custom-built functionality and ongoing assistance of an in-house Salesforce administrator or an outsourced Salesforce services provider.

And to curb the user adoption issues, making CRM convenient and user-friendly with customization is a must. For instance, if there are a lot of required fields that don’t allow sales reps to save records without being filled in, their number should be reduced. It’s also possible to decrease sales reps’ manual efforts by enabling automated field updates (e.g., when the opportunity stage changes to “Closed won”, the date automatically appears in the “Opportunity close date” custom field).

Consider an alternative

Another effective way to tackle the challenges of Salesforce is choosing a suitable alternative, for example, Dynamics 365. Similarly to Salesforce, Dynamics 365 offers a comprehensive set of work tools, has paid add-ons and flexible pricing plans. Dynamics 365 subscriptions are cheaper than Salesforce subscriptions, especially if you already use some other Dynamics 365 products. Also, Dynamics 365 is a more suitable option if you need an on-premise deployment since Salesforce offers only cloud-based products. If you are interested in other Dynamics 365 capabilities, you are welcome to check our Dynamics 365 consulting offer.

On a final note

Though Salesforce has several issues to take into account before the acquisition, you can decrease their negative effect resorting to Salesforce consulting and support services.

Do you need to get an expert opinion on your Salesforce solution? Our consultants will analyze your current Salesforce capabilities and offer an optimal solution to meet your business needs.