Best CRM Software 2021

Zoho CRM vs. Salesforce

Are you deciding between Zoho CRM and Salesforce? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best CRM tool to help you manage your relationships with potential and existing customers.

Individuals, SMBs, and enterprises use CRMs to manage their existing and potential customer relationships. In a market filled with multiple types of CRMs, it can be difficult to choose the best solution for you and your business.

We’ve created this guide to help you understand the main differences between Zoho CRM and Salesforce. Below, we discuss how each platform differs in terms of features, pricing, usability, and customer type each solution is best suited for.

All of our recommendations are based upon extensive research, discussions with CRM users, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing the leading CRM software platforms. The details of our research process can be found on our CRM category page.

Comparison Summary

Zoho CRM and Salesforce are two of the most popular CRM solutions. We rated Zoho CRM 89 out of 100 and Salesforce 81 out of 100, respectively.

Zoho CRM was rated higher than Salesforce because Zoho CRM is a user-friendly, advanced solution that is better for small businesses. It is also more affordable than Salesforce. Salesforce was rated lower because of its learning curve and focus on larger enterprises.

This breakdown shows our review criteria and the ratings that Zoho CRM and Salesforce received for each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
Zoho CRM8998.599

Zoho CRM is a much more affordable solution when compared to Salesforce. Zoho CRM’s most popular plan costs $50 per month and its most expensive plan costs $65 per month. Zoho CRM also offers a free CRM plan that allows for up to three users. In contrast, Salesforce’s most popular plan costs $150 per month and its most expensive plan costs $300 per month.

Both Zoho CRM and Salesforce offer industry-standard CRM features. This includes lead capture methods, contact and deal management tools, workflow automations, and insights reporting. Overall, we found most of Zoho CRM’s features to be of higher quality and user-friendly enough for individuals and SMBs.

Overall, Zoho CRM is an affordable, yet advanced solution that can support SMBs and larger businesses. It is also ideal for those who already use other Zoho products, like Zoho Forms, Zoho Campaigns, and Zoho SalesIQ.

Salesforce is best for those who want to scale their business to an enterprise level. It is also ideal for those who have unique workflows and want to customize their CRM with specialized features.

Here’s a few key differences between the solutions to determine which is best for you:

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

Try Salesforce Today

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

Try Zoho CRM Today

Table of Contents

Zoho CRM & Salesforce Price Comparison

Overall, Zoho CRM is cheaper than Salesforce. Zoho CRM’s most expensive plan costs $65 per month. Zoho CRM also offers a free CRM plan that allows for up to three users. In contrast, Salesforce’s most expensive plan costs $300 per month.

Zoho CRM Pricing Details

Zoho CRM’s pricing ranges from $20 to $65 per month. You can also save up to 34% if you pay for an annual subscription upfront. Zoho CRM also offers a free 15-day trial for each plan.

Zoho CRM’s PlanPricing
Standard$20 per month
Professional$35 per month
Enterprise$50 per month
Ultimate$65 per month

Salesforce Pricing Details

Salesforce’s pricing ranges from $25 to $300 per month. All Salesforce plans are charged on an annual basis. Salesforce also offers a free 30-day trial for each plan.

Here’s an overview of Salesforce’s pricing plans:

Salesforce PlanPricing
Essentials$25 per month
Professional$75 per month
Enterprise$150 per month
Unlimited$300 per month

Zoho CRM & Salesforce Feature Comparison

Zoho CRM and Salesforce offer standard and advanced CRM features. This includes lead capture, contact and deal management, workflow automation, and insights reporting.

You’ll notice below that Zoho CRM and Salesforce offer the same CRM features. Therefore, it’s important that when comparing the two solutions, you focus on the quality of each solution’s features, which we describe later on.

For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our Zoho CRM review and Salesforce review.

FeatureZoho CRMSalesforce
Lead Capture FormsYesYes
Lead Capture Social MediaYesYes
Lead Capture Live ChatYesYes
Lead Capture EmailYesYes
Contact ProfilesYesYes
Custom Contact FieldsYesYes
Contact Activity FeedYesYes
Contact List SegmentationYesYes
Contact Tags/ CategoriesYesYes
Email MarketingYesYes
Social Media MarketingYesYes
Direct MessagingYesYes
Phone CallsYesYes
Task RemindersYesYes
Lead ScoringYesYes
Triggered EventsYesYes
Insights ReportingYesYes
Mobile CRMYesYes

Zoho CRM & Salesforce Top Feature Comparison

Below we provide our in-depth analysis of the five key feature categories that are included in Zoho CRM and Salesforce – lead capture, contact and deal management, workflow automation, and insights reporting.

Overall, Zoho CRM is the better solution for each of these feature categories except insights reporting. Its features are just as robust, if not more, and are more user-friendly than Salesforce’s.

Lead Capture

Zoho CRM and Salesforce both offer form, live chat, and email as lead capture methods. However, Zoho CRM is better for lead capture overall. This is because Zoho CRM offers social media as a lead capture method, and offers a higher quality form tool.

Lead Capture Forms

It’s easier to create simple and advanced lead capture forms in Zoho CRM. You can include a wide range of fields that are not available in Salesforce including payment, image choice, and signature fields.

Zoho CRM also offers a template library of different forms – including those for sign ups, trial requests, event registrations, product enquiries, and product feedback.

Zoho CRM Lead Form

Unlike Salesforce, Zoho CRM lets you customize the appearance – i.e. the colors and structure – of your forms with different themes. You can also preview what your forms will look like before you publish them.

Salesforce forms

Lead Capture Through Social Media

Zoho CRM lets you capture leads from Twitter and Facebook. This includes tweets, retweets, direct messages, and posts that mention your company.

Zoho CRM Lead Social

Contact Management

Zoho CRM and Salesforce offer strong contact management tools that let you create robust contact profiles and efficiently organize your contacts. Overall, both solutions are able to handle a large number of contacts – i.e. 50 contacts or more.

Therefore, we recommend evaluating them based on whether you prefer Zoho CRM’s automatic contact activity feed feature or Salesforce’s chatter feature.

Zoho CRM’s Automatic Contact Activity Feed

Unlike Salesforce, Zoho CRM automatically keeps track of your contacts’ activity. This kind of activity tracking keeps you the most up-to-date on where someone is in your sales process.

It also informs which next steps are best to take in ensuring that someone continues to progress through your sales funnel, and reduces the chance of losing a lead. Zoho CRM lets you track information like related tasks, meetings, calls, and even inactivity.

Zoho CRM Contact Activity

Salesforce also offers an activity feed for each of your contacts, but you have to input all of the related activity manually. This introduces the possibility for human error. It also makes it harder to stay the most up-to-date on a customer because you would have to remember to post your updates every time.

Salesforce’s Chatter Feature

Salesforce offers a "chatter" feature, which acts like a social feed. This feature keeps you informed on how someone in your organization has interacted with a contact, which helps prevent any duplicate behavior.

Salesforce Chatter

With this feature you can directly interact with those in your organization by liking, commenting, and posting updates about a contact within their own profile. You can also search for specific posts.

Deal Management

Deal management within a CRM involves managing pipelines, tasks, and lead scoring. Both Zoho CRM and Salesforce are able to support over 50 simultaneous deals at once. The platforms mainly differ when it comes to task management and lead scoring – both of which are better in Zoho CRM.

Task Management

Tasks in a CRM are actions that need to be taken in order to bring a deal to completion. Overall, Zoho CRM’s task management feature is slightly more robust than Salesforce’s.

Zoho CRM tasks

Unlike Salesforce, Zoho CRM lets you customize your task names and include relevant attachments. Zoho CRM also lets you set reminders in terms of days, years, or on a custom date and time. Salesforce only lets you set reminders on a custom date.

Salesforce tasks

Lead Scoring

Zoho CRM and Salesforce let you assign numerical values to a lead. Lead scoring reflects how likely a lead is to become a paying customer. It also helps your sales representatives prioritize their time and resources.

Overall, Zoho CRM’s lead scoring tool is slightly more advanced than Salesforce’s. This is because Zoho CRM lets you create your own unique scoring rules.

Workflow Automation

Both Zoho CRM and Salesforce offer a triggered events tool that automates common tasks. Between the two, Zoho CRM’s triggered events tool is more robust and easier to use.

Zoho CRM Email Automation

Zoho CRM and Salesforce let you perform automated actions like task creation, email notifications, and field updates. However, Zoho CRM also lets you add or remove tags, create webhooks, and perform functions.

Salesforce workflow automation

Insights Reporting

Zoho CRM and Salesforce both offer insights reporting for key information like deals won and lost, pipeline progression, sales forecasting, and sales funnel performance. Overall, Salesforce’s insights reporting feature is more advanced and offers more data points than Zoho CRM’s.

Salesforce reporting

Salesforce offers reports that are not available in Zoho CRM – including those related to administrative actions like new login locations, and user screen flows.

Salesforce also offers key data points that are not available in Zoho CRM, like sales leaderboards. These indicate how much money individuals or companies have spent with your business, and whether they are a new or existing customer.

Zoho CRM analytics

Bottom Line

Overall, Zoho CRM is the better choice for SMBs. This is because it is an affordable, yet advanced platform that offers similar or higher quality features than Salesforce. This includes lead capture, contact and deal management, and workflow automation tools.

In contrast, when it comes to features, Salesforce is only superior when it comes to insights reporting. Overall, its platform has a much steeper learning curve when compared to Zoho CRM. We recommend Salesforce mainly for enterprises or those who want to scale their business to an enterprise-level, and want to personalize their platform with specialized features.

If you’re interested, visit Zoho CRM or Salesforce today to get started.

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:

  • Course creation software
  • Electronic signature software
  • Social media software
  • Website builder software

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