Best CRM Software 2021

Salesforce Competitors & Alternatives

Are you considering using Salesforce manage your potential and existing customer relationships? Before choosing a software, it’s important to learn about other CRM software platforms for small businesses. The top six alternatives are listed below, along with valuable insights about their features, pricing, and usability.

The information in this article is based on our research, interviews with customers, as well as dozens of hours hand-testing CRM software. The details of our review process and research methodology can be found in the Why You Should Trust Us section on our CRM category page.

Salesforce is our lowest rated CRM platform for SMBs. This is because the solution has a steep learning curve, and is relatively expensive. We recommend it to larger businesses who are looking to scale their business to an enterprise level and have the budget to personalize their CRM with Salesforce add-ons.


There are six CRM solutions that are worth considering before you purchase Salesforce. They primarily differentiate based on the features offered and ease of use. Understanding these differences will help you determine which platform will work best for your business.

  • If you want an advanced, affordable tool and currently use other Zoho products, then we recommend Zoho CRM
  • If you want an advanced, all-in-one CRM solution with high-quality marketing tools, then we recommend HubSpot
  • If you want a basic CRM that integrates tightly with Google Workspace, then we recommend Copper
  • If you need a basic, user-friendly CRM and primarily need a tool for deal management, then we recommend Pipedrive
  • If you need a beginner solution and need a strong set of communication channels and digital marketing tools, then we recommend Freshworks CRM
  • If you are a small business that needs a reliable, all-in-one solution with multiple communication channels, then we recommend Vtiger

Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria. We rate each piece of software based on its features, usability, pricing, and customer support availability. Here is how Salesforce and its competitors rank in each category.

Software CompanyAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
Salesforce818.757.57.58
HubSpot919.59.589
Zoho CRM8998.599
Freshworks CRM868.757.57.58
Copper848.2598.58
Pipedrive837.75989
Vtiger828.257.758.58

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of Salesforce as a CRM solution. Afterwards, we’ll compare and contrast Salesforce against its top competitors. If you’d like a full description of Salesforce, check out our in-depth Salesforce review.

Table of Contents

Salesforce Top Features

Salesforce includes standard and advanced that help individuals and businesses efficiently manage relationships with potential and existing customers. This includes lead capture methods, contact and deal management tools, workflow automations, and insights reporting. Below we describe the 10 most important features in Salesforce.

Salesforce FeatureDescription
Lead CaptureLead capture refers to the process of acquiring someone’s information with the goal of converting them into a paying customer. Salesforce offers a wide range of lead capture tools – including forms, social media, live chat, and email.
Contact ProfilesThe more information, and the more unique a profile, the better the chance you have of converting that contact into a customer. Salesforce offers a robust contact profiles feature – you can include emails, phone numbers, deals, and files. You can also include a "chatter" feature, which acts like a social feed that lets others like, comment, and post updates.
Marketing Communication ChannelsA key element in converting your contacts into a paying customer is maintaining consistent communication. Salesforce offers three communication channels – email marketing campaigns, phone, and social media marketing.
Lead ScoringA lead score is a numerical value that reflects how likely a lead would become a paying customer. Through Pardot, you can add or subtract points for actions like email opens, file access, custom redirect clicks, and form errors.
Task ManagementTasks in a CRM are actions that help bring a deal to completion – overall, this feature is basic in Salesforce. You can write notes, set a due date, choose related contacts, and set their progress and priority levels. Salesforce also lets you set reminders, which reduce the chance of losing a potential deal.
PipelinesThese visually track the progress of your customers through each deal stage. Salesforce works well for businesses with over 50 simultaneous deals – however, this tool can be overwhelming to use at first. Salesforce also lets you create custom pipelines and stages, insert "win probabilities" at each stage, drag and drop, and use filters to organize your deals.
Workflow AutomationsThese save time and reduce the chance for human error. Salesforce offers triggered events, which you can use to create workflows related to campaigns, chat, contacts, deals, emails, tasks and social posts. A disadvantage of this feature though is that your actions are limited – you can only create new tasks, email alerts, and field updates.
Insights ReportingCRM reporting includes KPIs that help businesses make necessary, strategic decisions. There are reports for deals won and lost, pipeline progression, sales forecasting, and your sales funnel. You can visualize your data into bars, columns, lines, donuts, and scatter plots. Salesforce also offers dashboards that let you present multiple reports side-by-side.
IntegrationsIntegrations expand the functionality of your CRM and eliminate the need to toggle back and forth between applications. Salesforce includes key integrations like Google Workspace, Zapier, Slack, Zoom, Intercom, and Shopify.
Mobile CRMMobile CRM’s give you the best chance in ensuring that your customers are getting the best service possible at all times. Salesforce’s mobile app is robust – you can view reports and create tasks, contacts, campaigns, and chatter posts.

Salesforce Competitor Overview: Features

The chart below shows you the main features found in CRM software, and ones offered by each solution. You’ll notice that many solutions offer the same features, therefore it’s important that when analyzing each option, you focus on the quality of each feature.

Salesforce feature comparison chart vs. competitors

Salesforce Competitor Overview: Pricing

In general, Salesforce is more expensive than other CRMs built for SMBs. However, if you can afford a highly expensive option, it is one of the most powerful applications.

CRM SoftwarePlan Pricing
Salesforce
  • Essentials: $25 per month
  • Professional: $75 per month
  • Enterprise: $150 per month
  • Unlimited: $300 per month
HubSpot
  • Starter: $50 per month
  • Professional: $1780 per month
  • Enterprise: $4000 per month
Zoho CRM
  • Standard: $20 per month
  • Professional: $35 per month
  • Enterprise: $50 per month
  • Ultimate: $65 per month
Freshworks CRM
  • Starter: $35 per month
  • Professional: $85 per month
  • Enterprise: $149 per month
Copper
  • Basic: $29 per month
  • Professional: $59 per month
  • Business: $119 per month
Pipedrive
  • Essential: $18 per month
  • Advanced: $33 per month
  • Professional: $59 per month
  • Enterprise: $99 per month
Vtiger
  • Pilot: Free
  • One Professional: $42 per month
  • One Enterprise: $58 per month

Top Salesforce Competitors

Salesforce is an advanced, highly customizable CRM solution. It’s best at supporting businesses with complex workflows who are looking to scale to an enterprise level. In terms of advancedness and price, it is the most comparable to HubSpot. However, HubSpot’s features are much more robust and user-friendly.

The top Salesforce competitors are:

  • HubSpot
  • Zoho CRM
  • Freshworks CRM
  • Copper
  • Pipedrive
  • Vtiger

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is an advanced, all-in-one CRM platform. In comparison to Salesforce, HubSpot is the superior solution in terms of features, usability, and even price because HubSpot offers a robust, free CRM plan.

You'll prefer HubSpot if:

  • You want a solution that better supports SMBs
  • You want a more user-friendly, advanced CRM solution
  • You need high-quality digital marketing tools
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You want to scale your business to an enterprise level
  • You want a highly customizable CRM platform
  • You want a solution that is HIPAA compliant
HubSpot
Rating: 91
Starting Price: $50 per month

HubSpot is a feature-rich CRM software solution used by over 114,000 customers. It's ideal for those who need an advanced, all-in-one platform with high-quality marketing tools.

Pros:
  • HubSpot is one of the more user-friendly, advanced CRM solutions
  • HubSpot offers one of the most robust in-platform email marketing tools among its competitors
  • HubSpot offers a robust free plan
Cons:
  • HubSpot’s CRM Suite pricing is one of the most expensive
  • HubSpot is not HIPAA compliant
  • HubSpot is not recommended if you do not need an all-in-one solution

2. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is an affordable, advanced CRM solution. Zoho CRM is a better fit for small businesses than Salesforce because it offers more robust features and is more intuitive to use. We also recommend Zoho CRM to those who currently use other Zoho products in their workflow.

You'll prefer Zoho CRM if:

  • You want a free CRM plan that allows for up to 3 users
  • You want a CRM solution that is affordable and advanced
  • You currently use other Zoho products – including Zoho Forms and Zoho SalesIQ
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You want to scale your business to an enterprise level
  • You want a highly customizable CRM platform
  • You want to take advantage of Einstein AI – it provides predictive analytics, natural language processing capabilities, and machine learning
Zoho CRM
Rating: 89
Starting Price: $20 per month

Zoho CRM is a CRM platform that is used by over 150,000 customers. It's ideal for those who need a more affordable, advanced solution and currently use other Zoho products.

Pros:
  • Zoho CRM is an affordable, advanced CRM solution
  • Zoho CRM offers seamless integrations with its other products – including Zoho Forms and Zoho SalesIQ
  • Zoho CRM is HIPAA compliant
  • Zoho CRM offers a free plan
Cons:
  • Zoho CRM has a slight learning curve
  • Zoho CRM’s UI is clunky
  • For an advanced platform, some of Zoho CRM’s features are basic – i.e. its task management feature

3. Freshworks CRM

Freshworks CRM is a user-friendly, beginner CRM that offers strong communication tools. Freshworks CRM is the better choice for small businesses, especially businesses who are new to CRM software. We also recommend Freshworks CRM to those who use other Freshworks products like Freshdesk and Freshmarketer.

You'll prefer Freshworks CRM if:

  • You want a more affordable CRM that is better for small businesses
  • You use other Freshworks products like Freshdesk Messaging
  • You want to take advantage of Freddy AI for lead scoring
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You want an advanced, highly customizable CRM solution
  • You want to scale your business to enterprise-level
  • You want to use Salesforce’s AI system called Einstein AI, which provides predictive analytics
Freshworks CRM
Rating: 86
Starting Price: $35 per month

Freshworks CRM is a CRM platform with over 40,000 customers. It's ideal for small businesses with a slightly larger budget and need a strong set of communication channels and digital marketing tools.

Pros:
  • Freshworks CRM offers one of the widest ranges of communication channels – email, live chat, SMS, and phone
  • Freshworks CRM offers Freddy AI, which uses data to predict how well a contact fits with your business
  • Freshworks CRM offers high-quality, powerful live chat and email marketing tools
Cons:
  • Freshworks CRM is a relatively expensive platform
  • Freshworks CRM only offers two lead capture methods – forms and emails
  • Freshworks CRM does not let you set reminders for tasks

4. Copper

Copper is a basic CRM platform that is able to support SMBs who are newer to CRM software. In comparison to Salesforce, Copper is much more user-friendly and works better for those who have simple workflows. We also recommend Copper to those who currently integrate with Google Workspace.

You'll prefer Copper if:

  • You prefer a more basic CRM solution
  • You use Google Workspace for your business
  • You want a more affordable CRM
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You operate a larger business and want to scale up to enterprise-level
  • You want to use Salesforce’s AI system called Einstein AI, which provides predictive analytics
  • You want a solution that is HIPAA compliant
Copper
Rating: 84
Starting Price: $29 per month

Copper is a CRM software solution that is used by over 25,000 customers. It's ideal for SMBs that only need a basic CRM and currently use Google Workspace.

Pros:
  • Copper is one of the more user-friendly CRMs available
  • Copper integrates tightly with Google Workspace
  • Copper offers a built-in email marketing tool
Cons:
  • Copper only offers one in-platform communication channel – email
  • Copper does not offer an in-platform lead capture forms feature
  • Copper is not HIPAA compliant

5. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a basic CRM that works well for individuals and SMBs. Pipedrive is much more affordable and much easier to use than Salesforce. We recommend it to those who primarily need a CRM for visual deal management.

You'll prefer Pipedrive if:

  • You prefer a solution that can better support individuals and entrepreneurs
  • You want a more affordable CRM
  • You primarily need a CRM for visual deal management
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You want to scale to enterprise-level
  • You want a highly customizable solution
  • You want to take advantage of Einstein AI, which provides predictive analytics
Pipedrive
Rating: 83
Starting Price: $18 per month

Pipedrive is a basic CRM software tool used by over 95,000 customers. It's ideal for individuals and SMBs who mainly need a solution to visually manage their deals and pipelines.

Pros:
  • Pipedrive is a better fit for individuals and entrepreneurs
  • Pipedrive is user-friendly and offers an intuitive interface
  • Pipedrive offers an in-platform live chat lead capture tool
Cons:
  • Pipedrive’s task management feature does not let you set reminders
  • Pipedrive does not offer an in-platform email campaign feature
  • Pipedrive does not offer an automatic activity feed
  • Pipedrive does not offer lead scoring

6. Vtiger

Vtiger is a reliable, all-in-one CRM solution that includes a wide range of communication channels. When compared to Salesforce, Vtiger is overall the better solution for smaller businesses because it is more intuitive to use and is better at supporting simple workflows.

You'll prefer Vtiger if:

  • You want a free, robust CRM plan that allows for up to 10 users
  • You want a more affordable, all-in-one CRM solution
  • You want SMS as a communication channel
You'll prefer Salesforce if:

  • You operate a large business and want to scale to enterprise-level
  • You want a highly customizable solution
  • You want to take advantage of Einstein AI, which provides predictive analytics
Vtiger
Rating: 82
Starting Price: Free

Vtiger is a popular CRM solution with over 300,000 customers. It's best for smaller businesses who need a reliable, all-in-one solution with multiple communication channels.

Pros:
  • Vtiger offers a robust free plan that allows up to 10 users
  • Vtiger offers a wide range of communication channels – email, direct messaging, SMS, and phone
  • Vtiger is HIPAA compliant
Cons:
  • Vtiger’s UI is not the most intuitive
  • Vtiger’s lead capture form only works well for creating simple forms
  • Vtiger’s triggered events tool does not let you view your workflow visually
Amy Yang

Amy Yang is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses on software markets and products. Amy has expertise in content production and managing digital and social platforms. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication & Media, and a Minor in Web Programming and Applications from NYU. You can connect with Amy on LinkedIn.

Amy is an expert in several software categories including:

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