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7 Salesforce Alternatives to Consider in 2021

By Devin Partida | Reviewed by Kuntal ChakrabortyCheckmark | Last updated: September 16, 2021
Key Takeaways

When evaluating a CRM, you have to look at the features available, cost, how many users it can support, and ease of use and access. Salesforce offers a great platform for some businesses, but it isn't for every business. Here, we've compiled some pros and cons to the top Salesforce alternatives.

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Customer relationship management (CRM) software plays an integral role in many businesses. As of 2017, 91% of North American firms with 10 or more employees were using these tools. For many, Salesforce is the CRM solution of choice. The reasons it is so popular are numerous. The platform offers a lot in terms of features for sales teams, managing leads and the streamlining the sales pipeline, there are seamless third party integrations, automated workflow and reports and the platform is designed to be scalable, growing with you as your CRM needs change.

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But it’s not ideal for every business.

While Salesforce has many helpful features, it’s also expensive, and its pricing models are often unclear. As such, it may be inaccessible for smaller businesses. Similarly, many users say Salesforce has a steep learning curve, offering little support and a possibly overcomplicated user experience.

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Considering these drawbacks, you may want to consider an alternative for your CRM. In that spirit, here are seven of the best Salesforce alternatives available today. Also worth a mention, but already fairly widely known are Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Pipedrive. Below we highlight some others that you may not already be familiar with: (Read also: Top 6 Trends in Customer Relationship Management.)



1. HubSpot Sales Hub


Like Salesforce, HubSpot Sales Hub is a feature-rich CRM solution. It integrates with more than 750 tools in HubSpot’s extensive app marketplace, making it accessible for a wide variety of teams. It also features a user-friendly interface and streamlined automation features that help lessen the learning curve and improve productivity.


HubSpot has multiple payment plans, including a free version, making it more financially viable than Salesforce for some companies. Unfortunately, as you access increasingly complex features, it quickly becomes more expensive. If you want to use these more advanced features but have a limited budget, HubSpot may not be the ideal solution.


2. Insightly


Social media interactions are a crucial part of modern-day customer relations, so you’ll likely want social media integrations in your CRM. Insightly includes automatic profile enrichment and ties social media profiles to contact records, making it ideal for businesses focused on these platforms. Despite growing privacy concerns on Facebook, it still provides a wealth of data and reach, and Insightly can help you capitalize on that.

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Insightly also includes data analytics and workflow automation tools you may find helpful. More than 25,000 companies use Insightly, including AT&T and Bloomberg, standing as a testament to these features’ utility. Plans start at $29 per user per month, but you can try it for free.


3. Simple Sales Tracking


While many CRM solutions require long or potentially complicated contracts, Simple Sales Tracking does not. The service uses a pay-as-you-go model at just $15 per user per month, making it one of the most affordable CRM solutions. It doesn’t feature any locked features or paywalls, either. Every user has access to every feature. (Read also: Using Product Management Features in a CRM Solution.)


Simple Sales Tracking also offers mobile access and an intuitive user interface, making it accessible for new users. Social media integrations, account tracking, and status updates help team members stay on-task and streamline workflows, too. The service also provides a two-week free trial if you’re unsure about committing to the full price at first.


4. Zoho CRM


One of the most sought-after features in any CRM tool is automation, which is Zoho CRM’s key selling point. The platform features an AI assistant named Zia that can automate many routine tasks and provide helpful analytics. It can predict leads and deals, suggest the best time to contact a lead, and help organize the team’s workflows.


Despite seemingly complex features, Zoho is fairly user-friendly, thanks to a streamlined design and support from Zia. Zoho CRM plans start at $14 per user per month, though Zia only becomes accessible with the $40 per month plan. This paywall for one of its most helpful features may turn some businesses with limited budgets away.


5. SugarCRM


Another AI-powered Salesforce alternative to consider is SugarCRM. Like Zoho, SugarCRM offers predictive analytics to help make more informed decisions and take action sooner. It also collects information from social media to create comprehensive customer profiles, which it calls “seeing customers in HD,” to help market more effectively.


This data collection feature automates data entry processes that would otherwise limit productivity. SugarCRM is also one of the most customizable CRM solutions, making it ideal for businesses with unique strategies and goals. Its only drawback is its higher price, starting at $52 per user per month.


6. Freshworks CRM


Most CRM solutions have limits for how many users they support, increasing with higher price tiers. Freshworks CRM does not, even in its free plan, which makes it ideal for growing small businesses. Freshworks also features built-in email and phone services, AI-driven insights, and workflow automation tools. (Read also: Artificial Intelligence is Key to an Ideal Employee Experience.)


Freshworks CRM is highly customizable, supporting custom customer lifecycle stages, modules, and sales activities. It also supports multiple languages and currencies, which you may need if you market to international customers. While Freshworks has a “free forever” plan, you’ll need to pay for higher tiers to access all its features, starting at $29 per user per month.


7. Redtail CRM


If your business, like many lately, has embraced remote work, you’ll need a web-based CRM like Redtail. Redtail CRM operates entirely on the cloud, making it accessible from anywhere, including a mobile app. Unlike most CRM solutions, the service also charges per database instead of per user, allowing up to 15 users per database.


Like many other platforms on this list, Redtail offers workflow automation tools and supports many third-party integrations. It may be feature-light compared to some others, but this also makes it straightforward and easy to use. Redtail only offers one pricing plan at $99 per database per month.


Find the CRM That’s Right for Your Business


Every business has different customer management strategies and needs. That means the ideal CRM for you will vary depending on your unique situation. When considering which CRM to use, evaluate:

  • If it offers the features and reporting you need.
  • How easy it is to learn and use.
  • How well it integrates with other software and applications.
  • How much it costs and if that is a good value for the features you need.
If you’ve determined that Salesforce isn't going to work for you, these seven alternatives are worth strong consideration. Analyze your goals and budget, compare these options, and find the CRM your team needs to thrive.

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Written by Devin Partida | Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com

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Devin Partida is the Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com, and has had her freelance work featured in the official CES magazine, as well as various other tech publications. When she isn't writing about the latest tech, gadgets or cybersecurity trends, you can find her biking around the Golden Gate Bridge. To view Devin's full professional portfolio, please visit this page.

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