Salesforce: A complex CRM - is it worth the investment

7 minutes read
Sarah - 01.06.2023
Salesforce: A complex CRM - is it worth the investment

Salesforce… One of the leading CRM solutions in the market. 

There’s no doubt Salesforce’s feature rich toolkit and customisation ability has helped leading organisations scale.

But on the other hand, its complexity and associated costs raise questions...

Is salesforce worth the investment?



Salesforce: A Cobbled CRM

Salesforce is a highly customisable CRM platform. Known for its ability to scale and accommodate complex business needs, Salesforce is popular among large enterprises. 

I’ve recently been working on a research project - I’ll share it shortly, but for now, I'll give you a small glimpse into what it entails… 

I’ve been looking at how many Salesforce required experts are required at different sized organisations - small, medium and large. 

I’ll give you a hint - there’s more ‘expert’ talent required compared to other CRM’s on the market such as HubSpot

And to fully understand why, let’s dive into a very brief history lesson of Salesforce. 

Salesforce is built through acquisition. Now, this strategy has allowed Salesforce to grow quite quickly - they’ve introduced advanced customisations, solved complex use cases, and accommodate intricate business needs. 

They’ve created a powerful ecosystem. And likely will continue to do so. There’s a reason acquisitions are used as a growth strategy (they’re quick… At least in comparison to building a code base from scratch). 

So, while they are able to introduce a wealth of different features, each platform in the Salesforce ecosystem is built using a unique code base. Making each user interface clunky, disjointed, and often difficult to use. 

Complexity and Customisation

I’ve already touched on the complexity and customisation of Salesforce. So i’m not going to go into too much more detail. 

But, there is one thing I will add. 

And that is feature creep. 

Oftentimes, what we see is that businesses must jump up plans in order to meet one or two additional needs. What this does, is add additional complexity to the interface and make it more difficult for users to navigate. 

As a result, we see businesses require additional resources and expertise to set up and manage the system effectively. 

The ultimate showdown: HubSpot vs Salesforce

Cost Considerations of Salesforce

When considering Salesforce as a CRM solution for larger enterprises, be sure to assess the financial implications associated with its implementation

Some areas we recommend our clients to review include: the initial investment, ongoing expenses, and potential hidden costs that can impact the overall cost of ownership.

Initial investment

Implementing Salesforce requires an initial investment that includes licensing fees, setup costs, and deployment expenses. The pricing structure of Salesforce is typically based on user licences, and the total cost will depend on the number of users and the desired functionality

Ongoing expenses

Beyond the initial investment, also consider any recurring expenses. These expenses may include subscription fees, maintenance costs, and support services. Yes, this is typical for most SaaS models, but it’s still worth the consideration. 

Salesforce offers different tiers offering varying levels of functionality and support - be sure to consister the current and future features you will require as this will impact the package you choose and may introduce additional, unnecessary complexity. 

Additional licences

As organisations grow and add new users to their Salesforce instance, the need for additional licences arises. Acquiring licences for new employees or departments can contribute to increased costs. It is essential to carefully evaluate user licensing requirements and consider future scalability needs to estimate the impact on the budget.

Tier upgrades

Salesforce offers different tiers or editions of its CRM platform, each with its own set of features and functionalities. As businesses evolve, they may require access to more advanced features, which may necessitate upgrading to higher tiers. These tier upgrades often come with increased costs and some feature creep. 

Bespoke customisation

While Salesforce provides a range of standard features, organisations often require additional customisation to align the CRM platform with their unique business processes. Tailoring Salesforce to specific requirements may involve engaging developers, consultants, or Salesforce experts, which can significantly increase the overall expenses. It’s best to carefully evaluate your customisation needs and consider the financial implications of these customisations.

Potential hidden costs

Implementing Salesforce may entail hidden costs that organisations should be aware of. These costs can arise from factors such as data migration, integration with existing systems, training for employees, and ongoing administration and maintenance. It is essential to conduct a thorough assessment of these potential hidden costs to ensure they are accounted for in the budgeting process.

HubSpot: A crafted CRM

As with Salesforce, HubSpot has its pros and cons, and it often depends on your needs as to which way you view them. With HubSpot, you can start to see some expenses as you move through the different tiers. But comparatively speaking, HubSpot has managed to keep pretty competitive with its pricing, even as the feature set has reached similar levels of enterprise functionality. 

And because it's built organically, HubSpot also gives you access to sales, marketing, service, and operations features in one solution, so there are no unexpected costs. The only additional costs you incur with HubSpot's CRM are the costs involved with upgrading your features and number of seats.

Here’s why we love HubSpot:

User-friendly and intuitive

HubSpot stands out for its ease of use and intuitive interface. Drawing a parallel to Apple's consumer products like the iPhone and computer, HubSpot employs a similar philosophy of creating an elegant user interface that guides users at every step. Its navigable UI does not compromise the advanced functionality it offers. With an intuitive design, teams can quickly adapt to using HubSpot, resulting in faster onboarding and increased adoption rates.

All-in-one connected CRM

HubSpot's strength lies in its all-in-one connected CRM, which unifies sales, marketing, service, and operations teams. By consolidating customer data and interactions in a single platform, HubSpot facilitates a shared understanding of customers across departments. This seamless integration eliminates silos, improves collaboration, and ensures consistent messaging throughout the customer journey

Unified view of the customer

The unified nature of HubSpot allows teams to access information cross-functionally, collaborate effectively, and gain a holistic view of the customer journey. With a single record of activities and interactions, teams can easily track and analyse customer touch points, enabling them to personalise interactions, identify opportunities, and address pain points efficiently. This unified view enhances customer relationship management and helps drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Flexibility in customisation

HubSpot provides a high level of flexibility when it comes to customisation. Custom objects, programmable automation, and partitioning features empower businesses to tailor the CRM platform to their specific data structures and processes. This flexibility ensures that businesses can maintain alignment across teams, accommodate unique requirements, and scale operations as needed without compromising data integrity.

Rapid adoption

With any new technology implementation, adoption is always a risk factor. People don’t always like change - that’s natural. But, what we’ve found is that clients of ours (medium sized businesses and enterprises) are impressed by the ease of use. With the right training, we've seen adoption rates drastically improve. 


Making an informed decision

Now, Six & Flow is unashamedly a HubSpot house. We bleed orange, by choice. But we also understand that sometimes, Salesforce should be in the running, or perhaps an integration between HubSpot and Salesforce is required. 

Regardless, if you want an unbiased opinion that is catered to your unique business needs, we promise to deliver. We’ve got both Salesforce and HubSpot experts in house and will help you choose a solution that is right for you. 

Let's chat

Unleash the power of RevOps

Maximize revenue and sales today.

Begin experiencing faster growth by managing revenue generation cross-functionally. Download the complete guide to RevOps to learn how you can align your teams and scale revenue.

Get The Guide